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You can have all the gear in the world but without proper knowledge you won’t last long. The SAS (Special Air Service) is a British Army special forces unit, and is revered as one of most elite fighting forces. This guide offers 101 easy, DIY style projects to get you and your family ready for disasters. Written by former survival reality show host, and YouTube sensation, Dave Canterbury brings us Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival. Another thing people will need to be educated on if they plan on hitting the woods to survive will be wild edibles.
There are currently an estimated 3 million or more individuals in the United States that consider themselves doomsday “preppers” or homesteaders (among other nicknames). Some survival books are all encompassing, but many cover a broader spectrum of more specific topics relating to emergency preparedness. Many agree that John “Lofty” Wiseman’s 1986 SAS Survival Handbook is one of the best guides available.
The cover to Bradford Angier’s classic guide to wilderness survival boasts over 600,000 copies sold, and each one of those readers is now better equipped to survive on their own. There have been dozens of official Army handbooks published over the decades that are written from a military perspective.
At 350 pages, Paul Tawrell’s Camping and Wilderness Survival is one of the most thorough guides to the outdoors and wilderness survival ever written. Fans of Cody Lundin from the “Dual Survival” TV show will appreciate When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes, the second survival guide written by the outdoor expert.
There are hundreds of survival books to choose from and everyone has their own preferences and opinions on what the book should teach. SubscribeEnter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.
I also think balance is one of the most important things when talking about boys and technology. Finding some compelling outdoor and survival activities for boys to do provides a fun way to get outside and learn some practical life skills. This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Let’s get those boys learning about survival techniques, spending some time exploring (even it if is only in their own backyard,) and finding out about practical skills that will serve them their whole lives.
If you have a boy who doesn’t really like to read, but would enjoy doing a few projects, try Roughing It. You definitely need to learn to tie knots it you are going to be working on these projects. Another solid book that is not written for children is this book from a former SAS (Special Air Service) instructor. Survival is big in games like Minecraft and taking that outside into the real world is something that I am encouraging my son to do.
Our best cookbooks for boys has some outdoor cookbooks that you and your boys might enjoy as well.
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival will teach you everything you need to know to keep yourself safe in the wilderness. Just like the title says, How To Survive Anything will teach you all you need to know to stay alive. How to Stay Alive In The Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere is a manual for everyone who is spending time in the outdoors. If anything goes wrong and help isn’t on its way, you should know how to treat your injuries yourself.
This guide will teach you all the tactics, techniques and technologies on how to prepare and survive the apocalypse. Whatever weapons you’re using, and wherever you find yourself, you should know how to catch and cook your pray.
And for the end, here’s a book that teaches you how to make your own survival kit and get through the first 72 hours of an emergency. The best survival book according to Amazon reviews is SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation.
If you'd like to receive updates when new lists are published, enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email. The following list is a very carefully selected collection of topnotch, most highly recommended books that encompass pretty much all of the general types of emergencies and critical situations that one might encounter should the grid take a tumble or should a natural disaster occur. Some of the following books may provide all-encompassing, more general information, while others go into depth and particular detail.
A clear and concise guide with well organized, precise steps to take for disaster preparedness. This inexpensive but packed-full little guide is chock full of valuable, critical information presented in an easy to read format for quick, handy access. This is probably the most complete and clinically accurate medical text for the outdoors ever written. This is a very comprehensive, practical, realistic and well written guide that goes into detail on how to survive various disasters, financial collapse, fires, weather calamities and real world threats.
This SAS Survival Handbook has become one of the highest selling and most popular Survival texts ever written. One of the items you might want to include in your emergency kit or bug out bag is a good book on survival medicine. This one has a nearly 5 star review on Amazon, and it is great because it looks at every situation as if no doctor or hospital is available to you. This book will help you to recognize different conditions, know how to treat them ,and what you can do to prevent complications.
This is a wonderful e-book resource if you want to know the natural plant cure or treatment for dozens of medical issues. I love this book because it shows that you can build a quality medical emergency kit without having to spend a fortune. The downside of this book is that a lot of the survival information assumes that you have access to a used parachute and a survival kit (which would be the case if you were a downed pilot). This book is slim, but loaded with great information that is delivered with a healthy dose of pop-culture references and profanity. I hope these reviews help you find the resource right for you, and that they serve to inspire you to get outside and practice wilderness survival skills! Maybe all those survival stories make me appreciate my humdrum suburban existence and comfy couch more. Human psychology and the choices people make have never been more fascinating than when life is hanging in the balance.
It makes me wonder about my own ability to keep calm in a crisis, behave rationally in crazy circumstances and make the right life-saving decisions.
These psychological questions are interesting but huge moral questions are raised in survival books too.
For example, after reading about shipwreck survivors pulling straws to see who eats who and who finishes off a companion for their next meal (see In the Heart of the Sea), I started wondering how my family would get on if stuck in a life raft with no food.
Well, hopefully I’ll never find out, but these are the type of fascinating moral issues my mind likes to churn over. Krakauer’s epic account of the 1996 Everest disaster which killed many climbers is a classic survival story. Joe Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck.
Certain Simpson was dead, Yates returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him but miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall and eventually managed to crawl back to camp. A survival book that combines themes of fear, suffering, survival, courage and deep friendship. This harrowing survival book adventure is another true story about four backpackers who meet in Bolivia and set off into the rainforest on a dream expedition.
The group splits up after disagreements, and Ghinsberg and friend try to find their own way without a guide. Ashcraft’s sailing trip with her fiance ends in disaster when they sail into a hurricane and she wakes up to find that her loved one is gone.
Utterly alone and weeks from land Ashcraft’s book chronicles her 41-day journey to safety and shows amazing fortitude. Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched.
This book also covers the 1996 Everest disaster from the point of view of Beck Weathers who was left for dead. In this powerful memoir, “dead man walking” Weathers describes not only his escape from hypothermia and the murderous storm that killed nine climbers but his love of this dangerous sport and road to recovery since the disaster.
Tragic and unforgettable story about Christopher McCandless who gave $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.
Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter in Alaska.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild. If you start to enjoy the Everest survival stories then you’ve got to read this one by Kiwi hero Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Everest along with sherpa Tenzing Norgay. A survival book that shows we can do anything if we believe in ourselves, team up with the right people and persevere. Hailed as a masterpiece of historical adventure, this survival book recounts the experiences of 12 American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the Sahara.
Hiking into the remote Utah canyon lands, Aron Ralston felt perfectly at home in the beauty of the natural world.
Through six days of hell, with little water, food, or warm clothing, and the terrible knowledge that no one knew where he was, Aron eliminated his escape options one by one.
This survival book is currently in a bestseller and it’s the one that prompted me to write this post. Stay tuned to Get In the Hot Spot – a travel blog for women aged 40+ who want to enjoy new adventures, have more fun and feel fabulous.
This book is comprised of all the useful survival information in those field manuals and put out by the US Department of the Army.


This is a book that was written by a relocation consultant that has spent over 30 years designing high security homes and retreats. Not only should they know how to hunt, but also how to clean their kill, and be able to cook it.
Ralph La Guardia has spent over 30 years researching the topic of treating medical emergencies when there are no doctor’s or hospitals left. This is a great, well-rounded book on finding, identifying, knowing the seasons of harvest, and collection and preparation of wild edibles.
Touching on subjects like food caches, amateur radios, and CERT training, this book touches on great topics and goes in depth to each of them.
However, a very small percentage of that population are an Eagle Scout, Army Ranger, or wilderness guide with years of training and practice on various survival skills. They cover everything from natural disaster preparation and survival, gardening and food self-sufficiency, self-defense, home security, relocation, and living frugally during an economic collapse. If anyone knows a thing or two about the physical and mental preparation needed to survive in the wild its Wiseman, who spent 26 years in the British Army’s elite SAS forces.
The book has been in print without much update since 1956, but the content is timeless and the information presented is what has worked and will continue to work for survivors of levels. Military history writer Jay McCullough sifted through their contents and compiled a comprehensive guide on all aspects of survival in a format that soldiers and civilians alike can learn from. The book includes everything from basic skills like using a compass, reading the sun, and starting a fire to more advanced animal tracking, shelter building, and first aid. A book that may be elementary to a survival expert may be a beginner prepper’s outdoor bible. We believe that being prepared is important for any family and we want to see preparedness become a mainstream conversation.
I actually feel kids can learn a lot online and don’t mind my son playing around with or working on the computer. There are 6 projects including making a mini fridge, a forest shelter and a pocket sized survival kit. The books above have a few knots in them, but if your boy really gets into knot tying, as some boys do, here are two great books to buy. If you have younger boys and just want to get them outside a bit see our review on The Kids Outdoor Adventure Book.
It can be anything from food shortage, natural disasters like hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, even a zombie apocalypse.
It will provide all necessary information on the latest survival techniques for all kinds of dangerous situations. It covers 333 skills you’ll need to get through any disaster, even quicksand and wild animal attack.
It covers various topics like food, water, medicine, staying warm, tools, security…Each part of the book focuses on different aspects of every day life. You’ll learn all the necessary skills about prepping food, tools, supplies, and protecting yourself from all the possible troubles.
This Zombie Survival Guide will give you all the tips and tricks on how to avoid the deadly creatures, or how to win if you confront them. It covers a really important question – in case this kind of apocalypse ever happens, how to get food?
A Field Guide To Edible Wild Plants covers more than 400 plants, both edible and poisonous ones.
You don’t have to have any knowledge, since the book covers basic things as well, like how to hold and use an axe. It teaches you how to keep yourself alive with a focus on keeping your body’s core temperature stable in any situation.
Each has been considered one of the most essential and fundamental in its particular field of expertise, survival and immediate sustainability.
So complete, there is hardly anything that isn’t covered that may be encountered by anyone in a survival, preparedness situation. It was written by a professional soldier and certified instructor with the Special Air Service in the UK. These will include basic first aid tips, using natural treatments for many injuries and aliments, and extreme survival medicine tips.
For centuries, people have used plants to cure all sorts of things, and if you find yourself in the wilderness, this book just might save your life, or that of a loved one. It is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in learning more about essential oils and how they can help. It shows you how to use items from around the house for emergency survival and medical care, including how to assemble a complete emergency kit of new gear for less than $10.
Ita€™s a mile wide and an inch deep, so it doesna€™t have the space to go into great detail on any one topic.
This wilderness survival book is not about charts and diagrams, it is about the very personal stories of the authors. The book does not have enough space to go really deep into diagrams and instructions, but it has some great chapters about fear, awareness and the basics of survival.
It does not fall into the twin traps of being either too technical or too basic and the way the materials are delivered makes it a fun and amusing read. Either anxiety is driving me to read survival stories in the hope I’ll pick up a few survival tips (just in case I ever need them!), or my thirst for survival books and disaster stories is fueling my anxiety.
But I think what I love most about survival books is trying to understand what makes some people survive apparently intolerable circumstances and why others give up on life.
I’ve noticed that daily life can raise my anxiety levels through the roof but when crises happen I manage to stay calm and get through it fine.
Or maybe we’d all starve because we were too emotionally attached or polite to kill each other off and gobble each other up? Of the 45 people on board 16 survivors stay alive for 72 days by eating their fellow (dead) passengers. But the adventure of a lifetime quickly becomes a struggle for survival when they get lost in the wilds of the Amazonian jungle. When a terrible rafting accident separates the two men, Ghinsberg is forced to survive for weeks alone in one of the most unpredictable environments on the planet.
This survival story offers an inspiring reminder that even in our darkest moments we are never truly alone.
It gives us an idea what it would feel to be helpless against forces of nature beyond our control. Inexplicably twelve hours later, he walked down the mountain blinded, gloveless and caked with ice.
Staring fear in the face they kept their eye on the prize and did what no one had ever done before.
Then, eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, an eight-hundred-pound boulder tumbled loose, pinning Aron’s right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Then a moment of stark clarity helped him to solve the riddle of the boulder -and commit one of the most extreme and desperate acts imaginable – sawing his own arm off.
The book tells the ordeal of the whaleship Essex sinking which was the basis for another great book Moby Dick. Please share it on Facebook or wherever you think it will be appreciated using the links below. I’ve read some of these like Into thin Air and Into the Wild (so sad), but most of them are new to me.
I always think ‘why read fiction when real life stories can be so interesting?’ Well, not my real life (fortunately? I highly recommend you practice the skills taught in these books so you aren’t caught off guard when a disaster does strike. This is a book more geared towards survival in a combat situation, but one can apply the same principles when their not under fire as well. Dealing with physical fitness, defensive positions, and militaristic ways of approach to survival, this read covers a ton of scenarios. This book is something a family that’s not prepared at all, could pick up and get started in the right direction.
The author is extremely well versed in primitive survival skills (as well as being former military) and has brought his knowledge to the people in an easy-to-read beginner’s guide. If security is a concern when you’re looking for a permanent place to live, this is also the book you want to read.
