The 50 Best Survival Books in 2021 That May Save Your Life
Want to take your survival skills to the next level? Then a great survival book can be the key to unlocking your potential! Survival guides are a fantastic way to learn new survival skills and upgrade your current knowledge – turning you from a bushcraft novice into a hardcore survival expert! To help navigate you towards the Best Survival Books on the market, our experts’ have bundled their favorite reads in one, handy overview.
In this Best Survival Books overview, we’ve included guides on all kinds of survival topics and skills. From bushcraft basics to doomsday prepping: all kinds of survival scenarios are covered! This means that whether you’re looking for a comprehensive survival guide for beginners or an in-depth bushcraft book for experts, you’ll find a match in these top-selling titles.
Over 50+ titles to choose from!
We’ve included more than 50 different titles in our Best Survival Book overview, offering you plenty of survival inspiration! We’ve divided this 50+ book overview into different sections, making it easier to find your favorite title. These sections include the Best Bushcraft Books & Wilderness Survival Guides, the Best Survival Books on Disaster Survival and Prepping, and the Best Survival Books for Kids.
Furthermore, we’ve also chosen to highlight our favorite books in the Editors’ Picks section below. In this Editor’s Picks comparison chart, we’ve selected the Top 10 Best Survival Books we’re confident any outdoor enthusiast would enjoy – making them must-haves on any survivalist’s bookshelf.
Our Editors’ Picks – Top 10 Best Survival Books are:
- Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
- Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide
- The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way
- How to Stay Alive in the Woods
- 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
- SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere
- The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild
- Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide
- 365 Essential Survival Skills by Creek Stewart
- Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care
Check out all 50+ Best Survival Books below, and take your outdoor skills to the next level with these interesting, inspiring, and educational reads:
Editors’ Picks – Top 10 Best Survival Books
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury is your ultimate resource for experiencing the backcountry! This informative, educational read is written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, author of 10+ best-selling bushcraft and survival books.
Bushcraft 101 gets you ready for your next backcountry trip and is based on the 5Cs of Survivability: cutting tools, combustion devices, covering, containers, and cordages. From the Bushcraft 101 Field Guide, you’ll learn valuable tips on topics such as collecting and cooking food, weather protection, crafting DIY tools and supplies, and choosing the right outdoor gear for your adventure.
With over 5000+ top-rated Amazon reviews, this best-seller in survival guides is a must-have for any outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re a beginning survivalist or a bushcraft expert: Bushcraft 101 – A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival is a fantastic read for all.
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide
- Edible Wild Plants A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide is a season-by-season guide that helps you identify, harvest, and prepare over 200 common edible plants – found all across North America. This handy field guide on edible wild plants contains nearly 400 color photos and in-depth info to help you successfully forage on any outdoor adventure.
According to the publisher, each entry in the book includes images, plus facts on the plant’s habitat, physical properties, harvesting, preparation, and even poisonous look-alikes. Furthermore, the Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide contains bonus recipes for jelly, pie, jam, and more – allowing you to turn your harvest into yummy treats. Delicious!
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way
- Alton MD, Joseph (Author)
What to do in case of injury or illness out in the middle of nowhere? The Survival Medicine Handbook helps prep you for any kind of medical disaster where no help is in sight. This best-selling field guide on medicine and emergencies is written by Joe and Amy Alton and is packed with lifesaving advice.
This extra-thick, 3rd edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook is not a standard first aid book, because it takes into account that you will not have access to doctors or hospitals in case of emergency situations. This means that the book considers you, the reader, as the only medical resource to save someone’s life – which could be exactly the unfortunate reality in a remote survival situation or doomsday scenario. According to the authors, The Survival Medicine Handbook will give you the tools and knowledge to competently handle injuries and illness for any situation that leaves you at the end of the line with regards to someone’s physical well-being. The medical guide covers over 150 topics (with 175 illustrations), such as sprains & strains, fractures, infections, eye trauma, poisoning, water-borne illnesses, animal bites, and many more.
If you’re planning on a backcountry adventure, and won’t have access to regular medical resources, this book could save your life: making it a must-have for all savvy survivalists.
How to Stay Alive in the Woods
How to Stay Alive in the Woods by wilderness expert Bradford Angier is a classic read for any avid survivalist. Though originally released in 2001, this best-seller read is just as captivating and resourceful today, as it was nearly 20 years ago. Praised as the indispensable manual for all outdoor enthusiasts, this easy-read guide is packed with info to help to stay alive – and thrive!
