Dave Canterbury’s Bushcraft 101 : A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival is an introductory to the outdoors for any beginner looking to get into bushcraft. If you have experience car camping, but aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of wielding cutting tools and using your natural surroundings, then this will be a good step into learning bushcraft. It’s not an advanced book, but it will have areas for everyone to become better prepared in the outdoors.
Reader Type: This book is an extremely useful resource for beginners. The tips in this guide start with basic lessons for all users to be able to understand. Some lessons are more advanced than others, which will give each beginner something to master while also giving them something new to work on.
For the experienced outdoors person, there are a few areas that can come across as less useful due to being fairly basic. But don’t let that take away from the relevancy of this book. An expert outdoors person could pick this book up and still find plenty of helpful tactics to apply to their adventures.
Takeaway: Canterbury spends a great deal of the book delivering this thorough guide to what should be included in a wilderness kit. He boils it down to his Five (5) Cs of Survival while gearing up for the wilderness: cutting tools, covering elements, combustion devices, containers, and cordage. In each category he not only gives the list of necessities, but also describes what works best (in his opinion).
The second half of the book moves away from the packing stage and dials into practical experiences in the wilderness—or in Canterbury’s words: “out in the bush”. He covers everything from setting up camp, navigating the surroundings, different tree resources, and a section for trapping and processing wild game. While the first half of this book is clearly informative, this second half is a fun, practical guide that can be put into practice immediately in the outdoors.
Another cool addition to Bushcraft 101 is the appendix. It includes entire areas informing on wild edibles and plants with medicinal purposes, and a section on bush recipes such as boiled beaver and baked dove breasts.
Practicality: All the tips in the world won’t mean anything if they’re not actionable and doable. So is this book a practical guide to being a better equipped outdoors person?
While the book does include areas that are quite brief, there are just as many sections that are described in great detail to ensure readers can learn technique and safety. The pictures that are included are incredibly helpful, but much like content, some areas do not include step-by-step visuals. This allows for the reader to get a good grasp on the concept of most areas explained, while other areas may be quick overviews requiring deeper research outside the book. Much like any outdoor activity, these lessons should be practiced to ensure safety.
Ease of Read: Canterbury writes in a fairly simple tone to ensure understanding. This allows for readers of both little background and many years of experience to engage with the directions given throughout the book.
Value: For $12.84, this book is packed with tips of knowledge. Survival field guides usually run at a steeper price than this, so Bushcraft 101 is incredibly reasonable. For outdoor manuals, it’s hard to beat. Especially for a beginner, investing $12.84 into something that can bring a wealth of knowledge to a great activity, it’s a great buy.