There is no doubt Christmas trees will be filled with presents geared towards helping people lose weight or get healthy this year. And, yes, they are very valuable gifts.
But knowledge can truly save your life. And if you want a gift that educates while giving you a great opportunity to use your commitment to exercise (in the woods, for instance), then a good Christmas gift for that New Year’s resolution could be Creek Stewart’s latest book “365 Essential Survival Skills.”
Stewart (who has no relation, that we know of, to the author of this article) is a well known commodity in the survival world. He has authored several survival books, and hosted the popular show “Fat Guys in the Woods” on The Weather Channel. But his survival bona fides go deeper than books and reality television.
He grew up a survival enthusiast, that started when he was a child, and turned it into a full time education and training business while in college. In addition to books and television, he owns and is the principal educator at Willow Haven Outdoor, a leading survival and preparedness training facility in Indiana.
“It’s not if, but when,” Stewart says at every possible opportunity. And for people that live like his mantra, this book will make a valuable addition to a prepper library and bug out bag.
Like many other prepper authors favored by this publication, the ability to simplify intricate or complex concepts for people that have no experience in the wild is a key component for success and reach. Obviously, it’s one thing to have great marketing prowess, but teaching students and readers in a way that allows them to learn and retain critical skills is how experts like Stewart stick around.
The book includes a skill for every day, which is fun enough to tackle, and Stewart includes good photos and simple explanations of how to accomplish each skill.
In terms of priorities, his own words make it clear that fire, shelter, water and food are critical, in that order. And yes, there are other skills to learn, such as making a whistle out of a blade of grass (#320) or a snowshoe (#3), but he is adamant in his focus on the true lifesaving skills.
“Other than properly dressing yourself, fire is the most important survival skill,” he says. “It can help regulate core body temperature, boil and purify water, cook food, signal for rescue, keep insects and beasts at bay, and make tools.”
Needless to say, there are multiple skills and tools taught in this book to get fires started from identifying three fire-starting tree barks (#6), to identifying and using a specific tree fungus as tinder (#32), to making a torch out of a pine tree branch (#235), to our favorite, the cotton fire cigar (#312).
But, fire isn’t his only important focus. Shelter, water, food, navigation, first aid, tools and more make up the remaining bulk of the book.
Making fish and game traps, making cordage and related tools (#250), weapons out of spoons (#209), shelters out of trash bags (#158), identifying life-threatening wildlife (#224), and even a “fashion forward” grass hat (#57).
Truth is, he covers so many skills that it would be impossible to give the content fair coverage in one article. But fear not, Stewart breaks down the book in two very helpful ways.
For starters, he used the seasons of the year to separate the skills. This is a smart process, certainly wild and plant life will change with each season. Moreover, he adds a very simple, but useful index for readers to quickly find the skills they need.
Paratus Business News highly recommends “365 Essential Survival Skills” for several reasons: we trust Creek Stewart’s experience and his knowledge of survival skills; the book covers a large number of varied subjects when it comes outdoor survival skills and information; we appreciate Stewart’s sense of humor and easy-going communications; and, the instructions are illustrated and easy to understand.
The only thing we found a little weird was that each page had ShopDeerHunting.com on it, which is clearly a retail website being pushed by the book’s publisher Living Ready (a subsidiary of F+W Media, Inc.). Granted, Stewart’s books are sold there as well, but we truly have to chalk this up to the kind of interesting aspects of working with small publishing houses. As we’ve said before, if you get hung up on these little things, you’re missing the point.