15 Best Bushcraft Books

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Getting into bushcraft or fine-tuning your skills? 

The best way to get all of the basic or most detailed information is from reading the best bushcraft books. After all, you don’t get the luxury of bringing the internet with you into the bush. A good bushcraft book will stay by your side and give you the life-saving information that you need, no matter how far in the backcountry you are. 

I’m personally a huge fan of having bushcraft books scattered around the house. I pick them up and learn a quick new skill every time I’m at the coffee table. Everyone that comes over loves fanning through the pages, asking questions, and testing my knowledge. Besides a hands-on mentor, books have always been the best way to push my learning and expand my abilities. 

Books can also be like the internet at times. Publishers trust people that claim to be experts, and that can be dangerous. To get you the right information, we’ve put together this massive list of the best books for bushcraft that will help you develop new skills or fine-tune your old ones. 

How to Get a Bushcraft Book for Free

Some books’ price tag can be tough to handle, often because you want to buy all of them. 

A cheeky way to get a free book is with Amazon’s Audible program. If you sign up for a free trial, you’ll get access to some of these books completely free. Audiobooks are great for when you’re practicing skills or just sitting and using your hands in another way. Learn while creating.

Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness

best bushcraft book

About the Author

Dave Canterbury has written three different books that cover bushcraft and survival tactics. He has loads of experience from the military into his role in Dual Survival. He has also appeared on Dirty Rotten Survival, which didn’t last as long or make as big of a bang as Dual Survival. Now, Dave runs the Pathfinder School in Ohio, teaching survival techniques. 

About the Book

Bushcraft 101 is precisely that. It teaches the basics of bushcraft and wilderness survival that you’ll need in the woods. The book covers how to build your gear kit, collecting food, making tools, cooking, and protecting yourself from the elements. With this much information, you’ll have an excellent base to build off of. 

This book teaches you many basic skills that can be used in several different climates. It also gives you ways to work with nature to build tools and use the natural environment to protect yourself. These skills help to reconnect us to nature, which can be a whole different form of survival. 

I would appreciate better images in this book, but that’s just because I’m more of a visual learner. Otherwise, this book lays down the basics in an understandable way and will help improve your game. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Audible Audiobook, Paperback, Spiral-bound, Audio CD

The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild

About the Book

Another book by Dave Canterbury, The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild, goes deeper into some specifics that will help you stay nourished in the bush. Since bushcraft is really about making yourself comfortable in the woods, it only makes sense that eating is a huge part of that. 

Unlike Bushcraft 101, this book of Canterbury’s has several different illustrations that make learning easier. There are some simple ways of getting food, and some much more difficult ones. If you’re looking to forage or trap in the wild, this is a good book to have by your side. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Paperback

Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

best bushcraft book

About the Book

Canterbury wrote Bushcraft 101 for beginners to start getting the basics down. Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival is written for those that already know the basics and are ready for long expeditions of tough survival. This is the book to guide you through a long, challenging trek that may feel closer to survival. 

For a longer expedition, you often need different gear and more of it. Canterbury goes into detail about what you need to bring to be prepared for the long haul before diving into anything more specific. From here, he goes into the different natural resources and medicinals that you can find in the wild. This book gives you a great insight into how to work with the woods, not fight them. 

The rest of the book is about building wooden tools, creating different shelters, advanced fire-making, trapping, knots, cordage, preserving food, preparing hides, and so much more. Canterbury even goes into blacksmithing for survival in this book. That’s about as expert as you can get for advanced bushcraft techniques.

Available Formats

Kindle, Audible Audiobook, Paperback, Audio CD

Ray Mears Essential Bushcraft

best bushcraft book

About the Author

Ray Mears is well-known throughout the world of survival because he’s not only talented and knowledgeable, he’s just a good guy. He has a huge love of his craft and massive respect for indigenous groups that practiced these skills long before us. 

He founded Woodlore, the School of Wilderness Bushcraft, and has been teaching what he believes to liberate and empower every one of his students ever since. 

That one thing he teaches? Bushcraft.

About the Book

One of the coolest parts of Essential Bushcraft is that it brings in different skills from across the globe. Chances are good you won’t get to implement everything in this book in your lifetime, but it’s worth trying. 

The book has it all. From building leaf huts and bow drilling fires to melting snow with a Finnish Marshmallow, you get tips and tricks on doing everything in every environment. While Ray is well-known for his appearances on TV, he is also well-known for making every bit of bushcraft sound exciting and fun to do.

This book gets you to a place where you’re not only prepared but stoked to go out and start using these skills. 

