The SAS Survival Handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman is one of the classic survival books. The SAS Survival Guide is a small pocket size book with very similar content. Written by an expert in the field, these SAS Survival books are very popular with anyone who considers survival skills to be important. In this article we review SAS Survival Handbook and SAS Survival Guide to see if they live up to their claim “The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Anywhere”.
About The Author
John “Lofty” Wiseman served in the SAS from 1959 until his retirement in 1985. The SAS (Special Air Service) is an elite special forces unit in the British Army. Lofty was the youngest person ever to be selected for the SAS when he joined aged 18. During his time in the SAS, he learnt and practiced survival skills, becoming a survival instructor to the SAS. He also instructs at Trueways Survival School, and has worked as a survival consultant for TV and film. Lofty certainly has the experience and expertise to write great survival books!
What’s The Difference Between SAS Survival Guide and SAS Survival Handbook?
The SAS Survival Handbook is the original version of this book, but has been updated several times to keep its content up to date and relevant. This book comes in paperback format with a size of approximately 21×13 centimetres. It’s a comfortable size for easy reading, but a little too big for keeping in a backpack for reference.
The SAS Survival Guide (pictured here) has similar content, but is much smaller. It’s intended for use as a pocket reference book. At approximately 12 x 8 centimetres, it’s a great size for keeping in a backpack. The text in this version of the book is much smaller, which makes it a little harder to read. As a reference book when you’re out, it’s great, but the SAS Survival Handbook is better for relaxing reading at home.
I actually own both of these books. The small one is always in my backpack to refer to when I need it. The larger one is at home to read in leisure time.
About The Books
The SAS Survival Handbook was written and published in the 1980s, after the author retired from the SAS. Back then, learning bushcraft and survival skills wasn’t as popular as it is now, but the book still managed to become a massive success. Since then, there have been several updates, with the latest edition published in 2004.
The pocket sized version of the handbook was first published in 1993 as a Collins Gem. The current pocket sized SAS Survival Guide edition was published in 2018.
The Review: SAS Survival Handbook and SAS Survival Guide
These books contain a vast array of information, carefully arranged into useful sections. Every survival subject is covered, from the essentials including many ways of finding water, through food, shelter, navigation, disasters, climate, terrain to health and first aid. The books deal with not just the practical, but also the mental approach to survival in any situation.
The text explains techniques very clearly, with many images to illustrate. These books are very easy to follow and understand, while not over-simplifying survival skills and the techniques required. Reading the books feels like receiving a lesson in survival from John “Lofty” Wiseman himself. His experience in survival skills shows through in every page.
Every survivalist should make these books essential reading. No matter how experienced, you will still learn something. My recommendation is to buy both the SAS Survival Handbook and the pocket sized SAS Survival Guide. Keep the SAS Survival Handbook to read at home to review your own survival skills and learn something new. Get a copy (or two) of the SAS Survival Guide to keep in your bug out bag, backpack, car or pocket when you are out. They’re not particularly expensive books, and you might learn something that could save your life.
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