Woodcraft and Camping: A Camping and Survival Guide
George Washington Sears, also known as “Nessmuk,” was a Romantic. He sought to witness the glory and the beauty of nature; to free himself from the vagaries of industrialized civilization. He expressed this philosophy through his pursuit of the minimalist ideal and its use in the outdoors. Woodcraft and Camping is Nessmuk’s practical and philosophical guide to camping, traveling, and survival in the woods. The book discusses the foundational skills needed to live in the woods: the art of camping, fishing, fire-making, cooking, shelter, tools, and canoeing. But Nessmuk does not just recite the skills needed, he also tells us about his experiences and conversations during his travels. He provides us with campfire poetry and lore. And he does all of this in a writing style that is eloquent, engrossing, and intrinsically positive.
- Print Length: 112 pages
- Weight: 7 ounces
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.3 inches
During high school and college, I spent a lot of time developing my wilderness skills. I made campfires in the rain. I built simple shelters for protection from bad weather. I searched for edible plants. And I tracked wildlife, day and night.
College was in the city and far from anything resembling wilderness. As a result, I was constantly in need of something to remind me of the woods. Oddly enough, in the dark, lonely corners of the library, tucked between dusty stacks of books, I found traces of the wildness that my mind and soul needed.
One book opened my eyes to the private oasis that lay in the library basement. The book had the simple title of “Woodcraft.” Hmm, what’s this? The edition was printed in the early 1940s. The last time someone checked it out was in the 1970s. Promising. I flipped through the pages and found illustrations of custom hatchet handles and rough shelters. Then I read a few paragraphs. There were recipes for natural mosquito repellent and instructions for moving through unknown terrain. I was hooked. I learned that woodcraft, as a movement, is about more than mastery of rote skills. It is an applied philosophical approach and understanding of civilization, the natural world, and our place in them.
Nessmuk’s “Woodcraft and Camping” is a fantastic introduction to the skills and philosophy of woodcraft. I hope that the practice of woodcraft leads you to the wonderful sanctuaries to be found amidst civilization and nature.