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How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere

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A practical, readable and indispensable guide for anyone venturing into the wilderness, this is a book that should be in every survival kit. Broken down into four essential sections, Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation and Safety, this enlightening manual reveals how to catch game without a gun, what plants to eat (full-color illustrations of these make identification simple), A practical, readable and indispensable guide for anyone venturing into the wilderness, this is a book that should be in every survival kit. Broken down into four essential sections, Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation and Safety, this enlightening manual reveals how to catch game without a gun, what plants to eat (full-color illustrations of these make identification simple), how to build a warm shelter, make clothing, protect yourself and signal for help. Detailed illustrations and expanded instructions offer crucial information at a glance, making How to Stay Alive in the Woods truly a lifesaver.


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A practical, readable and indispensable guide for anyone venturing into the wilderness, this is a book that should be in every survival kit. Broken down into four essential sections, Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation and Safety, this enlightening manual reveals how to catch game without a gun, what plants to eat (full-color illustrations of these make identification simple), A practical, readable and indispensable guide for anyone venturing into the wilderness, this is a book that should be in every survival kit. Broken down into four essential sections, Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation and Safety, this enlightening manual reveals how to catch game without a gun, what plants to eat (full-color illustrations of these make identification simple), how to build a warm shelter, make clothing, protect yourself and signal for help. Detailed illustrations and expanded instructions offer crucial information at a glance, making How to Stay Alive in the Woods truly a lifesaver.

30 review for How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere

  1. 5 out of 5

    Martin Gibbs

    My dad left me this book when he passed and as I read it, I realize how he pulled off all of those wonderful survival skills when we were canoeing deep in Canada. This book is wonderful, the advice is valid and it works. I have a lot of Angier's other books and they are just as good; this man knows his stuff and knows how to survive without cell phones, ipads, or electricity. My copy has a ton of scribbled notes from dad, which verify and confirm that Angier knew what he was talking about. My dad left me this book when he passed and as I read it, I realize how he pulled off all of those wonderful survival skills when we were canoeing deep in Canada. This book is wonderful, the advice is valid and it works. I have a lot of Angier's other books and they are just as good; this man knows his stuff and knows how to survive without cell phones, ipads, or electricity. My copy has a ton of scribbled notes from dad, which verify and confirm that Angier knew what he was talking about.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Will Marshall

    I have owned a copy of this book since I was about 12 years old, and have read it cover-to-cover countless times. How to Stay Alive in the Woods is perhaps on of the most comprehensive and best-explained survival books available. The book was obviously written in a different age, which adds a certain charm - and some decidedly non-p.c. moments - to the narration. If you spend any significant amount of time camping away from the daily conveniences of modern society, if you are planning a trip into I have owned a copy of this book since I was about 12 years old, and have read it cover-to-cover countless times. How to Stay Alive in the Woods is perhaps on of the most comprehensive and best-explained survival books available. The book was obviously written in a different age, which adds a certain charm - and some decidedly non-p.c. moments - to the narration. If you spend any significant amount of time camping away from the daily conveniences of modern society, if you are planning a trip into the wilderness, or if you are just trying to figure out how you can survive the complete and total end of civilization, you will find 'How to Stay Alive in the Woods' to be a fantastic reference and a better teacher.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Noah Green

    I found this at the Goodwill recently. I am learning much about skinning frogs and porcupines for sustenance.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Better than the Bible for a sense of security and cure for insomnia. Perfect present for all those counting the days until Doomsday.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    A classic survival book by a skilled woodsman, but the main charm of the book for me is the wacky, roundabout syntax. Like this example about surviving on beavers: "If you have a gun and enough time at your disposal to wait for a sure shot, an often productive campaign is to steal to a concealed vantage on the downward side of a beaver pond." A classic survival book by a skilled woodsman, but the main charm of the book for me is the wacky, roundabout syntax. Like this example about surviving on beavers: "If you have a gun and enough time at your disposal to wait for a sure shot, an often productive campaign is to steal to a concealed vantage on the downward side of a beaver pond."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I almost got this five years ago, until I found the USAF Survival Handbook, could only afford one and made a decision. I'm glad I got this one now, it was a good read, but it isn't replacing my USAF Survival Handbook in my camping/hiking bag. I almost got this five years ago, until I found the USAF Survival Handbook, could only afford one and made a decision. I'm glad I got this one now, it was a good read, but it isn't replacing my USAF Survival Handbook in my camping/hiking bag.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    Excellent survival manual (it's hard to imagine a better one, though I am not well read in this area). I am not sure how useful it will be outside of survival though (unless you regularly camp). My only negative is that at least one of the survival foods was shown without it's negatives. Dock is high in oxalates and I wouldn't recommend it if there is a grocery store around. Excellent survival manual (it's hard to imagine a better one, though I am not well read in this area). I am not sure how useful it will be outside of survival though (unless you regularly camp). My only negative is that at least one of the survival foods was shown without it's negatives. Dock is high in oxalates and I wouldn't recommend it if there is a grocery store around.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Main takeaways: Saltwater is safe to drink if you freeze it for a year first Porcupines are smarter eating than trout, cause they’re dumb/more caloric You should definitely own 2 copies of this book, one on your person at all times -just in case- Snowshoes are easy to make, just make sure you bring your waterproof canvas mackinaw and a bunch of sewing supplies with you if you plan to get lost in the wilderness. 🙄

