Top 5 Favorite Bushcraft Books

Outdoor Survival Skills

by Larry Dean Olsen

While Larry Dean Olsen might not be as well known as some of the legends of the bushcraft and survival world, he most definitely deserves a spot amongst their ranks. Mr. Olsen approaches survival from the viewpoint that a true survivor can live off the land without the aid of manufactured equipment. After reading Larry’s book, Robert Redford asked him to be a technical consultant on “Jeremiah Johnson.” Outdoor Survival Skills is organized into the normal sections of fire, water, plants, animals, and special skills, but you can be sure that each includes unique knowledge that isn’t found in the majority of bushcraft books. From unique traps to how to derive sugar from roasted ants, this text will surely impart new knowledge on bushcrafters from novice to expert. Even though the first edition of Outdoor Survival Skills was published in 1967, the information it includes is no less relevant, and this book belongs on the shelf of everyone that is interested in bushcraft, survival, and primitive skills. 


6 Ways In 12 Ways Out

Somewhere between bushcraft book and a military survival manual lies 6 Ways in 12 Ways Out. This small, seemingly homegrown book comes from the United States Rescue & Special Operations Group. The USRSOG focuses on training hostage rescue and provides an “unconventional training platform for any needing agencies.” While this is somewhat evident in their book, it also lends itself to down and dirty survival techniques. Although the chapters that include traps, survival kit contents, and other skills might seem familiar, the content is most definitely unique to USRSOG. The book’s hand-drawn illustrations and homemade styling give it a very distinct feel.

101 Skills You Need to

Survive in the Woods

by Kevin Estela

Kevin Estela has been involved in both formal education and outdoor training for decades, and his time in both fields is evident in his book 101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods. Kevin covers the basics with fire, shelter, and knife skills, but he also gives equal attention to cordage, illumination, and other areas of survival. Of the 101 skills, nearly all are accompanied by high-quality and detailed illustrations and photos. The author’s forward is just as impressive as the rest of the book. Kevin instructs the readers not to rely on just the book, or even when instructor, for their survival training. His advice on continually practicing and honing skills, along with sharing those skills with others, is very sound. Out of all of the survival manuals that have debuted in recent years, this is one of the best.


BUSHCRAFT: Outdoor Skills & Wilderness Survival

by Mors Kochanski

“The more you know, the less you carry.” Mors Kochanski was known to some as the father of contemporary Bushcraft. In his book “BUSHCRAFT: Outdoors Skills & Wilderness Survival,” Mors breaks the instruction down to the most important wilderness living skills. Beginning with the “most useful and important skill in basic bush living” Firecraft he focusing primarily on the the ‘parallel flatlay’ due to its benefits for both warming and cooking. Mors greatly emphases throughout the book how important the axe and pot are the two main tools for the woods. With the right skills and knowledge, these two items are all you would need to thrive in the wilderness. This book is full of fantastic diagrams which have been great references. Although the book focuses on the Nothern Woods of North America, there is still plenty of general information to be learned that is still applicable to all regions. I really enjoy how well the book is organized. Mors did a fantastic job of prioritizing the many layers of bushcraft skills based on his many decades of wilderness living skills instruction with both University of Alberta and the Karamat Wilderness Ways school.


Wilderness Survival Field Guide

by Tom Brown

Love him or hate him, Tom Brown Jr. has done a great job at creating several informative field guides over the years. Wilderness Survival, is my favorite for general Bushcraft knowledge. Tom is a world renowned tracker and been used as as a technical resource for several movie sets including “The Hunted” starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro. A few of the highlights of this book are the detailed trap and tracking descriptions. Specifically the Paiute Deadfall trap which is an incredibly useful and a relatively easy trap similar to the figure four trap. This book highlights other primitive methods for food procurement, hunting and tracking and traditional skills.


Georgia Bushcraft Blog | 2022

Contributors – Rick Stowe & Casey Deming

One thought on “Top 5 Favorite Bushcraft Books

  1. When my brother and I were growing up in the 80’s, Larry Olsen’s book was one of two we had in hand at all times. The other was “ How to Stay Alive in the Woods” by Bradford Angier. If you like “Outdoor Survival Skills” I highly recommend Angier’s book, or any of his books for that matter, as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: