SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea

SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea

by John 'lofty' Wiseman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060578794
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/02/2004
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 5.42(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

John 'Lofty' Wiseman served in the British Special Air Service (SAS) for twenty-six years. The SAS Survival Handbook is based on the training techniques of this world-famous elite fighting force.

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SAS Survival Handbook
How to Survive in the WIld, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea

Chapter One

Essentials For Survival

The human species has established itself in almost every corner of the Earth. Even in territories too inhospitable to provide a regular home mankind has found a way to exploit their resources, whether by hunting or by taking wealth from the ground, and has often pitted its skills against nature simply for the satisfaction of doing so.

Almost everywhere nature provides the necessities for survival In some places the provision is abundant, in others very meagre and it takes common sense, knowledge and ingenuity to take advantage of the resources available. Even more important is the will to survive. Men and women have shown that they can survive in the most adverse situations, but they have done so because of their determination to do so -- without that, the skills and knowledge in this book will be of little use if you find yourself really up against it.

Survival is the art of staying alive. Any equipment you have must be considered a bonus. You must know how to take everything possible from nature and use it to the full, how to attract attention to yourself so that rescuers may find you, how to make your way across unknown territory back to civilization, if hope of rescue is not on the cards, navigating without map or compass. You must know how to maintain a healthy physical condition, or if sick or wounded heal yourself and others. You must be able to maintain your morale and that of others who share your situation.

Lack of equipment should not mean that you are unequipped, for you will carry skills and experience with you, but those skills and experience must not be allowed to get rusty and you must extend your knowledge all the time.

We are all used to surviving on our home ground -- though we may not think of our lives in that way -- but the true survivor must learn how to survive when taken from familiar surroundings or when those surroundings are drastically changed by man or nature. Anyone, young or old, from whatever walk of life, can find him- or herself in a survival situation. As more and more people fly the globe, sail small boats or cross the sea in large ones, walk the hills and climb mountains and take their holidays in ever more exotic places, the situations to which they could become exposed are increasingly diversified.

But survival skills are not only concerned with the extremes of the air crash on a mountain peak, a shipwreck in the tropics or a vehicle breakdown in the middle of a desert. Every time you fasten a seat belt in a car you are giving yourself a greater chance of survival. Checking each way before crossing a road or ensuring that an open fire is safe before you go to bed are survival techniques that you carry out instinctively. It is these habits of mind that you must develop as much as acquiring skills.

The main elements of survival are Food, Fire, Shelter, Water, Navigation and Medicine. To put these in order of priority we use the acronym PLAN. No matter where you are in the world this will never change be it the arctic, desert, jungle, sea or seashore.

P - for Protection
You must ensure that you are protected from further danger, ie impending avalanche, forest fire or exploding fuel. Always stay on the scene of the incident as long as it is safe to do so and then make sure you are protected from the elements. This means making a shelter and often lighting a fire. There are several reasons why you should always stay at the scene:

  1. You can utilize the wreckage for shelter, signaling etc.
  2. It's a bigger signature on the ground, making it easier to find.
  3. There are probably injured people that cannot be moved.
  4. By staying where you are you conserve energy.
  5. Because you have booked in and out and have stayed on the route, rescue time will be minimal.

L - for Location
The next step after building a shelter is to put out emergency signals. You must draw attention to your position. Do this as soon as possible to help the rescuers.

A - for Acquisition
While waiting to be rescued, look for water and food to help supplement your emergency supplies.

N - for Navigation
Good navigation will keep you on route and will often avert a survival situation. But if you find yourself stranded, always stay where you are.

Medical
You must become your own doctor and carefully monitor yourself at all times. Treat blisters as they occur, don't let them become sceptic. Keep an eye on your companions and deal with any unusual problems as they arise. If they are limping, falling behind, or behaving strangely, stop and treat immediately.

BE PREPARED

The Boy Scouts' motto is the right one. Anyone setting out on a journey or planning an expedition should follow it by discovering as much as possible about the situations likely to be faced and the skills and equipment called for. It is the most basic common sense to prepare yourself, to take appropriate gear and to plan as carefully as possible.

Your kit could make the difference between failure and success, but, especially when back-packing, many people initially take too much and have to learn from bitter experience what they really need and what they could have done without. There is no fun in struggling with a huge pack full of superfluous items while wishing that you had a torch or can opener with you. Getting the right balance is not easy.

Make sure that you are fit enough for what you plan to do. The fitter you are, the easier and more enjoyable it will be. If you are going hill-walking, for instance, take regular exercise beforehand and wear in your hiking boots. Walk to and from work with a bag weighted with sand and get your muscles in condition! Mental fitness is another factor. Are you sure that you are up to the task, have prepared enough and have the equipment to accomplish it? Eliminate any nagging doubts before you set out ...

