Three Classic Bushcraft Skill Books You Should Read

Three Classic Bushcraft Skill Books You Should Read

Dan Wowak December 01, 2021

To be a bushcraft purist it’s important to know your history. Classic camping allows us to immerse ourselves into the days of the trappers, pioneers, and mountain men. The heart of bushcraft skills relate to camp comfort and recreation. During the Golden Age of Camping in America during 1880 – 1930’s people camped for pleasure rather than necessity. Therefore, during this era multiple significant authors with the love of the woods emerged. Here are the three most referenced classic bushcraft authors that you should snuggle up with under your wool blanket: 

Woodcraft, By George Washington Sears Nessmuk (1900)

“We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks—anywhere that we may be placed—with the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for dependent ones; of keeping up catching up, or getting left.” – Nessmuk 

Camping and Woodcraft, By Horace Kephart (1906)

“My one aim in writing this little book is to make it of practical service to those who seek rest or sport in the wilderness, or whose business calls them thither. I have treated the matter of outfitting in some detail, not because elaborate outfits are usually desirable, for they are not, but because in town there is so much to pick and choose from. Thereafter, the body of the book is mainly given up to such shifts and expedients as are learned in the wilderness itself, where we have nothing to choose from but the raw materials that lie around us.” – Horace Kephart

Camp-Lore and Bushcraft, By Daniel Beard (1920)

“While the writer cannot give each of his readers a taste of this coveted bear meat in material form, or a whiff of the beaver medicine, direct from the wooden flask made by the late Bow-arrow's own hands, still the author hopes that the magical qualities of this great medicine will enter into and form a part of the subject matter of this book, and through that medium inoculate the souls and bodies of his readers, purify them and rejuvenate them with a love of the World AS God Made It.” – Dan Beard

Free Access to E-Books

All three of these original publications are available for free download and viewing provided by the non-profit organization Internet Archive. Simply go to the website and search for the full citations listed below:

Beard, Daniel Carter. Camp-Lore and Woodcraft. New York: Garden City Publishing Co., 1920.

Kephart, Horace. The Book of Camping and Woodcraft. New York: The Outing Publishing Co., 1906.

Nessmuk. Woodcraft. New York: Forest and Stream Publishing Co., 1900.


Until you finish that classic read… Stay in the woods!


Written by: Sara Jo Fegley