They say there’s nothing better than experience, and perhaps that’s true, but you can still learn a lot and step your “survival game” up by reading the right publications.
Whether they are old-fashioned printed paper, or digital copies that you can take with you on any of the devices you use most, a good magazine is a treasure trove of information. Information that, mind you, will add up over time.
And just like a whetstone sharpens a knife, reading continually on a chosen subject will sharpen your mind. The following magazines will help you get sharp and stay that way.
What is a hobby farm? Is it a form of a certain size or certain kind? Is it one you just run for fun?
The term means different things to different people, but I can tell you this: even if you are doing it for fun, it’s darn hard work and requires lots of specialist knowledge.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, Hobby Farms magazine can help impart that knowledge. This is a specialist publication concerned only with farming and nothing else, but boy, does it cover absolutely everything.
You’ll learn about all sorts of different crops and livestock, tools and machinery, growing zones, home and property maintenance, and a whole lot more.
If you aren’t dealing with any of that stuff you can skip this one, but if you are, it’s a sure subscribe.
Everything you need to know about this magazine is in the title. A venerable publication that focuses on homesteading, self-sufficiency, real outdoor living in the deep country, and all sorts of related skills.
There’s no telling what you’ll find when you crack the cover of Grit. If you are a prepper, camper, hiker, hunter or something of a modern-day pioneer, Grit is one magazine you’ve got to read.
I especially appreciate the super-detailed instructional articles accompanied by photos that they have in every volume.
More truth in advertising, Backpacker magazine is focused entirely on the recreational pursuit of the same name.
That being said, don’t be turned away because you don’t think this one is serious enough: Much of what you will learn in Backpacker, skills that would be applied to an enjoyable hiker camping trip, translate wonderfully to prepping, particularly packing your own rucksack for maximal efficiency.
Aside from this, there are countless little fieldcraft tips that will make you more comfortable, more efficient, and more confident wherever you’re going out in the wild.
Don’t let the name fool you: you won’t be learning how to align your energy with crystals or any such nonsense in this magazine.
But if you need to learn how to bring in a bumper crop, take care of common homesteading problems, and generally get more aligned with living in the way your grandparents might have- more sustainable, simpler and fulfilling- this one is for you.
As much as we don’t like the idea, a big part of being a prepper is just domestic drudgery, so if you don’t know how to preserve food much less grow it in the first place, Mother Earth News is going to cover a big hole in your skillset.
Another wonderful variety publication, Backwoodsman could again serve as a wonderful manual or primer of sorts for preppers.
This is another one I look forward to every time that new issue rolls around because you can never be sure exactly what you’re going to learn.
You might get traditional techniques for catching, cleaning, and cooking wild game on one page, and then another for building an improvised shelter with natural or man-made materials.
And, of course, you’ll have a few special interest gear reviews in there too. Great stuff, and a blast to read. Subscribe!
If there was ever a regular publication that was a legitimate prepper’s handbook, had to have been the American Outdoor Guide.
Formerly published as the American Survival Guide, and most recently as Boundless, this is another “grab bag” of publication with one overarching focus, and that’s on survival.
If you are a suburban prepper worried about terror attacks or active shooters, there will be something in here for you.
If you live in the deep country and are concerned with hostile critters and diseases, it will be here. One of the magazines I looked forward to the most, and a beautiful one to boot!
Sadly out of print, but there is a bountiful online archive and many back issues available. One worth keeping on hand in print format!
Out of all of the dearly departed, retired survival publications out there, I think I miss S.W.A.T. the most. On the newsstand, you might have lost it among all the other gun rags, but S.W.A.T.
was so much more. Among their alumni of writers you’d find a who’s who of real-deal tactical professionals, along with hard-hitting coverage of up-and-coming (or classic) guns and related gear, alongside instructional and even philosophical pieces.
Self-reliance. It’s a concept, but also a command for most of us. This quarterly publication addresses all sorts of things that the responsible among use might not think about, or anticipate, as a homesteader.
These might be domestic problems but they are major ones when you are depending only on yourself and your family.
From the proper way to harvest, preserve, and store food yourself to dealing with uncertainty and isolation in an austere setting, there is so much to learn and master.
And not all of it is super-serious, because sometimes you just get a great recipe or a humorous anecdote about life on the homestead. Another wonderful publication!
