It has been said that knowledge is power. That is especially true when you turn your ankle on a remote trail in a secluded wilderness – you are injured, hungry, and faced with spending a cold wet night in the middle of the woods. It would be nice to have some knowledge about surviving the night, tending to your injuries, and getting something into your stomach when you are you are still miles from your car with the sun already below the tree tops. Wouldn’t it be nice, in that moment, to have a library of basic survival information at your fingertips?
I have been keeping Waterford Press Guides in my hiking kit and car kits for years. I started with their Pocket Naturalist Guides and now have added a few of their newer Duraguides. These guides contain a wealth of basic survival, first aid, and other practical information. Each guide folds open like a brochure and covers a single topic like Medicinal Plants, Animal Tracking, or Field Dressing Game. They contain text and plenty of useful illustrations. They only weigh a fraction of an ounce and are 8 1/4″ tall by 3 1/2″ wide. A stack of them takes up very little space and weighs next to nothing.
The Pocket Naturalist Guides have been around for quite a while. They are printed on card stock and laminated for durability. I have been using the same set of guides for more than 3 years in my hiking bag and they show very little wear. The lamination lets them shrug off most dirt and even light rain.
The Duraguides are printed on a waterproof, rip-proof paper that has proven to be extremely durable. They are also more flexible than the Pocket Naturalist Guide so they tend to pack a little bit easier. They cost a little more than the Pocket Naturalist Guides and there are fewer topics available, but I find them to be worth the small extra cost. The paper material that they are printed on is excellent.
These Waterford Press Guides won’t turn you into a survival expert worthy of your own reality TV show, but they might be enough to refresh your memory on techniques and information that you have already practiced or at least to convey basic survival skills that are capable of being attempted with little or no practice. I don’t hit the trail without them.