Everyone should have a good library, and those of us who practice the fine art of preparedness are no exception. I have a growing collection of works that I thought I would share. Probably the best place to start is with one of the two books that I keep in my bug-out bag, the SAS Survival Guide pocket version put out by Collins Gem.
John “Lofty” Wiseman is well known for his survival acumen, and has some great titles under his name. Too bad he isn’t an American. This little gem of a book is small enough to fit into practically any pocket, but still contains nearly 400 pages of good survival information that can help you out in nearly all situations. Not as in depth as some of his bigger versions of course, but this book is a great alternative to lugging a few pounds of info around.
It is divided into ten sections; 1. Essentials, 2. Climate and Terrain, 3. Food, 4. Camp Craft, 5. Reading the Signs, 6. On the Move, 7. Survival at Sea, 8. Rescue, 9. Health, and 10. Disaster Strategies.
The Essentials section deals with basic preparedness facts and ideas and discusses some of the things we can do to get ready for any emergency or disaster. This section is a must read for all situations, and is best read before you need the information it contains. Don’t risk failure by waiting to the last minute to learn skills for survival. Do it now before it becomes too late and you end up being herded away in a truck with the rest of the sheeple.
The nest section, Climate and Terrain, deals with the different areas or zones around the world and what we can expect to encounter if we are caught in a survival situation without much to go on. Wiseman goes into the general climate of these regions and gives some area specific tips, such as making solar stills in the desert and snowshoes in the winter wonderlands of the tundra.
In section 3, Food, the various types of plants and animals that can be harvested and eaten are discussed, as well as how to hunt and fish with found and made in the field items. A lot of good information is packed into this section. It’s well worth paying extra attention to these pages. Also included are several pages of color pictures to identify foods that are safe to eat, as well as poisonous plants as well. Even if you can’t take the entire book along for the ride, you should at least tear out of copy page 73, where a good piece of info on plants to avoid and how to detect the two most common poisons can be found.
Camp Craft, section 4, goes into the various aspects of building emergency structures, fires and cooking, and other tools and equipment you may need and can create on the fly with not much more than your hands and a good knife. John also goes into rarely discussed topics such as sanitation and making stone tools in this section. Flint knapping is an ancient skill, but it is easy to learn, and the same process used by the Indians to make arrowheads can be utilized to make cutting, stabbing and scraping tools out of other stones as well. Information worth learning, if you ask me.
Reading the Signs deals with the skills of map reading and orienteering, while section 56, On the Move, goes into the aspects of traveling while in survival mode. Survival at Sea is all about water survival, in case your boat decides to pull a SS Minnow and strand you far from civilization, along with Gilligan and the gang. Hopefully you’ll have better comrades along for the ride. Rescue of course deals with the hoped for ultimate end of any survival situation and your rescue from your conundrum. Signaling and rescue symbols are discussed as well as search and rescue and helicopter rescues.
Health is naturally a long section dealing with not only the common first aid tips, but your general health and well being while in any survival situation, and Disaster Strategies winds the book up with a discussion over plans and strategies to cope with most disasters that may come your way in different parts of the world.
I bought this book for a mere $7.99, and it was worth every penny as I look at the wealth of information contained in these pages. You can get it through most books stores through special order if they haven’t got it in stock. The ISBN is 0-06-084982-7, and was first published in 2006.