Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paperback Survival

Whenever I have a look at the bestsellers list for camping (not that I'm obsessively checking my ranking or anything - OK, maybe a little) without fail the #1 book is the SAS Survival Guide.

Presumably, this means that a ton of you outdoorsy folks out there own a copy. You've invested in its detailed instructions on how to survive in the most extreme and remote conditions you could possibly encounter. You've studied how to desalinate water if you're lost at sea, how to trap your own food in the woods, and how to make a fire when all of your matches get wet and your lighter falls down a cliff.

What I want to know is - have any of you actually done any of this stuff? Have you set up a snare to catch dinner? Have you succeeded in starting a fire without a flint or matches? Have you found yourself so utterly lost that your normal camping skills just won't cut it?

I find it interesting that so many people feel that they need to learn these techniques. Sure, they could come in handy when all else fails. What I can't quite be sure of, however, is that I'd remember what I learned at the crucial moment. Odds are I won't have the manual with me (OK, I don't actually own a copy, but G does) so it would be a matter of not just reading this stuff, but retaining it. It's a lot to expect of someone who can't remember a new person's name 30 seconds after being introduced! What are the odds I'd remember how to desalinate water?

I guess it would be a matter of "practice makes perfect". So, have any of you practiced your survival skills? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Frank and Sue said...

Wow, no 4 on Amazon in the camping section, well done!!! Looks like the book is going well - congratulations Michelle.

btw, I have the SAS book too (must be a good standby guy birthday present I reckon) Always wanted to try and get water from digging a hole, lining it with plastic etc. Luckily never had the need.
Best wishes

Maple Kiwi said...

Amazon rankings are actually irrelevant because they update them every hour - so if you sell one book you go shooting up the rankings, and then fall back again.

And yet, I know I'm not alone among authors in admitting that I check there for personal validation. Especially those of us who don't see big royalty cheques pouring in!

Outdoor Culture said...

Hi Michelle.

Just got to this article you wrote 2 months ago! I'm new to this blogging thing ... visit me at - there's a post about bushcraft.

My instinct is that these 'extreme survival' titles are books for indoorsy people to give to their outdoorsy friends. Nothing wrong with that really - just that for most bushcraft enthusiasts, it's more about comfort, aesthetics and lifestyle than hardship and survival.

I'm stuck in the UK and missing NZ. Hope spring comes for you soon! Going to look for your book now.

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