  9. 5 out of 5

    Candy | Evianrei

    How to Stay Alive in the Woods ... was a thorough and pleasantly blunt (which it needs to be) survival guide for those who wish to learn vital methods and techniques for survival in the wilderness. I learned quite a bit while reading this book, and it has detailed illustrations of following, and much much more: snares, knot types, and shelter construction. I plan on getting a physical copy of this book to put in my husband and I's survival kit as soon as possible. As for the rating, there are a How to Stay Alive in the Woods ... was a thorough and pleasantly blunt (which it needs to be) survival guide for those who wish to learn vital methods and techniques for survival in the wilderness. I learned quite a bit while reading this book, and it has detailed illustrations of following, and much much more: snares, knot types, and shelter construction. I plan on getting a physical copy of this book to put in my husband and I's survival kit as soon as possible. As for the rating, there are a few reasons this book did not get five stars from me. The reasons being: - There were a few typos or miss-spellings in this book. That was something I was willing to forgive being that it was easy enough to tell what word they were going for, but added on with the other issues I had, I couldn't leave this out. - Referring to snakes as 'Poisonous' rather than 'Venomous'. I know this is strictly a definition / diction issue, and that both are technically deadly or harmful, but it bothered me nonetheless. When regarding snakes the section titles them as 'Poisonous Snake Bites', and then mentions 'removing poison', but near the end then refers to it as venom. Consistency was lost there, but at least there was a correction in the final part. - A lack of things I found to be important. I definitely am not expert on survival, but there are things I have learned while living in Maine and hiking while there that I think this book missed. I will list and explain what should have been added to the book, below. How to set up a Bear Bag, and Why. You may have food or some attractive smelling items (to a bear) on your person or in your camp. Knowing how to secure a bear bag to prevent your camp being ransacked is an important skill! How to deal with leeches, and how to tell stagnant water from non-stagnant water. This may seem obvious, but when writing a book about survival, you should assume the person reading the book knows nothing on the subject matter. Better to see the information and say 'oh, I already know this, I can skip this chapter', than leave it out entirely. Leeches love stagnant water, stagnant water being still or non-moving water, typically warm/hot. While I am not a survival expert, and more research should be done by the reader (or the author whom wishes to write a survival book), I have been taught that leeches should be left alone until finished, simply because causing the leech stress could cause it to vomit harmful bacteria into your bloodstream. Best to avoid them entirely if it can be done. They typically look like leaves sunken in the water, but can be seen moving much unlike a leaf if they detect prey. Advice on how to deal with 'leavings' while surviving in the wilderness. (How to make a cat hole) It makes sense to mention that these should be far from camp, buried, and not uphill from said campsite should it rain or leak down. While hiking for a week I also learned that some women keep a bandana on their person for cleaning purposes (after urinating) that they sterilize by leaving it in the sun for several hours. I'm sure there could be much more added to a survival guide, and that not everything perfectly advisable will be remembered and written down. But it is good to be extra thorough. As I said, I will be getting a copy of this survival guide for myself, but it would be good to supplement it with another survival guide just in case something was missed. I would also recommend reading your guides ahead of time, just purchasing books and putting them in survival packs isn't enough, what if in an emergency you open the book and realize it leaves you wanting?

