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I've been looking around for good survival/bushcraft books and guides (for general and fundamental knowledge and techniques, I'm quite a newbie with this stuff) and I've seen a lot of conflicting takes. However, I've noticed that most people say survival guides and books aren't all that good and that the military has better literature on the subject. My question is simply what should I look for in these books to know that they aren't giving bogus information? (any personal recommendations are also welcome).

Specifically, what I'd like to prep for is something like a hiking trip, (what kind of wood is good for fire, first aid dos and don'ts, etc.)

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    What situation(s) are you trying to prepare for? Some hypothetical post-apocalypse scenario, or a plane crash or boat wreck, or do you plan to hike into "the wilderness" and try to survive there? Or do you want to do "bushcraft" in a more controlled, non-emergency situation where you actually have permission to do things like cut down trees and build structures?
    – csk
    Jun 15, 2021 at 19:16

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If you just want to be able to do well in an emergency, then take a wilderness first aid course and read accident reports from your local search and rescue organization. If you're doing rock climbing or mountaineering, read the latest Accidents in North American Climbing.

If you want to fantasize about being air-dropped behind enemy lines and having to find your way out through rain forest while fighting off wild tapirs and capybaras, then read novels about that.

If what you want isn't either of these things, then give us more information.

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  • I'll go with the first one! Not really interested in fantasizing. Thanks! Jun 16, 2021 at 0:24
  • This answers a bit snippy IMO.
    – Darren
    Jun 16, 2021 at 6:11
  • On top of First Aid, many outdoor activities have relevant emergency training. I'm familiar with White Water Safety and Rescue from kayaking, for example; outdoor swimming has lifeguarding, etc. If you take part in any of these, taking a course is very helpful, and one of the major benefits is the transferable emergency skills you gain
    – Chris H
    Jun 16, 2021 at 9:54
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Your best bet is to learn by doing from like-minded people. Either a paid-for bushcraft course from a recommended or well reviewed supplier, or find a local group on Facebook or somewhere for people who like to spend their time outdoors and who would be happy for you to join them.

Another option is to volunteer with an organisation such as the Scouts. Whilst these are, of course, predominantly about the development of young people, adult volunteers who want to learn and develop themselves whilst also putting something back in are always more than welcome. Depending on your age, they may even have provision for you as a member. For example, The Scout Association in the UK have a section for 18-25 year olds called The Scout Network.

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