Book: Participating in Nature

If you want to separate yourself from the modern world and get intimate with the earth, grab a copy of Thomas J. Elpel’s Participating in Nature and head for the woods. Not for a day, or even a week–with this primitive living guide you’ll learn enough to survive on your own until long after the cows have come home.

Not your average "How to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together" manual, Participating in Nature is more like a Boy Scout Handbook edited by Thoreau. Elpel covers the basics, of course–fire-starting, field botany, hide-tanning, and fishing by hand, all with little or no supplies–but he also packs in loads of useful material for the more advanced outdoorsman: weaving baskets from willow branches, constructing a toasty, rainproof lean-to, making durable rope from plant fibers, and building functional, effective hunting weapons.

Elpel also offers primitive living courses and other outdoor education programs at his wilderness retreat in Pony, Montana or check out