Primitive Living, Self-Sufficiency, and Survival Skills

( 1 )


In Primitive Living, Self-Sufficiency, and Survival Skills, author Thomas J. Elpel shows how to discover nature by using it with the same techniques employed by the first people to wander the earth. Illustrated with over 350 photographs, he thoroughly describes every ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (1) from $81.10   
  • New (1) from $81.10   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
Sending request ...


In Primitive Living, Self-Sufficiency, and Survival Skills, author Thomas J. Elpel shows how to discover nature by using it with the same techniques employed by the first people to wander the earth. Illustrated with over 350 photographs, he thoroughly describes every aspect of how to:
· Stay warm and comfortable even without a blanket
· Start a fire using friction
· Make bows and bone arrowheads
· Butcher a deer, tan the hide, and make soft buckskin clothing
· Identify edible plants of the Rocky Mountains
· Cook in the wild without a pan
· Make birch bark canisters, willow baskets, and primitive pottery
· Create and use simple stone knives Primitive Living, Self-Sufficiency, and Survival Skills includes dozens of skills and techniques that anyone can learn to meet the needs of clothing, shelter, fire, and water. It is a must read for any serious outdoorsperson.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

At first this title seems yet another "how-to" on survival in the wild, complete with a listing of edible plants, directions on how to make a blanket poncho and information on a variety of ways to start a fire. In this regard it is complete, readable and nicely illustrated with b/w photographs. Some parts are not for the faint of heart or stomach; the section on butchering road-kill deer, for example, goes into a lot of detail. Some sections will be of interest to anyone with thoughts of camping or spending time out of doors, but somewhere towards the end of the book, when a photo of a man wearing an outfit that makes him look like a more primitive Friar Tuck appears, you realize this book is really advocating a lifestyle change or at least an alteration in one's way of thinking. The reader who gets the most out of this book will be the one who longs to truly drop modern technology and modern burdens and encompass "the art of doing nothing." "Doing nothing is a way of saving time and energy, so that you can finish your daily work more effectively...[it] is an approach to research; it is a way of thinking and doing." (p.192) Author Thomas Elpel is a native of Montana and a director of the Hollowtop Primitive School. He practices what he preaches and writes about and offers food for thought the next time you're stuck in freeway traffic. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Globe Pequot, 198p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Katherine Gillen
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592282081
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS J. ELPEL grew up in Virginia City, Montana. Under the instruction of his grandmother Josie Jewett, he learned how to identify and use the local herbs and plants, find arrowheads, and appreciate wildlife and the outdoors. Elpel received training from the Outdoor Survival School and Tom Brown's Tracker School, and is now the director of the Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School (HOPS) in Pony, Montana.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Sunrise 1
Earthskin 2
The Pony Millsite 3
Our Place in the World 4
Participating in Nature 6
The Cost of Gold 7
Finding Home and Making a Stand 8
Mind 9
Nature as Wallpaper 9
Discoidal Stone Knives 11
Saving the World 12
Adapting to Change 13
Twined Baskets 16
The Human Brain: Evolving Neural Networks 18
Primitive Living as Metaphor 19
Personas and Acting 20
The Information Age 21
Split-Willow Figures 23
Perceptions of Reality 25
Shelter 27
Goals 28
The Elements of Shelter: Shingling 29
Efficiency 31
The Elements of Shelter: Insulation 32
Adapting Shelters to the Environment 33
The Elements of Shelter: Fire 34
Recouping Your Investment 36
The Elements of Shelter: Air-Proofing 37
The Earth Lodge 40
Impacts & Reclamation 42
Choosing a Location 44
Fire 45
Bowdrill Fire-Starting 46
Bowdrill Technique 51
Starting Bowdrill Fires with Damp Materials 52
Survival Bowdrills: Fire from Nothing 52
Handdrill Fire-Starting 54
Handdrill Technique 55
Other Friction Fire-Making Methods 56
Flint & Steel Fire-Starting 58
Principles of Fire-Starting 60
Campfire Logistics and Safety 61
Splitting Matches 63
Energy Conservation 63
Water 65
Birch Bark Canisters 66
Giardia & Water Purification 68
Water Conservation 71
Crapping in the Woods 72
Fishing by Hand 73
Making Cordage from Natural Fibers 77
Twisting Fibers into Cordage 78
Primitive Fishing Tackle 80
Skinny Dipping 81
Cooking 83
Tin Cans/Stainless Steel Cans 83
Cooking without a Pan 84
Coal-Burned Containers 85
Making Hollow-Log Drums 86
Cooking in a Gold Pan 87
Stir-Fry without a Pan 87
Ashcakes: Bread of the Modern Abo 88
Bamboo Spoon/Fork & Chopsticks 89
Stone Ovens & Steam Pits 90
Complete Proteins 91
Primitive Pottery: Harvesting Wild Clay 92
Adding Temper 93
Wedging the Clay 94
Making Pinch Pots 95
Making Coil Pots 96
Drying Pottery 97
Firing Time 98
Cooking in Clay Pots 99
Beliefs about Food 100
Mice and the Hantavirus 101
Plants 103
Identification Strategies 104
Common and Latin Names 105
The Digging Stick 106
Wild Food Economics 107
Wild Gardening 110
Natural Farming 111
The Ethics of Killing 112
Worthwhile Plant Food Resources 113
Edible Lichens 114
Syrup 114
Starchy Roots 115
Fruits 121
Seeds 126
Nuts 130
Mushrooms 131
Animals 133
Sneak Stalking & Trust Stalking 134
Animals & Ecosystem Processes 136
Desertification and Holistic Management 138
The Quickie Bow 140
Flintknapping Thoughts 142
Bone Arrowheads 143
Making Arrows 144
All about Hide Glue 146
Sinew Preparation 147
Wildlife Laws 148
Butchering a Road Kill Deer 149
Gutting Deer 150
Skinning Your Deer 153
Butchering Basics 154
Hunting Notes 157
Deadfall Traps 158
Clothing 159
Braintan Overview 159
Braintanned Buckskin 160
Smoking the Hide 166
Sewing Buckskin 168
Shoes, Moccasins & Sandals 170
Tire Sandals 173
Wool & Blanket Ponchos 175
Felting with Wool 176
Sunset 179
Canvas Sack Backpack 179
The Bedroll Pack 180
Pack Frames 182
Nicholson Mine 184
Goals in Primitive Living 186
The Equipment Checklist 188
Afterword: The Art of Nothing 191
Bibliography 193
Index 195
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2006

    Primitive Living, Self-Sufficiency, and Survival Skills

    This was a very helpful book. He goes through all the basics of shelter, fire, water, food, and many other topics. It is a book that is easily applied to any outdoor activity no matter what you skill level is. All of the projects and skills cost little of nothing to do or make. It shows you that you are able to enjoy the wilderness without paying a penny. Very educational and is a good book for anyone who wants to appreciate the outdoors.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)