Backwoods Home Magazine is a publication focused on rural and country living, kind of like a more practical, blue-collar Better Homes and Gardens.
If you didn’t have a family that taught you a lot of practical skills growing up, this is a great way to learn.
You’ll learn how to work on your own tools and vehicles, raise your own food even at a very small scale, and get more in tune with nature along with a variety of other more nuanced topics on mindset and things like that.
A great way to work on your basic skill set without living in a state of “Defcon 1” all the time like you get with some of the other tactically-oriented magazines.
The New Pioneer has something of a poetic title, but it is another case of truth in advertising, or rather who it is advertised to.
If you would become a new pioneer of sorts, one that is learning how to take care of animals, put in a garden, preserve your harvest, build a deck, and change your own oil, this is the magazine for you.
Sure, lots of us who have lived the life for a while or grew up doing it will think this stuff is old hat, even elementary, but everyone started somewhere and if you are that person just getting started, The New Pioneer is probably the absolute best magazine for the purpose.
A legendary magazine focused on, what else, home power generation supply, Home Power morphed over time into a self-sufficiency publication that factored in all elements of creating your own off-grid infrastructure.
Sadly, this is yet another wonderful resource that has gone out of print, but there’s good news and bad news…
The bad news is that back issues still on the market in new condition are becoming basically non-existent, but the good news is that every single issue is now available electronically and for free!
Truly, there is no other magazine quite like this, and if you dreamed of setting up solar panels with a deep cycle battery bank but don’t know where to start, you need to start with Home Power.
It’s a mouthful of a name, but it matches the mountain of content you’ll get in each and every issue.
Countryside and Small Stock Journal, commonly abbreviated to CSSJ or just “Countryside,” is focused purely on living an agricultural or ranching life.
All the intricacies and eccentricities associated with livestock, growing crops and taking care of everyday practical problems related to both is covered in exacting detail by staff of writers that live it, day in and day out.
If you’ve ever wanted to make the transition to such a life and leave the concrete jungle behind, this magazine more than any other is a great way to start.
Ballistic is another newer magazine, but one that’s focused entirely on firearms, accessories and related topics.
Whether you are cruising for a new carry piece or a dedicated firearm to help you confront what goes bump in the night or get you through the collapse of society, ballistic can help you zero in on it.
I particularly like the frequent rankings of different competitors’ guns they do. It always pays to stay on top of cutting edge tech!
One of the oldest and still one of the best magazines dedicated to hunting, fishing and everything else associated with the lifestyle, this is another publication devoted to recreational pursuits that can teach you more than a thing or two.
Field & Stream writers are often masters of their chosen vacation, and many of them have more lived field experience than 10 other mere mortals.
You’ll keep reading for the pictures and stories, but pay attention and you can learn quite a lot, and that can make the difference when it’s time for you to bring home dinner the hard way.
When you visit an external link on this page and then make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Read my full advertising disclosure here.
Skillset is one of my favorite and newest magazines. Equal parts adventure mag, hard-hitting interviews and skill-building pieces, there is something for every red-blooded man (or woman) in its pages.
From down-and-dirty self-defense to navigating your way out of a wilderness survival situation or a close encounter in the urban jungle, everyone, no matter where they are in life, can learn something useful from this magazine, and have a good time doing it.
Skillset is a blast to read and educational to boot.
There’s living in a rural setting, living on a true homestead, living off-grid, and then there’s living way, way out there- living in the backwoods.
This is the magazine if you fit into the latter category! All of the info in the Backwoods Survival Guide mag is oriented towards hardcore self-sufficiency to the point where you are living truly off the land in these places.
That’s an important distinction because lots of us plan only to survive in such a setting in order to get back to civilization.
Backwoods Survival Guide will teach you how to actually make a life out there if that’s what you want. Another great read, and almost totally unique in its category.
A new, cool, and highly polished publication, OFFGRID is best known as the sister publication to RECOIL.
Although, in fact, much of the magazine is a barely disguised advertisement for various products that they review, OFFGRID has made it a point to hire some of the best and brightest minds in the survival sector to write and produce the publication.
My favorite columns cover theoretical scenarios and how they might be handled, along with step-by-step insights and observations of the event from a panel of various experts.
Another one of my favorite publications, this isn’t one of the best if you’re focused on rural living in preparation; it has a decidedly urban reader base.
Then you’re gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That’s 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!
We will not spam you.