This is an all-in-one comprehensive guide to hunting, butchering, and cooking wild game, but is also a great choice because Vol.
Complete with color photographs, an index, harvest calendar, and an illustrated glossary, this is an easy book for any beginner to use.
Dealing with a wide range of disasters, this guide ultimately helps you prepare for any of them. For the rest of the population that hasn’t received some kind of hands-on training, a survival book may be your next best option.
Whether you are filling a niche in your library of survival books or looking to buy your first guide, the books below contain some of the most practical information and are among the most popular currently available. The book features everything from navigation skills, shelter construction, identifying edible plants, predicting weather patterns, and every other basic skill needed to endure life in the wilderness. HTSAITW is broken down into four sections: Sustenance, Warmth, Orientation, and Safety, each offering detailed instructions and accompanying (though somewhat lacking) illustrations. The book covers first aid, distinguishes between surviving in different environments and whether conditions, surviving biological and chemical attacks, shelter building, and the often overlooked factors of mental fitness and fortitude.
In an emergency situation, this book has the resources needed to teach you to take care of yourself if sick or injured, find your way out of the desert or off a mountain, or procure an endless supply of drinking water. The book addresses topics like finding fresh drinking water, heating and cooling the body and shelter with unconventional methods, composting human waste, catching and storing nutritious foods, and even disposing of a dead body. Remain hopeful that whatever book you chose will have a tidbit, if not an arsenal, of life-saving information. It covers building many different types of shelters, building a fire, finding water, signaling for help and much more. First is a wonderful starter book for knots with plenty of pictures and good instruction My First Book of Knots: A Beginner?s Picture Guide.


It has some basic outdoor survival info as well as survival stories, first aid and other things such as axemanship.
SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere is a handbook for survival in any circumstance. You will learn all the basics like how to build a shelter, filter water and start a fire, but also tricks like how to find your way using sun and stars. What’s great about this book is that it really focuses on a wide range of situations, from natural disasters to being stuck in the elevator. You’ll learn how to survive both in wilderness and urban situations like for example a terrorist attack. This way it can cover practically everything you’ll need, from signaling for help to what plant not to eat. Camp-Lore And Woodcraft will teach you all the essentials like how to pack everything efficiently, pitch a tent, or chop wood.
Every explanation comes with an illustration of the plant, so if you find yourself in a situation where you need to figure out if you can eat something or not, you know how to tell them apart.
In emergency situations, this knowledge can save lives, especially when you don’t know how to treat infections or different illnesses or injuries. When you learn how to do that, you’ll soon learn how to make a fireplace, log houses, ranches, and all sorts of shacks. Special Forces Captian for 25 years and a founder of a survival training company called Special Ops, Inc. He gets right to the meat of what’s necessary, excluding useless trivia and instead, focussing on things of vital and primary importance.
When all you want to grab is a small handbook, this is the one to take or have with you in tight spaces. The author is a Clinical Professor of Surgery in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center and is founder and past president of the Wilderness Medical Society, Chief Medical Officer and Chair of the Medical Advisory Board for Healthline Networks, Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.
Had the people in New Orleans had this book to refer to and prepare with, much of their trauma could have been avoided. There are many home health manuals, but this one stands above the rest; it presents modern information that can be applied in the field, in a third world village, in the wilderness or in any urban setting. Survival medical books are an incredible resource to have in a disaster, so definitely consider purchasing at least one of two to include in your preps. It’s a big book, at nearly 600 pages and 2 pounds in weight, but would make a great addition to your emergency kit. This is a no holds barred field guide to having to perform surgical skills when in survival mode. However, you may want to consider getting a print version as well to keep in your bug out bag if your phone battery dies. What it lacks in portability it makes up for with loads of information about all things wilderness related. The book is a journal of sorts that documents the two men and their experiences getting through a month long survival trip together. It makes you wonder why people do things like climb Everest while also admiring their tenacity to keep following their dreams no matter what. Read this survival book to see what drives people to survive no matter how desperate their circumstances seem to be. Still attached by a rope Yates tried to lower his friend to safety but was eventually forced to cut the rope.
Stranded without a knife, map or survival training, he must improvise shelter and forage for wild fruit to survive. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. The Handbook was originally published in 1986, but has went through several revisions since then. When SHTF, and some places get turned into a war zone, the information in this book will come in real handy. Geared towards emergency scenarios that are plausible everyday, this is a book filed with information on what the everyday person would need to do. This book is great for campers, hikers, and folks planning on hitting the woods in a SHTF scenario.
