The Best of The Total Outdoorsman: 501 Essential Tips and Tricks

The Best of The Total Outdoorsman: 501 Essential Tips and Tricks

by T. Edward Nickens


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One of the most popular outdoors books ever is back in a totally revised and updated edition! Featuring the greatest hits and deep cuts from over a decade of Field & Stream’s beloved Total Outdoorsman feature and 100+ new tips for everything from duck hunting to campsite cooking to fighting a grizzly bear with your bare hands (hint: it’s a bad idea!).

With practical information for the beginner and advanced outdoorsman, from skills and tools to activities and challenges there’s something for everyone in the essential volume. Chapters cover how to:

Camp Anywhere. Pitch a tent on the snow, build a fire in the rain, or bed down on a pile of leaves. Or maybe kick back by a nice bonfire, cook up a pot of squirrel stew, and delight your campmates with the most outrageous tall tales. It’s all covered here!

Fish Smarter. Whether you’re bobber-fishing for crappies with the kids, spending a relaxed day on a bass boat at the lake, or heading into big surf on the trophy-fishing adventure of a lifetime, this book has your covered.

Hunt Better. From small-game techniques to how to bag a moose or elk, or take your limit in upland birds or waterfowl, with a rifle, shotgun, or bow and arrow, there are tips and tricks for every kind of hunter.

Survive Anything. Outdoor trips don’t always go as planned. But with the advice in this book, you’ve got what you need to prevail. How to keep from getting lost, what to do if you do wander off trail or get trapped by weather, how to signal for help, and get home safely.

Camp anywhere. Fish smarter. Hunt better. Survive anything. BE A TOTAL OUTDOORSMAN.

Packaged in a durable, wipe-clean flexicover with metallic corner-guards, this practical manual withstands heavy-duty use indoors and out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681882413
Publisher: Weldon Owen
Publication date: 08/29/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 457,332
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Editor-at-large for Field & Stream magazine and contributing editor for Audubon magazine, T. Edward Nickens writes about outdoor sports, natural history, and conservation for many leading magazines, winning more than two dozen national writing awards.

