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The best survival book

Which survival books are best?

Whether you want to learn how to start a fire or a new civilization during an apocalypse, a survival book is an invaluable tool. Survival books are great for first-time campers, outdoor enthusiasts and preppers. They teach skills that will prepare you for a variety of emergencies, both big and small.

The best survival book will have clear, useful information that you can use for preparatory learning or read on the spot during an actual disaster. SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere, the BestReviews top pick, has a well-rounded selection of topics that will see you prepared for all manner of survival scenarios. 

What to know before you buy a survival book

Some survival books have different types of audiences in mind. Think about what scenarios you are most interested in learning about, and choose a book geared towards your needs. 


Camping trips are a fun way to spend disconnected time relaxing with family and friends. But anytime you venture out into the wilderness, there is some level of risk. Survival books geared towards campers include skills like fire-building, setting up a tent, keeping food away from wild animals and purifying water so that it is safe to drink. Whether you’re new to camping or an old hat, having a survival book with you filled with life-saving information could make or break you in an emergency situation.  


Whether it is hurricanes, earthquakes or fires, disasters are inevitable. Each disaster brings its own set of dangers and obstacles for you to surmount. Having a survival book on hand with information about what to do during any of these unfortunate circumstances can save your life. Many disasters can cause you to be without electricity. This leaves you cut off from information you could have searched for online. Having a tangible source of information in your house leaves you with an essential backup. 

Societal collapse 

If you are looking for a survival book that takes you beyond responding to a short-term crisis, there are books that teach survival in case of a societal collapse. While these books often have the basic stuff like finding clean water and food, they also teach things like canning, farming and first aid when you don’t have access to a doctor. You will learn how to survive over the long haul and even how to build a small society of your own. 

What to look for in a quality survival book

Hardback vs. paperback

You can find hardback and paperback versions of survival books. Hardback books offer better protection to the pages and maintain their shape better than paperback. If you are looking for a survival book to keep in your house, a hardback might be a good choice. Paperbacks don’t weigh as much and are easier to carry around in a pack. For something light, a paperback is the way to go. If there is any chance your book might get wet in your pack, try putting it in a waterproof bag. 

Visual aids

Visual aids can be important for understanding how to apply the information presented in a book. Survival books come with different types of visual aids, and it is important to figure out which type of aid works best for you. Some books use photo illustrations as the primary source of information, and others use them as a supplement. You can get an idea of which type you prefer by viewing the sample pages of a book you're considering online. 


If you are planning on keeping your survival books on a shelf in your home, then size doesn’t matter much. But if you want it for your car or a hiking pack, then you should consider the size of the survival book before you buy it. 

How much you can expect to spend on a survival book

Survival books cost $7-$20. Paperbacks are cheaper, and hardbacks are more expensive. 

Survival book FAQ

Can’t I just use the internet to look this stuff up?

A. While it is true that you can learn a lot about survival on the internet, in an emergency situation you might not always have access to it. If, like during a hurricane, you lose electricity for weeks at a time, then you might not be able to get the information you need. Having a book on hand keeps survival knowledge within your grasp without reliance on electronics.

Can I really trust the information in these books as good advice?

A. Not all survival book authors are created equal. It is important to vet each author and their credentials before following any advice from their book. Ultimately, you are responsible for deciding when and how you use the information presented. 

What’s the best survival book to buy?

Top survival book

SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere

What you need to know: This is a well-balanced survival guide that is great for someone who wants both everyday and extreme survival situations covered. 

What you’ll love:  This book is well organized and easy to use on a situation by situation basis. The book covers a wide range of topics, including dealing with computer viruses and escaping a burning building. 

What you should consider: The print in this book is very small. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top survival book for the money

Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

What you need to know: This book is great for anyone looking for fundamental outdoors knowledge that will prepare them for a camping trip. 

What you’ll love: This book has tons of useful information that is presented concisely and clearly. It has information to help you identify dangerous plants, set up your campground and make animal traps. 

What you should consider: The plant and tree section lacks photos. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living

What you need to know: This book is great for someone looking to learn how to thrive in a long-term survival situation. 

What you’ll love: You’ll love the broad and often overlooked topics this book covers. Cobb talks about entertainment, growing and storing food, defending your home and even how to start a new society. 

What you should consider: Sometimes the author recommends other books, rather than expanding on a topic. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Morgan Freeman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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