“Knowledge is power” right? Well by arming yourself with a ton of the best survival books, you’ll be the most knowledgeable survivalist in the land. Ok, a bit dramatic but you get my meaning. So, you’re heading out into the wilderness and you want to be prepared, wise move!
Unfortunately, we’re not all US marines, so for those of us who haven’t had practical survivalist schooling, books are the next best thing. Take some time to bury your head in some good educational reading materials, it’s a great method of absorbing information and taking on board the super important aspects of surviving.
But how do you know which books to read? With about a million guides on the market, I think it’s safe to say that no one has got time to read all of them! So you need to pick the very best ones, you need reliable aid from trustworthy experts. That’s where this handy guide comes in.
We’ll go through some of the most useful survival books written by expert survivalists, special forces instructors, and professional soldiers!
The Top 26 Best Survival Books:
1. SAS Survival Handbook
Author: John “Lofty” Wiseman | Paperback: 672 pages | Item Dimensions: 8.05 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
Kicking off our list is this ultimate survival guide by John “Lofty” Wiseman. If you’re looking to learn some serious outdoor skills, this is the book you need. If you’re familiar with the survival world, then you’ll know that John “Lofty” Wiseman is a legend who doesn’t need an introduction.
Spending 27 years as a professional soldier in the Special Air Services, Lofty Wiseman has a wealth of experience and knowledge under his belt. His first book, The SAS Survival Handbook, was published over 30 years ago. It’s sold over a million copies and since its initial release, it’s been the go-to, definitive guide for surviving.
From basics like how to build a campfire and predicting the weather to protecting your family and home from intruders, this book has absolutely every survival situation covered! Whether you’re heading out camping, hiking, or any other outdoor pursuits this will be your ride-or-die guide. This new revised edition now also covers topics like urban survival and surviving terrorism.
2. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It
Author: James Wesley Rawles | Paperback: 336 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.25 x 0.7 x 7.96 inches
Want to know how to survive an unexpected natural disaster? With How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, you’ll be armed with an abundance of survival skills. You never know when a disaster may strike and if you’re a fan of being prepared then this is the book for you.
From the carnage of a hurricane to serious water or electricity cuts, this is a great urban survival book to have in your home library. Author James Rawles reveals essential methods and techniques for solo surviving, from how much food you’ll need, protecting your finances, and how to make sure your home is burglar-proof, this survival guide is a must-have for any enthusiast.
The founder of SurvivalBlog, James Wesley Rawles is a worldwide renowned expert on surviving catastrophes and preparedness. A former US Army Intelligence Officer, he has been labeled “the conscience of survivalism.” SurvivalBlog is the first blog dedicated to wilderness survival, gaining more and more popularity.
3. Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag
Author: Creek Stewart | Paperback: 208 pages | Item Dimensions: 6.02 x 0.51 x 8.99 inches
Ask yourself; if a sudden disaster happened, would you be prepared to leave the house, stat? With this survival book, you will be! Read this book and you’ll be an expert in preparing your own bug out bag, so you can survive your journey from home to your safe location.
You’ll even find lessons and guidance for bugging out if you have children, elderly or disabled family members, and even pets. Author Creek Stewart is a survival expert with years of experience in the field. Creek regularly appears in the media thanks to his expertise and has featured in tons of magazines and numerous radio and online shows and events.
In his ingenious survival guide, Creek explains everything you’ll need to survive for 72 hours, from start to finish. You’ll find a list of resources to help you purchase essential clothing, explanations of how to use every item in your bug-out bag, and even how to choose multi-use tools to save precious space in your bag. Water, food, tools, and loads more are covered in this awesome survival book.
4. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why
Author: Lawrence Gonzales | Paperback: 336 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
Ever wondered why some people perish and others live to tell the tale in certain survival situations? Well wonder no more, in this book Laurence Gonzales looks at different stories of survivors and those that sadly did not make it out of their situation. Not many survival books are written in this manner and that’s what makes this one so unique.
Laurence Gonzales is an award-winning journalist and author of many best selling books. In this interesting and riveting book, Laurence tries to explain the stages of surviving and that some people have a true survival instinct, while others don’t. Not only does Laurence refer to dangerous situations in the wilderness but also with life-threatening health problems or difficult dilemmas and situations.
From medical professionals to military leaders, this book has the potential to prepare anyone for any difficult positions they may find themselves in. If you want to learn how to manage stress, make good decisions even when you’re under pressure and how to assess potential risks, this is a book you need in your survival library.
5. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
Author: Cody Lundin | Paperback: 216 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
Even the title of this book is bound to want to make you read it, right? Cody Lundin shares his wisdom and knowledge in this witty but super informative guide. With over 30 years of practical teaching under his belt, Cody Lundin is a worldwide renowned survival instructor and director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Arizona.
It’s the ultimate book about staying alive using the idea of keeping the body’s core temperature at 98.6 degrees. In his amusing and educational way, Cody explains that although humans can survive without food for a few weeks and without water for around three days, if the core temperature of the body drops or rises above the ideal 98.6 degrees, it makes for a dangerous situation.
It’s something that not many people understand or take seriously, but with his expert knowledge and witty and engaging humor, Cody Lundin has created one of the best survival guides on the market.
6. Mud, Sweat & Tears: The Autobiography
Author: Bear Grylls | Paperback: 416 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 1.04 x 9 inches
Everyone’s heard of Bear Grylls (if not, where have you been?!) and this exciting and thrilling memoir is a must-read for adrenaline junkies! Internationally recognized and admired, Bear has led an action-packed career and had many extreme adventures.
Growing up, it became apparent early on that Bear was destined for great things. From hiking in the Himalayas, becoming the youngest ever Briton to climb Mount Everest, to overcoming a serious parachuting accident, Bear has been there and done it!
Read about his grueling experiences serving in the SAS for 3 years, before becoming a regular TV personality. He’s educated millions with his wealth of knowledge of battling the extreme wilderness and surviving in places many dare not to go!
This isn’t so much a survival guide, although there’s probably a lot to be learned from the ultimate wilderness survival expert himself! If you’re looking for a thrilling and entertaining read, you’ll love this autobiography.
7. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook
Author: David Borgenicht | Hardcover: 328 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.35 x 1.25 x 7.25 inches
Have you ever wondered what you should do if you get caught in quicksand? What about a shark attack? Making an emergency plane landing? With this ingenious survival guide, you’ll learn how to survive these situations and many more, thanks to Joshua Piven’s expertise.
Featuring easy to follow, illustrated instructions, this handbook would make the perfect gift for those preparedness enthusiasts. This jam-packed textbook will ensure you’re ready for just about any emergency possible, from how to handle a snakebite and surviving an avalanche to dealing with an exploding cell phone and being buried alive, this book has it all!
Known for his tongue-in-cheek humor, Joshua Piven is the author of more than twenty non-fiction survival books, including this international bestseller. He offers his readers real, solid, and often amusing tips, so you’re fully prepared for any disaster or emergency that might happen because ya know, you never know when danger is going to strike!
8. The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way
Autor: Joseph Alton, MD | Paperback: 588 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 1.33 x 9 inches
Have you ever wondered what to do if you found yourself in a medical emergency with no way of getting help? What would you do if you were in the middle of nowhere and your phone died? This is a book that you’ll definitely want in your survival library. Featuring expert first aid guidance, you’ll be the go-to medic after reading this textbook.
This isn’t your standard-issue first aid book though, it’s been written to give you the knowledge to be able to treat illnesses and injuries when you’re the only one that can help. Although it would be perfect for medical students to refer to, it’s also an essential read for anyone else who aspires to be prepared for any worst-case survival scenario.
Written by top medical experts, Joseph Alton M.D and Amy Alton ARNP, this book provides expert guidance and instructions for any medical emergency possible.
9. The Prepper’s Medical Handbook
Author: M.D. William W. Forgey | Paperback: 320 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.94 x 0.91 x 9.09 inches
If you’re thinking of going off-grid, don’t leave before you’ve read this ultimate outdoor survival book! Even if that’s not the case, this handbook will still prove to be invaluable for anyone wishing to be prepared for any potential emergencies when the only person you can rely on is yourself.
What happens if there’s a breakdown of emergency services? No cell service or a dead battery? These are just a few situations that you’ll need to be able to deal with in order to survive.
This book aims to equip you with the knowledge of how to identify and manage medical conditions swiftly and easily. You’ll learn how to stockpile essentials and how to store them. It also teaches you about more advanced techniques that you may find yourself having to perform.
Written by William Forgey M.D, a devoted physician, explorer, and educator, this wilderness survival book is the perfect read for any outdoor enthusiast.
10. The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook: What To Do if Help is Not on the Way
Author: James Hubbard, MD, MPH | Paperback: 288 pages | Item Dimensions: 7.25 x 0.6 x 9.25 inches
When it comes to your family’s well-being, it goes without saying that you’ll want to be able to provide the greatest care possible in the event of a disaster. But what if you were the only one that could save the day? What if something went drastically wrong and the emergency services were not reachable? Would you know what to do? You will if you read this essential survival book.
