Survival Library

How to Build a Survival Library


How well are you prepared? Have you got everything you need in a bugout bag? Is your bugout shelter fully stocked and ready for your arrival should that day come? How confident are you in your abilities to survive the first year after a significant collapse? How is your level of confidence going beyond that initial year of survival? We ask these questions for good reason; regardless of how much you have learned, you cannot learn everything you are going to need to know, and even if you could, it would be difficult indeed to retain all of it and remember it in a pinch.

It is for this reason we will be focusing on how to build a survival library; there is just too much information to try and remember. A survival library will provide you with the educational resources necessary for long-term survival situations. The books, magazines, and publications you place in your survival library will be guides for you to review when a situation arises that you need a refresher course on.

There are websites out there that recommend establishing your survival library on a digital device, one setup specifically for storing your survival manuals on. This is not a bad idea. A digital device, such as a tablet, can hold an enormous amount of information in digital format. However, I would caution those of you taking this advice to consider backing that digital library with a physical one.

Yes, you can still use your digital devices in a SHTF situation, even if the power goes out permanently, provided you have the means to recharge it. Obviously, you will not be able to access the internet, but the onboard operating system and internal components will function as normal otherwise, allowing you to access the information you have stored on the device. However, should the digital device fail for any reason, all the information stored on it may be inaccessible, which leaves you further behind the 8-ball than you wanted to be.

Survival Library

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Having said that, this post will focus on listing the categories and sub-categories you will want to focus on when building your survival library. A future post will provide titles and links to a list of survival books we recommend building your survival library with.

Skills & Trades:
• Fuel Alternatives
• Communications
• Homesteading
• Pioneering
• Blacksmithing
• Engineering
• Manufacturing
• Science
• Tool Fabrication
• Fire Construction
• Navigation
• Map Reading
• Compass Reading
• Nocturnal Navigation

Shelters & Construction:
• Basic Shelters
• Bunkers
• Greenhouses
• Camp Layout
• Storage
• Shelter Improvement
• Outhouses

First Aid:
• Dental
• Basic First Aid
• Natural Herbs & Remedies
• Combat Medicine
• Disease Diagnosis
• Radiation Sickness
• Pediatric Medicine
• Pharmaceuticals

• Foraging Wild Edibles
• Hunting
• Trapping
• Fishing
• Game Processing
• Meal Prep
• Cooking
• Cooking Utensils
• Crop Cultivation
• Crop Harvesting
• Storing Seeds

• Finding Water
• Harvesting Water
• Filtering Water
• Purifying Water
• Desalinating Sea Water
• Drinking Water
• Water Borne Illnesses
• Storing Water
• Water Related Gear

• Personal Security
• Camp Security
• Firearm’s Training
• Combat Tactics
• Perimeter Security
• Communications Security
• Operations Security
• Hand to Hand Combat Training
• Martial Arts Training
• Escape and Evasion Tactics
• EMP Protection
• Predator Protection

Field Manuals & Handbooks:
When it comes to field manuals and books, we recommend searching for, finding and adding literature from the US Military. The various branches of the US Military; US Army, US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps, and even the US Coast Guard, all have survival manuals that they teach their members with. Each survival based field manual that they publish is worth picking up, and here’s why; these military organizations spend countless millions, if not billions, of dollars training recruits to stay alive under some of the direst circumstances, in some of the most desolate places on Earth.

In addition to military field manuals, you can also grab a few handbooks from sources such as the BSA (Boy Scouts of America), and GSA (Girl Scouts of America). I’m not sure if Trail Life USA has a field handbook available as of yet, but I would imagine it closely resembles that of the BSA if they do. Handbooks and guides from well-known, respected and recognized members of the preparedness community, are also advisable. Some of the big names in survival have put out very in depth and detailed guides that are recommended as well; those will be listed in a future post.

This is by no means the entire list of categories or sub-categories…in fact, I am sure we left more than a few out. So, why don’t you help us out, and help the rest of the community out, by listing those we forgot to mention and get the conversation going! In addition to those recommendations listed above, you can also get a head start on building your survival library by scouring the back issues of preparedness publications you follow. This is one of the best ways of gathering timeless material, the small things folks tend to forget to focus on, and plenty of good ideas that might not have received the attention they deserve. It is also one of the most economical ways of assembling your library as back issues are almost always offered at ridiculously low prices, when they can be found.

Purchasing back issues of your favorite emergency preparedness publication(s) may also provide you with the opportunity to purchase gear from past advertisements. While the magazine issue might be months old, there is still a good chance the companies advertising within it are still doing business as usual and they may be able to honor the advertised merchandise, even if it isn’t at the once advertised price. This is the very method I used to get my survival library started a few years ago, and it has grown quite extensively since then.

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