Ray Mears Outdoor Survival Handbook review

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Somewhat unusually, this was a Christmas present book that actually got read from cover-to-cover! Ray Mear’s writes with a relaxed style but still explains the practical tips and theory behind them very clearly. His clear respect and admiration for the great outdoors shines from every page of bushcraft.

Even if you only use a small part of the advice contained in this book then you will enjoy your time in the great outdoors all the more. The author points out how the everyday plants, trees (and yes, animals) around you could be utilised if you ever found yourself in need. You may never make your own fishing hooks or clay pots, but this book will show you how!

The book has a core section of practical advice on equipment and core survival techniques. It then breaks down by season to equip you with the right skills for the right time (for example how to make a heated bed in winter). There are great navigation and cooking tips and really useful sections on suitable campfire layouts. This stuff is not just for the deep backwoods. We used a suggested campfire layout on a recent trip to a very ‘townie’ campsite.

Illustrated throughout with very clear diagrams, this book is not just for the hardcore woods-dweller. Anybody who spends time outside would learn something interesting and useful and gain a better appreciation of their surroundings.

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