The Ways of the Wild: A Practical Guide to the Outdoors


194 pages
ISBN 1-55111-024-5
DDC 796.54





Illustrations by Dave Fewster and Robert Tuckerman
Reviewed by Anthony G. Gulig

Anthony G. Gulig teaches history at the University of Saskatchewan.


This is one of the few outdoor guides that chooses to offer suggestions
rather than issue orders about clothing, stoves, sleeping bags, tents,
and myriad other camping trinkets promoted by the burgeoning outdoor
industry. Written in a clever and readable style, The Ways of the Wild
will fit into almost any outfit. Callan’s emphasis is on safety,
comfort, and conservation.

Most people who have traveled the backcountry for at least a few years
probably feel that they have mastered their camping style, philosophy,
and equipment. Callan shows that there are few absolutes when hiking in
the bush or canoeing wilderness rivers. Of particular interest in his
book are the sections on navigation and wilderness dangers. The author
provides ample information from which the reader can make informed
decisions regarding safety, equipment, and various activities.

The guide’s only deficiency is found in the canoe camping section.
Although Callan carefully discusses various canoe options, he fails to
mention the efficiency of a canoe’s design; he also excludes from his
discussion the now-classic cedar-strip canoe. Even with this
shortcoming, The Ways of the Wild is the most valuable (and portable)
outdoor guide to come along in years.


Callan, Kevin., “The Ways of the Wild: A Practical Guide to the Outdoors,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,