The information is broken down into statistics, graphs and charts, but there are things taken into consideration the everyday person never even thinks of. It may be necessary to put the skills you learn in a guide to practice in order to prepare for a survival situation, but studying up will at least give you an idea and mental image of the tasks you may eventually be faced with. While it’s up to your own self-determination to survive an emergency situation, one of these books may end up teaching you a skill that could save your life. Wiseman also addresses important and often overlooked topics like fear management and how to cope long after an initial crisis.
Written long before the “prepper” movement really took off, Angier’s book doesn’t delve much into the topics of urban survival or natural disaster preparedness.
Chocked full of illustrations and photographs of different plants, skin diseases, animal traps, and other useful aids, The Ultimate Guide to US Army Survival Skills, Tactics, and Techniques is a great multipurpose guide for the budding survival enthusiast. Whether disaster strikes while you are in your home, driving in your car, or on vacation, Lundin’s book will teach you how to cope and adapt to your situation. If a boy learned everything in this book they would be well prepared and have quite an education to draw on–not only for survival but for so much more. In these times of need, you’ll need all the skills and knowledge in order to survive and protect yourself and your loved ones. It covers any emergency situation you could imagine, from volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes to surviving on the open sea. If you find yourself in the wilderness, urban or any kind or natural disaster, this book will be very useful in overcoming basically any similar situation. You’ll learn all sort of things like to escape from an abduction, protect yourself with improvised body armor and trick facial recognition software. If you ever saw Into the Wild, you’ll really try to avoid eating plants that can possibly hurt you. It was written by Daniel Beard, a legendary naturalist and illustrator, or for boy scouts known as Uncle Dan. The Art of Eating Through The Zombie Apocalypse contains over 80 recipes and instructions on getting food. It also tells you how to eat a specific plant, as well as giving you descriptions and background on each one. It will also teach you what plant can help you with what condition because you probably won’t have any modern medical technology by your side.
Because what says more about survival than the ability to provide the basics- in this case the food.
Also included is a comprehensive bibliography, checklists and blank forms to help evaluate your situation and how best to prepare. It contains diagnostic charts that can help distinguish various health conditions that can easily be confused.
This is a great basic first aid book and has many step-by-step instructions on how to deal with things like hypothermia or dehydration, and many other medical events.
If you or someone you know loves using essential oils, this book would make a great gift!!!
It covers camping gear, orienteering, primitive skills, make-shift shelters, weather patterns, topography, tracking, snares, skulls, the list goes on and on and on! Along the way you get a look inside their heads as they deal with hunger, thirst and exhaustion. As his skin begins to rot from his feet during raging storms, he wonders if any of them will make it back alive. Now it’s also available in a pocket sized version that can be easily stowed away in an emergency pack or your pocket, for quick referencing.
It also gives some insight on some possible places that would be ripe for rebuilding a society. These are the types of game one would catch in handmade snares, which is perfect for wilderness survival. Almost anything you could think of that could ail you, is touched on in this book, and ways to deal with it. With real world case studies, colorful diagrams, and updated content to address surviving with modern technology, the SAS Survival Handbook will have you putting your newfound knowledge to practice the next time you step outside. But with information on game catching, shelter building, signaling for help, and basic self-defense, nearly anyone facing an out of the ordinary situation can find practical value in this guide.
Tawrell will teach you how to make the most out of your vehicle’s materials and location to increase your likelihood of getting rescued or fostering your own self-rescue.
The book places firm value on the idea that survival is 90% mental and only 10% application and gear. I would only get the second as an addition to your library or if your boy is really into knots. We made a list of 18 Best Survival Books you can get, so you can be prepared for any possible and impossible situation.
Let’s hope this situation never comes, but if it does happen, this book will always keep you one step ahead. There is no extraneous, wasteful information, nor are your required to purchase extravagant survival luxuries. He covers survival in various climates, surviving in the ocean, mountains, arctic regions, coast regions, islands and wilderness areas. Some may find the book overly exhaustive, but with so many “what ifs?” possible, Tawrell leaves no stone unturned.
It is great, but very detailed, expensive, and a bit overwhelming for a beginner as it has almost 4000 knots!
Included: field guide, food, tracking, knots, first aid, edible plants, hunting and tracking, shelter, designing a survival kit, etc.



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