I wrote an article about the most popular and best-selling survival books a long time ago, close to when we first started writing this blog. In the past, I didn’t think it was important to break up that post into separate sections because I knew there would be a lot of overlap. Now, though, I think it’s important to break up that post into separate sections, so that anyone who wants to focus on learning about a specific prepper or survivalist skill before moving on to another can do so. There are a lot of different kinds of special skills you can learn, and the first one I wrote about is the best first aid books. No survivalist I’ve ever met has ever thought that being well-versed in as many first aid skills as possible isn’t important. Bushcraft/wilderness survival education is the most obvious, and likely the most important, skill a survivalist could ever learn. This second article focuses on this skill. While it may not be the easiest thing to learn from a book, I do think that reading about the basics of wilderness survival and bushcraft can help you better understand them, even if you don’t already know them. Because I haven’t read every book on this list, I think Cody Lundin’s 98.6 Degrees does a good job of giving you an overview of bushcraft goals and specifics. I’m not sure if there are other books on this list that do a better job.
Because they’re all about bushcraft, many of these books have a lot in common in terms of what they try to teach you. But I think each author has a unique way of teaching you about bushcraft, and each book emphasizes different aspects of wilderness survival. If you read this, you should be able to figure out which book’s style and concentration will work best for you. The following is the best way I could think of to order bushcraft books by popularity, which is what has been sold and talked about the most on the internet. So, of course, it doesn’t matter how many people read the book. It seems to me that good books eventually get the most attention, and that’s what I stuck with. In the past, I’ve included multiple books by the same author. This isn’t bad, because if Dave Canterbury or Mors Kochanski’s writing style is what you like best and if that author helps you learn the best, I’d probably assume that their other books will help you learn, too. But that’s just me.
Before I start, if you have any suggestions for other bushcraft books that didn’t make this list, or if you’re giving a thumbs up to a book that did, please leave a comment down below.
Most Popular & Bestselling Bushcraft Books
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury
These are the 5 C’s of Survivability that Dave Canterbury talks about in his book. They are: 1. Cutting tools; 2. Coverings; 3. Combustion; 4. Containers; and 5. Cordage. Most likely, it’s the best book on bushcraft ever written. While I still haven’t read this book, I’ve read #2, which was written by Canterbury’s TV partner on Dual Survival for two seasons. It was written by the same person.
98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin
I was a huge fan of Cody Lundin’s fire-making skills when Dual Survival first aired. I also really liked how he taught bushcraft skills and tips while he was on the show. The book didn’t let us down. This book has a lot of illustrations and scatterbrain-style information that moves from one topic to the next. It’s great for people who don’t like to feel like they’re doing homework while learning about bushcraft skills, because you feel more like you’re reading a storybook than a textbook. I think it’s the most interesting book I know about a subject that can be hard to learn from a book.
Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury
It is true that Dave Canterbury is in the top three of this list twice. Before, I said that if you know you like a writer’s style and they’re good at teaching you, then another book on the same subject by the same author is almost certain to help you learn again. This book is different from Bushcraft 101. It goes beyond the basics you learned in the first book and talks about things like how to make do in the wilderness without any tools and how to use what’s around you to help you thrive. If you bought and liked Bushcraft 101, this is a good idea.
Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski
The top four books on this list are all written by very well-known bushcrafters. You want to get your advice from people in your field who have shown that they can do well. Mors books cover the basics of bushcrafting, like how to build a fire, how to chop wood, how to build a shelter, how to keep your knives and axes safe, how to find animals and plants that will help you survive, and more.
Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters by D.C. Beard
It’s clear that this book was written by someone who has worked in the field for a long time. When it comes to building shelters, this book is the best place to start.
Woodcraft and Camping by George W. Sears
This book was first published in 1884, and it has been around for a long time. No, I don’t care much about modern tools or bushcraft skills. This is 100% one for you. I think it’s really interesting to learn about how people who were very good at bushcraft did things a century or so before we had all of this new technology. Good to see how much of a modern-day hit this book is.
Basic Safe Travel and Boreal Survival Handbook by Mors Kochanski
If you like Mors Kochanski’s way of teaching, this educational book is a no-brainer if you want to learn more about the subject. From what I’ve read, this book is a collection of articles about bushcraft and wilderness survival. This might make it easier to read and keep up with than other books.
Survival Hacks: Over 200 Ways to Use Everyday Items for Wilderness Survival by Creek Stewart
I think this book is a lot like a Pinterest board with more than 200 survival hacks in one place. Most wilderness survival and bushcraft books are written in a different way, but this one isn’t. We all know that adaptability is the most important part of survival. To make sure your brain can make the leaps it needs to when the time comes, it’s important to read or see things before. There is no better way to get ideas than to have read or seen them before.
Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger
Another book on bushcraft that’s been around for a while. This one was written in 1945 and is still very popular today. Apparently, it’s also a very good picture of what life was like for people in the 1800s who tried to live in the wild. Another one for people who don’t want to use modern gear but want to live in the wilderness in ways that don’t depend on modern gear.
The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild by Dave Canterbury
With this book, Dave Canterbury does it again. It’s all about how to trap, gather, and cook when you’re outside, and it only made it into the top 10 bushcraft books three times. One more time, if you like how he teaches, this book is a slam dunk.
The Book of Camping and Woodcraft: A Guidebook for Those who Travel in the Wilderness by Horace Kephart
Foreword: This book’s foreword says it talks about “outfitting, making camps, dressing and keeping game and fish, camp cooking, forest travel, how to avoid getting lost, and what to do if one does get lost,” as well as “backwoods handicrafts in wood, bark, skins, and other raw materials, the treatment of wounds and other injuries,” and “some other branches of woodcraft.” It was first published in 1906.