Backwoods Basics


95 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88999-231-2






Reviewed by Diana McElroy

Diana McElroy was a computer programmer in Deep River, Ontario.


Bud Inglis is vice-principal of a Halifax school and has thirty years’ experience roaming the woods. He writes a weekly newspaper column on the outdoors.

This volume falls into three main sections. The first, “Woodcraft,” encompasses a variety of subjects, including building lean-tos, making fires for heat and cooking, route finding, some canoeing skills, and camp etiquette. There are also a few snippets about animal tracks and droppings, insect larvae, and identifying evergreens. The second section, “Trout Fishing,” describes various aspects of flies, knots, and casting, as well as how to locate fish by water flow and temperature. The third section, “Plants and Trees,” is quite short; it includes identification and edibility information about some common forest plants and deciduous trees. The illustrations, by the author, are clear, simple, pen-and-ink drawings.

Backwoods Basics cannot be considered a reference for the outdoors, since it omits some important areas such as clothing, tents, and packs, and spends so much time on trout fishing — fun, but not terribly “basic”. One might also quibble with the inordinate amount of space devoted to lean-to construction, accompanied by only one small warning to use these techniques only in desperate situations. It is, however, an enthusiastic appreciation of many of the things that make wilderness trips worthwhile, however brief. The author obviously enjoys the outdoors and brings a very personal approach to his subject (not many people carry a china mug for tea in the bush). This is a pleasant and enjoyable book, written in a friendly and unpretentious manner.


Inglis, Bud, “Backwoods Basics,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 3, 2021,