Books, Videos, and Internet Resources for Wilderness Survival and Primitive Skills

  • Home
  • Books, Videos, & Resources

More Books

Outdoor Survival Skills, by Larry Dean Olsen, ISBN 1556523238. An excellent book on wilderness skills. Geared somewhat toward the arid Western part of North America. Many photos and line drawing illustrations, with color plates of wild edible and useful plants for that area.

• “Naked into the Wilderness” Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills, by John & Geri McPherson, ISBN 0-89745-997-0, and, “Naked into the Wilderness –2” Primitive Wilderness Skills, Applied & Advanced, by John & Geri McPherson, ISBN 0-89745-984-9. Good in-depth information on many wilderness skills and topics. Many photo illustrations. See also the video by these same authors below.

Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival, by Tom Brown Jr., ISBN 0-425-05876. Excellent information on wilderness skills and topics. Geared somewhat toward Eastern North America. Line drawing illustrations.

Participating in Nature, by Thomas J. Elpel, ISBN 1-892784-12-2. Many good ideas on a variety of wilderness skills and topics. Photo illustrations.

Earth Knack — Stone Age Skills for the 21st Century, by Bart & Robin Blankenship, ISBN 0-87905-733-5. A good book on primitive skills primarily with line drawing illustrations.

Survival Skills of Native California, by Paul D. Campbell, ISBN: 0879059214. A large volume of the authors exhaustive research. Photos and black & white print illustrations.

Primitive Technology –a Book of Earth Skills, edited by David Wescott, ISBN 0-87905-911-7, and Primitive Technology II –Ancestral Skills, edited by David Wescott, ISBN1-58685-098-9. Taken from articles of the Bulletin of Primitive Technology,( these books contain are an excellent source of information on of a varieties of primitive skills by various writers. Photos and line drawing illustrations.

Survival Arts of the Primitive Paiutes, by Margaret M. Wheat, ISBN: 0874170486. In-depth information on various primitive skills of the Piutes of the Great Basin area in the interior of Western North America. Photo illustrations.

Made in Hawai’i, by Jane Fulton Abernethy and Suelyn Ching Tune, ISBN: 0824808703. Native crafts and plant uses.

How to Make Primitive Pottery, by Evard H. Gibby, ISBN: 9780943604381. A good book on making and firing pottery in a primitive setting.

Baskets from Nature’s Bounty, by Elizabeth Jensen, ISBN: 9780934026697 (out of print). An excellent book on a variety of basket making techniques.

Woodsmoke, The Best of, edited by Richard & Linda Jamison ISBN: 0882902032, Woodsmoke: Primitive Outdoor Skills, edited by Richard & Linda Jamison ISBN: 0882902636, and Woodsmoke, Collected Writings, edited by Richard & Linda Jamison ISBN: 0897321510. Compilations of various articles on primitive skills and wilderness travel from Woodsmoke Magazine.

Books on Wild Edible & Useful Plants:

• Peterson Field Guides —Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants, by Steven Foster & Roger Caras, ISBN 0-395-93608. Know which plants and animals to avoid so you don’t have to worry about the rest.

• Peterson Field Guides —Edible Wild Plants, by Lee Allen Peterson, ISBN 0-395-31870-X. Excellent information on wild edible plants in North America, although primarily of Eastern species. Line drawings and color plates.

Tom Brown’s Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, Tom Brown Jr. ISBN 0425100634. A good book on edible and medicinal plants primarily in Eastern North America. Line drawings and interesting stories about each plant.

Edible Wild Plants, by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman, ISBN: 978-1-4027-6715-9. A good book on 200 wild edible plants of North America, arranged according to seasons with color plates and plant range maps.

Wild Edible Plants of Western North America, by Donald Kirk, ISBN 0-87961-036-0. An excellent source of information on the edible plants of Western North America. Line drawing illustrations.

Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, by Christopher Nyerges, ISBN 9781556523441-X. Useful information on wild edible and useful plants.

Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest, edited by Parish, Coupe and Lloyd, ISBN-10: 1551052199. Excellent book for the area. Includes information on the native uses of the plants. Color photo illustrations.

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies, edited by Linda Kershaw, ISBN-10: 1551052296. A helpful identification guide with line drawings and color plates. The write-up on each plant also includes uses of the plants, both ancient and modern.

Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains, by H. D. Harrington, ISBN 978-0-8263-0343-1. Fairly extensive coverage, with line drawings.

Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands, by Francis H. Elmore, ISBN 1877856-41-X. A helpful identification guide with line drawings and color plates. The write-up on each plant also includes uses of the plants, both ancient and modern.

Mother Earth’s Mercantile –Plants of the Four Corners Area and Their Uses Through Time, by Elizabeth M. Wheeler, ISBN 0-9624640-4-X. A simple straight forward treatment of the main edible and useful plants in the Four Corners area, with color pictures. Put out by the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, 23390 County Road K, Cortez, CO 81321, (303) 565-8975.

How Indians Used Desert Plants, by James W. Cornett, ISBN: 0937794325. Good book on plant uses for the Southwestern desert areas of North America. Color photos.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, by Michael Moore, ISBN: 0-89013-104-X, and Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West, by Michael Moore, ISBN 0-89013-182-1. Good information on medicinal plants in Western North America.

Early Uses of California Plants, by Edward K. Balls, ISBN 0520000722. A fairly good book on the way natives and pioneers used California plants. Color Plates.

Botany in a Day –The Pattern Method of Plant Identification, by Tomas J. Elpel, ISBN 1-892784-15-7. A general book on plant identification methods, with general information on the different families/groups of plants. Black and white illustrations.

Books on Country Living Topics:

The Good Life, by Helen & Scott Nearing. ISBN-10: 0805209700. This book was the classic on self-sufficient country living a couple decades ago. Fortunately it is still available. Although the authors, (now deceased) were not Adventists, much of what they present is according to Scriptural principles.

Back to Basics, edited by Abigail Gehring. ISBN-10: 1602392331. A good all-around book on many different country living skills and techniques.

How to Grow More Vegetables, by John Jeavons. ISBN-10: 1580087965. An excellent book on gardening in the most efficient and space effective manner possible, using only hand tools.

Country Woodcraft, by Drew Langsner. ISBN-10: 0878572007. How to make many useful household items and farm equipment, using only hand woodworking tools.

Blacksmithing Basics for the Homestead, by Joe DeLaRonde. ISBN-10: 1586857061. How to set up a simple blacksmith shop and make many useful items.

The New Organic Grower, Eliot Coleman. ISBN-10: 093003175X. A good book on setting up and running a small farm.

Instructional Videos on Wilderness and Primitive Skills:

• “Woodsmaster #4, Navigation and Travel,” by Ron Hood. A good video on direction finding. It also covers stone working, and more.

• “Primitive Wilderness Skills, Applied,” by John & Geri McPherson. This video gives an excellent overview of survival living. It touches on shelter building, fire starting, making cordage, stone working, wood working, food gathering and cooking, basket weaving and more –be sure to watch the introduction.

• “Three Days at the River,” “Mountain Meadows,“and “Mountain Lakes,” (3 videos) by Tom Elpel. These videos are good overviews of survival living, covering shelter building, fire-starting, food gathering, cooking, stone working and more.

• “Stone Age Living Skills,” by Jim Riggs and Robert Earthworm. The excellent sections by Jim Riggs cover fire-starting, and making cordage.

All the above videos are available from: (

• “Backwoods Survival Skills,” by Bill Gringas. This video has an excellent section on survival shelters. It also covers fire building, food gathering, cooking and more. Available from: Bill and Susie Gringas, 47 Chatham Rd., Portsmouth, VA 23702 (804-487-1025).

• “Deerskins into Buckskins,” by Matt Richards. An excellent video on tanning hides. Available from:

• “Longhunter” Series, (4 videos) by Mark Baker. Mark Baker is a historian who has done excellent research, both academically and by participated extensively in historical re-enactmentments of the early American frontiersman. Although these videos are not about “survival” as such, they contain excellent information, as the early American frontiersmen were surviving in the wilderness for months at a time with only what they could easily carry with them. Available from American Pioneering Videos,


Primitive Ways, Many good articles on a variety of topics.

Of the Field / Linda Runyon, Books and videos on wild edible plants.

Society of Primitive Technology,,

Knot Tying:



• Animated Knots by Grog,

• I Will Knot!


Online Equipment Sources:

• Sportsman Survival. Survival kit equipment.

• C. T. Fischer Knives. Quality handmade knives.

• Knives Plus.

• Smoky Mountain Knife Works.

Other Resources:

• Seeing Through Native Eyes, by Jon Young, (audio CD). An excellent resource which will help one to “look at nature” as a home with the necessary resources for survival, rather than as a hostile foreign environment.