Knowledge is the most powerful survival tool you could ever possibly possess. A knife and a fire steel will do wonders in the wilderness, and a hefty stockpile will be a huge asset in case of an emergency situation, but nothing will ever come close to helping you survive like the knowledge and skills you possess.
While we all already know this, we also simultaneously realize how difficult attaining knowledge can be. The learning curve can be steep, mastering skills often happens slowly, and the material we need to learn can feel broad and overwhelming. Sometimes, too, it can be hard to determine whether a source of information is even reliable enough to help us on our quest for valuable knowledge.
That’s where this list comes in handy. The survival books below are some of the most read, rated, and reviewed on the web. These books are written by some of the most well respected and knowledgeable industry leaders. It’s vitally important to get your information from trustworthy sources – after all, you never want your facts wrong when your life is on the line.
Scrolling through this list, you’re likely to find at least 2-3 books that really stand out to you among the rest. I’d suggest starting off reading those. There’s plenty to learn – might as well begin with the topics that interest you most!
The Best Survival Books: Top 5
|1. SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Wiseman
By far the top selling survival book on the net. The SAS Survival Handbook concentrates on wilderness survival based on the training techniques of the Special Air Service. Its goal is to explain how to survive outdoors in any part of the world, no matter what climate you’re in and whether you’re at land or at sea.
|2. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley Rawles
A guide to overall preparedness and general self-reliance. Tips from surviving on your own, to how much food you should stockpile, what to plant in your garden, which animals are best to keep as livestock, and more. From the founder of SurvivalBlog.com.
|3. Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit by Creek Stewart
A book all about bugging out and building the ideal bug out bag/72-hour kit. Includes a complete BOB checklist, photos and explanations of each item, a resources list and practice exercises.
|4. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
An analysis of different survival stories, both of those who successfully made it through their hardships and those who did not make it out of their survival situations. Laurence Gonzales attempts to show through her work that there are stages of survival and that there is an essence of a survivor that makes these kinds of people able to survive, not only in the wild, but also in the face of life-threatening illnesses and difficult life experiences.
|5. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin
Wilderness survival through and through with Cody Ludin, director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona, well known for his time spent on Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival TV show. Cody’s book is one of the most entertaining and engaging ways to learn about wilderness survival and bushcraft techniques.
The Best Survival Books: Top 6-10
6. The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse by Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre [Kindle Edition/eBook]
7. Mud, Sweat, and Tears: The Autobiography by Bear Grylls [Kindle Edition/eBook]
8. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven [Kindle Edition/eBook]
9. The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way by Joseph Alton [Kindle Edition/eBook]
10. Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival by Max Velocity [Kindle Edition/eBook]
The Best Survival Books: Top 11-25
11. OUTDOOR LIFE – The Ultimate Survival Manual – 333 SKILLS That Will Get YOU Out Alive by Simon & Schuster
|The Ultimate Survival Manual (Outdoor Life): 333 Skills that Will Get You Out Alive
158 total customer reviews…
12. Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger
13. Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness by the editors of Stackpole Books
|Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness
147 total customer reviews…
14. Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive by Les Stroud
|Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive
146 total customer reviews…
15. Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water, Food and Fire, Tools and Medicine, Navigation and Signaling, and Survival Psychology by Mykel Hawke
|Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water, Food and Fire, Tools and Medicine, Navigation and Signa
124 total customer reviews…
16. Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski
17. US Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76 by the U.S. Department of Defense [Kindle Edition/eBook]
18. Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart by Joe Nobody [Kindle Edition/eBook]
19. Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late by Scott B. Williams [Kindle Edition/eBook]
|Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late
99 total customer reviews…
20. Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters by D. C. Beard [Kindle Edition/eBook]
|Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters (Dover Books on Architecture)
98 total customer reviews…
21. The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Manhood by Frank Miniter
22. Wilderness Survival: 2nd Edition by Gregory J. Davenport [Kindle Edition/eBook]
23. How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere by Bradford Angier [Kindle Edition/eBook]
|How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere
87 total customer reviews…
24. The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook: Keep your Loved Ones Healthy in Every Disaster, from Wildfires to a Complete Societal Collapse by Joseph Alton [Kindle Edition/eBook]
|The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook: Keep your Loved Ones Healthy in Every Disaster, from Wildfires to a Complete Societal Collapse
86 total customer reviews…
25. Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness by John McPherson
Extra: *Bonus Survival Book
The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker [Kindle Edition/eBook]
|The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence
1,157 total customer reviews…
*Thomas’ personal favourite survival book
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Looking for more survival book recommendations?
Take a look at our list of the top 22 emergency & survival first aid books if you’re getting serious about learning as much as you can about first aid.
Have any survival book advice for us?
What would you say is the best survival book of all time? Have you read any of the survival books listed above? We’d love to know what you thought of them.
If you have any other books you’d either recommend, or even some that you think absolutely no one should waste their money buying, share your opinion in the comments section below!