Reference Point

July 05, 2009|By June Sawyers | June Sawyers,Tribune Newspapers

The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure

DK Publishing, $30

The principles in this book are simple: Expend the least amount of energy for the maximum amount of gain; treat the wilderness with respect. An understanding of those two precepts will go a long way toward promoting enjoyment outside the city limits.

This formidable handbook functions as a primer on what to do and what not to do. It addresses such issues as getting into shape, preparing mentally and planning your journey. Know your environment, the book says, and get the right gear. It also describes and shows what a basic survival kit should look like. In addition, there are sections on understanding maps and weather conditions, making a fire, the importance of water (and how to find it, no matter what the climate), cooking in the wild (edible plants, catching and preparing fish, trapping animals), first-aid essentials and what to do in emergencies. An indispensable guide.

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