If you’re someone who likes to feel as prepared as possible, a survival book is likely to give you a sense of comfort before you tackle the great outdoors. Handy for all kinds of outdoor adventures, such as family camping trips and solo nature hikes, survival books are great for learning those nifty tips and tricks that enhance your outdoor experience. You can finally learn how to start a fire properly; learn the best shelter techniques and understand what to look for if you run out of granola bars.
In our roundup of the best survival books, you’ll find guides written by former SAS members and survival experts, as well as specialist options exploring the study of what our natural environment can tell us about survival. navigation and weather forecasting, so there’s something for all kinds of adventurers.
Many of the survival books on our list are also available for Kindle, so you can download a few and enjoy a lightweight suitcase or backpack on your next trip.
Looking for more literary inspiration? Take a look at the best nature and wildlife books, the best vegetable gardening books to buy and the best poetry books about nature and the British countryside.
Best survival books for 2022
The Wilderness Survival Guide
Rather than trying to offer a solution to every scenario, survival skills instructor Joe O’Leary outlines survival skills that could work in a number of situations and terrains in this helpful guide. So if you love exploring different areas and styles of camping, you can learn some practical new skills that are sure to come in handy – an easy way to cover the fundamentals. Presented in simple steps, learn basic survival skills such as how to build a fire, shelter and animal trap.
You’ll also find ways to help improve your overall outdoor experience, even if you’re hiking in the countryside or enjoying a weekend camping trip. So you don’t necessarily need to be in a life-threatening scenario to benefit from this reading!
Deepen your knowledge with our overview of the identification book:
The walker’s guide to clues and outdoor signs
For a slightly different take on traditional survival books, but still a fascinating choice for learning about the outdoors, check out Tristan Gooley’s bestselling Natural Navigator. The walker’s guide to clues and outdoor signs describes what we can learn about the earth, sun, moon, stars, trees, plants, animals, sky and clouds. It’s all about hints and deductions, so might be a useful choice if you accidentally leave your map behind.
A great gift for walkers – whether they’re into coastal or urban strolls – this book contains over 850 clues and signs to help spice up your hiking adventures. You can also find out how to spot weather forecast clues – a great skill to have, especially if you’re the chief trip planner.
Wild camping: exploring and sleeping in the wilderness of the UK and Ireland
Nothing beats the feeling of just you, your sleeping bag and a million stars above you. If you like the idea of choosing your own pitch in the middle of nature and are happy to leave no trace, why not try wild camping this year? This guide is a handy choice for foraging tips and kit recommendations, as well as understanding the different wild camping laws for different countries. Whether you’re wild camping in the Scottish Highlands or Devon, this excellent book gives you all the information you need.
Learn more about wild camping in our beginner’s guide to wild camping in the UK: law, essential kit and places to camp.
Stock up on camping gear:
Forest School for Adults: Explore the Wisdom of the Woods
For a more playful option, try Forest School for Adults. Adopted by a number of schools, the forest school learning model takes children out of the traditional school environment and into nature where they can enjoy a hands-on, hands-on lesson. This enjoyable read lets adults try their hand at it – a way to find inspiration for outdoor pursuits after being stuck at the desk all day.
Filled with exciting activities such as birdhouse building, tree climbing and beach combing, as well as essential tips on fire building and foraging, Irvine’s book is sure to spark a feeling of nostalgia. There are photos and instructions to match – read with your family and plan a day of adventures.
How to Stay Alive: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Any Situation
You may have watched Bear Grylls perform some of his survival skills on your TV screen – gutting an animal to make a sleeping bag and drinking urine to name a few – so his book Survival is sure to back you up if you find yourself in the most extreme outdoor situations.
As the title suggests, this guide is designed to work as your one and only survival book. A great gift idea for Grylls fans or anyone curious about how to escape quicksand and survive a bear attack. Fun facts to know, even if you don’t come across such scenarios yourself.
SAS Survival Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere
John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman
Learn boating tips and how to survive natural disasters – including flash floods and fast-spreading fires – in the SAS Survival Guide. Written by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman, a big name in the world of SAS and survival skills, this survival book covers topics such as self-defense, disease prevention and finding natural resources. It’s a device for extreme adventurers who want to tick off all sorts of survival skills in one go, and it’s also a neat pocket-sized one that shouldn’t take up too much space in your backpack.
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
If you are planning an overseas trip to the backcountry, give Bushcraft 101 a lecture. Written by survival expert Dave Canterbury, this survival book is based on the five Cs – cutting tools, cover, combustion devices, containers and ropes, so it’s meant to help you if you find yourself stuck in a difficult situation. tricky when exploring the wilderness. You will also find advice on what to pack; collecting and cooking food as well as how to protect yourself from the elements, so it’s a bit versatile.
In addition to knowledge, make sure you have the right kit on our list of survival kit essentials.