The 15 Best Survival Books Ever Written | Outdoor Life

Not everyone is a Navy Seal or an Eagle Scout. So for those who haven’t had any hands-on survival skills training, studying a quality survival manual is your next best option. Whether you have an entire library of self-preservation books or are looking to purchase your first survival guide, check out some of our favorite titles.

how to create your own library of survival books

For me, every episode of your favorite survival show on DVD or a survival app on your fancy phone just isn’t a substitute for an actual paper book. So what’s in my library? four different types of books that keep my skills sharp and keep me learning for when things take a turn for the worse.

You are reading: Best books on wilderness survival

wildlife survival books

Since wilderness survival skills are the most likely set of skills an outdoorsman will employ, let’s start our library there. It’s hard to go wrong with classics like “Staying Alive in the Woods” by Bradford Angier, “Outdoor Survival Skills” by Larry Dean Olsen, “Survival Skills and Living in the Wild” by John and Geri McPhersen, and “Bushcraft” by mors kochanski. these books, many of which are decades old, have stood the test of time and always provide me with a great reading list to give to nature neophytes.

And if you’re looking for something with a more contemporary look, check out “The Survival Manual” by Colin Towell and “98.6 Degrees” by Cody Lundin. the “manual” is a very comprehensive hardcover book that covers many survival skills and instructions on how to survive in different environments. Lundin’s “98.6” gives you a fresh look at the physical and psychological elements in a survival scenario, as well as a sure-fire recipe for a wilderness survival kit.

urban survival books

There are so many ways to go in the vague field of urban survival, so I’m going to list my best option. Cody Lundin’s “When All Hell Breaks Loose” has the most diverse array of modern survival skills you’ll find in a single book. deals primarily with disaster survival, but covers shelter, water, fire, food, first aid, communications, and a host of other topics. If the whole theme of disaster and mayhem gets too heavy, there’s a horribly comic book I like as an urban survival palate cleanser.

UFC fighter Forest Griffin, along with his author friend Eric Krauss, have crafted the most foul-mouthed and irreverent book I’ve ever read. It’s called “get ready when it all comes crashing down.” This self-proclaimed survival guide to the apocalypse is packed with disturbing concepts and funny but dirty stories. If you have ever been offended by something, then this book is not for you. But if you want to learn how to start distancing yourself from your friends and family now, so they don’t come to you after the end of the world, then this might be the book for you.

wild plants books

You need a Peterson’s “Field Guide to Wild Edible Plants” as a minimum requirement for a survival library. Other books are good, but Peterson’s book is small and comprehensive enough to bother and feed you for years (if groceries are available, that is). owning some tree guides and wildflower guides will be of great help, if you can’t identify that pesky weed or bush you come across.

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audubon makes some full-color photo identification books, while newcomb and peterson stick to the classic draw-and-paint format. So many skills come down to material identification, you really don’t want to skip the trees and plants section of your home library.

farmer books

We’ll end our survival library with some nice, clean farming skills. “square foot gardening”, “the chicken tractor”, the “foxfire” series, the “back to basics” reader’s digest and many other books could provide you with interesting reading and give you the skills to take better care of yourself and others. his family. in case of money problems, supply chain problems or a large-scale ragnarok (Viking armageddon).

the 15 best survival books ever written

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one of these 15 books could save your life one day. make sure they’re ready to read in your new survival library.

this manual of dr. Bob Arnot and Mark Cohen is a simple, easy-to-read book that focuses on disaster survival. The book is divided into three sections providing advice “before a disaster strikes”, “during an emergency” and “after the crisis”. This book is packed with expert advice and helpful checklists to help you shop for and organize your food, first aid gear, and supplies. As a bonus, the book comes with a 90-minute disaster preparedness video that the whole family should watch.

This book by Bradford Angier is an absolute classic, and the small paperback can easily be stowed in your gear and taken with you on the go. the content is quite solid, although the drawings leave you a bit short on the details of certain skills such as setting traps and making fire. Although the language is somewhat dated now (it was written in 1956), the book has one great thing going for it: the information is perennial. that is, the abilities presented have worked anyway and will always work. if you’re lucky, this little book might be all you need.

This is the book that started my obsession with survival skills. I was 16 when I first bought Larry Dean Olsen’s Outdoor Survival Skills. This is a solid little wilderness survival book that shows us that sometimes less is more. The book teaches Native American-inspired skill sets for acquiring shelter, water, food, fire, tools, and much more. With this book, you can effectively learn how to make ropes, archery rigs, and even functional friction fire equipment. Over the years, I have actively field-tested the lessons in this book, successfully reproducing the skills described in its pages. if I can do it, so can you.

the survival manual, by colin towell, is exactly what you would expect from the looks of it. This great book is a comprehensive study of all things survival. From different settings to different climates, the book covers the global skills you’d need to survive in a wide variety of conditions and regions. Contemporary writing and illustrations make this book appealing to younger readers, but the skills are the same as you’d find in a more venerable book. If you can only afford one survival manual, this might be the one for you.

