Mors Kochanski

Mors Kochanski’s Favorite Books

Mors Kochanski (passed away in 2019) is my most recent hero. After hearing everyone in the bushcrafting community (yes there is such a thing) reference him, I decided to look up his book Bushcraft. Which turns out I already had, I think having found it in an Alaskan thrift store 2-3 years ago and shelving it. Reading it, it’s amazingly to the point, detailed, yet pertinent. Like how to create a campfire that doesn’t blow smoke into your eyes? The answer is in there. Where was this info been all my life?

I decided I wanted to know more, and I looked for some talks he gave on youtube, and when he was talking about knives and whatnot he had stacks of books in his background. Being a bit of a reader myself, I wondered what they were. I didn’t have to wonder too long, as the youtube algorithm brought up Mors’ favorite books to my attention. Then I found there’s a 26 video playlist (some repeats) of him giving book recommendations. But especially after seeing him give a tour of his library, and seeing a number of books I haver read as well, I thought his recommendations had to be exceptional well culled. Such that I should read some or all. Which as you’ll see, should only take a decade.

As I watching through this playlist and ordering some of his recommendations, it became a bit much to keep track of. In I think I bought one twice already. So I decided I needed a written list in one place of what to look for.
Then I thought, since I just started working on my personal website, unrelated to, this list might make a good topic blog for anyone wishing to do the same. Which is probably nobody, but it’s good web design practice all the same.

So here they are, in order given in the playlist. FTR, I count a total of 140 books. I started with all books bolded, but have been unbolding them as they arrive.

Mors Kochanski’s Seven Favorite Books

  1. Ashley Book of Knots, Clifford W. Ashley
  2. Wildwood Wisdom, Elsworth Jaegar
  3. Camp-Lore and Woodcraft, Daniel C. Beard
  4. Outdoor Survival Skills, Larry Dean Olsen
  5. The Bushman’s Handbook, H.A. Lindsay
  6. How to Survive in the Bush, On the Coast in the Mountains of New Zealand, Flight Lt. B. Hildreth
  7. Down but not Out, Royal Canadian Airforce-Revised 1961, “Mors says this one is the good one, the newer versions they left a lot of good stuff out.”

First Aid and Bush Medicine

  1. Medicine for Mountaineering, James A. Wilkerson
  2. Where There is no Doctor, David Werner, C. Thurman & J. Maxwell
  3. Take Care of Yourself, D. Vickery MD & James Fries MD
  4. Hypothermia, Death by Exposure, Wm. W. Forgey MD
  5. The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide, Dept. of Trade & Industry, Her Majesties Stationery Office
  6. Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine, Averbach Donnerard Weiss
  7. Outdoor Emergency Medicine, F. Madda MD

Winter Conditions

  1. Winter Hiking and Camping, John A. Danielson
  2. Winter Wise, Travel & Survival in Ice & Snow, Monty Albord
  3. Winter Camping, Bob Cary
  4. OKPIK Cold Weather Camping, Boy Scouts of America 1997
  5. Winter, an Ecological Handbook, James Halfpenny, Douglas Ozanne
  6. Paradise Below Zero, Calvin Rutstrum
  7. A Snow Walker’s Companion, Garret & Alexandra Conover


  1. 98.6 Degrees, The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, Cody Lundin
  2. Surviving the Unexpected Wilderness Emergency, Gene Fear
  3. Survival, How to Prevail in Hostile Environments, Xavier Manignet
  4. Wilderness Survival Manual, W.T. Floyd
  5. Search & Rescue Survival Training, Department of the Air Force, 1969
  6. Survival Wisdom & Knowledge, Amy Post, 2007
  7. Plane Safety & Survival, Eric G. Anderson MD


  1. Safe Travel in Bear Country, Gary Brown
  2. Bears, Kevin Van Tighem
  3. Backcountry Bear Basics, Dave Smith
  4. Alaska Bear Tales, Larry Kanuit
  5. Summer of the Grizzly, Andre Vache
  6. Hiking in Bear Country, Keith Scott
  7. Bear Encounter Survival Guide, J C Shelton

