Welcome to my Survival Advantage page.
Survival Advantage is the classic ‘cold war’ survival manual I wrote many years ago. I’m currently writing an enhanced version two, but this original signed first edition is still available, but not for long as there aren’t many left.
My friends at ‘Bushgear’ are now the distributors.
Published in 1992, when the threat of the ‘Cold War’ still loomed large, and when I was but a slip of a thing (I’ve never actually been a slip of a thing, more of a solid lump, but you know what I mean). This classic manual, was written by a cold war soldier who was part of the deterrent to Soviet invasion on the ‘Northern Flank’ (Arctic Norway). I was a front line Mountain and Arctic Warfare trained Royal Marine (and I wore white stuff and everything).
But survival techniques never go out of fashion, and most of them were many thousands of years old before I got to them anyway. We need to keep them alive, and available, and that’s what I do, through my actions, and through my words.
As a front line cold war soldier I knew exactly what I wanted in a survival manual for use in all the ‘usual’ European soldiering environments. I also spent a lot of time in the arctic specialising in Mountain and Arctic warfare. So I wrote the book that I, and others, might need, anywhere in the European theatre of operations.
However soldiers aren’t the only ones interested in bushcraft and survival. Indeed much of my passion for the subject originates from my time in the scouts, long before I became a soldier. The scouting organisation is probably the greatest and single biggest exponent of bushcraft world wide.
From my time as an outdoor pursuits instructor I discovered that children and adults of all ages and backgrounds were fascinated by the interesting things that could be found in the wild, and were amazed by what they could achieve within it (with a little tuition). A simple short walk of a few hours duration could reveal 15 things to eat, or to make into useful tools or aids.
These experiences, military and non military, plus many more as a mountaineer, as a traveller, as an explorer, and as a botanist and mycologist, went into the book. I have had a life time of operating in wild and hostile environments, both for pleasure, and professionally. It started in the scouts, has gone through many phases and chapters, and it hasn’t finished yet.
The manual contains information and techniques specifically relevant for Europe because you don’t need to know how to get water out of a barrel cactus if you live in Shropshire.
This classic original now exists in limited numbers. It’s got a waterproof cover and is printed on paper which doesn’t disintegrate when wet, because it’s a field manual, not a coffee table book, and because Armageddon in north western Europe will be damp. It can be wetted many times and is designed to fit into the leg or cargo pocket of combat or outdoor trousers. It is soft back to mould to the shape of your leg.
This is a field manual like no other!
– 15 chapters
– 416 pages
– 170 photos
– Over 600 drawings/diagrams
(See independent reviews at the bottom of the page)
A little bit about the creation of Survival Advantage
A teenage (and embarrassingly long haired) Andy Lane falls in love with Norway on a Yorkshire Schools Exploration Society Scientific expedition to the Svartisen ice cap above the arctic circle. Mid 1970’s.
And yes, I am wearing breeches.
Waiting for the tide to drop so that I can check my long lines. for fish. Isle of Skye 1980’s
(A 4 month solo sail around Scotland in a plywood boat (type: ‘Lysander’). called ‘Festering Dog’. Deliberately living on limited resources, to test survival techniques during the writing of Survival Advantage.)
excerpt from Chapter 7 ‘FISHING’ page: 151
One-man emergency snowhole (1986)
excerpt from chapter 5 ‘SHELTERS’ page: 87
Experimental 2-man Klepper adventures (and research) around the Western Isles of Scotland. 1990’s. (A sail made from a shower curtain)
excerpt from chapter 12 ‘MOBILITY’ page: 334
Endless sunny days on climbs and on ‘Via Ferratas’ in the Italian Dolomites (1990’s)
Since publishing Survival Advantage I have lived in many environments from deserts to the arctic. I’ve been a mountaineer, a soldier, a climber, a sailor, a caver, a diver, a TV presenter, a paddler, an outdoor pursuits instructor, a survival instructor, a consultant to TV companies, and the training officer on a search and rescue team. Botany and mycology have always been important to me, another layer of wonder on top of my adventures and expeditions.
Filming the BBCs Tracks Survival Challenge
The life of Nomads! Mountains of Kurdistan. Iraq 2009
“Do you think we could get a couple of motorbikes across the Khardung?”
The highest motorable pass in the world. Khardung La Pass, Himalayas, India (18,380ft). (350 Royal Enfield Bullet and Suzuki scooter). 2018
Wilderness Guide – READ FULL REVIEW
excerpt: “This book has enduring appeal for the novice and the experienced or professional outdoorsman. It is a book that underpins many a survival instructor’s teaching plan. If there was one single book on the subject I would recommend then this would be it.”
Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine – 2016
Regarded as a classic by bushcrafters and survival fans in much the same way as the SAS Survival Handbook is, this is at the same time, much less widely known.
It’s a compact, weighty book, packed with a wide variety of information on survival techniques and foods.
Delivered with straightforward, clear text and illustrations it will appeal to the experienced, as well as the novice, outdoor person.
Published in 1992 and out of print, it is still relatively easy to get hold of via the internet, but doing so at a reasonable price might prove a challenge.
Daniel Rees – 2017
Amazing book. You won’t be disappointed.
Anyone into bushcraft or survival you should own this.
D.J.Con – 2006
As a professional outdoorsman and one who practices the art of bushcraft frequently it was very welcome to read Andy Lane’s comprehensive reference book on the subject. It is my reference book of choice for my students because of its comprehensive ‘matter of fact’ presentation. The text is easy to read and the drawings are simple to interpret. The photo section particularly focused on wild foods helps to aid recognition, and are a welcome and necessary addition. Overall the book provides the reader and practitioner with a toolbox of skills and techniques which allow selection of those most appropriate for the conditions or circumstance at the time. While some of the drawings have been copied from other texts this does not devalue the book as it adds to its comprehensive nature. It is a difficult book to obtain and rarely found these days in bookshops, perhaps elbowed out by other more popular authors. However, it is worth seeking out and for me at least, is highly recommended for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Sapper1968 – 2012
I have a number of books / works dealing with survival / bushcraft.
Following a friend’s recommendation, I have been trying to find this book for some time.
I am not disappointed.
Having served over 22 years in the British Army, I’m used to the ‘SAS Survival Books’ and have a number of ‘Ray Mears’ publications, but this book is clear, concise with loads of useful information for the beginner, right through to the more seasoned hand.
If you only intend buying 1 book on this vast subject, you will not go wrong buying this tome.
If you have written a review I can link to, or would like to write a review for Survival Advantage for inclusion on this page then please do so. Thanks (Andrew@QueensandBeans.uk)
page published: 11th October 2018