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Woodcraft and Camping


Book Overview: 

"Woodcraft" is a book for "outers" with tips on how to "smooth it" rather than rough it in the woods. Although some of the methods, equipment and mores may be out of date or objectionable to modern readers, the stories of true wilderness travel tinged with subtle humor still have messages for those venturing out of doors. Nessmuk's small stature and compromised health made him a proponent of lightweight backpacking and canoe travel with only essential gear, a lesson still relevant today. There is a reason why "Woodcraft" and the slightly abridged, "Woodcraft and Camping", have been continuously in print since its original publication.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The Indian Camp

The simplest and most primitive of all camps is the "Indian camp." It [Pg 19] is easily and quickly made, is warm and comfortable, and stands a pretty heavy rain when properly put up. This is how it is made: Let us say you are out and have slightly missed your way. The coming gloom warns you that night is shutting down. You are no tenderfoot. You know that a place of rest is essential to health and comfort through the long, cold November night. You dive down the first little hollow until you strike a rill of water, for water is a prime necessity. As you draw your hatchet you take in the whole situation at a glance. The little stream is gurgling downward in a half choked frozen way. There is a huge sodden hemlock lying across it. One clip of the hatchet shows it will peel. There is plenty of smaller timber standing around; long, slim poles, with a tuft of foliage on top. Five minutes suffice to drop one of these, cut a twelve-foot pole from it, sh. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Sears was a writer for FIELD AND STREAM magazine back in the late 1800s. "Nessmuk" is the name he called himself after a Iroquois Indian friend from his childhood, and also the name attached to the knife he himself designed after many Hudson Bay-area Indian styles.

Sears was a pioneer and advocate...more

Everyone with an interest in the outdoors: camping, fishing, hunting, etc... should own this book. It isn't very long, can be read in one afternoon really. It is full of wonderful tips trick and anecdotes regarding getting along in the out doors. What to bring and not to bring, how to dress, etc....more

Imagine if Henry David Thoreau weren't a sissy mama's boy from the city, and there you have George Washington Sears (aka Nessmuk). I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this book just based on the subject matter, but I was really surprised at what a well written, easy read it turned out to be. S...more

Entertaining and full of good knowledge.

Would refer others to it. Easy read and has a nice flow to it. We should all take a 10 day trek on our own.

Much more than camping and woodcraft.

Starts off a guide on camping and woodcraft, and by degrees, transforms into a philosophical guide to life. "Ah, that thou couldn't know thy joy, are it passes barefoot boy!"

Nessmuk is an OG outdoorsman from the late 1800's and his advice, observations, and reflections are fascinating. Some advice, like cutting down a dozen trees for a single night's camp fire, should probably be ignored :) I was amazed by how many of his thoughts remain relevant... on page 1 "It is...more

Good read for one who enjoys the outdoors

This version does not have illustrations which takes a lot away from the reading experience. Still, the stories make one long for days gone by, and the advice gives a fascinating to into how camping was done without modern tools and toys.

Good stuff in here. Practical and enjoyable.

interesting and inspiring. what a tough and practical charater. it was interesting to get his perspective on being in the outdoors and surving/living off the land. Oh how times have changed.

For a book written in the 1890's it's still a pretty good read. Feels somewhat incomplete of knowledge but combines story and technique in a way that still reads well today. I would consider it a classic outdoorsmen novel.

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