The Crafty Peoples

  1. Our Southern Highlanders, H. Kephart
  2. The Peoples of Siberia, M.G. Levin & L.P. Potapov
  3. The Finno-urgric Peoples, Toivo Vuorela
  4. Lost Country Life, Dorothy Hartley
  5. China at Work, R. Hommel
  6. Zhorna – Material Culture of the Ukranian Pioneers, Roman Fodchuk
  7. Survival Arts of Primitive Paiutes, Margaret M. Wheat

Living off the Land

  1. Polar Journey’s, The Role of Food and Nutrition in Early Exploration, Robert E. Fieney
  2. The Foraging Spectrum, Diversity in Hunter Gatherer Lifeways, Robert L. Kelly
  3. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountings, H.D. Harrington
  4. Edible Wild Plants, John Kallas PHD
  5. Aborigional Plant Use in Canadas, NW Boreal Forest, Marles, Clavelle, Monteleomi, Toys, Burns
  6. Food and Emergency Food in the Circumplar Area, Kerstin Eidlitz
  7. Inujjuamiut Foraging Strategies: Evolutionary Ecology of an Arctic Hunting Economy, Eric Alden Smith, Aldine De Gruyter


  1. Looking at Insects, David Suzuki
  2. Insects, Ross E. Hutchins
  3. Insects of South Central Alaska, Domenique M. Collet
  4. Man Eating Bugs, Menzel and D’aluisio
  5. Encyclopedia of Insects and Spiders, Rod Preston-Mafham, Ken Preston-Mafham
  6. Bugs in the System, Insects and their Impact on Human Affairs, M. Berenbaum
  7. Medicinal and Veterinary Entomology, William B. Herms

One of Each

  1. Blue Mountain Buckskin, Jim Riggs
  2. Wet-Scrape Braintanned Buckskin, Steven Endholm & Tamara Wilder
  3. Keeping Warm with an Axe, a Woodcutter’s Manual, D Cook
  4. Hunting with the Bow and Arrow, Saxton Pope
  5. Catching Fire, How Cooking Made Us Human, Richard Wrangham
  6. Flintknapping, Making and Understanding Stone Tools, John C. Whittaker
  7. The Anatomy of Firearms, L.R. Wallack
  8. Snowshoeing, From Novice to Master, Gene Prater

The Handicrafts

  1. Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, Allen H. Eaton
  2. The New Handicraft Processes and Procedures, Les & Kath Griswold
  3. American Folk Toys – How to Make Them, Dick Schnacke
  4. Skills for Simple Living, Betty Tillotson, Hartley and Marks
  5. Alaskan’s How to Handbook, Joe Dart
  6. Australian Traditional Bushcrafts, Ron Edwards
  7. Bushcraft, An Inspirational Guide to Surviving in the Wilderness, Ray Mears

How They Lived

  1. The Hunters of the Northern Forests, Richard K. Nelson
  2. The Indian Hunters – Hunting and Fishing Methods of the North American Indian, R. Stephen Irwin MD
  3. Indians of the Plains, Robert H. Lowie
  4. Nchi-Wana – “The Big River”, Mid Columbia Indians and Their Land, Eugene S Hunn, James Selam
  5. Han, People of the River, Mishler and Semeone
  6. Ingalik Material Culture, Cornelius Osgood
  7. Survival Skills of Native California, Paul D. Campbell

Understanding Animals

  1. The Hunters, Dr. Philips Whitfield
  2. Mammals of Wisconsin, H.H.T. Jackson
  3. Wild Animals of North America, National Geographic Society, 1967
  4. Rand McNalley Atlas of World Wildlife, 1981
  5. Tracking and the Art of Seeing, Paul Rezendes
  6. Behavior of North American Mammals, M. Elbroch and Krinehart
  7. Smithsonian Mammal, Dorling Kindersley

Dangerous Fauna

  1. Insects and Allergy and What to do About Them, A Frazier MD, F.K. Brown
  2. Outwitting Critters, Bill Adler Jr.
  3. Ticks and What You Can do About Them, Roger Drummond PHD
  4. Living Things We Love to Hate, Des Kennedy
  5. Outwitting Ticks, Susan C. Hauser
  6. Things That Bite, Rom Anderson
  7. Fearsome Fauna, The Creatures that Live in You, Roger M. Knutson

Mors Most Favorite Books

“Favorite books of this nature. If you can lay your hands on them, miss a meal. Don’t eat for a week, go fasting. So you’ll have the money, to be able to afford these, and you won’t be sorry.”