Bradford Angier’s How to Stay Alive in the Woods is broken down into four main sections: Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation, and Safety. Covering all the basic survival skills to keep you safe, secure, and comfortable when exploring the great outdoors. For example, this survival guide reveals how to catch game animals without a gun, which wild plants you can eat (including full-color illustrations to make identification simple), how to build a sturdy and warm shelter, and how to signal for help. The survival tips and tricks by Bradford Angier are enhanced with detailed illustrations and expanded instructions, making it easy and quick to find the relevant info you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive survival guide that covers all the survival basics and helps keep you safe on your travels, How to Stay Alive in the Woods can truly be your lifesaver.
98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
- Used Book in Good Condition
If you’re looking for a survival guide that’s both educational and hilarious, consider 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive as a top contender. The title, written by Cody Lundin – director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Arizona, covers commonsense, modern survival skills for the backcountry, the backyard, and even the highway. This is the ultimate book on how to stay alive, all based on the principle of keeping the body’s core temperature at a healthy 98.6 degrees…
Yes, that may sound a bit niche, but trust us: it’s lifesaving knowledge. The author of the book stresses that a human can live without food for weeks and water for about three days… However, if the body’s core temperature dips much below or above the 98.6-degree mark – you can die within hours. This means that knowing how to maintain a safe core temperature when lost in a blizzard or stuck in a blistering desert could be the key to saving your life!
98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive is written in an entertaining and informative style, packed with wit and rebellious humor by Lundin. That said, the book is just as educational as it is humorous, and Cody Lundin draws on many years of backcountry expertise to help you beat the elements and stay safe – no matter what Mother Nature throws at you!
SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere
- Harper Collins Pub Sas Survival Handbook Revised by John Wiseman - 9780062378071
The SAS Survival Handbook by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman is one of the most comprehensive survival guides on the market. This best-seller not only covers the most important basic survival skills for the bush – but also briefs you on highly-current topics such as terrorism and urban survival. The SAS Survival Handbook is a fantastic resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers – no matter what your survival experience level. Wiseman bundles his experience as a member of the Special Air Service (SAS), Britain’s Elite Special Forces Unit, into 672 pages of survival advice. From basic camp crafts and navigation to fear management: this book by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman has got you – and your survival needs – covered!
The SAS Survival Handbook by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman contains a wide range of topics. Chapters include understanding basic survival skills, like reading the weather, and preparation essentials, such as assembling a pocket survival kit. Furthermore, you’ll learn how to make camp, construct shelter, find food, perform first aid, and more. Wiseman teaches you how to overcome any location: from the tropics to the poles, the desert to the mountains and sea.
Unlike regular bushcraft guides, the SAS Survival Handbook also covers survival scenarios in- and around the house and your everyday life. Such as disaster survival (how to react in the face of natural disasters and hostile situations), self-defense and hand-to-hand combat techniques, and security – for example: protecting your family and property from intrusion, break-ins, and theft.
The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild
- The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping Gathering and Cooking in the Wild
Part of the Bushcraft series by New York Times bestselling author Dave Canterbury, the Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild is the perfect read for aspiring foragers. This easy-read contains 264 pages of educational (and delicious!) content on what to eat, where to find it, and how to cook it!
As its name already suggests, the Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild is all about food. Author Dave Canterbury provides you with all the need-to-know basics about packing, trapping, and preparing meals for your treks and wilderness travels. Whether you’re headed out for a day hike or a weeklong backcountry adventure, Canterbury teaches you how to survive (and eat well) out in the wild.
Besides tips and tricks on hunting and gathering, Canterbury also shares some of his favorite recipes to make while on a trail. The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild is further enhanced with illustrations to accompany Canterbury’s instructions, plus a full-color photo guide of plants to forage and those to avoid. Compact, easy-to-carry, and packed with culinary inspiration: this is simply a great buy for all backpackers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide
- Prepper s Long Term Survival Guide Food Shelter Security Off the Grid Power and More Life Saving Strategies for Self Sufficient Living
Looking for a survival book to tackle any doomsday scenario? Then the Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide is a must-read! This step-by-step survivalist guide is filled with useful information on how to prep your home and family for any life-threatening catastrophe. The book is packed with survival techniques, strategies, and DIY projects – bundled by lifetime prepping expert Jim Cobb.
The Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide helps you prep for all kinds of disasters and emergency situations. Granted, we hope you’ll never actually have to put these tips into practice, but just in case, this book is your ultimate guide to get ready. According to author Jim Cobb, regular preparations you make for a hurricane, earthquake or another short-term disaster will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse. Whilst other prepping books allow you to pull through until emergency until services are restored, this book takes a different approach…
In the Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide, Jim Cobb teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months, or even years. Chapters include Drinkwater collection, hygiene, food foraging, first aid, self-defense, home-defense, and community-building (in case you’d have to create a whole new society). Ever wondered how to cope in a doomsday scenario? Let Jim Cobb enlighten you on the necessary survival skills and survival techniques to make it through an apocalypse alive!
365 Essential Survival Skills by Creek Stewart
365 Essential Survival Skills: Knowledge That Will Keep You Alive by Creek Stewart is a fantastic choice to learn new survival skills and/or take your existing skills to the next level. This essential survival guide contains 365 survival skills that any survivalist benefits from. These skills are relevant to all 4 seasons of the year, plus any kind of location (including the urban jungle).
365 Essential Survival Skills comprises the best knowledge, tips, and tricks – as selected by survival expert Creek Stewart. Each skill is explained in a fun and easy-to-learn way that any survivalist will pick up with a little practice. Plus, with 365 survival skills to practice, this book will keep you busy year-round! The book is divided into various topics, each with in-depth insights and practical advice. Subjects covered are the 4 core survival needs (shelter, fire, water, and food), first aid, navigation, signaling, self-defense, and more.
What makes this book stand out from the crowd, is that most topics are linked to in-depth video demonstrations, available online. This means that to fully take advantage of the book’s insights, you will need access to a computer. The online videos showcase how to put your newly acquired skills into action, which is a fantastic way of learning via example. However, it also makes this guide less ideal for on-the-go usage, as it does lack some images and/or detailed instructions. That said, if you’re looking for a handy survival guide to learn from home: 365 Essential Survival Skills more than ticks the box.
Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care
Another best-seller from the Bushcraft series by Dave Canterbury is the Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care. In this installment of the popular Bushcraft series, Canterbury and outdoor survival instructor Jason Hunt provide you with all the basic knowledge to provide proper first-aid in the woods.
Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care is an essential first-aid resource for all campers, hikers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts. When you have no access to a doctor and there’s no calling 9-1-1, this guide could be a real lifesaver. The authors provide detailed instructions on how to deal with a wide range of possible on-the-trail and camping injuries, such as cuts, burns, broken bones, and head injuries.
Besides first aid tips, you’ll also learn what first aid essentials to pack on trips, and how to create your own makeshift bandages, dressings, and slings. That’s not all, because Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care also contains chapters on how to use wild plants as medicine, allowing you to benefit from nature’s healing properties in times of need.
Compact, easy-to-carry, and filled with useful info that could truly help save your life: packing a copy of Bushcraft First Aid on any outdoor adventure is always a good idea to prep for the worst!
Best Bushcraft Books & Wilderness Survival Guides
In this section, we’re highlighting our favorite bushcraft guides and wilderness survival books. This selection contains both comprehensive guides to cover all kinds of survival skills, to detailed books on specific skills such as knots, building shelter, survival gear, finding food, and more. Whether you’re looking for an ultimate survival manual or an in-depth book to develop a certain skill, you’ll find a match between this highly-rated titles:
Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
- Advanced Bushcraft An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
Bushcraft Illustrated: A Visual Guide
- Hardcover Book
Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival
Bushcraft Basics: A Common Sense Wilderness Survival Handbook
The Ultimate Bushcraft Survival Manual
- MacWelch, Tim (Author)
Ray Mears Essential Bushcraft
- International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.
The Trapper’s Bible
- English (Publication Language)
How to Eat in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Foraging, Trapping, Fishing, and Finding Sustenance in the Wild
- How to Eat in the Woods A Complete Guide to Foraging Trapping Fishing and Finding Sustenance in the Wild
Tiny Survival Pocket Guide: A Life Insurance Policy in Your Pocket
- CARRY IT WITH YOU EVERYWHERE / All THE TIME: Credit-Card Sized to Fit In Your: Wallet, Pocket, Survival Kit, Glove Box, Purse, Pouch.ONE Tough GUIDE: Made of Special Tear and Weather Resistant...
Survive! by Les Stroud: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive
- Les Stroud (Author)
Outdoor Survival Skills
Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual
Pocket Field Guide: Survival Book of Lists
Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness
- Used Book in Good Condition
The Field Guide to Knots
- The perfect knot makes any job quicker, easier, and safer.