Going way beyond traditional first aid, this handbook aims to teach you how to look after yourself and your family when disaster strikes and there’s no way of getting professional medical assistance. From how to deal with dislocated joints to keeping warm when your heating goes out, this is the perfect read for anyone.
Whether you get caught in a snowstorm while out camping or you live alone in a rural location, this is a must-have book in your survival library. With illustrations, step-by-step instructions, and real-life stories, this guide is super easy to follow and understand.
11. Contact: A Tactical Manual For Post Collapse Survival
Author: Max Alexander | Page Number: 601 pages
We’ve all seen disaster movies but what if it actually happened? Would you know what to do? The aim of this urban survival manual is to provide you with the knowledge of how to survive a post-collapse society. You’ll have the skills and tactics to protect yourself and your family members from potential dangers, violence, and terrorism.
The lessons in this book have been gained from years of schooling with special operations forces. Max Velocity Tactical is a facility dedicated to teaching proven tactics and techniques to all levels of expertise, whether you’re a civilian or you have a military background.
Survival of the fittest doesn’t really mean anything anymore, it’s survival of the most prepared, and with this guide, you’ll definitely get ahead of the rest. From individual self-defense to group tactics you may need to avoid tyranny, this book has it all. Whether you’re a complete newbie trying to learn new tactical skills or you’re experienced military personnel, kick your survival skills up a notch with this must-have book!
12. Outdoor Life: The Ultimate Survival Manual
Author/s: Robert F. James, Rich Johnson | Pages: 490 pages
The title of this book gets straight to the point! From urban survival, enduring natural disasters to gaining wilderness survival skills, this comprehensive text covers it all! In a world that’s becoming less and less stable, there are numerous events and catastrophes that could result in disaster for society as we know it today.
Full of practical tips, real-life stories, and easy to follow checklists, this book will ensure you have the disaster-proof skills needed to sustain yourself and your family in the event of a catastrophe.
As a former Special Forces soldier, author Rich Johnson has strong interests and know-how in both wilderness and urban survival. From learning the essential skills during a natural disaster, which supplies you should have in your house or pantry, to how to remain calm and composed in the wake of devastation, this is another publication everyone should have in their survival library.
13. Survival Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness.
Authors: The Editors of Stackpole Books | Paperback: 480 pages | Item Dimensions:10.5 x 0.75 x 13.75 inches
If you’re looking for the ultimate, all-round outdoor survival book, this is what you’ve been looking for. A great addition to add to your survival library, this book covers every aspect of outdoor adventures you could possibly think of. From setting up camp, ice climbing, and picking safe, edible wild plants to first aid and coping in the sheer heat of the desert, this book has it all!
Stackpole has been publishing high-quality non-fiction books for over 90 years. Written by expert authors, their books are well respected in the outdoor industry and include an incredibly broad range of topics including how to read the weather and outdoor sports and activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and ice fishing.
The book also features handy illustrations and photos, making it super easy to follow along with. Learn about hunting, wild animals, cooking, and ornithology, with inputs from experts at the National Outdoor Leadership School. This is the complete, all-in-one resource for surviving the wilderness.
14. Survive: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive
Author/s: Les Stroud, Michael Vlessides | Pages: 441 pages
If real, no-nonsense, practical guidance is what you’re after, then this book will deliver. Learn about urban survival and staying alive in the wilderness, jungle, and the desert. By losing yourself in this wicked survival guide, you’ll be armed with the knowledge of how to survive any part of the globe.
Written by the creator of Survivorman, Les Stroud has become well known for surviving in the most brutal and deserted places on earth, from the harsh heat of the Kalahari to the freezing temperatures of the Canadian wilderness. He has put his decades of expertise onto paper and created this book so like-minded readers can learn valuable lessons for their own outdoor adventures.
Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a newbie adventurer, you’ll find this textbook super handy. Not only do Stroud’s engaging stories and straight-to-the-point attitude make this handbook super interesting, but it educates you in such a way that you focus on the most important aspect of the wilderness – surviving.
15. Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual
Author: Mykel Hawke | Pages: 641 pages
Providing useful and practical advice, outdoor survival professional and Green Beret Mykel Hawke knows his stuff! His guidance can be useful to anyone from all kinds of backgrounds, whether you’re brand new to the backcountry or an experienced explorer.
These survival approaches come from Hawke’s 25-year career as a Green Beret’s captain in the US Army. He also founded Spec Ops Inc, which provides specialized survival training. The popular survival professional has also featured on many television shows.
