I purchased the pocket sized COLLINS GEM SAS Survival Guide (384 pages) back in 1993 and have often referred to it since, although I have never taken it on a bushwalk. Only last week I used it to find the ground-to-air signals for helicopter rescue.
“Written by former SAS soldier and instructor, John “Lofty” Wiseman, this application brings you the elite training techniques of Britain’s toughest fighting force in the most accessible version ever. Now you can take the world-class survival skills of the SAS with you anywhere in the world – from the peaks of Kilimanjaro to the deserts of Kandahar…or to your closest national park.“
This is the digital version (released June 2010) of this book, and comes in two versions, one free, which contains a small selection of the total. The full version contains the complete book optimised for viewing on the iPhone. Neither version is localised for Australia, which means that the animals and plants are from the northern hemisphere. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, as many of these exotic plants eg blackberry are also found in Australia.
There appears to be little attempt to update the contents and this is most obvious in the first aid section where the artificial resuscitation methods badly need updating eg the Holger Nielson and Silvester techniques which I last used in my Royal Lifesaving days in the 60’s and 70’s are recommended.
The Full app contains:
•Full text, in 9 chapters, of the bestselling book optimised for the iPhone
•16 videos providing invaluable survival tips from Lofty himself
•Photo galleries of edible, medicinal and poisonous plants
•Morse Code signalling device
•100 + question quiz to test if you’ve got what it takes to survive
•Search tool to scan entire book by subject
•Extreme Climate Survival: sections on surviving Polar, Desert, Tropical, and Sea
•Comprehensive First Aid section NB Needs updating
The Lite App Contains:
•Basic survival information including: building fires, finding water, navigating by the stars, survival kit, signals and codes
•Photo galleries of cloud spotting, night sky navigation, and more
•Video of Lofty Wiseman demonstrating knife skills
•100+ question quiz to test if you’ve got what it takes to survive
•Survival checklist to help you prepare for trips
•Search the app by keyword for quick reference
This version is a “must have” for any bushwalker, but of course you can only read it when your iPhone batteries are not flat. You will need to be able to keep your iPhone charged to be able to use the app.
Do I think the paid version (USD $5.99) is worthwhile? The original book cost me $7.95 many years ago and the digital version has additional information, so you would have to say yes, especially with the extra features such as videos, Morse Code Signaller, search tool and Sun Compass. But is it expensive? Yes!
1. Morse Code Signalling Device
This allows you to automatically produce both the audio and synchronised flashing light for common emergency messages such as SOS, mayday, and help but can send any message you wish by simply typing in the sentence. It is easy to use and does exactly as it should.
2. Sun Compass
Many of us have been taught to work out north by bisecting the angle between the hour of the day and the sun, but how many of us can remember how to do it when we need to do so. This inbuilt app does it automatically, with easy step-by-step instructions.
These colour “how to” slideshows show step by step how to achieve such essential tasks as:
How to build a fire. How to build a solar still.How to trap water. Night sky navigation.Cloud spotting
Other categories include
Making a camp. Wild food. Polar Climate. Desert and Tropics. Sea and Coast. Hunting. First Aid
Contents of a survival tin. Fern Cover. Night navigation. Shelter . Location. Waterbag. Gutting. Sun Compass. Solar still. Rationing. Sand stove. Trapping. Fire. Survival Situation. Knife Skills. Snow Hole
6. Checklists include:
In my opinion, this is excellent value for such a high quality and useful resource and a must have for bushwalkers.
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