Top 20 Books on Preparedness/Survival/Real World

survival, prepper books

There are a lot of common books on preparedness, bushcraft and survival that I’m sure most of us are familiar with. Such as the SAS Survival Handbook, Bushcraft 101, The Survival Medicine Handbook, Build The Perfect Bug Out Bag and plenty more.

However, I like to look at lesser known guides from lesser known people because those usually hold a lot of great gems.

I highly suggest making sure that you check out the information presented in each book. Try it out for yourself, reference the information online, etc. It’s important that you don’t just take what’s written as the gospel truth. There is a lot of bad information out there.

There are a lot of free PDFs that you can download on a variety of prepping, survival, bushcraft, self-sufficiency, etc, online. You can download them to your phone, tablet, external HD or even print them out if you so choose.

However, I love a good, solid book for quick grab and reference. I love eBooks, too. Just depends on personal preference.

I have a lot of books that are specific to Texas/my region, so I’m not going to mention any of those. However, I would highly suggest getting some books that are specific to your region, such as wild edible books, tree books, wildlife books, etc.

These are all non-fiction. I’ll do another list of fiction books later on.

Here’s my list of the top 20 preparedness books:

1. The Ron Cordes Pocket Guides – I love all of these pocket guides because they’re short and sweet and to the point. They literally fit in your pocket and if you need to reference anything, you can pull it out and reference with ease.

2. The Natural First Aid Handbook – Any kind of natural first aid remedies and I’m hooked. This is a great, small guide that talks about household remedies and herbal treatments for common ailments such as bug stings/bites, burns, sprains, etc.

3. Knife and Axe Skills for Wilderness Survival – This is a nice niche book, it talks specifically about skills just for knives and axes. If you have only a knife in the wilderness, would you be able to survive? Great book with a lot of great ideas.

4. Prepper’s Survival Hacks – There are a lot of prepper hacks out there but I like this book because the tone from the author is a lot more practical and common sense. It does have some hacks that you’ve seen a million times online, but it is a good reference book with some good (black and white) pics.

5. The Essential Wilderness Navigator – Navigation is one of my weak points and this books covers IT ALL! It really goes from the very basics and works its way up to being a master at navigation. Truly the best book on navigation that I’ve ever read.

6. Idiot’s Guide to Foraging – This is written by a wild edible genius that lives here in TX, but it’s not just TX wild edibles that he refers to. He truly knows what he’s talking about and he has taught me so much about wild edibles and has helped me dispel some myths. Truly helpful and the pictures and details are amazing.

7. The Portable Essential Oils – I’m a big fan of essential oils but it is difficult to find a book that will give you good recipes. This books gives awesome recipes and great overall advice about essential oils.

8. Growing Vegetables & Herbs – There are a ridiculous amount of gardening books out there, but I really like this one because it tells you all you need to do to have a healthy garden with some nice pics and even goes into detail about how to get rid of pests. It’s a great starter guide and a reference guide.

9. Vinegar and Oil – This is a beefy book all about vinegars and oils. It has over 130 recipes from cleaning to healing. It’s amazing.

10. The Tao of Preparedness Cooking – So you have all this food in your pantry for emergencies and disasters, what are you going to cook with it? This is an excellent, easy to understand cookbook that specifically talks about how to cook with your prepped food storage.

11. Home Remedies RX – This is another home remedies book, but I absolutely love anything that can tell me how to take care of something with stuff that I have in my pantry. This book taught me a lot and I know it’ll teach you, too.

12. Wilderness and Travel Medicine – I like books that can teach me about medicine and first aid. This really fits the bill. Highly recommended.

13. The Healthy Habit Revolution – This may not seem like a ‘prepper’ book, but for those of us that like to procrastinate and create bad habits…this book is for you. I learned SO much from this book and have applied it to many areas of my life, including prepping.

14. Deadly Outbreaks – I think in order for us to be properly prepared for something, we need to understand the history and some case studies on it. This books covers a lot of epidemics, some that weren’t even very publicized.

15. Desert Survival Skills – If you live in the desert or near a desert or even just curious how to survive somewhere totally different than your area; this is the book.

16. How to Survive an Active Killer – Nobody wants to think about these types of situations, but if you truly want to be prepared, we need to put our reality pants on and figure out real-world ways of fighting those who wish us evil.

17. Defensive Pistol Shooting – If you own a firearm, and especially if you carry one, you need to know how to use it. I recommend taking many defensive pistol classes in person, but this book is also a great resource to get you into the mindset and to give you some real world drills. He is straight forward about what it’s like to defend yourself in the real world.

18. Krav Maga – I absolutely love Krav Maga. Unfortunately, there are no suitable classes in my area, so I rely on books and DVDs. This book is great because of all the pictures and very clear instructions on how to perform the techniques. It’s all about practice, practice, practice.

19. Natural Meditation – Since I started meditating, I have become calmer, more aware and generally happier. I know it sounds crazy but meditation has truly changed my life. This book lays out exactly what meditation is and what it isn’t and how you can effectively meditate yourself.

20. Instinctive Shooting – This is a book about becoming a better archer. If you’re into archery or have ever wanted to get into archery; get this book! It has truly been a great resource for me.

I know my list is probably a little whackier than some, but I like books that are practical for everyday, as well as wilderness survival.

What books do you recommend?

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Morgan is the founder of Rogue Preparedness. She has been a prepper for over a decade. She's a wife, mother of two daughters and is homesteading off grid. She teaches people how to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

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  1. Please add to your list: “The Boy Scout Handbook” 11th edition. I have copies of some editions including the original 1911 edition. Those books/handbooks are VERY informative and they usually contain information that other texts include in their volumes. I am very proud to have participated in Scouting from Cub “Webelos” to Senior Scout. I am now 74 years in age and I would still participate but health restrains me. I never say OLD as that term throttles my enjoyment of life.

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