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cody lundin’s first book, 98.6 degrees, may be the last “survival gear” book. explains the physiological needs of certain things and then explains the equipment needed to meet these needs. With humorous text by Lundin and quirky drawings by professional cartoonist Russ Miller, the book is packed with legitimate experience in the field presented in a memorable way. This book may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is one of the highest rated survival books in recent years. If you like the survivor/naturalist Cody Lundin on the TV show “Double Survival,” then you’ll probably enjoy the skills and techniques taught in this book.

This bestselling survival manual written by former Special Air Service survival expert John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman contains some of the most trusted and respected survival information available. From old-school navigation skills to up-to-date technologies like GPS, he can learn survival skills for any weather, on land or at sea. disaster survival and other contemporary topics have been added to the most recent additions to this popular and trusted book.

another great read from cody lundin is his 2009 disaster survival guide, when all hell breaks loose. For those who liked 98.6 degrees, you’ll love this great book full of disaster preparedness and emergency skills. With topics ranging from escaping, to building an outdoor emergency kitchen, to dealing with a dead body, there is a wealth of information covered in this very detailed book. This is not just a disaster survival or urban survival book; there are lessons here for almost any type of emergency. this is one of my favorite books.

this book by john and geri mcpherson is subtitled “primitive wild living & survival skills.” is similar to larry dean olsen’s book, and while it doesn’t cover as many skills, it goes deeper into the skills covered. learn how to tan deer skins, make sharp stone blades, build bow drill rigs, and many others. Crafts for Nature Lovers This book is ideal for those who need a hands-on approach to basic life skills.

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Every survival library needs a copy of this book, as does every bag of bugs. the 400 plants described in this book are found in the eastern half of the us. uu. and many of them grow from coast to coast. This concise book tells you which wild plants to use for salads, tea, tubers, and many other forage foods. don’t let the black and white line drawings put you off. this book has the details and a lot of plants that many fancy looking books with color photos lack. never go hungry again with this book in your pocket.

This basic book shows you how to care for shelter, water, fire, food, tools and supplies, along with instructions on how to identify wild food plants, tan hides, improve your archery skills and much more. This book, along with scores of other books by the author, have created an East Coast survival skills phenomenon.

this manual by jeffrey isaac, pa-c, is a very detailed medical book, full of technical information written in easy to understand language. This book is aimed at the outdoor crowd and covers many scenarios that you would normally encounter while out in nature. Muscular and skeletal injuries, toxins, cold injuries, dental problems and many other ailments and injuries are explained and a variety of treatments are offered. If this book doesn’t keep you in one piece on the way to the doctor, nothing will.

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First Aid for Mountaineering by Jan Carline, Martha Lentz, and Steven Macdonald is a paperback book on accident response and first aid care that would fit nicely in a nature medicine cabinet. This book has a number of good checklists and provides instructions on how to treat many typical outdoor injuries. I keep this book in my largest medical bag as a reference guide for symptoms and signs of trouble.

The title pretty much says it all. Survival instructor/recently turned author Creek Stewart has written a step-by-step book to guide us through the art of building an evacuation kit that would be our lifeline if we ever had to “escape.” this book helps us determine the equipment we would need to assemble a 72-hour kit on virtually any budget. Loaded with options, each chapter helps us assess our needs and find ways to meet them. Numerous checklists and photos make the book easy to read, understand, and use.

For millennia, man has struggled to control the beast within. However, UFC fighter and author Forrest Griffin has taken that beast into uncharted waters, possibly drowning the poor thing. This book is mostly a dirty joke book, at least that’s how I read it, but it has two useful points for true survival skills enthusiasts. point one is that forrest is not in the same rut that we may be stuck in. I find the book stimulating, like the chapter on digging up your wife’s flower garden to build a bunker with a separate jail inside to lock up. upset relatives. and the chapter on building a destruction vehicle (with a brewery on board) is inspired. I may be inspired by a lunatic, but I stand by my opinion. Which brings me to the second point I take from this book: don’t take everything so seriously. It’s easy to get pessimistic about urban survival and disaster preparedness, so this book could possibly be your foul-mouthed palate cleanser. warning: this book is not for young people at all.

northern bushcraft, by mors kochanski, is a great survival book, no matter where you live or where you go for adventure. That said, it’s packed with skills gained from living the wildlife in the forests of northern Canada. From catching snowshoe hares or hunting a moose to sharpening axes, felling trees, lighting fires, building shelters, and much more, this book is a great outdoor resource.

so many titles, so many options. And if you’ve already read all of this, check out the ol’s definitive survival manual.

but these books are of no use to you if you don’t read them and retain the knowledge they contain. the best way to hold on to all that know-how is to put it into practice. see what works for you and see what works in your area. good luck and happy reading.

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