Essential Wilderness Navigation
Paracord Fusion Ties – Volume 2
The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook
The Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual
- MacWelch, Tim (Author)
Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Shelters
Primitive Technology: A Survivalist’s Guide to Building Tools, Shelters, and More in the Wild
101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods
150 Survival Secrets
Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Wilderness Survival
How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners
- Magnanti, Paul (Author)
Best Survival Books on Disaster Survival and Prepping
What to do when disaster strikes? These top-rated books in this Disaster Survival & Prepping selection will help you plan for survival. These preppers books are aimed at all kinds of survival scenarios, not just in the wilderness or outdoors, enabling you to get prepared for a doomsday situation. Whether you want to learn how to build the perfect bug-out bag or how to survive the end of the world as we know it: these books have got you – and your survival needs – covered!
Prepare for Anything
Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit
- Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag Your 72 Hour Disaster Survival Kit
Build the Perfect Bug Out Survival Skills: Your Guide to Emergency Wilderness Survival
- Stewart, Creek (Author)
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
- W W Norton Company
Evasive Wilderness Survival Techniques
The U.S. Navy SEAL Survival Handbook: US Army Survival
Seal Survival Guide: A Navy Seal’s Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster
- SEAL Survival Guide A Navy SEAL s Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster
Doomsday Preppers Complete Survival Manual
- Doomsday Prep Survival Manual
How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It
The Official US Army Survival Guide
Best Survival Books by Survival Expert Bear Grylls
Love yourself a Bear Grylls? Then perhaps one of his survival books will tickle your fancy! The survival expert has written various books on bushcraft, wilderness survival, finding food, and more. Equally interesting are his autobiography Mud, Sweat, and Tears – and his memoir on how he conquered Mount Everest. Below, you find 5 of our favorite Bear Grylls books, all great reads for any avid outdoorsman:
Extreme Food by Bear Grylls: What to Eat When Your Life Depends on It
How to Stay Alive: The Ultimate Survival Guide by Bear Grylls
The Kid Who Climbed Everest
Mud, Sweat, and Tears: The Bear Grylls Autobiography
- Grylls, Bear (Author)
Bear Grylls World Adventure Survival Camp
Best Survival Books and Wilderness Guides for Kids
Looking for a book that teaches your children how to survive and thrive in the great outdoors? Then perhaps your little one will enjoy one of these best-selling survival guides and books for kids:
Ultimate Survival Guide for Kids
- Colson, Rob (Author)
Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival
- Chicago Review Press
Ultimate Explorer Guide for Kids
- Miles, Justin (Author)
Sticks and Stones: A Kid’s Guide to Building and Exploring in the Great Outdoors
- Lennig, Melissa (Author)
My First Book of Knots: A Beginner’s Picture Guide
- My First Book of Knots A Beginner s Picture Guide
At OutdoorCommand, this Verdict section is where we would normally pinpoint you towards the best product in our overview. However, since this list contains more than 50+ different books, choosing a winner is simply impossible. Which is ‘the best survival book’ depends greatly on what type of guide or story you want.
For example, if you’re an avid bushcraft enthusiast, one of the titles from the Bushcraft series, such as Bushcraft First Aid, by Dave Canterbury could be a perfect fit. However, if you’re a hardcore prepper – and are looking for a book that deals with doomsday scenarios, a wilderness guide may lack relevant info on how to survive in the urban jungle. In this case, one of the titles from our Disaster Survival section may be a better match. Other factors to consider are: do you want a general survival guide or a book on a specific topic (building shelter, finding food, etc.). Do you plan to carry the book with you on your trails (if so: choose a compact book with minimum packing weight). Would you prefer a book that mostly educational or a title that also has some humor and wit (like 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive). To find the best survival book, you simply need to determine what title from our overview matches your reading desires best!
When in doubt, use our Comparison Chart!
To help you narrow down your search selection, we’ve listed our Editors’ Top 10 Picks in one, handy comparison chart. These 10 books cover all kinds of survival scenarios, from bushcraft to doomsday, and are highly-praised by other survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts. When in doubt, simply select one of the titles from the below comparison chart – and we’re confident you won’t be disappointed. Some of them are even available in a Kindle version and/or Audiobook version – in case you prefer something different than a paperback. Get browsing, get reading, and get prepared for anything with these high-quality, entertaining, and educational reads: