Weâve taken six Hollywood survival movies and broken them down...
The Premise: Are you prepared? Are you, really, though? If you’re out in the woods and you’ve consumed all of the water you brought with you, would you know how to purify water that you find along your path? If you lose GPS, would you know how to navigate without modern technology? Don’t have a lighter or matches? Do you know several other ways to start a fire? What about if you’re stuck in the woods with no toilet paper, would you know what was safe to use instead? The premise of Survival Tips, Tricks, and Traps isn’t just to prepare you, but to give you the tools and knowledge you need to continue to thrive in any situation, even if you have nothing but your wits.
This book offers a variety of useful tips. It talks about having the right tools for the job and how to keep them in good condition, but it also offers alternatives and improvised options. It challenges you to look at your world in a whole new light. In the very beginning, it spoke about stripping your car to help you in an emergency situation. Recommendations included using your mirrors for signaling, turning the floor mat into a sled to carry things, pulling out wires for cordage, and using the seats for insulation. At the very least, these suggestions will get people to look at objects a bit differently. A lot of the book mentioned carrying a knife, but never examined how to create one or other primitive tools in the field. I was a bit disappointed in that, but it did talk about some very interesting ways to use a shotgun shell that I had never thought of before. And I never really considered carrying an umbrella until reading this book. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a towel.
Above: One of these plants is edible (wild grapes on the left) but the other (Virginia Creeper on the right) could kill you. Without a clear color photo, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between edible plants and their dangerous doppelgangers.
One of my biggest issues with many survival books is when they try to show plants in black and white. Plants cannot be successfully identified in black-and-white pictures (except maybe a cattail). This book was obviously not meant to be a full-on guide to wild edibles, though it does talk about the necessary precautions. This book focused on several basic wild edible tips that’d definitely be helpful to a newbie. The trap section was very detailed, and I especially liked the pictures. Black-and-white trap pictures still get the point across.
Throughout most of the book, the authors were very clear to advise people against doing certain things. In one part, however, they spoke about making a fire in a cave, but didn’t caution that this could be extremely dangerous depending on the depth of the cave and where the fire is located. They cautioned that it could be dangerous due to rock spalling (i.e. breaking off due to heat), but didn’t mention suffocation due to smoke. However, the majority of the book was generally very good about warnings and cautions and provided useful details beyond the bare minimum.
Above: If you need to take shelter in a cave, an improperly-positioned campfire could be disastrous due to rock spalling or carbon monoxide accumulation.
As the book states at the end, “The most important skill to have is knowledge. It weighs nothing.” This book aims to give you such knowledge. There are definitely some rehashed “hacks” that I could do without, but for the most part, I learned some new tricks and tips. Whether a newbie or more experienced survivalist, you’ll find at least a few interesting lessons in this book. It covered a lot of ground despite its short page count. It’s lightweight enough that it could be thrown in a bugout or hiking bag and taken along on your adventures for a refresher in the field. Several pages at the very back of the book are even designated as fire starters, which I found clever.
The authors are obviously knowledgeable, passionate, and have a combined 30-plus years of experience that shines through in this book. I most appreciated that this book is straight to the point. It didn’t dance around issues or tell a bunch of unnecessary stories just to prove why certain things were important to learn. If you have this book, chances are you already know why it’s important to develop a foundation of knowledge. Take this book, study up, practice what’s taught, and you’ll be able to not only survive, but thrive in just about any situation.
Book & Author
Survival Tips, Tricks, and Traps by Wanda Priday and William Priday
Saltheart Publishers LLC