Available Formats

Paperback

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive

About the Author

The other half of Dave Canterbury in Dual Survival is Cody Lundin. He takes a much different approach to survival than Canterbury, and you can tell just by looking at the two guys side by side. Most notably is the barefoot look that Cody sports even in the middle of the jungle. 

Cody teaches survival (after founding the school) at the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona. He teaches everything from wilderness survival to urban preparedness. With his books and advice, you can get yourself to survive any natural or unnatural disaster. 

About the Book

Most of the best bushcraft books take a very serious approach, but not this one. Cody Lundin combines a large amount of humor with helpful science, tricks, and tips, into 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. The book is geared towards short-term survival rather than living in the woods for a long time. 

As Lundin majored in psychology while attending school, you can see the wealth of information he’s gathered through the survival psychology portion of the book. You also learn the science behind things like how your body loses heat and hydration to understand the machines that are our bodies. 

This is an entertaining read that makes you laugh as much as you learn. It’s a great book to learn about the first 72 hours of survival and be prepared for when disaster may strike. He makes it clear, the goal is never to use these skills, but here they are, just in case. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Paperback

Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival

best bushcraft book

About the Author

If you’ve never heard of Mors Kochanski and his legendary status, I highly suggest reading up on him even more. This guy was a Canadian naturalist and author that taught bushcraft skills to everyone. He was brought in to teach the US, Canada, the UK, and Sweden militaries. 

Mors wrote seven different books focusing on bushcraft and survival. He never really used his time to go on TV, preferring to teach directly. He died in 2019, but his skills and legend lives on in his books. 

About the Book

Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival is an excellent tool for beginners wanting to hit a broad scope of topics. Kochanski included several different diagrams on every topic to fully explain each skill. If you love to see what you’re learning, this book is perfect for that. 

The book is written to teach you about living outside, not employing wild survival tactics. There are books for those, but Kochanski wrote about bushcraft. If that’s what you want to learn about, then you are in the right place. It’s the best bushcraft book for learning the basics, from the man who set the basics. 

Available Formats

Paperback

Wildwood Wisdom

wildwood wisdom bushcraft book

About the Author

Ellsworth Jaeger is an old-school naturalist that spent his years studying the indigenous people of North America in depth. He traveled through all of North America, studying the ways tribes lived off the land. This is the information that he took and put into his book and a national magazine called the Woodcraft League. 

About the Book

Before there was gear that did everything for you, people still found ways to survive. There’s no mention of Gore-Tex or your Garmin InReach in this book. Wildwood Wisdom is pure wisdom from thousands of years of culture then gathered by Jaeger. These skills are what kept North America alive and thriving before the pilgrims ever made the trek here.

Jaeger illustrated his book with detailed drawings that you can follow easily and recreate without a hitch. It has all of the skills you can think of, with more than you’d never thought of. Skinning a skunk and building shelves from fungi become just another task of your day with this book on hand. 

The only warning I want to leave you with is to be careful with edible plants. Over the years, people have decided that some wild edibles, mushrooms in particular, actually aren’t great for us to consume—Double-check before plucking and chomping.

Available Formats

Hardcover, Paperback

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters

About the Author

Daniel Carter Beard, also referred to as Uncle Dan, was a man that did it all. He was an illustrator, author, social reformer, and youth leader who founded Daniel Boone’s Sons. The Sons eventually merged with the Boy Scouts of America to create what we see today.

Uncle Dan is the reason that the Boy Scouts are where they are. He put in the work as one of the first National Scout Commissioners and was the only ever recipient of the “Gold Eagle Badge” before being an Eagle Scout was ever a thing. Uncle Dan toured and surveyed the land his entire life and brought that information to others effectively. Here, we see just one more of those methods. 

About the Book

Diving into the specifics of shelter building, Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters has all of the information you could ever want on getting a roof over your head. Everything is included, from a sod house to a full-blown log cabin. Uncle Dan doesn’t let anything slip past him, and he even dives into chimney and hearth construction.

He wrote this book about shelters to live in. It’s not a book about some sticks leaning against a rock that maybe will keep you dry for a night. If you want to live out there comfortably in a shelter built right, this is the book to guide you through that process. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback

Basic Safe Travel and Boreal Survival Handbook

About the Book

Another Mors Kochanski gem is the Basic Safe Travel and Boreal Survival Handbook. The Wilderness Arts and Recreation Magazine often featured articles written by Kochanski. Once it was no longer being printed, they collected these pieces and put them together into this book. 

This compilation draws from Kochanski’s Bushcraft and has several additional skills you will gain from the quick read.

