Guide to Best Survival BooksFeb 21, 2023
A strange phenomenon often happens with survival training; people just don't approach it like they would any other topic. If they want to understand how they can be more healthy or treat a medical condition, they seek the advice of a doctor. When they want to buy or sell a house, they hire a realtor. But for some reason when it comes to wilderness survival training, even people who are spending considerable time in the backcountry think they can learn it alone without any expert advice.
After personally spending a lot time training in the field as well as watching hours of video, I began to realize the importance of reading when it came to survival. And it wasn't until I started taking a scholarly approach to wilderness survival that I found out I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I knew; studying and learning from experts really humbled me and I realized that you can know more about a topic than 99% of other people, and still not know very much.
So to help out, I've put together a hand-picked list of the 20 best survival books to help make you a well-rounded outdoorsman. You'll notice that many of the books on the list don't sound enthralling as it might not seem that exciting when you're learning about hypothermia, cold weather clothing, or physiology. But knowing these aspects of wilderness survival may one day save your life! Additionally, these are the books that if you take the time to read will have a great impact on your overall skills as an outdoorsman.
To be clear, I'm not saying you can't a lot about survival by practicing on your own. What I am saying is that survival training needs to be serious, and it needs to be systematic. It also needs to be realistic, not based solely on doomsday scenarios that have become popular nowadays.
In our whole approach to survival training, we need to first recognize that if you are going to spend a lifetime outdoors, hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, or doing whatever it is that you do, it's NOT a one in a million chance that something will go wrong, it's actually very likely you'll have a few close calls (I have had several) and perhaps even a life-threatening experience. Any experienced outdoorsman will agree, and perhaps as you are reading this you can conjure up a memory or two where you were personally caught in a bad situation that could have easily turned into something much worse.
That's why I think reading books is so important. It's fundamentally changed my knowledge of survival and changed my whole approach to teaching (and I already had a significant amount of experience in the field before I started really getting into survival books).