Imagine the most cataclysmic disaster and Hawke has provided the answers and tools for you to make it out of those scenarios alive! Learn navigation skills, first aid, and the psychology of surviving.
Boasting over 200 easy to follow illustrations and comprehensive training, this is one of the easiest to read and understand survival manuals on the market! This book is sure to become a staple in your collection!
16. Lost On Purpose: Adventures of a 21st Century Mountain Man
Author: Patrick Taylor | Pages: 187 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 0.42 x 9 inches
Lost On Purpose is the thrilling story of Patrick Taylor, who left his life as a Technology Executive behind to become a real-life mountain man. Embarking on exciting but sometimes perilous adventures, Patrick Taylor tells his own story in this refreshing and humorous read. If you want a break from survival manuals, this is one book that is sure to entertain, you won’t be able to put it down!
From shark-diving in Burma to ice climbing in Scotland, Patrick Taylor has seen and done it all. Following his career in the Marine Corps, he decided to become dedicated to his adventures.
Towards the end of 2013, Patrick crossed the Rocky Mountains on his own on foot, following in the footsteps of the Lewis & Clark expedition. Committed to living life as a mountain-man, he became a fully self-reliant trapper and stockman, spending bitter winters alone in old cabins and trekking miles over mountains. This is one book that shouldn’t be missed!
17. Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
Author: Dave Canterbury | Paperback: 256 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.44 inches
Next on our list of the best survival books is this awesome book by Dave Canterbury. Survivalist expert Canterbury has years of know-how to get you ready for your next wilderness adventure.
This no-nonsense book cuts straight to the most important aspects of thriving in the wilderness. Discover which items to pack, cookery skills, and how to protect yourself from the harsh elements of outdoor life.
Kick your survival skills up a notch with this fantastic textbook that’ll not only teach you valuable skills but will also show you how to appreciate the beauty and excitement of the outback.
18. Survival – Army FM 21-76: Department of the Army Field Manual
Author: US Department of the Army | Paperback: 309 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 0.78 x 9 inches
As far as survival books go, I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the most useful and reliable guides available today. A survival volume from the US Army? You can be sure they’ve got some tried, tested, and proven ways that will help you survive any life-threatening situation.
Survive the roughest environments with this classic and timeless textbook. Studied by hundreds and thousands of soldiers, this invaluable survival book will prepare you for any danger that may be around the corner. Covering a wide range of topics including navigation, finding edible wild plants, crafting your own tools, staying fit and healthy, and building your own shelter.
Take advantage of this professionally restored military guide. Military books have become harder to come across over the years, either being revoked by the armed forces or simply being taken out of print because of their age. This is a real shame as these books contain timeless and valuable lessons, so make sure you snap this one up!
19. Holding Your Ground: Preparing For Defense if it All Falls Apart
Author: Joe Nobody | Paperback: 172 pages | Item Dimensions: 8 x 0.39 x 10 inches
What would happen if society collapsed and the government could no longer protect your home or property? Holding Your Ground aims to educate you on how to protect your family if a sudden breakdown of society happened. Easy to understand, even if you have little to no experience in this area, it contains useful information on how to defend your home.
It’s quite common these days for people to stock up on food, water, and personal protection, but many don’t know or understand how to set up their homes and prepare their property for defense.
Using good old fashioned common sense, military techniques, and proven examples, Holding Your Ground will teach you how to prepare to defend yourself without compromising your home’s monetary value or aesthetic. If you’re a fan of preparedness, then this survival book should definitely be one standing proudly on your bookshelf.
20. Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Accident Before it’s Too Late
Author: Scott B. Williams | Paperback: 320 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
If you want to be prepared for a sudden disaster, this is the book you need. Severe floods, fast-spreading fires, and terrifying earthquakes. Catastrophes can hit towns and cities at any time, and having to escape at a moment’s notice is the reality many people face. Being prepared for these kinds of survival situations could save your life.
Author, Scott B. Williams has been writing books about his travels for over 25 years. His vast skills and strong interests in wilderness survival and adventures have entertained and educated people for years.
Learn how to hatch an escape plan to get you and your family to safety, create the perfect bug-out bag to survive the initial 3 days, and find food, water, and other essentials in the backcountry. Whether you’re facing a pandemic, violent riots, or being hit by a hurricane, this useful guide covers it all! You’ll also learn of some great hideout locations in various parts of the US.
21. Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters
Author: D.C. Beard | Paperback: 256 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.42 x 0.57 x 8.46 inches
Penned by one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, you can be sure this book is full of great wilderness survival advice. Learn how to build everything from a simple shelter requiring minimum equipment to intricate creations such as homesteads. Don’t have any experience? No problem, this book was aimed at any level and as long as you can pick up an ax, you’re good to go!
Affectionately named “Uncle Dan” by those who knew him well, author Daniel Carter Beard was a well-known author and illustrator. For 30 years he served in the Boy Scouts and became one of the first National Scout Commissioners. His passion and know-how of the outback inspired him to write and illustrate more than 20 books, educating a myriad of people on the joys of outdoor life.
You’ll find additional guides and information on how to use an ax correctly, make a fire, and even split logs. It’s sure to be incredibly useful for anyone, whether you’re a scout, camper, hiker, or just a lover of the wilderness.
22. The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide: Rediscovering The Lost Art of Manhood
Author: Frank Miniter | Hardcover: 256 pages | Item Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
If you want to become the ultimate man then this is the book for you! You’ll learn how to battle alligators, save a drowning person, and defend yourself against anyone! Split into seven different sections, you’ll discover valuable outdoor survival skills, enabling you to thrive in even the harshest environments.
Frank Miniter is a New York Times Bestselling author and is dedicated to helping every man be the very best he can be. A former senior editor for the popular magazine, Outdoor Life, Frank has traveled to all corners of the world, from fly fishing in Alaska, running with the bulls in Pamplona to climbing the Rockies. His extensive skills and know-how of the outback inspired him to write some of the best-selling survival books worldwide.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to survive a bear attack, deal with dislocated joints, or choose an excellent cigar, this is a book you’ll want to have in your library! Super easy to understand and full of Miniter’s real-life stories, this book proves that an average guy can become the ultimate man!
23. Wilderness Survival
Author: Gregory J. Davenport | Paperback: 304 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.75 x 8.25 inches
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then this comprehensive wilderness survival book is just what you need. Containing updated information on how to keep yourself safe in the backcountry, this is the perfect book choice if you want to become an expert in wilderness survival.
A former USAF survival specialist, author Greg Davenport is known as one of the most skilled and knowledgeable survival experts. For over 30 years he has taught students from all different countries from numerous backgrounds, following him into harsh areas to learn basic and advanced outdoor survival skills. As well as his teachings, Greg has appeared on TV and news shows such as CNN, ABC, and FOX to share his many skills.
With easy to use and to-the-point information, you’ll learn the five foundations of surviving in the wilderness, teaching you how to remain calm and composed until you’re able to reach assistance.
24. How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter & Self-Preservation Anywhere
Author: Bradford Angier | Hardcover: 320 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.25 x 9.4 inches
If you’re thinking of making your way into the woods, study this first. It can be a scary place and you’ll want to have as many wilderness survival skills as possible. Practical, easy to follow, and containing essential information, this is a book you should have in your survival kit!
Nicknamed “Mr. Outdoors”, author Bradford Angier was a much sought after expert and strong advocate of living off the land. His experienced background of minimalist back-to-earth living inspired him to start writing books and as a keen artist, he hand drew all of the sketches in his books.
Split into four easy to understand sections, Bradford Angier explains how to catch game if you don’t have access to a gun, which edible wild plants are safe to eat, and how to build a shelter to keep warm.
25. The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook
Author/s: Joseph Alton, Amy Alton | Paperback: 440 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.11 x 8.5 inches
This no.1 bestseller is perfect if you want to be able to look after yourself or a loved one in the event of a disaster. From the devastation of a hurricane to the total collapse of society, knowing how to handle a medical emergency when there’s no other help available, could save a life!
Packed full of professional medical advice, this is a must-have for anyone who wants to be prepared for any potential destruction. Learn valuable skills such as administering immediate first aid, examining someone, moving the ill or injured person, and even how to stitch a wound. This is sure to be a valuable asset to any survival kit!
26. Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked Into The Wilderness
Author: John McPherson | Paperback: 408 pages | Item Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.25 x 8.5 inches
Are you fed up with reading survival books that simply entertain? If you’re looking for a resource that you can actually put into practice, this is it! Read this survival handbook if you actually want to head into the depths of the wilderness and recreate the skills set by our ancestors.
Authors John and Geri McPherson have spent decades practicing the skills that they teach in their survival books. There are no rehashed or overused myths in this book, just true, tried and tested ways of living from the authors themselves, stemming from years and years of living off the land.
If you want to know how to build a shelter from whichever materials you can find or make your own pottery, this is the manual you need!