Residence: Raleigh, NC

Table of Contents


1 Sleep Under the Stars

2 Pitch Camp Like a Wolf

3 Make Guylines Shine

4 Strengthen a Tent with Picket Stakes

5 Use Garbage Bags as Sand Spikes

6 Fix a Tired Tent Pole

7 Sleep Like a Log in Sweltering Summer Heat

8 Tab a Tent

9 Hang Gear Inside a Wall Tent

10 Sleep Tight with a Pool Noodle

11 Roll Out the Home Turf

12 Make Rainy Days Fly

13 Build a Fire for Maximum Cooking Coals

14 Butcher a Wet Log

15 Recovers Stuck Vehicle

16 Dig a Dakota Fire Hole

17 Burn Your Gear Into a Hot Inferno

18 Hang a Pot Over a Fire Three Ways

19 Make a Summer Fire

20 Open a Brew with a Blade

21 Build Four Cooking Fires

22 Whittle a Whistle Out of a Stick

23 Create Shelter with a Tarp

24 Pack a Complete Camp Kitchen

25 Divvy Up KP

26 Accessorize Dutch Oven Cooking

27 Spice Up a Camp Kitchen

28 Clean Pots with a Six-Pack Ring

29 Dice It Up

30 Sharpen a Hatchet or Axe in the Field

31 Pee in a Tent

32 Hang Food from a Tree

33 Cook Fish Like an Iron … er, Tinfoil Chef

34 Roast the Perfect Marshmallow

35 Perfect the Drugstore Wrap

36 Turn a Canoe Into a Campsite (Almost)

37 Make a Camp Coffee Cup

38 Put Up a Camp Gun Rack

39 Make a Dutch Oven Chicken Quesadilla Pie

40 Lighten Your Pack

41 Cut the Cheese

42 Tie a Canoe to Your Racks

43 Cut Parachute Cord with Friction

44 Tie a Butterfly Loop

45 Pack Lunch in a Water Bottle

46 Dig a Bean Hole

47 Dig a Booty Hole

48 Wield a Field Wrench

49 Tie a Knute Hitch

50 Pack for Camping in 5 Minutes

51 Keep Your Cooler Cold Twice as Long

52 Fix Any Tear, Rip, or Fray

53 Make a Two-Step Backpacker's Meal

54 Portage Canoe and Gear

55 Carry a Backpacking Boat Anchor

56 Dry Boots with a Hot Rock

57 Keep Gear Dry

58 Draw a Pocketknife Like a Gunslinger

59 Switch Up a Pocket Clip

60 Remember Four Knife Nevers

61 Choose a Kid's First Knife

62 Choose the Right Knife

63 Know Your Axes & Hatchets

64 Name Those Parts

65 Choose Your Weapon

66 Buck a Log with an Axe

67 Split Camp Wood with a Tire

68 Haul Firewood with a Web Strap

69 Roll a Paper Log

70 Sharpen a Machete

71 Finish a Blade with a Leather Strop

72 Sharpen an Axe

73 Give Your Knife a Spa Treatment

74 Sharpen Using a Sharpie

75 Test Gear in the Store

76 Split Logs the Smart Way

77 Throw a Knife

78 Siphon Gas the Safe Way

79 Twist Up a Constrictor Knot

80 Clear a Downed Tree with a Chain Saw

81 Make Waterproof Matches

82 Break Wind Like a Commando

83 Re-Waterproof Your Rain Shell

84 Try Before You Buy

85 Pack a Poop Tube


86 Have a Midday Quickie

87 Master the Palomar Knot

88 Be a 21st-century Angler

89 Catch Killer Browns

90 Win the Toughest Fish Fight

91 Tie a Clove Hitch

92 Lay Your Hands on a River Monster

93 Fly Cast from a Kayak

94 Plant a Crappie Tree

95 Know Your Canoe

96 Pull Off a Cheap Canoe-Camp Trip

97 Fish from a Canoe

98 Tie This Fly if it's the Last Thing You Do

99 Paddle a Canoe into a Gale

100 Set Any Anchor, Anytime

101 Dress a Fly Correctly

102 Stroke Like a Pro

103 Use the Miracle of Minicell Foam

104 Weave a Canoe Seat with Duct Tape

105 Rock a Bent-Shaft Paddle

106 Tote Your Own Boat (Like You Have a Titanium Spine)

107 Shoot a Fly

108 Bump Baits Off an Underwater Cliff

109 Miss a Raft-Eating Boulder

110 Cast Without Drag

111 Throw a Cast Net

112 Scale Fish with Bottle Caps

113 Tune Lures

114 Tie a Blood Knot

115 Catch a Cat with Pantyhose

116 Stick It to Short-Striking Fish

117 Avoid Sinking Your Boat in Heavy Water

118 Choose a Reel

119 Make a Custom Fly Rod

120 Master the Bimini Twist

121 Rig a Killer Cane Pole

122 Organize Hooks with Safety Pins

123 Patch Grip Potholes

124 Rubberize Your Reel Handle

125 Replace Drag Washers

126 Rope-Tape Your Grip

127 Change Bearings

128 Store Fishing Line

129 Rig an On-The-Stream Fish Stringer

130 Feather a Spinning Reel 50 Feet

131 Convert to Manual Shift

132 Mark Fly Lines

133 Float a Line with an Earplug

134 Dampen Line Twist

135 Fish a Greased Leader

136 See Red (or Not)

137 Protect Hair-Thin Trout Tippets

138 Set a Spool Brake

139 Strip Into a Hamper

140 Improve Fly Line Memory

141 Carry a Tackle Box Around Your Neck

142 Fine-Tune a Wacky Worm for Pennies

143 Fish Unfishable Weeds

144 Cross an Eddy Line for Stacked-Up Fish

145 Choose the Right Bass Lure

146 Supercharge a Lure with a Nail

147 Hack Your Plastics

148 Make a Wooden Dowel Popper

149 Avoid Treble

150 Pack a Bag for a Smallie Assault

151 Make Your Own In-Line Spinners

152 Widen Your Gathering Guide

153 Master the World's Fair Knot

154 Build a Predator Rig

155 Remove Hooks with a Popsicle Stick

156 Pimp a Ride for Your Fly

157 Fool the Wariest Trout in the River

158 Harvest Nature's Bait Shop

159 Rig a Pork Rind

160 Bail a Boat with a Jug

161 Master The Arbor Knot

162 Fish a Cricket Anywhere, Any Time

163 Upgrade Your Live Baits

164 Use Salt to Keep Eggs On a Hook

165 Fly-Cast to a Moving Target

166 Get a Fly to the Bottom of Things

167 Do the Chuck 'N' Duck

168 Make a Spin-Fly Mash-Up Outfit

169 Read a Trout's Table Manners

170 Make a Quick-Sinking Fly Line

171 Cripple a Fly for an Irresistible Treat

172 Pull Off the Invisible Cast

173 Stick a Fish with a Fly from a Mile Away

174 Master the Tube Jig

175 Cast Like a Church Steeple

176 Kill a Fish Humanely

177 Winterize an Outboard Engine

178 Supercharge Salmon Egg Beads

179 Turn a Kid On to Flyfishing

180 Trailer a Boat in a Heavy Wind

181 Track Grasslines with Sonar

182 Fish Like a Biologist

183 Mimic the Tastiest Crustacean

184 Read Trout Like an Underwater Book

185 Fish a Bream Bed

186 Store Bulk Fishing Line

187 Patch a Kayak with Duct Tape

188 Fry Fish Stream-Side

189 Fish Like a Japanese Stream Warrior

190 Catch a Dinosaur with a Rope

191 Shoot Docks for Crappie

192 Give Redbreast Sunnies the Slip

193 Surf Cast a Country Mile

194 Tow a Canoe with a Boat

195 Catch Every Fish that Bites

196 Survive the Frog Chomp

197 Tie the Nickens Know-Nothing

198 Dye Bucktail Lures & Flies

199 Dry Wet Waders

200 Patch Waders on the Stream

201 Fish a Bush Hook

202 Hold On Tightly

203 Take a Jaw-Dropping Fish Photo

204 Choose the Right Blade

205 Back a Trailer Without Looking Like an Idiot

206 Stick a Short-Striking Salmon

207 Tie a Rapala Knot

208 Skin a Cat in a Jiffy

209 Drag Fish Out of a Cave

210 Skate a Fly with a Riffle Hitch

211 Unhook Yourself

212 Fly Cast Upside-Down

213 Detect Light Bites

214 Cast into a Tornado

215 Flip a Lure the Florida Way

216 Fish with a Shiner

217 Try a Beer-Poached Fish

218 Prank Social Media Pals

219 Master the Orvis Knot

220 School a Kid On Fly Fishing

221 Trick Lunkers with a Lantern

222 Fillet the Boniest Fish that Swims

223 Take the Fight to the Fish in Small Water

224 Fly Cast in Circles

225 Catch Bart with a Sabiki Rig


226 Earn the Rifleman's Merit Badge

227 Brighten Your Rifle Sight

228 Shoot with Two Eyes

229 Save Your Eardrums for a Quarter

230 Build a Gunsmith Box

231 Make a DIY Target Stand

232 Make a Trail Tape Dispenser

233 Stop Gun-Sling Slip

234 Camo Paint a Gun Stock

235 Clean a Trigger with a Toothbrush

236 Hold Binoculars Rock Steady Three Ways

237 Fix Stock Dings with an Iron

238 Pick the Right Rifle Caliber

239 Decoy a Pronghorn Antelope

240 Pack String Wax Every Hunt

241 Customize Your Bow Sight

242 Read a Bloody Arrow

243 Master the Ground-Blind Shot

244 Use Superglue

245 Use Confidence Decoys to Arrow a Deer

246 Shoot Tighter Groups At Every Distance

247 Glass the Grid

248 Homebrew Deer Scents

249 Stick a Call to Your Coat

250 Make a Drag Rag

251 Know What Your Bullet is Doing

252 Plant a Micro Food Plot

253 Make a Buck Bed with a Chain Saw

