The Complete Wilderness Training Book. By Hugh McManners


Well-Known Member
The Complete Wilderness Training Book
By Hugh McManners
Reviewed by Oldsarge

Recently I came across a book in my library that I have overlooked as being one of the more informative books on wilderness preparedness. Sure, we have all read through survival manuals, they are filled with a million and one ways to start a fire and a total compilation of information that can overload most anyone. Maybe for a select few all this info is good, but what about the beginner who wants to know “How do I get Started?” A simple condensed book with the absolute basics of what we should know when out and about in the wilderness is all we really need to getting started. For those of us who are new to hiking and backpacking, this book will give you some really good basic information as to what you will need to begin.

Hugh McManners spent 16 years with the British Army as a paratrooper and combat survival instructor. His book is all about getting back to the basics. With more than 950 color illustrations and many step by step sequences to give you a better understanding of the outdoors. In his introduction, Hugh talks about expecting the unexpected, life saving knowledge and principles of survival. Physical & mental conditioning, choosing the right equipment and the basics of camp living really touch on some good points for the beginner.

I found the chapter on basic equipment to very informative. Choosing the right clothing, footwear, personal camp kit, basic survival kit, sleeping bags and beds, tools, rope & knots and how to use them. The illustrations are in color, descriptions clear and to the point. Ropes and knots for example, cover construction of ropes, improvised cordage, basic knots, joining ropes shearing and lashing and proper care for the ropes. There’s nothing here to overwhelm the reader, a few basic knots to cover basic field use. No need to learn advanced climbing knots.

Another part of the book I enjoyed was the chapter “On the Move”. Here travel planning is covered, assessing the terrain, finding direction, using maps, finding your location and navigational basics give the beginner an excellent eye opener to the world of wilderness travel. It then goes on to cover different modes of travel in different terrain such as snow, desert, jungle and water.

Over all I feel this book is a great way to obtain the shear basics of what you will need to get started in enjoying the outdoors. Six chapters in 192 pages make this an easy read. I recommend this book for beginners but seasoned outdoor types will find it just as informative and entertaining.