BSA’s Fieldbook wins 2014 National Outdoor Book Award

ScoutingFieldbook-coverThe BSA’s Fieldbook, already a fixture in Scout backpacks and troop libraries, has officially joined the pantheon of history’s greatest outdoor books.

The nonprofit National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation just announced that the Fieldbook: Scouting’s Manual of Basic and Advanced Skills for Outdoor Adventure, has won its rare Work of Significance award.

Think of it as a lifetime achievement award for outdoor books.

The National Outdoor Book Awards are presented annually, but the Work of Significance recognition is handed out less frequently. In fact, the Fieldbook is only the third book since 1999 to receive this honor, which goes to “books that are unusually well-written and of exceptional significance, and/or books that are tried-and-true works in the field which are extraordinarily useful and practical and/or has contributed to making the outdoor experience more understandable.”

That’s a perfect description of the Fieldbook, which released its fifth edition this year.

National Outdoor Book Awards judges include educators, academics, trade representatives, authors, book reviewers and outdoor columnists. In other words, these men and women are qualified outdoor experts.

Read on to learn why the Fieldbook won and how you can buy your copy.

Why the Fieldbook won

The Robert Birkby-authored Fieldbook was honored in 2014 because that was “the perfect time to recognize its influence and importance in the outdoor world,” according to the award citation.

The citation goes on to offer this praise, which also serves as a nice description of what’s inside its 400-plus pages:

What is the Fieldbook? In short, it’s a compendium of outdoor knowledge oriented to young people. A short list of topics include planning trips, preparing menus, outdoor cooking, backcountry hygiene, navigation, leave no trace camping, first aid, survival, and observing and caring for the natural world. It also covers techniques of specific sports including backpacking, mountain travel, ski touring, snowshoeing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting and caving. It’s all contained in a perfectly sized paperback full of color photography and clear and understandable illustrations.

How to buy the Fieldbook

There’s no better time to pick up your copy than right now. It also makes a great gift for the Scouts or Scouters in your life.

You can buy the Fieldbook at for $20 for the perfect-bound version or $27 for one that’s coil-bound. It’s also available digitally via Amazon for $20.

Other Work of Significance winners since 1999

2007Connecticut Walk Book: The Guide to the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails of Western Connecticut

2003:  AMC White Mountain Guide: Hiking Trails of the White Mountain National Forest


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Bryan on Scouting

Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the senior editor of Scouting and Eagles' Call magazines. You can read more of his posts at