SAS Survival Handbook
How to Survive in the WIld, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea
. Copyright © by John Wiseman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Introduction8
1.Essentials12
2.Strategy50
3.Climate & Terrain62
4.Food108
5.Camp Craft244
6.Reading the Signs348
7.On the Move372
8.Health392
9.Survival at Sea480
10.Rescue504
11.Disasters528
Postscript572
Index573

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SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No need for a long review here. This book was written by a professional soldier who was in the SAS, or the Special Air Service. For those not in the know, that's an elite unit of the British Army trained to carry out operations in ALL parts of the world. Eventually, the author became a survival instructor to the SAS, so you can be sure that this guy knows his stuff.

The book covers all you'd ever want to know about the essentials of surviving in climates such as: the polar region, mountains, seashores, islands, tropical regions, or even at sea. Here's few of the many topics the book covers:

-food, what you can and can't eat
-animal tracking with numerous pics
-color pics of edible plants
-pictures of traps and how to trap things
-how to handle animals you've killed for food
-how to make a camp and various shelters
-knot tying pics
-first aid
-color pics of medicinal plants
-picures of dangerous/poisonous critters
-things to have in a survival kit

A very handy resource for anybody who enjoys outdoor/wilderness activities, it's just a darn good thing to have around in case of emergencies- or even just to look at the pictures! Also recommend Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff if you have a shoulder problem that is interfering with your outdoor activities.
Herabelle on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Pretty freakin good, I can take a big game animal down if I need to now, hopefully it won't come to that as I am vegetarian :)But in all seriousness you need to practice these skills if you want to be able to really survive if put in a bad situation. Highly recommended for anyone interested in survivalism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heedawee More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. I read it almost everyday. It explains every type of survival skill from trapping animals to surviving a nuclear holocaust. Some parts I think they could've wrote a little more detail but for the size of the book it still holds alot of information. All in all a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
No need for a long review here. This book was written by a professional soldier who was in the SAS, or the Special Air Service. For those not in the know, that's an elite unit of the British Army trained to carry out operations in ALL parts of the world. Eventually, the author became a survival instructor to the SAS, so you can be sure that this guy knows his stuff...... The book covers all you'd ever want to know about the essentials of surviving in climates such as: the polar region, mountains, seashores, islands, tropical regions, or even at sea. Here's few of the many topics the book covers: -food, what you can and can't eat -animal tracking with numerous pics -color pics of edible plants -pictures of traps and how to trap things -how to handle animals you've killed for food -how to make a camp and various shelters -knot tying pics -first aid -color pics of medicinal plants -picures of dangerous/poisonous critters -things to have in a survival kit..... A very handy resource for anybody who enjoys outdoor/wilderness activities, it's just a darn good thing to have around in case of emergencies- or even just to look at the pictures!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is totaly rad. It gives great info on almost any enviroment you may be in. It didn't say to much about the desert, but that hasn't bothered me in the least. As for surviving with extreme temperatures, harsh terrain, and any general situation with may be stuck in, it is a great source of knowledge.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because of the sheer volume of information required, it's probably impossible to write a survival book that is accurate and authoritative on all environments and all areas of the world, and this is something to keep in mind when purchasing a general survival book like the SAS Survival Handbook. For the most part, it's quite good and gives excellent information on outdoors survival in most temperate climates. HOWEVER, one place the book does fall down is in areas such as desert survival. There is little specialized information for deserts here, which differ greatly even between each other in plant life, temperature range, and terrain. Deserts also require additional survival training on navigation, GPS, map & compass (please don't try the watch-hand method in remote desert!), water collection, heat illnesses, sun protection. Animal/plant hazard information is also very different. What there is in this book on desert survival is often too optimistic (i.e., desert survival still and transpiration bag) or too general and vague to be of much use (one example: the barrel cactus is listed as a source of moisture, but - one variety has drinkable sap, one will make you somewhat sick, one can kill you - better know how to identify them). For those interested in desert survival I would definitely recommend more specialized books that are written by persons with daily experience of the various deserts of the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone that spends alot of time in the woods or traveling abroad. Especially those that spend alot of time looking for the lost.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It may be impossible to write a survival book that is accurate and authoritative on all environments and all areas of the world, and this is something to keep in mind when purchasing a general survival book like the SAS Survival Handbook. For the most part, it's quite good and gives excellent information on outdoors survival in most temperate or cold weather climates. However, one area in which the book does fall down is in jungle and desert survival. There is little specialized information for those hot weather environments, especially important topics like navigation, first aid, water collection, and animal/plant information, and what there IMHO is too limited to be really useful. For those interested in jungle or desert survival I would definitely recommend other specialized books like Adventure Travel in the Third World by Jeff Randall (jungle) or The Ultimate Desert Handbook (desert) by Mark Johnson, which do a much better job at covering survival in those environments.