SAS Survival Handbook
John "Lofty" Wiseman

Books to Help You Prepare for When SHTF

Even if you feel like you’re prepared for anything, chances are, you’re not. You can’t always anticipate when disaster is going to strike, and that’s why it’s important to have as much knowledge as possible stored away for when you need it the most.

With books that specialize in survival and prepping, you can build up your skills and have a tool on-hand if you’re stuck at home with no power and only have your bookshelves to rely on.

That’s why we’ve chosen five of our top choices to help you find the best prepper books for when SHTF. Take a look at our picks, and we’re sure you’ll find a book to help you when the unexpected happens.

Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide

Preppers Long Term Survival Guide
Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide
Jim Cobb

If you’re looking for a book to help you prepare for the worst kinds of long-term survival situations, then this book from prepping expert Jim Cobb might be the choice for you. It focuses on the effects of particularly devastating disasters, such as natural disasters that cause power grid failure, or having little access to water.

This book explores different methods to help you prepare for the worst in urban areas, as opposed to wilderness survival. This means it is ideal for preppers living in towns or cities, and the fact that it drifts away from the usual wilderness survival topics gives readers a unique insight into potential threats to survival.

Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide is an excellent book to keep on your shelf, as it doesn’t just prepare you for the effects of earthquakes and hurricanes. Instead, it offers a fresh and modern perspective on survival that can often be ignored within the prepping community, and this book allows you to think about the threats that exist within a first-world, suburban environment that many of us will inhabit.

I’m a particular fan of this book for preparing for when SHTF, as it doesn’t take long to read through. It’s a pretty short read, so although it might seem daunting to read complex information on survival and disasters, it’s not hard to digest this information due to how concisely it’s presented.

100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition

100 Deadly Skills
100 Deadly Skills – Survival Edition
Clint Emerson

This is a complete guide to preparing for all kinds of survival situations, and offers more than just basic advice for typical disaster scenarios. Instead, this book from Clint Emerson teaches you the skills you need to deal with the most unexpected problems.

What makes this a great book for when SHTF? Well, it offers advice using specific survival situations as a reference, so you can imagine when your skills would need putting to the test. Emerson is a former Navy SEAL, which adds to the reliability of his information, so you can trust that these skills are going to be practical and applicable.

This book covers a wide variety of scenarios, including expected disaster situations, to the perhaps more unlikely incidents. A book with this range of information is exactly the type of book that is ideal for enhancing your pre-disaster preparation. Despite the way it explores more complex and frightening scenarios, the book is very family-friendly, and would be useful for both children and adults.

It becomes more user-friendly due to Emerson’s inclusion of clear illustrations throughout, so you can not only learn about the skill, but you can imagine how to practically adapt it, and use the book as a reference where possible.

Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide

Survival Theory
Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide
Jonathan Hollerman

In a SHTF scenario, you’ll want your information to be reliable and trustworthy.Jonathan Hollerman’s Preparedness Guide is an excellent foundation to begin your prepping journey, as his former military experience means his advice is hard to beat.

Hollerman is a former S.E.R.E instructor, having worked in the military and now working as an Emergency Preparedness Consultant. You can be sure that his book provides high-quality and well-researched guidelines to help give you the best chance at survival.

This book explores survival tactics for long-term survival situations, so when SHTF, you can have a fully-fledged preparedness plan to help keep you and your family safe. Not only does this book offer detailed advice, but it also focuses on why that advice is used, discussing the concepts behind prepping in a straightforward way.

Being prepared for when SHTF is more than knowing how to act during a disaster, but it is also important to have the correct gear and weapons in place. Hollerman discusses these topics, along with practical advice, to give you a well-rounded insight into how best to prepare for when SHTF.

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes             

When All Hell Breaks Loose
When All Hell Breaks Loose
Cody Lundin

The title of this book pretty much sums up why it made it onto our list. It is a clear and concise book, arming you with the skills for when a serious disaster occurs. It is different from a standard ‘how-to’ manual, in that it focuses on the necessary mindset you should have during crucial times of emergency.

It describes the psychology behind prepping and why surviving a disaster is more about your attitude than the gear and methods you use. This has to be one of the best books to help you feel ready to handle a disaster, as it encourages you to think as a self-reliant person and reduces your paranoia.

If you’re looking for a book that specifically teaches you how to use survival equipment and weapons, then this isn’t the book for you. Instead, this uses a more in-depth approach to explore why we prep, and why it’s essential. It is brimming with useful information, as opposed to focusing on the fear of disaster and the potentially violent and scary outcomes of it.

SAS Survival Handbook (Third Edition)       

SAS Survival Handbook
SAS Survival Handbook
John “Lofty” Wiseman

When SHTF, you might not be sat in the comfort of your own home. Instead, you may find yourself out in the wilderness, or needing to venture into an area with a cold climate. That’s why you’ll need to be as best prepared as possible for whatever happens, wherever you are.

This book from John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman, a former Special Air Service survival expert, explores how to prepare for all kinds of unpredictable disasters, and works as more than just a wilderness survival handbook.

You can expect guidelines on how to act in different scenarios, but you’ll also find advice on fear management and mental health when disaster strikes. This sets the book apart from other prepping books on the market, as these areas of preparation are not always discussed, especially in the clear and concise way in which Wiseman highlights them.


Having a well-stacked bookshelf full of useful prepping advice, along with an emergency survival kit, could make all of the difference when SHTF. Not only can you study the advice beforehand, but if you find yourself stuck at home when disaster strikes, these books can be used as a great reference point.

All of the books on our list feature well-researched information from trusted sources, which will make prepping that much more straightforward. We understand that it can be daunting to delve into prepping books if you haven’t before, but with these choices, you’ll see that it doesn’t need to be scary. Let the authors’ knowledge and experience guide you and help to form your preparation for when disaster hits.                       

About the Author: Terry Daine is a former Royal Marines Commando with a passion for all things survival related. Terry created Survival Front, to bring you the best survival product reviews, and help you make the most out of your survival preparation, with quality guides and expert insights. You can also follow Survival Front on Facebook to stay updated with all of the latest articles.

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