The Outdoor Survival Bible, by Rob Beattie
Publication Date: January 20, 2011
Spiral-Bound: 192 pages
The Outdoor Survival Bible is the perfect book for the beginner hiker. Covering everything from what clothing to wear to how to start a fire, this spiral-bound book is nicely illustrated throughout. Drawings of knots, compasses, hikers, and the like, adorn each page giving this book a friendly, easily accessible vibe.
Each chapter starts with the word "Getting." "Getting Ready," "Getting Hurt", and "Getting Warm" are some of the examples of the sections in this book. The divisions are natural and flow nicely. While not as in-depth as some of the classic texts about walking and hiking (i.e. The Backpacker's Field Manual, Revised and Updated, Curtis), the intensity of this book is pitched perfectly at the beginner.
Most pages present easy to follow bullet points that are succinctly written yet surprisingly thorough. For example, the pages on "How to Find Yourself Again" present options available to the lost hiker. While the majority of the points made rely on the availability of a reader's common sense, it is perhaps good to have these points spelled out. It is usually when people are in a predicament that remembering to "look and listen" can be a particularly helpful insight. If this book was what the memory referred to in a moment of panic, that it will have done it's job well.
There is a quick-reference section toward the back of the book which is broken up into various "Situations." Each situation presented is followed by "What to do first" and a reference to the appropriate pages within the book. Using this as a quick-reference to the rest of the book is handy, but it perhaps would've been even more useful if this section came with perforated pages that you could rip out and carry with you. Again, there's nothing in here that the experienced hiker wouldn't already know, but the beginner may be happy to have these pages stuffed in their pocket or their pack to pull out if needed.
The last part of the book contains pages in which you can write "Notes & Observations" as well as "Important Contact Numbers." My opinion are that pages such as these - outside of a standard journal - usually act as filler and add nothing to the book itself. Being that the book is spiral-bound, the inclusion of them is questionable at best.
All in all I would most definitely recommend this book for those of you who have never hiked or are fairly new to hiking. For those of you more experienced, you may find better books to spend your money on.
For the beginner hiker, I'd give this book a 4/5
For the experienced hiker, I'd give this book a 3/5