Available Formats

Kindle, Paperback

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere

best bushcraft book - SAS survival

About the Author

John “Lofty” Wiseman got most of his training from the special forces before becoming an author and survival consultant. He was the youngest person to join SAS when he did, at the age of eighteen. He wrote this book while he was in the forces and focused on writing and consulting. He appeared on TV multiple times and is the inspiration for even more entertainment. 

About the Book

The SAS Survival Handbook is the go-to book for tons of survivalists out there. It has every little piece of information you could ever dream of, along with detailed instructions on how to do anything bushcraft. Lofty Wiseman left nothing out when he wrote this book, and it’s essentially a SAS training in and of itself. 

He wrote this book because he believes the world would be safer if everyone knew how to survive any situation. The book aims to give the best and most comprehensive survival text to any level of a human trying to learn more. 

Lofty tells you how to survive nuclear blasts and what to do when your brakes fail in a moving car. Thanks to the addition of urban survival, you can now counter-espionage and know what to do when a rabid urban animal attacks. It has it all. 

Out of all the bushcraft books out there, I would put this as one of the best books to learn bushcraft, and several other skills. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Paperback

The Trapper’s Bible

best bushcraft book

About the Book

The Trapper’s Bible is the only thing you’ll ever need if you want to sustain yourself on a protein-rich diet in the woods. This is the go-to guide for anyone looking to trap animals because it’s made by the best. The book is a collection of the best skills from the best trappers who have ever lived. 

With The Trapper’s Bible, you learn how to track animals and know where they’ll be next. You learn how to trap a comprehensive list of animals all over the world. It includes a wide variety of traps and is appropriately named for what it masters. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Paperback, Spiral-Bound

Woodcraft: A Guide to Camping and Survival

best bushcraft book

About the Book

Anyone just beginning in the world of bushcraft needs a place to start. Woodcraft: A Guide to Camping and Survival works as a functional starting block for anyone starting. It’s a short and quick guide to many different survival skills that can come in handy.

With this text, you can learn how to build a whole log cabin, build snowshoes, start a fire, and live off the land. It’s a guide to extended camping. The opportunity to practice skills is there, but you may not need to use them quite yet. Woodcraft is great to have on hand for any camping trip, especially if you make it a long one. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback

Bushcraft: The Ultimate Guide to Survival in the Wilderness

bushcraft ultimate guide to suvival in the wilderness

About the Book

Richard Graves is the man who made the term bushcraft popular in the first place. Without him, we wouldn’t even have a title for this piece. He writes to give the reader self-confidence and understand how modern living has narrowed our vision. Graves uses bushcraft to spread the word that we can widen our view. 

This book teaches the basics from making rope, building shelter, and fire building to trapping and making maps. It shows you how to work with the native flora and fauna rather than against them. With this book, you get to team up with nature rather than fight against it for your survival. 

Available Formats

Paperback

How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere

About the Author

Bradford Angier was an American survival expert that fought for back-to-earth living his entire life. He and his wife chased Thoreau’s life to a cabin that they fixed up on their own. The only information they had was a small library of how-to books. Angier learned it all from books, then started putting it back into more.

Angier’s bibliography is massive, and he has a wide range of different topics he’s written about. I imagine he saw some flaws in the books he used to build with and then set out to fix those errors. 

About the Book

How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere is organized neatly by the different skills you need to survive. It makes the text easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for in a survival scenario. The format and the way the book is written makes it easy to read and understand. 

I like this book for older teens to start getting into bushcraft. They’ll learn a lot from the pictures but won’t be as upset with the lack of color as younger kids may be. If they get started with this book, they’ll carry it as a reference for the rest of their bushcraft days. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Audible Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD

How to Camp in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Finding, Outfitting, and Enjoying Your Adventure in the Great Outdoors

About the Book 

How to Camp in the Woods brings bushcraft down to the basics. This covers everything you need to know, from first aid and orienteering to fire building and knot tying. The book also brings in some additional non-essentials that can be enjoyable to have along with you. You get a list of songs and games, as well as tips for stargazing. 

This book is a great fit for a novice camper that’s hoping to get outside for the first time. It’s a great way to introduce some simple topics when you don’t have a wealth of knowledge sitting in your mind already. 

Available Formats

Kindle, Hardcover

Final Thoughts

The best bushcraft books don’t often stand alone. These books come together to build a comprehensive library that you can get all of your information from over years and years of reading. These books come from hundreds of years of experience lived by survivalist souls all across the world.

All of these texts are written to help out. They’re made to increase the likelihood of survival, in a wide range of settings. It’s time to start reading so you can start surviving. 

Maybe if you get all of these books knocked out, you can find a way to write your own one day.

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