43 Survival Guides in PDF Format

I know when I got into survival I wanted to tear through all the literature. I read the SAS survival handbook and basically every single survival book recommended to me on the internet. Even after all this I was hungry for more info. Below is a collection of survival guides I found on the internet. All of them are in PDF format available for free download. Each PDF is available for individual download or a complete archive in zip format is available here.

Please note that credit for the following books is given to the listed authors within the publications and are not in any way affiliated with this site. I have simply taken the time to curate these books from the internet. With that said, please learn and enjoy!

Survival / Preparedness / Off Grid

  • 11 Steps To Survival – Canada has a robust emergency preparedness unit in each province and region of the country. This is a short handbook on basic survival strategies for common situations for the region. Lot’s of good stuff in here.
  • Aids To Survival – A surprisingly comprehensive survival book written by the Western Australia Police Academy. This guide has everything from basic survival tactics to full blown sections on radio communications. Because it’s an Aussie publication of course there’s an entire section dedicated to bushcrafting and bush survival.
  • Captain Dave’s Survival Guide – I’m not sure who Captain Dave is but he has some sound advice in his ebook. It’s a short read with some basic knowledge. Certainly not as technical as the others on this list but he has a great writing style and good basic advice. I recommend this one to the beginner survivalist.
  • A Common Sense Guide To Being Prepared – These are a handful of articles published in TIME magazine shedding light on the possibilities of certain attacks. They found in many cases it’s simply too technical of a challenge to launch any kind of attack which would effect a large population of people. This is why many biological and terrorist attacks are hyper local to a specific area. It’s a short read and might put your mind at ease.
  • Desert Emergency Survival Basics – Headed to the desert? It would be wise to give this book a glossy once-over. It’s packed with survival info specifically for desert regions. It’s loaded with navigation advice and what to do if you get lost or run out of water. Another great one to have in your arsenal of survival guides.
  • Ethicon Wound Closure Manual – Close a wound even if someone or yourself is bleeding out. This is an extremely technical manual. I glossed over it but couldn’t understand most of the terminology. If you’re a medical student drop out you might be able to grasp some of the literature in this one. Still good to have.
  • Underworld Survival Guide – This appears to be a manual for vagrants or homeless people looking to score free stuff. None the less, I thought the ingenuity in some of the cons were worth the read. If nothing else have a good laugh at some of this stuff.
  • Free Hot Tips – A giant bulleted list of easily digestible survival knowledge written by a former Green Beret. Some of these are quite good and this guide is a refreshing one compared to the more lengthy publications on this list.
  • Backyard Composting – The art of turning your waste into rich natural soil ripe for gardening and farming. Off grid stuff.
  • Hunting With a Bow and Arrow – Comprehensive book on hunting the old fashioned silent way. Learn to track your prey and move in for the kill. Practical advice loaded with sound hunting principles.
  • Homemade Traps and Snares – Lot’s of ways to make your own critter catching devices. Well illustrated diagrams too.
  • How To Prepare For Any Disaster – Great resource for surviving anything life throws at you. Lot’s of knowledge nuggets even the seasoned prepper will appreciate.
  • Worst Case Survival Handbook – Learn essential survival skills such as escaping from quicksand, jumping off a bridge, and fending off a shark. Survival situations you never think about are examined in hilarious detail in this guide.
  • Never Say Die – Another one from our Canadian Neighbors. I like how this guide jumps straight into the psychology of survival. The Canadian books on this list seem to be jam packed with solid survival advice.
  • Planning a Home or Farm Vegetable Garden – A short guide to planting and harvesting your own vegetables. Good resource for the prepper looking to slowly escape the iron grip of the food trucks and supermarkets.
  • The Complete Outdoorsman’s Handbook – A comprehensive guide to being a man in the outdoors. Learn to properly use a chainsaw, canoe, snowmobile, defend yourself against bugs, and survive in the wilderness.
  • USMC Water Survival Course – A complete guide on surviving out at sea no matter what the case. Packed with essential water survival knowledge straight from the hands of the United States Marine Course.
  • Survival Evasion and Recovery – Another Military document.
  • Wilderness Survival Guide and Tips – A basic document covering the essentials of what is needed in a survival kit along with a few general survival tips.
  • Winter Survival Course Handbook – Another one from the desk of the United States Marine Core. It seems these handbooks dive deep into the psychological aspects of survival which many other survival manuals leave out.
  • Winter Time Camping – Great resource for camping in cold climates and conditions.
  • You Will Survive Doomsday – Written by a Radiological Scientific Officer, this guidebook explores how to survive nuclear attacks. Bruce guides you through the process of fortifying your home and dispels many myths related to surviving a nuclear drop.
  • Your Basement Fallout Shelter – Build a fallout shelter in your basement.
  • A Complete Handbook of Nature Cures – Heal yourself with the natural world around you.
  • Survival Cooking – How to cook in various survival situations.


  • Canadian Bushcraft Scout Manual – Think about what they used to teach in the Boy Scouts. This book contains classic and timeless knowledge about hiking safely, setting up camp, reading the weather, securing the right tools, making fire, and all the other pieces of knowledge we should all learn. Principle based with technical knowledge and diagrams.
  • Guide To Wild Edible Plants – A giant list of plants you can eat. I wish it would have had picture diagrams because there is no way to tell what you’re picking.
  • Handbook of Knots and Splices – Every knot you could possibly think of and more. Learn about what knots to use in what situations.
  • Pioneering Knots and Lashings – Clean cut diagrams and detailed descriptions of how to make each knot. The book contains lot’s of practical situations for the knots you learn about. There’s also many knots even the experienced Yachtsman has never heard of.
  • Wilderness Shelter Types – A quick list of the various types of shelters. A nice dirty guide to creating your own shelters.

Self Defense

  • Be Your Own Body Guard – This one covers everything related to personal safety. Everything from conflict avoidance to striking where it hurts. Lot’s of solid info on predator psychology and how to avoid violent situations all together. I particularly like the importance placed on developing situations awareness.
  • Citizens Homeland Defense Guide – This book attempts to educate you on staying out of harms way from a plethora of wild attacks. The book covers what to do during terrorist, biological, and chemical attacks. There’s a good deal of info on escape tactics as well as an entire section on Krav Maga techniques. Interesting read but the author could have gone deeper into the subjects. Still worth checking out in my opinion.
  • Tough – Everything you need to know to win a fist fight as taught to the British Commandos and U.S. Armed Forces.

Escape and Evasion

  • Combat Survival and Evasion – An extremely comprehensive study of evasion and survival tactics. Everything from the initial escape to surviving on the run is accounted for in blistering detail. An interesting read with a ton of easily applied survival info.
  • Survival Evasion and Recovery – This one looks like it’s been produced by the U.S. Military as a general guideline for all armed forces. It’s loaded with mil-spec information including an entire section on Camouflage theory which I thought was very interesting.


  • The Knuckle Gun – Interesting diagram on building a pair of brass knuckles capable of firing a .22 round. Does this thing actually work? Read for yourself because I would love to know!


  • FEMA Civil Preparedness Guide – A very dry read outlining the proposed policies and procedures of local authorities during periods of disaster. You might find some of their policies interesting but there is little in the way of real survival tips.
  • FEMA Flood Guide – Everything you need to know about floods compliments from our friends at FEMA.
  • Field Craft – A lengthy guide from the Canadian National Defense on the art of engaging the enemy and staying hidden. Lot’s of good info on navigating at night and using various technologies to accomplish missions.



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