Well, I burned right through this book. I actually finished it a week ago, Thursday. It should really be called, Survivability for the Common ‘Sense’ Man. Dave takes a no nonsense real common sense approach to the concept of ‘what if I get lost in the woods while taking a walk, hiking, camping, etc.‘ It is written in language everyone will understand and I like his writing style.
Dave starts by covering his philosophy of the Pathfinder System. The Pathfinder System, according to the book comes in 10 parts, and each one is outlined in some detail in the book. There is enough detail to give you an understanding of what each part of the system is, how it affects you, and what you should do to stay alive using it or recognizing the affects of it. Dave also goes into some detail about what to carry (his minimum pack requirements) with some enhancements when you go out into the woods, with tips and tricks on how not to lose your gear, and what to do if you find it floating down river without you. Topics cover everything from fire making, shelter, hunting for food, foraging (he made several good points in this section that I am going to definitely take his advice on), orienteering, and more. He does not go into deep detail about many of the subjects, otherwise this book could have been a 500 – 1000 page encyclopedia on how to survive in the wilderness with a knife and a firesteel. But that was obviously not the sole intention of the book. “I think” the intention here was to give an overview philosophy of the pathfinder system so that you don’t freak out if you get lost, and with general instruction on how to be found by a SAR (Search and Rescue) team. It is all about thinking smart, because the philosophy behind the Pathfinder System, really does seem to be common sense.
Who will enjoy this book? I think everyone will enjoy it to some extent. If you are a 20 year veteran Army Ranger or Marine, I am sure you probably already know much of what is in this book, less some of Dave’s philosophy. If you are an experienced bushman, you may learn a few new tips and tricks, which is always good. If you live in the suburbs
or an urban environment, this is a no nonsense, no fluff book on building and maintaining a minimum size bug out kit, hiking, or camping kit coupled with the high level outline of skills you will need in the outdoors. And, for this reason, I highly recommend it.
Much of Dave’s minimum kit were standard equipment in my Get Home Bag when I worked in NYC.
As I mentioned, this book could have been much longer, but you can do three things to learn more. Read a book on the subjects and then get out and try them, take a class or classes in your local area on the subjects, or you can go to Dave’s Pathfinder Gathering to learn directly from the man himself and his team. I would like to do this as well, should I be able to find the time.
You can buy the book here. I earn NO revenues from your purchase.