Your Top 5 Bushcraft Books

A regular question on various bushcraft communities and forums concerns which are the best bushcraft books, as I've got about 70-80 related books and probably around 5-6 GB of files and e-books there's a fair bit to pick from. Below are my top 5 for someone with a general interest, each one designed to offer something different and with the intention of there being minimal overlap and a different style between each book.

Bushcraft - Mors Kochanski
If you were only to get one book this would be it, it's not the densest book but it contains a wealth of information that you simply won't get anywhere else. It deals with a myriad of things from crafts to cooking to tree identification and tools and does a good job of illustrating what a wide subject bush lore is.

Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills
This one focuses on the primitive aspect and deals with many crafts made with stone tools. It is certainly still relevant if you're using modern tools and contains more inspiration and ideas for projects than any other book I've ever come across. There is a second volume which is just as good as the first if you enjoy it.

Camping and Woodcraft: Horace Kephart
This is a veritable encyclopedia of information of early 20th century woodcraft and camping. It contains huge amounts of information on practically every subject under the sun and notably, a good section of recipes. Maybe not one to read from cover to cover but an excellent resource book.

Indian Fishing: Hilary Stewart
This book shows you the sheer range of things which can be crafted from nature using only simple hand tools. It covers nets, spears, hooks and all other methods of catching fish as well as the related art and cooking techniques. More than any other book this shows you an end goal for your knife skills and a true element of wilderness living skill. There's a preview on google books and Mungo has discussed the book on his blog.

Cache Lake Country: JJ Rowlands 
This is the diary of a timber cruiser who spent a year living in a cabin in the Northwoods. It contains a huge range of nature observations as well as stories and has some beautiful woodcuts. Although it is a journal in includes plans on how to carve different items, fashion moccasins and sleds and cook various meals. It's truly a must-read for anyone interested in wilderness living.

It's a pity to restrict it to 5 but without knowing someone's location and interests it's necessary to leave out a lot of good books - my personal favourite is perhaps the Snow Walker's Companion, I read it every winter when the snow falls, but if you're not looking for information on hot-tent winter camping in deep snow then it's not going to be as useful as the books above.

Hopefully these books also show a variety of approaches and viewpoints and demonstrate what a broad and deep subject bushcraft and wilderness living is.


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