• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Video: Bushcraft Basics teaches wilderness skills to help urbanites survive

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Can bushcraft skills and techniques be adapted to urban settings?

I think so, and that is what my new book is all about: “Bushcraft Basics: A Common Sense Wilderness Survival Handbook”.

by Leon Pantenburg

I never gave much thought to writing a survival book. Since the advent of self-publishing, the market is flooded with such publications. Some of these books are excellent, useful, informative publications, and then there are others.  I wasn’t looking for another project.

I’ve earned my share of regional and national journalism awards.

I’ve been a writer, photographer, investigative reporter, newspaper editor and community college journalism instructor and this is a fact: Good writing is damned hard work and there are no shortcuts. Quality writing requires skill, dedication and the ability to stick to deadlines. A good writer must be a relentless fact checker. The writer can invest untold amounts of time, energy, blood, sweat and tears in a book-length project, only to have it rejected by an editor or a succession of publishers after a perfunctory viewing. (See Mississippi River canoe trip below.)

So last year Skyhorse Publishing out of New York City emailed me asking if I was interested in writing a book. I ignored the query. Every day, I get requests from would-be writers wanting to post or write for Survivalcommonsense.com. I get casting calls for TV shows.  Vanity presses offer to publish my book at my expense. Equipment companies offer me free gear if I will only test the item, write a review with product links, produce a video, post on social media and promote their products. (See: What makes a good knife review.)

A followup from Skyhorse was ignored. Then, in a casual conversation with my friend Elizabeth Guider, a seasoned journalist who has published four novels, I mentioned that another vanity press had contacted me. Elizabeth urged me to check them out. I learned that Skyhorse is not a vanity press and they sold me on the idea. I spent much of 2019 working on the book and the result is “Bushcraft Basics: A Common Sense Wilderness Survival Handbook”

I don’t claim to be a survival expert. But I am an avid outdoorsman and am very interested in wilderness survival skills. My first backpacking trip was in 1971.  Since then, I’ve done extensive backpacking trips in mountain ranges throughout the United States. I’ve canoed the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota, the Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia and countless streams and rivers in the midwest and western states.

In 1980, I canoed the entire length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana. (You can read about parts of that trip here.) Bushcraft Basics is a distillation of some 50 years of outdoor adventures and excursions.

When my two sons were in Boy Scouts in the early 2000s, I helped teach the Wilderness Survival, Backpacking and Cooking merit badges. This led to the establishment of Survivalcommonsense.com in 2009. The site has been in continuous operation since then and more than 700 posts have been published. (Trivia fact: The average life span of  most survival/preparedness websites is about 18 months.

My Survival Common Sense YouTube channel has more than 350 videos and almost 10 million views. 

During my newspaper career, I came in contact with many unfortunate scenarios that became tragedies that didn’t need to happen. Many times these situations could have been avoided and people would have survived if folks had confidence in their own common sense with a few practiced skills.

Here is why you should consider reading Bushcraft Basics

Survival – in any situation – is a science and the skills and techniques to survive can be learned. There are similarities in virtually every survival situation and stages through which a person must pass if they are going to survive. The mental skills to survive are more important than gear.  

The ability to make a fire can save your life. The inability can cost it.

Bushcraft Basics starts the reader out on the ground floor by explaining what happens in your mind when an emergency situation develops. Once that is understood, the next step is to come up with a systematic approach and plan.   An important focus of the book is how to establish a survival mindset long before a possible emergency scenario might occur.

The book also teaches some basic, practical survival skills. Fire making is critical to wilderness survival, and in some instances, the ability to make a fire in an urban setting might save lives. Shelter building, using easily-acquired materials, is important. Finding, purifying and carrying water is paramount in the woods and the urban jungle. And dressing for success depends on where you are, the season and the situation. 

My contention is that properly preparing for one emergency – say, an earthquake, forest fire, flood etc. – also prepares you for most other emergencies. Basic survival kits are discussed and products are recommended.

There is no do-it-all survival book. But, Bushcraft Basics can help you get started on the right path. (Check out the book reviews!)

I appreciate you ordering “Bushcraft Basics: A Common Sense Wilderness Survival Handbook” at your local independent book store

or on Amazon 

or at Barnes and Noble

or at Books a Million

or at Target or  Walmart 

Thanks for the support!


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