The Ultimate List of the Best Prepping and Survival Books

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). 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.

Happy reading!

Best Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival 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.

advanced bushcraft
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.

survive les stroud
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
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.

survival handbook
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.

wildwood wisdom
Wildwood Wisdom

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 book
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
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
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 the family book
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
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.

preppers pocket guide
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.

preppers cookbook
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 book
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.

preppers long term survival guide
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
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
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!

Grid-Down Books

Survival Medicine Books

Bugging Out and Gear Books

Military Guides/Written by Ex Military

What other survival and prepping books would you add to the list? Let’s hear ‘em in the comments below!

I’m Jacob Hunter, founder of Primal Survivor.
I believe in empowering people with the knowledge to prepare and survive in the modern world.

More about Jacob here.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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