One of the most important things you need to know about camping is skills. There are many different skill sets, but it’s important to know basic bushcraft, camping, and wilderness survival skills if you are camping or backpacking. Even though there are so many videos that you can watch on youtube, I like to have bushcraft books to refer back to when needed. I don’t think people realize that bushcrafting and wildcrafting skills are skills that many hikers, campers, and backpackers use all of the time. Books for bushcraft are one of the best ways to learn these skills.
Obviously when you are out in the woods, it’s important to know the skills to stay sheltered, fed, and hydrated. The rule of 3 is essential for being in the woods, especially if you are lost:
- 3 minutes without air
- 3 hours in the elements
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food.
What is Bushcraft, Campcraft or Wildcraft?
Bushcraft is the art of surviving in the great outdoors. These skills are not just for hard-core survivalists. They are helpful for anyone who camps, hikes, backpacks etc. Essentially, these are skills that any outdoorsy person uses any time they go on outdoor adventures. Bushcrafting skills are learned from both practice and from books.
This list of books provides important information on how to build fire, build a shelter, find food and water and so much more. Every camper knows how to build a fire, which is essentially a bushcraft skill. I have put together this list of books that include bushcraft and camping skills, foraging, and a whole lot more. These are the best books for learning new outdoor skills. I would even say that at least one of these books should be considered a part of your camping gear and essentials.
How to Choose the Right Bushcraft Book
Some great tips for picking the right bushcraft and wilderness survival book are:
- Portability – if you intend on taking this book into the woods with you consider how big and how heavy the book is.
- Your current experience level – You may have no skills at all or already have quite a few. Invest in a book that you can learn from or is quality.
- Publication date – Basic survival skills remain the same, but there are always new ideas. I have included a few old books in this list because they are still relevant to today.
- Reviews – Reading customer reviews can be very helpful in finding the right book for what you need and can often answer questions you might have about the book.
This is not a list of books necessarily for when hell breaks loose, the end of the world, or when SHTF. It’s a list of books for any avid outdoorsman to learn survival and camping skills. But, some of the time those skills align, so you might find some prepper and doomsday books in this list. It’s because the information is solid.
These are the best survival books out there. Although, some may be hard to find still in print and if the preview is not available via Amazon, click the link provided.
Best Books for Bushcraft, Wilderness Survival and Camping
1. “The 10 Bushcraft Books”
“The 10 Bushcraft Books” by Richard Graves – This is the unabridged complete set of Graves’ Bushcraft Handbooks. I think these were originally published in 1945 and republished as one book in 2015. There is so much information in this book. Because Graves was Australian and the book was originally published so long ago, the language and verbiage can be a little hard to understand.
However, the diagrams are extremely helpful and most of the information is relevant today. These books as a whole set were my first introduction to bushcraft. For whatever reason, I somehow ended up with individual volumes that someone gave me. There is an ebook version of this available as well. I consider this one the most affordable set.
2. The Bushcraft Books by Dave Canterbury
The Bushcraft Books by Dave Canterbury – Canterbury has several bushcraft books that you can get separately or in a complete set. He really gets into the fine details of bushcraft and I have found every one of his books helpful. I appreciate the large print and the many diagrams. These books are a good source for any level of wilderness and bushcraft skills. If you are looking for detailed information, then this is a good set to own. It covers everything. Canterbury’s titles include:
- “Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival”
- “Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival”
- “The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering and Cooking in the Wild”
- “Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care”
- “Bushcraft Illustrated: A Visual Guide” – If you’re just starting out, get this one first.
3. The Foxfire Books
The Foxfire Books – With the first book published in 1972, these books are rich in everything from bushcraft skills to homesteading. These are a collection of knowledge and information from the Appalachia people from the Firefox School. If you are considering not only bushcraft but homesteading and primitive crafting, these are excellent books with a wealth of knowledge. I do think they can be a bit hard to read, but it’s worth being persistent and reading through the harder parts.
4. “SAS Survival Handbook” by John “Lofty” Wiseman
“SAS Survival Handbook” by John Wiseman – If you are looking to get into hard-core survivalism, then this is the book for you. Besides the basic bushcraft and campcraft skills, there is a ton of information on how to address many scenarios when SHTF. Wiseman really knows his stuff and is a former survival instructor for Britain’s elite Special Air Service. This book would be good for anyone wanting to improve their skills.
5. “Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival” by Mors Kochanski
“Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski – Anyone who spends time in the outdoors should have this book. It is specific for hikers, backpackers, campers and other outdoorsy people. Kochanski draws from his experience as a longtime wilderness educator. I have found many helpful skills in this book and any outdoorsman should have this in their library.
6. “Bushcraft for Beginners” by John Bell
“Bushcraft for Beginners: A Complete Guide to Learn How to Survive in the Wilderness” by John Bell – Published in May of 2021, this is a newer survival and bushcraft book with all of the latest survival and bushcraft basics. This book is very easy to read and does not contain a lot of “jargon”, so I would recommend this book for beginners. It is ideal for anyone who is wanting to learn basic survival skills and camping skills. Learn about essential tools, finding food, survival skills and bushcraft techniques.
7. “Surviving the Wild” by Joshua Enyart
“Surviving the Wild: Essential Bushcraft and First Aid Skills for Surviving the Great Outdoors” by Joshua Enyart – Another new bushcraft book published in 2021, this book has a slightly different perspective than some of the other buscraft and wilderness survival books. Enyart is a former Army Ranger and Green Beret. Because of his experiences, his perspective focuses on the following: immediate needs, preventive needs and supplementary needs. I enjoyed this fresh perspective, but did struggle a bit with the more military-mindset regarding survival and bushcraft. The forward is written by Dave Canterbury, who is considered one of the best bushcraft experts.
8. “Bushcraft Basics” by Leon Pantenberg
“Bushcraft Basics: A Common Sense Wilderness Survival Handbook” by Leon Pantenburg – Pantenburg is creator/write for the blog survivalcommonsense.com. His book is thoroughly researched and I love that his perspective is more about teaching than just presenting. He has a great list of recommended reading as well, which some of those books that he recommends are included on this one.
9. “The Book of Camping and Woodcraft” by Horace Kephart
“The Book Of Camping And Woodcraft (Legacy Edition): A Guidebook For Those Who Travel In The Wilderness” by Horace Kephart – This book was first published in 1906 and has had several editions and updates over the years. However, the information is still applicable today. With this in mind, it may be a bit hard to read because of the language, but this is an excellent book specifically for this who spend time in the wilderness.
10. “Essential Bushcraft” by Ray Mears
“Essential Bushcraft” by Ray Mears – Mears is well-known for his decades of bushcrafting experience. Furthermore, he is also well-known for his school, his television shows and other bushcraft books. Additionally, the British know a thing or two about traditional bushcrafting. Because this book was originally published in 2003, it may be hard to find.
11. “Outdoor Survival Skills” by Larry Dean Olsen
“Outdoor Survival Skills (7th Edition)” by Larry Dean Olsen – Though it was originally published in 1967, this book has been updated over the years to keep it relevant and useful. This seventh edition was published in 2021. Moreover, it still contains all of the wonderful information that Olsen shared over the years. Olsen was a bushcraft school instructor from Utah and passed away in 2019.
12. Books by Bradford Angier
Bradford Angier was an American wilderness survival expert and outdoorsman born in . As a result of this, he wrote and passing away in 1997. Angier was wrote over 35 books exploring wilderness survival skills. Even though most of his writings are still relevant today, some of his books are no longer in print. With this in mind, he wrote some of the best survival and bushcraft books including:
13. Books by Daniel Beard
Even though these books were originally written for young boys in the boy scouts, there is a lot of information for outdoor skills. Beard was one of the first leaders for the boy scouts. Clearly these books were written for young men but are still relevant for anyone today. Some of the best ones are:
- “Shelters, Shacks and Shanties”
- “The Book of Camp-lore and Woodcraft”
- “Do It Yourself Bushcraft: A Book of the Big Outdoors”
14. “Useful Knots for Beginners” by John Bell
“Useful Knots for Beginners” by John Bell – One of the most important things in bushcraft and campcraft, is knowing how to ties knots. Undoubtedly, this is a skill that any outdoorsy person needs to know. There are many different types of knots and it’s good to know several different kinds and uses.
15. “The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants”by the Department of the Army
“The Complete Guide to Wild Plants” by the Department of the Army – Even though there are many guides on foraging, this is a good starter guide. However, you should try to find a book that is specific to your area.
16. “The Forager’s Harvest” by Samuel Thayer
“The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants” by Samuel Thayer – Because there are so many different areas and plants, it’s good to check out different books. Along with reading multiple books, it’s important to also read area-specific books as well. Additionally, there are many Facebook pages devotes to plant identification and foraging.
17. “Mushroom Wanderland” by Jess Starwood
“Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying, and Using More Than 25 Wild Fungi” by Jess Starwood – Trying to identify mushrooms can be difficult, especially when so many of them look alike. Therefore, the recently published book has quickly become my favorite. Not only does it have stunning full-color photos, it is easy to read and use unlike some other guides out there. Moreover, this book also contains recipes, how to harvest and much more. Learn the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms.
18. “Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants” by Bradford Angier
“Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants” by Bradford Angier – Without a doubt, it is important to also know how to recognize wild medicinal plants. You never know when you may need this skill. As with any wild plants, it is always good to look for books specific to plant life in your area.
19. “The Trapper’s Bible” by Eustace Hazard
“The Trapper’s Bible: The Most Complete Guide to Trapping and Hunting Tips Ever” by Eustace Hazard – Even though most people don’t trap, it never hurts to pick up this skill to be prepared. Besides, trapping is a skill that any outdoorsman or bushcrafter should know.
20. Books by Tristan Gooley
Gooley is an expert on how to read the signs in nature. Hence, I would recommend any of his books because you won’t find his skill set in most bushcraft and survival books. Along with the other books on this list, I highly suggest checking out any of the following books:
- “The Lost Art of Reading Nature Signs”
- “The Secret World of Weather”
- “The Nature Instinct: Learn to Find Direction, Sense Danger, and Even Guess Nature’s Next Move”
- “How to Read Water”
- “Natural Navigator”
Best Bushcraft, Survival and Campcraft Books for Kids
As a child growing up in the woods, I never thought that learning how to build a fire or finding food in the forest were considered important skills. But now, I use those skills all of the time when I am camping. Furthermore, I think it’s important to also teach my kids these skills. These are some of the best camping books for kids.
1. “The Lost Book of Adventure” by Teddy Keen
“The Lost Book of Adventure: from the notebooks of the Unknown Adventurer” by Teddy Keen – If there is any book you get for your kid, I promise this one will be the most beautiful. With a beautiful story and stunning pictures, kids learning basic camping and wildcraft skill. This is my favorite bushcraft book for kids.
2. Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival”
“Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival” by Denise Long – This is a good starter book for kids to learn about basic skills needing for camping and outdoor life. There is so much information and any child who loves the outdoors will love this book.
3. “Foraging for Kids” by Adele Nozadar
“Foraging With Kids: 52 Wild and Free Edible to Enjoy With Your Child” by Adele Nozedar – If you are looking for a goof foraging book for kids, this is a really great read. I think it’s important for kids to recognize that they can even find food in their own backyard. Children should understand where food can come from. This is alsoa great book for adults.
4. “Wilderness Adventure Camp” by Frank Grindrod
“Wilderness Adventure Camp: Essential Outdoor Survival Skills for Kids” by Frank Grindod – Out of all of the books, I think this one is the most thorough. It covers all the aspects of bushcraft for kids and is well-written.
If there is a book I missed, please let me know in the comments below. I hope you have found this list helpful, as there is so much useful information found in the pages of these books. Good luck on your next adventure and I hope you have learned something from these books.