How-to books about survival and prepping are everywhere in 2020. The prepping world had been growing more mainstream for years, but the Covid-19 pandemic has sent demand for survival information into overdrive. In March 2020, when no one knew exactly where the situation was headed, ordinary Americans found themselves imagining a world where they needed the skills to survive a disaster. States went on lockdown, some grocery items became scarce, tensions rose, and many folks realized they were underprepared. Survival literature, however, has historically focused primarily on extreme situations. Surviving in the backcountry with just a hatchet, staying alive during a bear attack, amputating your own hand in an emergency—these are the stories that sell survival books. While interesting, there is often little practical knowledge to be found in these stories.
It is in this vein that Steven Rinella wrote his latest book, The Meateater Guide To Wilderness Skills And Survival. At over 400 pages, this new york times bestseller addresses the practical side to survival. The book is arranged into chapters that all deal with basic, but essential aspects of staying comfortable and alive. With titles such as: Water, Shelter, and ‘Things That Bite, Maul, Sting, or Make You Sick’ the chapters each contain a wealth of information. The section on food takes up about 25% of the book’s total length which is fitting for such an important subject. It starts by discussing what food to bring and then goes on to cover everything from survival trapping and fishing to what potentially poisonous animals to avoid eating.
Much of the book focuses on how to avoid getting into dangerous situations in the first place. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really rings true in wilderness situations. Tools and gear to always have in your pack, how much water to bring, and even where to set up your shelter to avoid hazards are all topics addressed. Oddball situations like bear attacks are covered but are not the focus of the book.
Overall, the Meateater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival is a great book and a must-read for anyone who spends time recreating outdoors. Beginners and experts alike will find valuable information inside. The book’s greatest asset may be getting you to think about these subjects before you find yourself in a bad situation someday. Available anywhere books are sold, for $20 it is a solid buy.