5 Best Survival Books

Not everyone has survival skills. One of the effective ways to get training on survival skills is through a survival book. In this guide, we explore some of our favorite books that you should put your hands on this year. Even though you can watch videos and documentaries to learn about survival, this does not match the effect of a comprehensive physical book.

So, if you are looking to learn survival skills, it is always better to look into the best survival books. Through them, you will learn the practice and know what to apply when you are faced with an emergency. They will give you the same effect and knowledge that you get through a class.

Best Survival Books

In this buying guide, we look at the 5 best books to teach you about survival. Here are our picks.

The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild

The Bushcraft Field Guide is a book by New York Times bestselling author Dave Canterbury. Throughout his book, Canterbury provides invaluable tips on wilderness travels. You will learn about packing, trapping, gathering, and preparing food for your trips. You will get tips on survival in the wild, whether it is a day hike or a long-term expedition.

Since Canterbury is an outdoors expert, you can be confident that you’re getting advice from an expert. Apart from hunting and gathering, you’ll also get tips on what recipes to make that will sustain you on the trail.

To make it even more practical, the author has added visual appeal with picture guides of plants included. You will discover more about edible plants and those to avoid. You will get comprehensive instructions with illustrations.

Upon reading the book, you will get motivated to head out into the wild.

Product details

  • Series: Bushcraft
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (October 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440598525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440598524
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces


  • It is easy to read and understand
  • It comes with illustrations that make it very practical
  • An outdoor expert has written it
  • It has all the tips that you need


  • If you have read his other book, Bush Craft 101, you will find the content to be repetitive
  • Some users complained of limited trapping information
  • Some users found it to be more of a camping cookbook


Edible Wild Plants Book

Edible Wild Plants is a book by Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman that will give you a guide to over 200 plants in North America. In this book, you will also get visuals of the plants, so that it is easier for you to identify them. This is an excellent book if you are planning an outdoor adventure in North America.

The information in the book gets updated from time to time. So far, there are eight formats and editions that have been released, with all the previous versions being successful.

In the book, the plants are categorized according to the season for greater convenience. It’s easy for travel enthusiasts to identify plants based on the season they travel and discover the kinds of ingredients they need to carry.

You will get every detail on the plant, including its habitat, physical properties, harvesting and preparation, and how to identify its poisonous look-alike.

You will also get savoring recipes and a quick reference season key of every plant.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; Tenth edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402767153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402767159
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


  • The book is detailed with pictures
  • Plants are arranged according to season
  • You will get a guide of over 200 plants
  • The book has been updated from time to time
  • Great if you are going foraging


  • Some users found the plant pictures to be of low quality, making it hard to identify the plants
  • Some users complained that the book contained plants mainly from the East


The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

This is a book by Joseph Alton and Amy Alton, two medical preparedness professionals. The book is mainly a guide for medical help. It is an excellent book for those who want to prepare medically for any disaster. This is a great skill, as it isn’t always possible for someone to have access to medical care. Having a few tips can help save a life.

This book is available both in print and Kindle editions. It is not specifically meant for medical professionals – even non-medical professionals can learn about survival skills, disaster management, and first aid skills.

The book goes beyond the standard first aid book. It assumes that you will not get any help, and with that premise in mind, outlines the skills you need for handling injuries and illness. This helps you to know how to identify and treat over 100 medical conditions.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 588 pages
  • Publisher: Doom and Bloom; Revised & enlarged edition (June 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988872536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988872530
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds


  • It will help you prepare medically for any disaster
  • It can also be used by non-medical professionals to identify and treat over 100 ailments
  • Apart from medically preparing, you will also know survival skills and disaster management


  • Some users found it hard to only rely on the book without needing a doctor
  • Some users don’t like the remedies recommended, such as the use of herbs


SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere

SAS Survival Handbook is a book by John Lofty Wiseman. It is a book that was written with the sole purpose of helping you survive anywhere.

It has been revised with an update on the latest knowledge and technology you should have when faced with a disaster. This book is not focused specifically on one area, but tries to touch on every field to give you a comprehensive set of skills for any emergency.

You will learn preparation for a disaster, including all basic survival skills. These basics include ke such as reading the weather and gathering the essentials you will need to carry.

You will get knowledge about making a camp. You will know how to identify the best location, making the right shelter, organizing the camp, how to warm up and create tools you will need.

When it comes to food, you will know what is edible and what to avoid, where to find it, and the preparation method.

First aid skills are critical when faced with an emergency, and this handbook will help you know the first aid tips when faced with an injury and how to adjust and survive in any climate.

Disaster management is also very vital. It will teach you how to survive and what to focus on. You will also get survival tips when you don’t have basic supplies and services.

Self-defense skills are undermined when you are faced with an emergency. In this handbook, you will gain valuable knowledge about necessary self-defense skills. You will also get tips on security, helping you to know how to protect your family against intrusion.

The book covers details of different climates and terrains, which can help you adapt to any weather.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Revised ed. edition (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062378074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062378071
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds


  • The book is well-rounded and gives you details you need to survive any disaster
  • Written in simple English that is easy to understand
  • You will learn all about edible plants and how to identify or avoid them
  • It is revised and up to date with new technology included


  • Some users found the book to be too broad and shallow


Survival Hacks Book

Survival Hacks Book is a book by Creek Stewart that teaches you how to turn everyday items into survival necessities. You will learn over 200 ways in which you can use anything you have nearby to help in case of an emergency. This book is packed with practical and easy tricks for survival.

If you are into DIY hacks, then this may be the best book for you. You will get both small scale and large-scale hacks from the book. You will be able to do simple things, such as making a table with sticks and a rope, plus building a shelter using trash bags and a bottle.

You will also find out how to make a survival kit, along with all the essential items that should be in it. The book will equip you with knowledge on adequately preparing for a disaster, which will make dealing with a catastrophe easy.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (April 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781440593345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440593345
  • ASIN: 1440593345
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces


  • Gives you hacks to turn everyday items into emergency tools
  • With the advice from this book, you don’t have to buy new tools to deal with an emergency
  • It also gives you other tips for wilderness survival
  • It is easy to read


  • Some users preferred to use the internet for detailed illustrations
  • Some users found it to be light on content


Buyer’s Guide

All the above books are great survival books that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to deal with a disaster efficiently. If you have a hard time settling on a particular book, we do not blame you at all.

In this section, we strive to make it easier for you to decide by focusing on the particulars. Here is a quick guide.

Best Book for Medical Preparation

If you prefer to be medically prepared specifically, then the Survival Medicine Handbook would be the best choice. It will give you tips on medically dealing with different situations.

Best Book for Wilderness Survival

If you are looking for a handbook that will help you to survive in the wilderness, then the Bushcraft Field Guide would make the best choice. It will give you tips on hunting, gathering, cooking, and general survival in the wilderness.

Best Book for Plant Foraging

The Edible Wild Plants book will give you tips on all the edible plants that you can find in the wilderness, primarily if you are located in North America.

Best Book for Hacks

If you are into DIY and are looking for hacks, then the Survival Hacks book will serve you well as you will know over 200 ways to use the ordinary everyday things in the case of an emergency.

Best All-Around Book

If you are looking for the best all-around book, then the SAS Survival Handbook will serve you well, as it does not dwell on one area but tries to be as well-rounded as possible. It will give you knowledge on first aid, disaster management, self-defense skills, camping, and more.

It’s hard to give a particular recommendation, as all of these books serve such different purposes in teaching survival skills. Identifying your particular needs may help make your decision making easier. But if you are not sure and you just want a solid survival book, then go for SAS Survival Handbook, as it will give you a broad overview of all the skills that you should have.

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