The present work is based upon my Book of Camping and Woodcraft, which appeared in 1906. All of the original material here retained has been revised, and so much new matter has been added that this is virtually a new work, filling two volumes instead of one.
It is not to be supposed that experienced travelers will agree with me all around in matters of equipment. Every old camper has his own notions about such things, and all of us are apt to be a bit dogmatic. As Richard Harding Davis says, " The same article that one declares is the most essential to his comfort, health, and happiness is the very first thing that another will throw into the trail. A man's outfit is a matter which seems to touch his private honor. I have heard veterans sitting around a camp-fire proclaim the superiority of their kits with a jealousy, loyalty, and enthusiasm they would not exhibit for the flesh of their flesh and the bone of their bone. On a campaign you may attack a man's courage, the flag he serves, the newspaper for which he works, his intelligence, or his camp manners, and he will ignore you; but if you criticise his patent water-bottle he will fall upon you with both fists".
Yet all of us who spend much time in the woods are keen to learn about the other fellow's " kinks." And field equipment is a most excellent hobby to amuse one during the shut-in season. I know nothing else that so restores the buoyant optimism of youth as overhauling one's kit and planning trips for the next vacation. Solomon himself knew the heart of man no better than that fine old sportsman who said to me " It isn't the fellow who's catching lots of fish and shooting plenty of game that's having the good time: it's the chap who's getting ready to do it".
I must thank the public for the favor it showed my Book of Camping and Woodcraft, which passed, with slight revision, through seven editions in ten years. For a long time I have wished to expand the work and bring it up to date. As there is a well-defined boundary between the two subjects of Camping and woodcraft, it has seemed best to devote a separate volume to each. The first of these is here offered, to be followed as soon as practicable by the other, which will deal chiefly with such shifts and expedients as are learned or practised in the wilderness itself, where we have nothing to choose from but the raw materials that lie around us.
Acknowledgments are due to the D. T. Aber-crombie Co., New York, the Abercrombie & Fitch Co., New York, and the New York Sporting Goods Co., for permission to reproduce certain illustrations of tents and other equipment.
This book had its origin in a series of articles under the same title that I contributed, in 1904-1906, to the magazine Field and Stream. Other sections have been published, in whole or in part, in Sports Afield, Recreation, Forest and Stream, and Outing. A great deal of the work here appears for the first time.
Many of these pages were written in the wilderness, where there were abundant facilities for testing the value of suggestions that were outside the range of my previous experience. In this connection I must acknowledge indebtedness to a scrap-book full of notes and clippings from sportsmen's journals which was one of the most valued tomes in the rather select " library " that graced half a soap-box in one corner of my cabin.
I owe much both to the spirit and the letter of that classic in the literature of outdoor life, the little book on Woodcraft, by the late George R. Sears, who is best known by his Indian-given title of " Nessmuk." To me, in a peculiar sense, it has been remedium utriusqut fortune; and it is but fitting that I should dedicate to the memory of its author this pendant to his work.
Bryson City, N. C, February, 1916.