Winter; An Ecological Handbook (book review)

With cool temperatures descending upon us and winter around the corner, I have a book suggestion for you.  Winter; An Ecological Handbook by Dr. James Halfpenny and Roy Ozanne.

In a nutshell, the book is an overview about the current knowledge of winter.  Think college text on ecology – you’ve been warned.

However, for the woodsman, trapper and/or hunter in particular, one learns the five vectors of winter.  These forces combine to make survival difficult and are discussed in detail for both man and animal.  The Five Vectors – Snow, Cold, Radiation, Energy, and Wind – the SCREW factor.

The chapter on People and Winter is of particular interest.  The book scientifically covers Winter Clothing using experience gathered from the National Outdoor Leadership School, experiments at the Teton Science School and more.

To give you a taste, here is an outline for just the chapter People and Winter:

Personal Perception of Winter
Humans and Cold (thermal regulation)
Out in Winter
Health and Safety in the Winter
Preparations (survival)
Injuries Common to Winter (sunburn, sun bumps, snowblindness, frostbite, trenchfoot, etc.)
Falling into Cold Water
Types of Avalanches
Terrain Factors
Existing Snowpack
New Snowpack
Safety Equipment
Route Finding
Avalanche Survival
Winter Clothing – principals on materials and much more in opening
Upper Body
Sleeping Bag
Miscellaneous Items
Winter Travel
Winter Camping
Snow Caves
Living in Snow Shelters
Winter Conservation

Again, this is an ecological handbook.  If you like nature and understanding it’s science, you will love this book.  It also has applied information as it relates to outdoor activities with the science explanation to back it up.

Unfortunately, Winter; An Ecological Handbook is out of print but widely available used if you want a print copy.  It is also available as an eBook from Amazon HERE.

Mors Kochanski’s eBook Basic Safe Travel and Boreal Survival Handbook is a GREAT (practical) complement to Winter; An Ecological Handbook.



About Christian Noble

Chris Noble is the founder of and Woodsmoke Camping Company. A Master Naturalist, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and has worked as a Registered Forester and Certified Burn Manager in several states. Chris is also a Wilderness First Responder and since the late 90’s has been “practicing primitive” skills and taking lessons from numerous Master Woodsmen throughout North America. An advocate for Conservation, teacher of Wilderness Living Skills, and happily married, he enjoys passing what he has learned thus far to others, especially his 2 children, Emerson and Duncan.

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