254 Steer Deer with Buckets

255 Make Your Own Scent Dripper

256 Prune an Apple Tree for Deer

257 Sound Like a Deer

258 Make Rattling Antlers

259 Get Into a Buck Fight with Rattling Antlers

260 Shoot with a "Ching Sling"

261 Sit Like a King on a Styrofoam Throne

262 Hang Nasty Wet Boots from the Rafters

263 Kill a Wild Pig with a Knife

264 Dissect the Wind

265 Walk Like a Deer

266 Let a Young Duck Hunter Call Ducks

267 Raise a Ladder Stand Safely

268 Make the Best Jerk Cord in the World

269 Identify a Button Buck and Hold Your Fire

270 Drop the Follow-Up Duck

271 Hunt a Crosswind

272 Set Up for a Dove Shot

273 Use a Lineman's Belt

274 Make Your Own Scent-Killer

275 Mount a Meat Grinder for Easier Grinding

276 Protect Your Turkey-Call Striker

277 Silence Your Tree Climber

278 Choose Your Weapon for Squirrels

279 Make Buttons and Zipper Pulls from a Deer Rack

280 Make Your Own Scent Wipes

281 Entice a Shy Bull

282 Pull Oft a Bunny Hunt on Your Buck Lease

283 Make an Elk-Stopping Bugle Scream

284 Tie a Getaway Knot

285 Master the Rut

286 Track an Elk

287 Use a POV Camera

288 Use GPS to Record Game Trails

289 Control a Spinning Turkey

290 Know Trail Cam Lingo

291 Fine-Tune Trail Cams

292 Target Shop At Walmart

293 Turn a Pistol Into a Shotgun

294 Channel the Song Dog

295 Train for a Deep Woods Deer Drag

296 Couch Drill for the Shot of Your Life

297 Cook a Deer on a Rock

298 Map Your Spot

299 Roast a Deer Haunch

300 Clean Your Knife

301 Take a Killer Trophy Shot

302 Age Deer in a Big Cooler

303 Be the Camp Biologist

304 Take the Tenderloins

305 Share the Birds

306 Stop a Running Buck

307 Wet-Age a Deer

308 See in the Dark

309 Tan a Deer Hide

310 Help a Kid Gut a First Deer

311 Stick It to Downed Game

312 Hoist a Deer

313 Take a Killer Selfie

314 Identify Tracks by Gait

315 Hoist Any Load with a Backcountry Block and Tackle

316 Shoot Your Own Bird

317 Sneak a Ridge Ready to Shoot

318 Skin a Deer with a Golf Ball

319 Freeze Any Game for Cheap

320 Really, Really Tick Off Your Hunting Partner

321 Make Your Own Deer Drag

322 Spook the Bull You're Hunting

323 Green-Score a Whitetail Rack

324 Work a Beaver Pond Over for Ducks

325 Maintain a Mount

326 Make Jerky with a Pencil

327 Pack a Field-Dressing Kit

328 Mount a Rack on a Rock

329 Track a Blood Trail

330 Light Up a Hunt

331 Rig a Deer Drag

332 Remove a Backstrap with Precision

333 Rig a Prusik-Knot Safety Rope

334 Adjust a Saddle for an All-Day Hunt

335 Haul Your Deer Any Distance

336 Face a Duck Blind in the Right Direction

337 Teach a Bird Dog to Point

338 Sound Like a Duck

339 Decipher Flight Patterns

340 Decode a Duck Quack

341 Know When You've Screwed a Scope Hard Enough

342 Know Your Flyway

343 Make a Teal Pot

344 Flag a Duck

345 Cook a Duck with a Stick

346 Make a Duck Hunter's Floating Table

347 Set Monster Gang Lines for Big Water Divers

348 Know Your Nuts

349 Spatchcock Your Bird

350 Glass with a Plan

351 Fool Wood Ducks with a Spinning Dove Decoy

352 Make the Awesomest Duck Whistle On the Planet

353 Translate a Quack

354 Snag Decoys in Deep Water

355 Disappear from Ducks

356 Fillet a Deer Quarter

357 Walk Like a Shadow

358 Tune-Up Your Turkey Skills

359 Store a Duck in Pantyhose

360 Tune Shotgun Swing with a Flashlight

361 Turn Away Ticks

362 Disappear with Zip Ties and Clothespins

363 Make a European Mount Duck Skull

364 Tune a Duck Call

365 Brush Up a Duck Canoe

366 Cold-Proof Your Shotgun

367 Put More Spring in Your Semiauto Shotgun

368 Make Exploding Flash Targets for an Olympic-Style Shoot

369 Shoot the Tricky Out-Of-Nowhere Stealth Bird

370 Sight in a Scope on a Bolt Action Rifle

371 Customize Binoculars

372 Pack a Woodstove for a Slow, Long Burn

373 Hear What Your Rifle is Telling You

374 Make a Buck Scrape

375 Clean a Plucked Duck in 60 Seconds

