Book Review | The Total Outdoorsman Manual

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Field and Stream sent us a copy of T. Edward Nickens the Total Outdoors Manual: 374 Skills You Need. I was anxious to get the book because as an outdoor writer, I actually enjoy the writings of a few specific outdoor writers more than my own. Nickens is by far my favorite outdoor writer. I just like the way he spins a beautiful web of words that paints the picture of what it is to be outdoors so eloquently while at the same time still bringing the in-your-face details that embody being an outdoorsman.

Unfortunately the book lacks his tale telling of which I’m so fond, but it does make up for it with a collection of helpful tips for any angler that enjoys all the outdoor pursuits including camping, fishing, hunting, and Field and Stream’s favorite topic — survival. Survival skills are a fun read, even though most will never have a call for any of them. If you’re an angler, there are several things about surviving the elements you should probably always know and this book helps with some of that.

The book is really a collection of tips gathered under each of the four outdoor topics that range the how-to gamet from knot tying to skinning and cooking snake. We focused primarily on the fishing section of the book, although we did enjoy some of the simple knots and how-to demonstrations in other parts of the book as outdoorsmen.

“Of all the outdoor pursuits, fishing may be the most knowledge-intensive. Every day is different. Every hour can change everything. Every species—every single fish—requires a specific set of actions and decisions designed to put forth what seems to be the simplest of requests: ‘Eat this, please.'” T. Edward Nickens

That excerpt really sums up fishing well and the collection of tips in the more than 70 pages dedicated to fishing are evidence of the knowledge it takes to be a well-rounded angler. There is everything about the tackle, the fish, the boat, the tactics and more. A good portion of the tips deal with trout fishing. There is some about kayak and small craft fishing and then of course several tips about bass fishing.

The tips are easy to understand with great illustrations and the photography is of the award-winning Field and Stream quality. The book is sort of a psuedo hard-bound book with large pages. It’s a good book to add to your outdoors library if you’re just getting started in hunting, fishing, camping and such. The book would be more geared toward a basic skill level multi-species angler from a fishing standpoint.

The book has an MSRP of $25.00 however we found it online for $15.97 at