  1. Arctic Manual, Vilhjal Mur Stefansson
  2. INUA, Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo, Fitznugh, Kaplan, Collins, Ager, Ray, Fredrick
  3. Body and Clothes, An Illustrated History of Costume, R. Brody-Johanen
  4. Essentials of Sea Survival, F. Golden MD, PHD, M Tipton, PHD
  5. Craftsmen of Necessity, Christopher & Charlotte Williams
  6. Hunting, Hunters, Game Weapons and Hunting Methods from the Remote Past to the Present Day, Stein and Day
  7. Spirit of Siberia – Traditional Native Life, Clothing & Footwear, Jill Oakeran, Rick Riewe

Some Unusual Books

  1. Herter’s Professional Guides Manual, George Leonard Herter
  2. Art of Travel, Francis Galton, David & Charles Devon
  3. The L.L. Bean Guide to the Outdoors, Bill Riviere
  4. Public Works, A Handbook for Self Reliance Living, Walter Szykitka
  5. Manual Pratique De Survie en Mer, Yuan Chanty, Charles-Lavauzelle
  6. Alaskan Village Science, Alaska Native Knowledge Network, available as a pdf file from
  7. Alaska Science Nuggets, Niel Davis

Foxfire Series

Mors’ statements in the description makes me think he knows about peak oil.

  1. Volume 1, Eric Wigginton
  2. Volume 2, Eric Wigginton
  3. Volume 3, Eric Wigginton
  4. Volume 4, Eric Wigginton
  5. Volume 5, Eric Wigginton
  6. Volume 6″ Eric Wigginton
  7. Volume 7″ Eric Wigginton
  8. Volume 8″ Eric Wigginton
  9. Volume 9″ Eric Wigginton
  10. Volume 10, Eric Wigginton
  11. Moments Tie Foxfire Experience, Eric Wigginton
  12. I Wish I Could Give My Son A Wild Racoon, Eric Wigginton
  13. Foxfire: 25 Years, Eric Wigginton


  1. Wildflowers of the World, Barbara Everard and Brian D Morley
  2. A Country Harvest, Pamela Michael
  3. Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Minnesota & Wisconsin, Matthew Alfs
  4. Edible Wild Plants, A Guide to Natural Foods, Roy Genders
  5. Field Guide to the North American Edible Wild Plants, T. Elias & P. Dykeman
  6. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountain and Neighboring Territories, Terry Willard
  7. AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, Dr. Ken F. Lampe and Mary Ann McCann

The Works of Eric Sloan

  1. Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake 1805
  2. Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather
  3. Eric Sloane Almanac & Weather Forecaster
  4. The Cracker Barrel, Funk and Wagnalls
  5. The Second Barrel, Funk and Wagnalls
  6. A Reverence for Wood, Wilfred Funk Inc
  7. Museum of Early American Tools, Wilfred Funk Inc

Medicinal Herbals

“The wilderness from my perspective is teaming with medicinal plants. But not so much with edible plants. It’s a far greater challenge to meet your needs from the point of edibility, compared to meeting your needs with regards to medicines.” [yeah, I noticed that too]

  1. Native American Medicinal Plants, An Ethnobotanical Dictionary, Daniel E. Moerman
  2. Indian Herbalogy of North America, Alma R Hutchens
  3. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, Michael Moore
  4. The Book of Herbal Wisdom, Matthew Wood
  5. Rogers’ Herbal Manual, Robert Dale Rogers
  6. The Fungal Pharmacy, Robert Dale Rogers
  7. The Boreal Herbal, Beverly Gray
  1. Lean Logic, David Fleming, 2011
    • “A dictionary for the future, and how to survive it.” Probably the best of them. More of a jumping off point than a book to end up with.
  2. Collapse, Jered Diamond, 2004
    • Mors didn’t mention this one, but I saw it on his shelf. I read it when it came out, and again recently, and rated it a 10/10. Think of Easter Island as a metaphor for global civilization.
  3. Limits to Growth, Meadows, et al. 1972
  4. On Sparta, Plutarch, probably written around 100 AD
    • Right attitude
  5. The Sioux: Life and Customs of a Warrior Society, Royal Hassrick
    • Another example of right attitude
  6. Creating a Forest Garden, Martin Crawford
  7. The Law of Civilization and Decay, An Essay on History, Brooks Adams, 1895


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