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

    I was at a bookstore in Oakland, Maryland a week or two ago, as my wife stocked up on books to read during the pandemic. "Are you going to buy anything?" she asked. I demurred. "How about this?" And she held up this book. Which, of course, I bought. It's precisely the sort of book I've always told myself I needed to have lying around. The book primarily lays out general principles for gathering food, identifying edible plants, and killing and preparing game. It's not exhaustive, or step by step. A I was at a bookstore in Oakland, Maryland a week or two ago, as my wife stocked up on books to read during the pandemic. "Are you going to buy anything?" she asked. I demurred. "How about this?" And she held up this book. Which, of course, I bought. It's precisely the sort of book I've always told myself I needed to have lying around. The book primarily lays out general principles for gathering food, identifying edible plants, and killing and preparing game. It's not exhaustive, or step by step. Angier assumes you aren't completely useless, and are already handy with knives, bows, and guns. That's because it's not recent, and the language shows it. Though the inside cover of my edition proudly announced a 2016 pub date, it's very much the creature of the last century. It sounds very much like 1957, which isn't a bad thing. Our nation was a bit wilder then, and land off of which one might live was closer and in more plentiful supply. Still, a handy guide, one I'm glad to have in my library. A four point two five.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Nicola

    Should be required reading for everyone who wants to be on Survivor! Admittedly its aimed at staying alive in North America but just the tips on building a shelter and surviving the elements would make it worth their time! Good read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victor

    Who do I recommend this for: those survivalists who are situated in the United States and Canada who want a book handy when the going gets tough away from civilisation. Who I wouldn’t recommend it for: those who live outside of the two countries just previously mentioned. I live in Australia, and this made perhaps 1 third of the book useless. Make sure to get a survivalist book situated towards your own homeland’s environment. Can you learn everything from this?: perhaps if you best soak informati Who do I recommend this for: those survivalists who are situated in the United States and Canada who want a book handy when the going gets tough away from civilisation. Who I wouldn’t recommend it for: those who live outside of the two countries just previously mentioned. I live in Australia, and this made perhaps 1 third of the book useless. Make sure to get a survivalist book situated towards your own homeland’s environment. Can you learn everything from this?: perhaps if you best soak information from text books, maybe. However, for somebody like myself, I think I’ll need to watch videos on many of the ‘how tos’ provided in this book and practise them myself. All in all not a bad book, but for an Australian with little to no survival experience; somewhat useless as a study text. Portions would certainly be useful if you were in the actual wild though, and had no clue as to what to do.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deke

    I enjoyed it, largely because the writing is unintentionally hilarious. I picked it up never having been a boy scout, hoping to learn something about fashioning a bivouac or orienteering, which I did, but my greatest joy came from reading the unnecessarily complex sentences that scream "I'm not just a crazy guy living in a cabin in the woods!" Example, by no means atypical: "But it was because of this very characteristic, the fact that acids released by such stimuli as prolonged fatigue and frig I enjoyed it, largely because the writing is unintentionally hilarious. I picked it up never having been a boy scout, hoping to learn something about fashioning a bivouac or orienteering, which I did, but my greatest joy came from reading the unnecessarily complex sentences that scream "I'm not just a crazy guy living in a cabin in the woods!" Example, by no means atypical: "But it was because of this very characteristic, the fact that acids released by such stimuli as prolonged fatigue and fright made meat more tender, that not so long ago it was an unpleasant custom of the civilized world to make sure that animals killed for their meat died neither swiftly nor easily when either could be prevented."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mattie

    I ended up purchasing the Kindle version for $1.99 and I thought it would be a good read for when I go hiking or camping. I ended up liking it so much I got a hard copy plus Bradford's copy of "Edible Plants." I believe that you should have two copies of this book, one in your personal library and one to bring with you while you're having fun outside. I liked how this book was updated, even though some parts are a bit outdated they're still great to know. I feel that I learned a lot and I will b I ended up purchasing the Kindle version for $1.99 and I thought it would be a good read for when I go hiking or camping. I ended up liking it so much I got a hard copy plus Bradford's copy of "Edible Plants." I believe that you should have two copies of this book, one in your personal library and one to bring with you while you're having fun outside. I liked how this book was updated, even though some parts are a bit outdated they're still great to know. I feel that I learned a lot and I will be continuously referring back to it and recommending it to other people. I watch a lot of survival shows so it's good to know that this stuff actually works when I see it on screen and I can reference parts of the book to what I have seen on TV.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Micheal

    As the title suggests, this book contains a vast amount of survival information for anyone planning a wilderness excursion in North America. The prose is mostly dry with few anecdotal passages, but the result is a dense collection of survival tactics and strategy. A paperback edition would make a practical addition to your wilderness outfit—so long as it was contained in a waterproof vessel of some sort. The recently rereleased hardbound edition is beautifully designed and looks handsome on a sh As the title suggests, this book contains a vast amount of survival information for anyone planning a wilderness excursion in North America. The prose is mostly dry with few anecdotal passages, but the result is a dense collection of survival tactics and strategy. A paperback edition would make a practical addition to your wilderness outfit—so long as it was contained in a waterproof vessel of some sort. The recently rereleased hardbound edition is beautifully designed and looks handsome on a shelf, but it is far less practical for outdoor use as the bulk of the book is increased by the substantial margins.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ron Me