376 Make Your Own Wind Checker

377 Fool Five Thousand Geese

378 Drop a Single Bird out of a Flock

379 Claim the Best Bunk

380 Sound Like a Turkey

381 Make the Perfect Yelp

382 Call a Turkey with a Peacock

383 Tune Up a Box Call

384 Blow a Wingbone Yelper

385 Use an Old Tire to Teach a New Dog Tricks

386 Train a Dog to Scent Trail

387 Make a Canine First Aid Kit

388 Teach a Dog to Dive for Ducks

389 Hunt Squirrels Like a Grown-Up

390 Stump Slump for Gobblers

391 Drill for the Scampering Squirrel

392 Call Squirrels with Stuff in Your funk Drawer

393 Be the Tripod

394 Jerry-Rig a Muzzleloader Shooring Rail

395 Bleach a Deer Skull

396 Clean a Squirrel

397 Make a Frog Gig

398 Prepare Your Frogs

399 Mark Your Pot Call

400 Make Your Own Layout Blind

401 Turn a Utility Table into a Butcher Shop

402 Know When to Switch Your Decoy Setup

403 Shoot Downhill and Uphill

404 Build a Roofed Meat Pole

405 Blaze Secret Trails to Your Stand

406 Remember Four Knife "Nevers"

407 Assemble a Rifle Repair Kit

408 Judge a Trophy Buck by its Ears

409 Hold a Shotgun Tenderly

410 Double Your Range with a Bipod

411 Use Binoculars as a Spotting Scope

412 Make a PVC Rifle Rest

413 Hunt On Snowshoes

414 Keep Hunting Clothes Clean in Camp

415 Re-Proof Waxed Cotton

416 Silence Your Zipper

417 Keep Calls Clean


418 Pack a 1-Day Survival Kit

419 Pack a 3-Day Survival Kit

420 Pack a 1-Week, Multiperson Survival Kit

421 Beat the Bugs

422 Beat Blisters with Duct Tape

423 Tie a Hunter's Bend

424 Upgrade Your Survival Kit

425 Make a Swiss Seat

426 Rig the Z-Drag

427 Make Waterproof Matches

428 Descend a Cliff with a Single Rope

429 Break Bigger Branches

430 Spark Fire with a Knife

431 Stay Alive with Toilet Paper

432 Make a Survival Faucet

433 Shave the Day

434 Reuse a Shotshell

435 Scrounge Up Survival Wire

436 Open a Can Without a Can Opener

437 Cook Fish On a Log

438 Make a Duct Tape Bowl

439 Bandage with Duct Tape

440 Build a Fire in the Rain

441 Aim a Makeshift Signal Mirror

442 Spear Fish in a Funnel Trap

443 Make a Tinder Bundle

444 Remove a Fish Hook

445 Catch Fish with a Trigger Snare

446 Construct a Fish Weir

447 Stop Bleeding

448 Read a Bear's Mind

449 Boil Water for Safe Drinking

450 Carry 50 Feet of Rope On Your Feet

451 Hurl a Back-Country Deathstar

452 Make a Trap or Die Trying

453 Choke Down Bugs

454 Rate an Insect Sting

455 Prepare for Anaphylaxis

456 Call for Rescue with a Nut

457 Survive in Fast Water

458 Survive a Lightning Strike

459 Cut Saplings for Shelter

460 Drink Snow

461 Start a Fire with Binoculars

462 Survive On Acorns

463 Survive a Fall Overboard

464 Stay On Top of Thin Ice

465 Navigate by the Night Sky

466 Survive a Fall Through the Ice

467 Make Emergency Mukluks

468 Call for Help in Any Language

469 Survive the Roughest Night with a Knife

470 Test a Knife with a Newspaper

471 Escape from Wildfire

472 Make a Wicked Slingshot

473 Maintain a Knife Clip

474 Start a Fire with a Flare

475 Pitch a Survival Camp

476 Start a Fire

477 Carve a Fuzz Stick for a Fast Firestarter

478 Make Fire Wick At Home

479 Improvise Snowshoes

480 Stay Found for Less Than 10 Bucks

481 Make a Blowgun

482 Use Superglue to Close a Wound

483 Reset a Dislocated Shoulder

484 Make a Fire Bed

485 Make a Fire Plough

486 Skin and Cook a Snake

487 Navigate by Deliberate Offset

488 Build a Fire On Snow

489 Avoid a Bear Attack

490 Build a One-Match Fire When Your Life Depends On It

491 Split a Log with a Knife

492 Fling a Bola

493 Eat Roadkill

494 Track Back with a GPS Unit

495 Make a Bow Drill

496 Be a Backcountry Dentist

497 Survive a Frigid Dunking

498 Evaluate a Bubbly Compass

499 Treat a Snake Bite

500 Save Your Backtrail On a GPS

501 Create a Whirling Propeller of Signal Light

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