I am constantly impressed and reassured with the enthusiasm I see in the prepping and survivalist community.
Here is a group of people who are eager to take responsibility for their own fate, believe in self-sufficiency, and actively work to expand their knowledge.
While reading prepping and survival blogs are great, they are no substitute for survival books.
Why should you read survival books? How about because….
- Survival books are written by experts: Anyone can write a blog (which is why you find so much bad survival info on the net). It takes a much broader knowledge and dedication to write a survival book.
- Survival book are more in-depth: Here at Primal Survivor, we do our best to provide detailed information and survival tips. However, blog posts and articles don’t compare with the amount of detail that can be offered in a book.
- New viewpoints: Some survival and prepping books will present information in ways that you haven’t thought about yet. Sometimes you might get conflicting advice from other things you’ve read. This causes you to think things through objectively.
- YOU SHOULD CONSTANTLY REFRESH YOUR KNOWLEDGE! No matter how much of an expert you are, it is still important to refresh your knowledge. Reading survival books is a great way to do this.
I would like to add that, in today’s world where information is only a few clicks away, there is no excuse for not educating yourself on survival and emergency preparedness.
Yes, you will have to pay for these books (many are available on Kindle for very cheap or available free as part of an Amazon Prime Membership). Think of it as an investment into your future and security. It is worth it to read survival and prepping books!
There are hundreds of survival and prepping books out there. I couldn’t possibly list them all, so I’ve picked the best ones and divided them into categories.
You don’t have to read all of the survival books but I would recommend reading at least one book from each category.
Best Bushcraft and Wilderness Books
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
By Dave Canterbury, 256 pages
This is one of the most well-known bushcraft guides and has been read by thousands of people. Canterbury does a great job of covering more than just the basics, and doing it in a way that is easy to understand.
Note though that only the first two chapters are about survival skills (such as making shelters and starting fires). The remaining chapters are all about treating injuries and illnesses.
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Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
By Dave Canterbury, 256 pages
After you read Bushcraft 101, you’ll want to read this. It has much more detailed info about survival skills. Some of the skills covered are preserving food sources, hide tanning, trapping animals, and net making.
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Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive
By Les Stroud, 373 pages
For a TV personality, Les Stroud actually gives some good information in this survival book. It covers basic outdoor survival skills and has a good focus on self-reliance. A great choice for beginners to bushcraft.
SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere
By John Lofty Wiseman, 672 pages
This book covers wilderness survival as well as natural disaster scenarios. I particularly like how in-depth it gets about surviving various climates and self-defense.
How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere
By Bradford Angier, 320 pages
Considered one of the best wilderness survival books ever written, Angier does a great job of explaining detailed survival concepts in a way which is actually interesting. I particularly like how he incorporates Native American wisdom into the mix. If you like this survival book, you’ll also want to read Angier’s How to Eat in the Woods.
The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure
By Colin Towell, 320 pages
One of the newer wilderness survival books on the scene, it is already incredibly popular. Compared to other intro survival books, there is especially some good info on trapping and preparing game.
By Ellsworth Jaeger, 520 pages
Originally written in 1945, this is a great survival book for people of the “old school” mentality. It doesn’t have any of that hyped-up survival talk. Instead, it focuses on practical advice like outdoor sanitation, equipment, chopping, barkcraft, and more.
Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills
By John McPherson, 408 pages
Topics in this survival book include primitive tools like flintknapping, semi-permanent shelters, DIY containers, and more. This is truly a book for people who want to go beyond the basic survival skills!
Wilderness Survival 2nd Edition
By Gregory J. Davenport, 304 pages
Davenport is a former USAF Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Specialist. He’s written several survival books and this one is very popular intro book to all the main outdoor survival skills.
98.6: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
By Cody Lundin, 216 pages
Like the other survival books here, 98.6 delivers practical advice like survival kits, shelters, and body temperature control. The difference is that this book is written in a very humorous, entertaining way.
Emergency Preparedness Books
Disaster Preparedness for Women: 52 Steps to Get Ready for Anything
By Diane Vukovic and Primal Survivor
Written by our own expert Diane Vukovic, this prepping books stands out for numerous reasons. In addition to being the most level-headed prepping book you will ever read, it is also incredibly well-organized. If you are feeling overwhelmed by prepping or like you might have overlooked something, the clear advice and checklists in this book will get you on track quickly.
Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 3rd Edition
By Dr. Arthur T Bradley, 440 pages
Here is a great intro to prepping book which covers all of your basic needs and how to meet them in times of disaster
How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies in Uncertain Times
By James Rawles, 336 pages
Rawles is a U.S. Army intelligence officer and well-known survival expert. In his book, he talks about how to survive true SHTF situations and covers topics like bartering, water, and raising your own food.
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster
By Bernie Carr, 224 pages
Having trouble getting started with your preps and don’t know where to start? This prepping book has lots of practical steps you can take to increase your preparedness.
The Prepper’s Cookbook
By Tess Pennington, 300 recipes
Not only do you get lots of great recipes, but you’ll be better able to plan your emergency foods so you can actually have nutritious, tasty meals in times of emergencies.
Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens
By Kathy Harrison, 240 pages
I really like this prepping book because it uses stories to give examples of how to prep for various types of disasters as well as action steps to take.
Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide
By Jim Cobb, 240 pages
There isn’t too much detailed information in this guide, but it is a great starting point for new preppers. I particularly like that there are checklists in it to get you started.
Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse
By Fernando Aguirre, 254 pages
Based on the financial collapse in Argentina, this preppers book does a great job in getting you to look at things through a new perspective and provides some great tips too.
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
By Laurence Gonzales, 302 pages
Gonzales wrote about survival stories for National Geographic. He talks about these stories in his book and expertly analyzes why most people die and only a small percentage of people survive. This is really a great read!
- The Book of Camping and Woodcraft: A Guidebook for Those who Travel in the Wilderness by Horace Kephart
- Woodcraft and Camping by George Washington Sears
- Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski
- The Y2K Personal Survival Guide by Michael Hyatt
- The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times by Carol Deppe
- The Foxfire Series by Eliot Wigginton
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery
What other survival and prepping books would you add to the list? Let’s hear ‘em in the comments below!
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I think the books from Horace Kephart, George Washington Sears (Nessmuk) or Mors Kochanski are a serious oversite. Dave Canterbury gives credit to the writings of these gentlemen.
Good suggestions have added links above.
I just got my hands on The Y2K Personal Survival Guide by Michael Hyatt. While the time frame is a bit dated, the information inside isn’t. I remember the panic surrounding Y2K, and in the end, it turned out to be just a blip on the radar. We might not be so lucky next time.
The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe
I’d like to see at least one, and perhaps more, books on the skills that our great-grandparents grew up knowing. My recommendations include the 14-volume Foxfire series: (to quote one book’s table of contents) “hog dressing; log cabin building; mountain crafts and foods; planting by the signs; snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing; moonshining; and other affairs of plain living /.”
My second recommendation is The Encyclopedia of Country Living: The Original Manual of Living Off The Land and Doing It Yourself… at 960+ pages it’s a tome, but it’s the rural living / homesteading bible and I wouldn’t want to try to survive, much less thrive, after a cataclysmic SHTF event without it.
Good stuff guys, keep the recommendations coming!
You forgot some fantastic books from Ron Foster he has a lot ( over 60 books ) most fiction but a lot not fiction is latest is what I would call the bible is a long read but definitely worth it it’s called Old Farts Survival Guide it’s a must read !!!!
I also love is fictional books there a lot great tricks and knowledge in them I personally find them easier to learn and assimilate the knowledge when in this form but that’s me I guarantee you will really like them
We have a post on post apocalyptic fiction if you are interested in our picks.