15 Survival Books You Need to Own

March 26, 2013 by | 1 Comment

You need to have certain level of knowledge to endure various survival situations, and it’s not likely that you’ll ever learn and remember everything you need to know for every possible scenario so a library of reference material is valuable; especially in a situation where the Internet or power is out.

These days, everyone claims to be an expert. Hell, even supposedly vetted experts like Dave Canterbury, former co-star of the Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival often lie about embellish their credentials.

That there are frauds out there doesn’t take away from the fact that you need to learn (and practice) survival skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of real experts who have published accurate, realistic books on a variety of survival topics that you can learn a lot from. Here are my recommendations:

  1. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain TimesHow to Survive the End
    of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times

    James Rawles wrote this comprehensive book covering everything you need to know to know to protect yourself and your family during a disaster—from radical currency devaluation to a nuclear threat to a hurricane or just about any other scenario. He shares essential techniques for survival, including how much food to store, how to filter rainwater, how to protect your money, which seeds to buy for your garden, why goats are a smart choice for livestock, and how to secure your home. It’s the ultimate guide to total preparedness and self-reliance in a time of need.
  2. Basic Butchering of Livestock & GameBasic Butchering of Livestock & Game
    When times get tough and your local grocery store can’t keep food on the shelves, you’ll need to know the lost skill of butchering your own meat. This book is perfect for anyone who hunts, farms, or wants to avoid commercial livestock. John Mettler takes the mystery out of slaughtering and butchering everything from beef and veal, to venison, pork, and lamb with clear and easy-to-follow instructions combined with 130 detailed illustrations by Elayne Sears.
  3. Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival KitBuild the Perfect Bug Out Bag:
    Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit
    Sometimes survival depends on getting out of dodge fast and that means you won’t have time to pack, so you need to have a bug out bag ready. Creek Stewart shows you how to create a self-contained disaster preparedness kit to help you survive your journey from ground zero to a safer location, detailing from start to finish everything you need to gather for 72 hours of independent survival—water, food, protection, shelter, survival tools, and so much more.
  4. A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & GameA Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game
    You’re only going to survive as long as you have food, and that means you must store it properly. This no-nonsense guide to canning, freezing, curing, and smoking meat, fish, and game is written in down-to-earth, informative, everyday language. The third edition of this perennial bestseller is completely revised and updated to comply with the latest USDA health and safety guidelines. Includes dozens of delicious recipes for homemade Beef Jerky, Pemmican, Venison Mincemeat, Corned Beef, Bacon, Smoked Sausage, Liverwurst, Bologna, Pepperoni, Fish Chowder, Cured Turkey, and a variety of hams. Learn tasty pickling methods for tripe, fish, beef, pork, and oysters. An excellent resource for anyone who loves meat but hates the steroids and chemicals in commercially available products.
  5. SAS Survival HandbookSAS Survival Handbook
    You rarely get a second chance at survival, so you can’t go wrong by learning from one of the world’s premier special operations forces. Recently updated to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, the internationally bestselling SAS Survival Handbook is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic field craft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this complete course includes everything you need to survive any circumstances.
  6. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a CrisisEmergency Food Storage
    & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis

    A balanced diet is essential both to staying healthy and to taking pleasure in eating. This means storing a variety of foods—but you need to know what to store and how to store it. With Peggy Layton’s handy guide by your side, you and your family will learn how to plan, purchase, and store a minimum of a three-month supply of all your necessities—food, water, fuel, first-aid supplies, clothing, bedding, and more—simply and economically.
  7. The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild PlantsThe Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
    Supplementing your diet at the homestead or finding food while one the move is easy when you know which wild plants you can eat. This practical guide by Samuel Thayer covers all aspects of edible wild plants: finding and identifying them, their seasons of harvest, and their methods of collection and preparation. Each plant is discussed in great detail and accompanied by color photographs.
  8. Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency UseWater Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency Use
    You can survive up to eight weeks without food, but only three to five days without water, so you need a plentiful supply readily available. This book is a do-it-yourself guide to designing, building, and maintaining water tanks, cisterns and ponds, and sustainably managing groundwater storage. It will help you with your independent water system, fire protection, and disaster preparedness, at low-cost and using principles of ecological design. Includes building instructions for several styles of ferro cement water tanks.
  9. The Trapper's Bible: Traps, Snares and PathguardsThe Trapper’s Bible: Traps, Snares
    and Pathguards

    I’m a carnivore through and through so I need a way to acquire a plentiful source of meat, and trapping  is an efficient way to do that. The traps, snares and pathguards detailed in this book can be constructed out of the most basic materials, keeping your expenses down and your net profits up. Includes pest snares, large animal snares, and transplant traps, plus camp alarms that alert you to intruders and deadly pathguards that could save your life.
  10. Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Thrive in the WildernessSurvival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Thrive in the Wilderness
    Survival Wisdom & Know-How is an all-in-one volume on every aspect of outdoor adventure and survival, from orienteering to campfire cooking to ice climbing and beyond. Culled from dozens of respected books from Stackpole, the industry’s leader in outdoor adventure, this massive collection of wilderness know-how leaves absolutely nothing to chance when it comes to surviving and thriving in the wilderness—and appreciating every minute of it.
  11. When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long EmergencyWhen Technology Fails: A Manual
    for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency

    Not too long ago, no one thought much about how they would live without the technology that we take for granted today, but that’s changing. Matthew Stein’s primer on sustainable living skills—from food and water to shelter and energy to first-aid and crisis-management skills—prepares you to embark on the path toward sustainability. But unlike any other book, Stein not only shows you how to live “green” in seemingly stable times, but to live in the face of potential disasters, lasting days or years, coming in the form of social upheaval, economic meltdown, or environmental catastrophe.
  12. Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small SpacesGrow Great Grub: Organic Food
    from Small Spaces

    Food storage is important but it will eventually run out, so you need a sustainable source to keep your family nourished. Your patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of one of the leading online gardening communities, shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles almost anywhere.
  13. Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness SheltersShelters, Shacks, and Shanties:
    The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters

    The right shelter can mean the difference between life and death in many environments and that’s why you need this practical, hands-on guide by one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America contains information and advice on how to build everything from a bark teepee and tree-top house to a log cabin and beaver mat hut. Over 332 illustrations and clear, and easy-to-follow text make this an invaluable book.
  14. The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm AnimalsThe Backyard Homestead Guide
    to Raising Farm Animals

    Even a small yard in the suburbs is suitable to raise various animals. This essential guide covers everything from selecting the right breeds to producing delicious fresh milk, cheese, honey, eggs, and meat. Whether you want to be more self-sufficient, save money, or just enjoy safer, healthier, more delicious animal products, you’ll find all the information you need in The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals.
  15. Extreme SurvivalExtreme Survival
    Survival doesn’t always mean trudging through the wilderness fighting off a pack of wolves to make your way back to civilization. Sometimes, dangerous situations arise in day-to-day life, such as crashing your car into the water, being taken hostage, or even being trapped in a burning building. This book covers these type of situations as well as the more traditional survival subjects to give you a more rounded skill-set.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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1 Comment

  • Mr Ashley Gusko says:

    Mike Hawkes Special forces survival book of getting out alive. It’s even written on water proof paper to read out side in the rain and about $10 on Amazon and the larger green beret survival manual is about $15. 2 great books to own

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