Survival Library: Chapter 2, Bushcraft 101

Continuing my suggestions for a survival library.
Today I will look at a title that is relatively new to me. Some other reviewers consider it a “must have”.
The book is “Bushcraft 101” by Dave Canterbury.
Cover of Bushcraft 101
I quite liked this book.
The early section on safe and effective ways to use your knife and other tools is particularly good, and possibly worth the price alone.
It is a good book for rending topics down to a simply grasped form.
An interesting aide memoire Canterbury uses is “the Five Cs”: Cutting, Cover, Combustion, Containers and Cordage. Personally, I would advise adding “Consumables” and “Compass” to that list.
Another useful aide memoire is the “Four Ws”, used for selecting a good campsite: Wood, Water, Wind and Widowmakers.
To the advice given in the book, I will remind the reader that water sources often come with biting insects, so a camp should not be too near. Under the same category, one should consider watercourses. If you camp in a dried river bed or runoff, a storm miles away may result in your camp literally being washed away.
A third handy memory aid is “LURD”, used to determine the direction viewed by star movement. I recommend memorizing it as “LURD:NESW”. If a star is moving upward, you are looking east, and so on.
Determine direction of facking by star movement
The section on maps and compass is much more straight forward than in some publications:
“The most important reason to carry a compass is so that we can walk a straight line over distance.”
• Here I will insert a useful tip not given in this book. To walk in a straight line, align three objects. Tree trunks in a forest are ideal.
As you reach the first object, align the next two objects with a fourth, and keep repeating this process as necessary.
While applying a calculation to compensated for difference between magnetic and grid north is mentioned in Bushcraft 101, the actual method (LARS) is not detailed.
Perhaps it was felt that in a survival situation the difference is not significant, only a general orientation of the map being adequate. A similar approach is taken in the SAS Survival Handbook.
In some parts of the world, or for more general navigation, magnetic declination may be significant.
I would recommend regarding the navigation section of Bushcraft 101 as a useful primer and follow it with some more detailed reading on the topic.
The above brings me to one of the shortcomings of Bushcraft 101.
The book is very much written for a North American audience, and mainly geared for travel or emergencies in woodland.
If you frequent the prairies or deserts, you may wish the book had mentioned some tent poles to rig the suggested tarp. Similarly, some of the advice given may not be so valid for other parts of the world.
That said, my impressions of this book are very positive.
Once you have the suggested titles by Kephart, Greenbank and Wiseman (and my own books, of course!), Bushcraft 101 is worth considering as a useful addition. 



Kephart's Autumn Outfit

I was certain I had posted Kephart’s list for cold weather trips. Apparently not, so here it is. For many decades I unsuccessfully tried to find out what “German socks” were. Thanks to the catalogue here the mystery is finally solved!
This version of the Autumn outfit is taken from the 1921 version of Camping and Woodcraft, Vol.2 p.143-6:

Kephart: The man who goes out alone for a week or so in the fall of the year, or at an altitude where the nights always are cold, should be fit to carry on his back from 40 to 50 pounds at the outset—of course the pack lightens as he consumes rations. I am not including weight of gun, cleaning implements, and ammunition. He should wear woolen underwear of medium weight, thick and soft woolen socks, army overshirt, kersey or moleskin trousers, leather belt with pockets (not loops) for clips [sic. more likely chargers or stripper-clips than clips] or loose cartridges, hunting shoes of medium height for ordinary use, felt hat, and, at times, buckskin gloves.

In his pack there would be a spare suit of underwear and hose, a cruiser or “stag” shirt of best Mackinaw, moccasins or leather-topped rubbers, and German socks.
In pockets and on the belt he would carry the same articles mentioned in my summer* hiking list.

A mere shelter cloth is too breezy for this season (there will be no opportunity to build a thatched camp, as the hunter will be on the move from day to day). He needs a half-pyramid tent, say of the Royce pattern (Vol.I., pp.85-91) but somewhat smaller, and weighing not over 4 pounds.

Bedding is the problem; a man carrying his all upon his back, in cold weather, must study compactness as well as lightness of outfit. Here the points are in favor of sleeping-bag vs. blankets, because, for a given insulation against cold and draughts, it may be so made as to save bulk as well as weight. For a pedestrian it need not be so roomy as the standard ones, especially at the foot end. Better design one to suit yourself, and have an outfitter make it up to order, if you have no skill with the needle. An inner bag of woolen blanketing, an outer one of knotted wool batting, and a separate cover of cravenetted khaki or Tanalite—the weight need not be over 8 pounds complete. Your campfire will do the rest.
A browse bag is dispensed with, for you will carry an axe and can cut small logs to hold in place a deep layer of such soft stuff as the location affords.
The short axe may be of Hudson Bay or Damascus pattern. There should be a small mill file to keep it in order, besides the whetstone.
The ration list is based on. the assumption that the hunter’s rifle will supply him, after the first day or two, with at least a pound of fresh meat a day. If it does not, go elsewhere.

There are plenty of good ways to cook without boiling, stewing, or roasting in an oven (see Vol.I.), which are processes that require vessels too bulky for a foot traveler to bother with.

Either the Whelen pack sack or a large Duluth one will carry the whole outfit. Both have the advantage that they can be drawn up to smaller dimensions as the pack decreases in size, or for carrying the day’s supplies when most of the outfit is cached at or near camp.
The following outfit is complete, save for gun, ammunition and cleaning implements.
For a longer trip than one week, a reserve of provisions can be cached at some central point in the hunting district.

Pack sack, with tump strap…2lb 12oz
Pillow bag*…3oz
Rubber cape*…1lb 5oz
Mackinaw stag shirt…1lb 8oz
Spare underwear, 1 suit…1lb 8oz
Spare socks, 2 pairs…5oz
German socks…12oz
Axe and muzzle…1lb 12oz
Cooking kit, dish towel, tin cup*…2lb 2oz
Cheese cloth…2oz
Mill file, 6 in…2oz
Wallet, fitted*…6oz
Toilet articles*…6oz
Talcum powder*…2oz
Toilet paper*…1oz
First aid kit*…5oz
Spare matches, in tin…6oz
Alpina folding lantern…8oz
Candles, ½ doz…8oz
Emergency ration [probably the “camper’s emergency ration” mentioned on p.167]…8oz
Tobacco, in wpf. bag…8
Spare pipe…3

Total pack without provisions …28lb 120z

One Week’s Rations (not including fresh meat)
Baking powder…4oz
Meal, cereal…1lb oz8
Milk powder…8oz
Egg powder…8oz
Dried apricots, prunes…1lb
Total [weight of food]…13lb 6oz
Provision bags, etc…10oz

Pack complete…42lb 12oz

The articles starred (*) are same as in summer hiking list already given.
Moccasins are to be large enough to fit over the German socks. This foot-gear is used in still hunting in dry weather, and on cold nights. The camper sleeps, when it is frosty, in fresh underwear and socks, army shirt (dried before the fire after the day’s use), trousers, stag shirt, neckerchief rigged as hood, German socks, and moccasins. When he has to get up to replenish the fire, or in case of any alarm, he springs from his bed attired cap-a-pie.