When it comes to preparedness for disaster or just for the curve balls everyday life throws at us, there’s no substitute for knowledge. One of the ways I learn is to read preparedness and survival books, written by experts in the field who’ve “been there.” I believe that preparedness prevents paranoia, so here are my current top six survival books.
1. 100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition – written by a retired Navy SEAL, this book covers pretty much any environment (mountain, desert, wilderness, urban). I like how each section takes up just two pages on average, so it’s a good read when you have a minute or five to kill. Each page has illustrations of the most important things to remember, and there’s always a BLUF (bottom line up front) – a brief phrase about the section topic that’s easy to remember when you might need it most. If you want to survive pretty much anything, this is the book for you. Sections that don’t necessarily apply will be entertaining at the least! Check out Clint Emerson's other books also – preparedness for everyday life is just as important as preparedness for disaster situations.
2. The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure – this book was my top survival guide until my husband found the 100 Deadly Skills manual. This survival handbook covers in great detail how to live in the wild – shelters, fires, drinking and eating, dressing, and so much more. There’s so much great info in this book and excellent illustrations to outline any important concepts.
3. Survive & Thrive: A Pocket Guide to Wilderness Safety Skills – kid friendly! We picked this up for our son at a local outdoors shop. It’s a small size book; ours came in a water-resistant zippered cover. It just may get your child interested in backwoods survival with terms like “creepy crawlies” and “critter bites.” We take this with us camping so our son has something to read (and we all have something to discuss – creepy crawlies anyone?!).
4. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants – choose the appropriate guide for your area of the country. I think anyone who spends any amount of time in the wilderness should have a foraging book. It’s one thing to hunt or trap meat to sustain oneself if needed, but it’s another thing to know which of the plethora of plants around you is poisonous or not. Foraging is not my strong suit so I have a book to use for reference. Lots of great info, good illustrations, and highly useful in survival situations.
5. Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival – I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dave Canterbury when talking about survival and preparedness! Some people like him, and some don’t, but this book is a classic and provides useful information about wilderness survival.
6. Backyard Foraging – The photos in this read are very helpful in identifying various plants and many of these can be found in urban environments, so it’s useful to have on hand. But, I’ll be honest, it’s somewhat of a textbook and it’s not ever on my nightstand - I use it for reference only.
Honorable Mention – What to Do When the Shit Hits the Fan! Now this book could make a person paranoid but I read it for fun sometimes. It contains A LOT of information about how to prepare yourself, your family, and your home for potential disasters. It covers general skills that we should know but often don’t – knowing where our home's main gas shut-off valve is, for example. So, it’s full of good suggestions and more than a few honey-do’s!
What survival or bushcrafting books do you read and love? Comment below and thanks for reading!