    This book is better than most of the stuff you find these days, books that tell you how to survive a polar bear attack are just for leisure, not for practical use. This book was obviously written by someone who really has stayed alive in the wilderness multiple times. Great directions on half-a-dozen different ways to light a fire, catch a bird or fish, build a shelter in all different environments; what your minimum tool set should be when you're out hiking; and things to avoid: Even with a gun This book is better than most of the stuff you find these days, books that tell you how to survive a polar bear attack are just for leisure, not for practical use. This book was obviously written by someone who really has stayed alive in the wilderness multiple times. Great directions on half-a-dozen different ways to light a fire, catch a bird or fish, build a shelter in all different environments; what your minimum tool set should be when you're out hiking; and things to avoid: Even with a gun, don't shoot at a bear, what happens if you miss??

  17. 5 out of 5

    Warren

    I enjoyed this book and it covers a broad range of topics pretty well. However, like many "wilderness guide books", it's missing some of the fine details. I'd definitely recommend this book, but I would highly suggest finding an edible plants guide for your region. I would also remind you that reading and doing are very different, so if you want to learn to use these skills (the basic traps and fire making techniques, in particular), practice them! I enjoyed this book and it covers a broad range of topics pretty well. However, like many "wilderness guide books", it's missing some of the fine details. I'd definitely recommend this book, but I would highly suggest finding an edible plants guide for your region. I would also remind you that reading and doing are very different, so if you want to learn to use these skills (the basic traps and fire making techniques, in particular), practice them!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Lulu

    Useful book, even if I read it more for fantasy than for practical application. One of my favorite lines is where he says there is no reason to go hungry in the woods because there is more food available there than pretty much anywhere else you could possibly be. Even if I still don't know what is edible or not (because it's a lot of information to take in and I think you need some practice using it to really "know" it), it's a very comforting and sensible take away. Useful book, even if I read it more for fantasy than for practical application. One of my favorite lines is where he says there is no reason to go hungry in the woods because there is more food available there than pretty much anywhere else you could possibly be. Even if I still don't know what is edible or not (because it's a lot of information to take in and I think you need some practice using it to really "know" it), it's a very comforting and sensible take away.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    I liked this book. With an original publication date of 1956 some of the information was dated and the language has that dated overly formal tone. Despite that, it is better than rotting your mind with an episode of Bear Grylls not to mention any of the crazies riding his coattails. Sort through the "old-school" and note the timeless. This book was a gift and overall I say "thank you". I liked this book. With an original publication date of 1956 some of the information was dated and the language has that dated overly formal tone. Despite that, it is better than rotting your mind with an episode of Bear Grylls not to mention any of the crazies riding his coattails. Sort through the "old-school" and note the timeless. This book was a gift and overall I say "thank you".

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stan Bartkus

    I'm treating this as a read & do. I take this book, once a month, for a walk into the woods/fields around a wilderness resort. Last month's project was to find & eat Fig 7/Purslane, and Fig 8/Chickory. Chickory is a tasty version of Endive when boiled twice and served with butter, salt & pepper. Yum. I'm treating this as a read & do. I take this book, once a month, for a walk into the woods/fields around a wilderness resort. Last month's project was to find & eat Fig 7/Purslane, and Fig 8/Chickory. Chickory is a tasty version of Endive when boiled twice and served with butter, salt & pepper. Yum.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Balme

    I've had a copy for years and have referred to it off and on -- while I don't ever want to have to test any of what the book offers, there are certain comforts one can take from it in terms of survival. While it would be uncomfortable, it's not that hard! Angier is very "old school" optimistic and enjoyable to read. I've had a copy for years and have referred to it off and on -- while I don't ever want to have to test any of what the book offers, there are certain comforts one can take from it in terms of survival. While it would be uncomfortable, it's not that hard! Angier is very "old school" optimistic and enjoyable to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andy Weston

    Read very many times between 1989 and now. Absolutely fantastic stuff. The original bushcraft, and a must in any mountain person's library. My favourite is either how to make sunglasses from bark, or how a vegetarian can enjoy a fresh roadkill. Read very many times between 1989 and now. Absolutely fantastic stuff. The original bushcraft, and a must in any mountain person's library. My favourite is either how to make sunglasses from bark, or how a vegetarian can enjoy a fresh roadkill.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pat Gibbons

    this book saved my life at least three times

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Worth it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Dated, but I enjoyed learning about his experiences and how he wrote about them.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ace

    interesting & fairly useful, although I was expecting more how-to with details (rather than "preserve your food for traveling", specifics on how to preserve food, that sort of thing). interesting & fairly useful, although I was expecting more how-to with details (rather than "preserve your food for traveling", specifics on how to preserve food, that sort of thing).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Derek the Barak

    Tells you everything you need to survive and be ready.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Madam J

    I didn't find this book dry at all, though admittedly I am the target audience. I also didn't find it unnecessary or superfluous reading - people get lost in the woods all the freaking time. It doesn't take a whole lot to get turned around. Mistakes get made. Shit happens. I will never understand why those of us who prepare for practical emergency situations are considered strange. Where I live, it's perfectly plausible that an ice storm could smash through and leave us without power for weeks on I didn't find this book dry at all, though admittedly I am the target audience. I also didn't find it unnecessary or superfluous reading - people get lost in the woods all the freaking time. It doesn't take a whole lot to get turned around. Mistakes get made. Shit happens. I will never understand why those of us who prepare for practical emergency situations are considered strange. Where I live, it's perfectly plausible that an ice storm could smash through and leave us without power for weeks on end. Why is this plausible? Because it's happened before, and it was not a one-off occurrence. When we go hiking in the woods, we always try to adhere to Angier's rule of "Stay found" (don't get lost in the first place). We are also aware that things could go wrong. Will I ever need to do all the things in this book? Probably not. Does it cover everything in the most practical manner? Nope, but even though gear has come a long way since it was written, most often the less complicated something is, the better. What it does is complement other books in the category, with experience, brevity, and clarity. I didn't find the language convoluted. Having written it in the 60's, some of the terminology used was a little outdated. There was two typos I found, and not having a statement on hanging things to keep them away from bears seemed like a pretty big oversight, as was misusing poisonous/venomous (though I don't know if that was for simplicity or not). I also found it cheeky he suggested I buy a second copy of the book - one for home, one for the bag. As with anything of this nature, theoretical knowledge does not translate to proficiency. Get out there are try the most likely things you may need to do - you'll be surprised they're aren't always as easy as you think, and if you ever need them, you'll certainly be happy you practiced. Be safe out there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    The Ether

    I can't imagine a better survival guide than this book. It's well written, concise, and summarizes things really well. Most of the tidbits of information are presented in 5 or fewer paragraphs. It would take a lot of readings to retain even half of the knowledge present in this book. I only really found a couple of issues in this book: It could have eliminated a couple of illustrations that didn't present knowledge (I'm talking to you, wolf picture!) and could have included a few that needed the I can't imagine a better survival guide than this book. It's well written, concise, and summarizes things really well. Most of the tidbits of information are presented in 5 or fewer paragraphs. It would take a lot of readings to retain even half of the knowledge present in this book. I only really found a couple of issues in this book: It could have eliminated a couple of illustrations that didn't present knowledge (I'm talking to you, wolf picture!) and could have included a few that needed them because words weren't sufficient (skinning things, making some things). Also, the author died in 1997, and I'm sure this book is much older than that. I'd love to see an updated version. Finally, the section that talked about snake bites talks about sucking the poison out. Is that still a thing? PROS: Tiny, concise sections that focus very specifically on the subject at hand (by extension, this means lots of natural stopping points!); all-encompassing, other than living in a cave for an extended time or being trapped on a raft in the ocean, there is NOTHING not covered here; obviously this guy knows his stuff because he's been through it - that adds a lot of credibility to it. CONS: The sections I mention in the review above; towards the end, he mentions making room for this book when you travel, which is funny and cute, but then he does it several more times and it sounds a little ostentatious; we need an updated version - this came out before cell phones and WELL before smart phones and so a few things feel dated in here. Still, an excellent book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    The book assumes that there are things that you already know, making it not great for beginners. It also doesn't go too in depth with more complex situations, making it not great for advanced readers. It seems like it's just things that the author has utilized or learned from his own experiences jumbled together. It also seems like the author is better versed in colder climates, so take that into account depending upon where you'll be exploring. Don't get me wrong, there is some good information The book assumes that there are things that you already know, making it not great for beginners. It also doesn't go too in depth with more complex situations, making it not great for advanced readers. It seems like it's just things that the author has utilized or learned from his own experiences jumbled together. It also seems like the author is better versed in colder climates, so take that into account depending upon where you'll be exploring. Don't get me wrong, there is some good information in here, I just would not consider it "complete".

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