The Art of Nothing: Wilderness Survival Video Series (Four Volumes)

Thomas Elpel is the director of the Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School in Pony. The guy has been around for years and is one of the area's foremost experts in survival skills. Elpel's written several books on various survival-related topics, and now he's out with a DVD series called the Art of Nothing (HOPS Press; $25) that offers fantastic survival-skill instruction and beautiful shots of Montana.

We expected a rushed drill-sergeant approach and no-frills production quality, but what we got was so much better. There are many long, beautiful, quiet shots of wide, gorgeous landscapes, and Elpel's flute music makes for a tasteful and usually well-timed soundtrack. The instruction is plentiful, helpful, and technical but simple, and it was all strangely relaxing to watch, particularly because Elpel's tranquil, everything's-going-to-be-ok voice is mesmerizing.

The videos are long and the action is slow at times, but in the end we walked away with a ton of new knowledge and a reminder that nature provides enough for all creatures, even us.