Ranking the 10 Best Survival Books of 2021

Matt Lewis
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The best survival books of all time are the ones that get passed around from person to person because they had the kind of impact on the reader that few books do. The ones that were so good, they could change your life. These books are the exception to the rule.

While many of us have a collection of the best survival books that we have read in the past many years, there are many more out there that haven’t been published yet or are only just now being offered for sale — the beginning of what will one day be the best survival books list of all time.

As we move forward, we will continue to add to this list as more and more of the best survival books come out and onto the market.

Please note, this list only contains survival books. So, if you want to know more about the best tactical books or even the best medical books on Amazon, click on one of the links below.

NameCategoryProduct
Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and WaterBest OverallHawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness SurvivalBudget PickBushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guideUpgrade PickThe Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide

1. Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water

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The author, Tom Hawke soon after joining the SAS. Was put through the RRH course at the beginning of his training. Tom has since gone on to serve with the elite for over 20 years and become one of their most experienced instructors in that time.

This is the second edition of the book to his original work which thoroughly covers not only the skills required for survival, but also how to deal with various situations, as well as a brief section on moving undetected through land and water, with illustrations.

As with the first edition of this book, Tom has enlisted the help of British International Soldier of Fortune and author Sean Ellis to add an additional layer of expertise to the book.

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

Our rating: 7 / 10

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

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Pros:

  • Will be updated to include detailed instructions on how to start and maintain CAMP fires
  • Offers plenty of instruction on outdoor survival, including how to prepare for a winter trip
  • Incorporates information on how to live off the land by scouring the area for food, water and shelter
  • Covers tracking and animal identification
  • You will learn how to use a compass properly and how to navigate by the sun and stars
  • Draft animals and traction will be covered thoroughly
  • You will learn how to set up traps and survive long periods of time in the wilderness

Cons:

  • Specific details and equipment used in the illustrations and photos cannot be purchased outside of the United States and Canada
  • No Table of Contents
  • For step-by-step instructions you should rather buy a separate guide

This is the definitive survival manual for the 21st century.

This field guide will teach you how to apply the very timeless, and effective wilderness survival skills with current practices and modern technology (from the author of the official Firearm Training Manual for the U.S. Army).

It covers everything from fundamental survival skills to advanced backcountry living, including a variety of survival tactics.

3. SAS Survival Guide: How to Survive in the Wild

Our rating: 7 / 10

SAS Survival Guide: How to Survive in the Wild

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Pros:

  • Written by one of the most trusted sources of information about survival
  • Compares everything you need to remember about survival in 2 different environments
  • Tips about what to do in various conditions as well as what not to do.
  • Written by a former soldier turned survival instructor

SAS Survival Guide: How to Survive in the Wild, on Land or Sea is a book I’ve had in my collection for years. It is one of the most trusted books for learning survival skills due to the information it shares and the author being one of the most famous names in survival.

This book covers a wide range of topics including:

  • Desert Survival
  • Outback Survival
  • Ocean Survival
  • Rivers and Oceans
  • Desert Islands
  • Cold Weather
  • Hot Weather
  • Animal Encounters
  • Food and Water
  • Other hints and tips

4. The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide

Our rating: 7 / 10

The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide

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You can’t just decide to be a proficient survivalist. You have to actually practice, practice, practice. And this book helps you do just that by teaching you the things you need to know when you have to fend for yourself in the wilderness. If you don’t have time to get out there and practice real life scenarios, then this book will give you the practice you need to be able to handle yourself in the real world. Since you can’t be sure when Mother Nature will throw a curve ball your way, you want to be prepared for anything that she might send your direction.

Most survival books are either filled with too-simple knowledge that is not useful in a real-life situation, or the books are so complicated that even the experts have trouble applying the knowledge. That’s not the case with this book. It’s filled with knowledge that is easy to understand, and is challenging enough that you’ll have to think to apply what you learn.

5. Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food

Our rating: 6 / 10

Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food

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Pros:

  • Great starter guide for beginners
  • Does a great job of giving many options to suit all different situations
  • The knowledge is practical enough to give anyone an advantage in the event of any emergency

Cons:

  • Pacing can be off for some readers at times
  • Needs more illustrations or diagrams to make it easier to follow

In the event of an emergency it is important to know how to stay safe. With all of the threats in our world today, you never know when you may have to bug out. If you are prepared, you can be a survivor. This book serves as a great guide to help you prepare for such a scenario.

Learning how to live off-the-grid can be a great way to save money as well as better protect yourself. There are plenty of scenarios where time may be of the essence in which you may not always have access to electricity or other forms of power. Having items in place to use for such an instance will help to make life much easier.

It is important to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Taking a few precautions and knowing how to go about certain situations can be the difference between life and death in some cases.

6. Build the Perfect Bug Out Survival Skills: Your Guide to Emergency Wilderness Survival

Our rating: 6 / 10

Build the Perfect Bug Out Survival Skills: Your Guide to Emergency Wilderness Survival

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Pros:

  • Great design
  • Great content
  • Packed with information
  • Pretty comprehensive
  • Easy to read

Cons:

  • Doesn’t contain too many “basic” survival skills
  • Not the most visually pleasing book in the world
  • May not appeal to the younger readers

This particular product is pretty much like a blueprint on building your own bug-out architecture for when SHTF.

It contains a wealth of information that can easily be turned into a step-by-step guide of what you can be doing today (or weeks, months, or even years) to get prepared for an extreme situation.

It contains all the info you would need to survive in extreme wilderness situations.

7. 100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition: The SEAL Operative's Guide to Surviving in the Wild and Being Prepared

Our rating: 6 / 10

100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition: The SEAL Operative's Guide to Surviving in the Wild and Being Prepared

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Pros:

  • Has good descriptions of primitive skills you can learn
  • Explains essential concepts with easy to understand examples
  • Has lots of photos to help you improve your level of understanding
  • Contains a large amount of individual skills that are broken down into relevant groups
  • Contains many risky activities and how to do them safely
  • Contains many different topics that will fit anyone's needs

This book tells you how to survive in the wilderness and what to pack and what tools you need to pick, it will help you improvise for example you can start a fire without a match or use old and useless things in a new situation like using an old tire as a boat.

The book also tells you how to survive in extreme situations where you can get very little supplies like a desert, and how to save your own life if someone else is injured and who only you are safeing .

8. Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

Our rating: 6 / 10

Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

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(Advanced Survival Series)

"Advanced Bushcraft" provides both the novice and experienced survivalist with proven techniques for living off the land, whether you find yourself stranded or in a long-term situation. Through a combination of expert advice, wit, and step-by-step guides, Kane helps readers learn how to locate, start, build, and maintain a fire in any condition and transform and old plastic bottle into a water-filtering system.

Each section also provides valuable insight into the history of bushcraft and the cultures that have utilized these skills for generations. From desert dwelling Bedouins to the indigenous people of Britain, Kane reveals the hidden history of how people survived in the most treacherous of conditions.

9. Deep Survival: Who Lives

Our rating: 6 / 10

Deep Survival: Who Lives

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Pros:

  • Celebrated as his best book
  • An easy read
  • Easy to apply to real life
  • A good number of examples to further illustrate the key concepts
  • Good accompanying reference guide to aid in the application and the memorization of the important concepts

This book is, surprisingly, a survival book of a sort— dealing more with mental and psychological aspects of surviving rather than of physical survival. It’s not about what to put in your bugout bag or how to build shelters, otherwise it’d be a part of popular alternatives to military survival books like L. F. Rankin’s ‘Secrets of Survival’ or Matt Furey’s ‘The Ultimate Survival Guide.’

This book analyzes different psychological aspects of survival and how we react in certain circumstances.

The author refers to psychological survival as ‘deep survival,’ which might be not as obvious (to many) as the basic needs-based survival. It helps to prevent you from misinterpreting your experience and apply a wrong solution to your problem.

10. Primitive Skills and Crafts: An Outdoorsman's Guide to Shelters

Our rating: 5 / 10

Primitive Skills and Crafts: An Outdoorsman's Guide to Shelters

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Pros:

  • A wide range of topics are covered
  • Excellent illustrations for beginners and advanced readers
  • It is a great quick reference manual too
  • A few new ideas for interior/exterior shelters

Cons:

  • It does not have much information on survival raft building
  • It is a bit too heavy to carry around

Primitive Skills and Crafts: An Outdoorsman's Guide to Shelters, Tools, Weapons, Tracking, Survival, and More written by Nick Soto, John D. McCann and Kevin S. McCann, who are confident that it will be able to help you in the most dire situations.

As the title suggests, this survival book covers a wide range of topics from building a shelter to tracking to weapons building. It is also a great reference manual to help you in the outdoors.

It is not a technical book but it is written much like a textbook. It contains excellent illustrations for the beginners. The book is a quick reference manual for both new and advanced survival readers and it has a few new ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best survival handbook?

When it comes to reading about survival, knowledge is power.

Even minimal knowledge in survival can mean the difference between life and death. The 7 best survival handbooks provide essential content and information applicable to real life situations.

Who is the best survivalist?

A survivalist is someone who has an expert knowledge of survival and needs no training from outside parties. What you will find is that most of the people labeled as survivalists do so with encouragement from the media or a government agency who is either looking for someone to talk about what happened or cover up what happened. Be careful when someone tells you they are a survivalist or survival expert, ask them what their training is and where they have received their training from. If they say they have none, they are called scavengers who have little to no knowledge or skill in the art of survival, and have only been called survivalist to pass on their own knowledge. Never give your trust to one of these self-proclaimed survivalist.

How do you do a survival book?

A survival book is an excellent tool to get you ready for the inevitable event of a survival or disaster scenario. It helps you cope with the psychological impact of an uncertain future. It is also a brilliant way to prepare yourself for the survival scenario, especially if you are new to the concept of survival.

Be sure to choose a survival book that is accompanied by an audiobook. We find that this is a brilliant addition to enhance your reading experience. Imagine the joy of reading a survival book that is laced with support from a narrator. It assures you are getting all that you can get out of it.

If you ever have the time and the inclination, you would do well to read books by some of the writers who are credited with pioneering survival. It would help you learn further about their valuable insights.

What is a survival guide?

If you dig a little deeper into what a survival guide is, it is not just a guide for survival. It is a guide that teaches you how to survive in the wild.

Conclusion

Although there are a lot of books out there on survival, we’ve only picked actual survival books. This means no instructional books (considered instructional since they have a section or two related to survival). Our definition of a survival book is one that not only covers how to survive in a survival situation, but it also covers techniques, skills, and some basic knowledge to help you survive the situation. Further, our list focuses on the best books that are either currently on the market or will be released in 2021, making them the best books for the coming year.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and WaterBest OverallHawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness SurvivalBudget PickBushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guideUpgrade PickThe Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide