Next month, Blue Ridge Outdoors will publish its Survival Guide, which provides key skills for staying alive in Southern Appalachia. If you’re looking for even more regionally focused survival skills, check out North Carolina native Benjamin Pressley’s new book Can You Survive? Pressley has been teaching and practicing primitive living skills for over 25 years and has studied the practices of Native Americans and aboriginal peoples worldwide. This book distills their insights into a simple, easy-to-read book that highlights basic shelter, food, water, fire, foraging, and orientation skills. “Primitive skills open up a whole new realm of possibility and appreciation for the outdoors,” writes Pressley. Even if you never find yourself in a survival situation, you’ll see the woods differently after reading this book. You’ll keep your eye out for dead, dry wood for fire and shelter making; you’ll be more attuned to animal tracks and edible plants; and you’ll notice the life-sustaining intricacies of the forest that previously may have only appeared as a blur of green and brown.
Though it is written for beginners, more advanced survivalists will still find plenty of useful information in these pages. Pressley devotes several sections to advanced firemaking, signalling, basketry and cordage, and other outdoor arts. Its conversational tone makes the content easy to follow. And though it focuses on Eastern forests, the skills can be applied to just about any bioregion.