Before the advent of the internet, if you wanted to keep up to date on what was happening in any given sector of life or special interest, it was pretty much mandatory that you had to subscribe to magazines.
Magazines have taken a beating as the world has gone increasingly online, but they are still around and still worthwhile. If for no other reason, you can read a magazine and then put it away to serve as another repository of information in case of a true grid-down scenario.
But being a good prepper means you’re constantly staying sharp on a whole lot of diverse skills, and accordingly your magazine subscriptions will be very diverse as well.
I’m bringing you 16 of the best ones in this article, including a few you might find pretty surprising.
Skillset is one of the newest and also one of the best “men’s interest” type magazines, but one that has some serious teeth when it comes to gritty and informative journalism.
From street fighting combatives how-tos to deep dive insights on criminality and criminal behavior, there is something in Skillset for everyone.
Although it covers some serious stuff, the whole magazine is put together with a mildly tongue-in-cheek tone that makes it a lot of fun to read and learn from.
Grit is one of the oldest and best publications of its kind for outdoor skills, homesteading skills and everything else to do with self-sufficiency.
In one issue you might find collections of tips on how to survive and thrive while hiking or camping, detailed instructions on constructing improvised shelters, creating cordage from a variety of materials, edible plants and surviving in hostile environments. All of that and a whole lot more!
This is one magazine that I have always enjoyed, and it is worth every penny. Get it!
3. American Outdoor Guide
Formerly American Survival Guide, AOG is a great publication that covers a little bit of everything when it comes to being a prepared citizen.
It might show you briefings and primers on surviving chemical weapons and dirty bombs right alongside a breakdown of the most dangerous wild animals found around various parts of the country.
You’ll have gun and knife reviews, skill-building guides for all sorts of activities, soft skill primers and so much more.
A great magazine with a nice, if cluttered, layout, and the perfect one to help you spotlight any weaknesses in your own survival game.
SWAT magazine, or “Survival, Weapons and Tactics”, was one of the best, long-running gun magazines out there, but it contained so much more than barely-disguised gun adverts…
Regularly featuring columns and articles by greats like the late masters Louis Awerbuck and Pat Rogers, there was always tons to dig into in every feature-packed issue concerning self-defense and an armed lifestyle.
Gun, gear and knife reviews were always a fixture but there was tons of stuff on mindset, building awareness and implementing meaningful security procedures.
Sadly out of print today, but plenty of back issues are still out there, and there’s a really excellent online directory at swatmag.com where you can read tons of articles.
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OFFGRID, a spin-off from parent super-modern and super-hip gun magazine RECOIL, is a similarly highly-polished publication concerning preparation by concerned citizens.
A big part of the magazine is showing off slick, cool and ultra-high-end gear, but they also go into deep dives with various contributors and interviewees concerning what they would do in various emergency situations and what equipment they carry to solve problems in their job and in their life.
Another good all-around magazine to help you stay up to date on best practices and the best modern gear, this one has a decided bent towards urban and suburban preppers.
6. Mother Earth News
A magazine with what some would call a hippie name, it is nonetheless one of the very best for gardeners, growers, farmers, and anyone who wants to make the best possible use of their harvest.
Each issue is packed with information on living a self-reliant life, especially as it pertains to permaculture and the production of your own food.
You’ll learn a lot more than just how to grow fruits and vegetables, too: you’ll learn how to preserve them, prepare them and cook with them with delicious, wholesome simple recipes that are just as nice in a long-term survival situation as they are on your dinner table today.
7. Home Power
Home Power magazine is another one that is sadly out of print, but the publisher was nice enough to make every back issue accessible electronically via their website and a totally free account.
This is definitely a service to all preppers because there was no other magazine quite like it when it came to setting up an off-grid property.
Power generation, power storage, redundancy, and radical self-sufficiency were the name of the game.
Although the publication is no longer moving forward, it ran for a long time and you’ll have a mountain of good information to dig through just with what issues have been uploaded to the directory.
8. Countryside and Small Stock Journal
If you live in a rural area or just want to increase your own self-reliance, Countryside and Small Stock Journal is second to none.
More than pretty much every other magazine on this list, this is the one that is packed with real, lived experience insights from contributors and editorial staff.
From raising animals to growing crops, and even learning how to maintain and repair your own personal infrastructure, CSSJ has it all. If you live on a homestead or you want to live on one, you can do a lot worse than starting your journey here.
I cannot emphasize enough how packed with insights and information this publication is, sign up!
Pretty much everything you need to know about this magazine is in the title, and although it is focused on recreational pursuits, there’s a whole lot your average prepper can learn.
Setting up a bug-out bag efficiently is a major undertaking, and since ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain, it pays to turn to the people who have it down to a science.
You’ll also learn tips and tricks on best practices for finding your way around out in nature, contingency planning, packing lists, and a lot more.
If bugging out is a big part of your survival plan, Backpacker is a magazine you should be reading.
As far as I’m concerned, this is another magazine that every single prepper should be reading. Backwoodsman magazine covers a huge variety of topics, and there’s a little something for everyone in here.
Between the covers of one issue, you might find a detailed guide on gardening in the wintertime using improvised greenhousing techniques, refitting your old snowshoes to tune them up, a guide on purchasing folding pack saws and an in-depth look at ancient pirate weaponry. Awesome!
This is another magazine that’s been around a while and is showing no signs of stopping, so get in on it now while the getting is good.
A quarterly homesteading magazine, Self-Reliance is info-dense and ad-light, the way it ought to be. Each issue covers tons of topics that are basically purpose-made for prepping.
From creating, preserving and storing emergency meals in your pantry or stockpile to natural and holistic ways to boost your health or deal with illness, there’s a lot to love and something for everybody.
You’ll find functional, practical information on dealing with threats from pandemics to severe weather and everything in between, along with more mundane things like recipes, how-to guides and a lot more.
A great, simple magazine from a simpler time but one that is just as valid today as back then.
12. Backwoods Survival Guide
The Backwoods Survival Guide is one of the best magazines for folks who want to live way, way out there, whether you are truly off-the-grid or not.
From gear and tool buyer’s guides to in-depth info on living off the land and a variety of climates and biomes, essential self-reliance skills, wilderness survival necessities, food storage tips and more.
The best part about this magazine is that these are skills that just help you live the kind of life you want to.
It isn’t necessarily some information that you might use in the gravest extreme, but the same kinds of things that our ancestors who settled this land relied on to carve out a patch for themselves. Indispensable!
13. Backwoods Home Magazine
Backwoods Home Magazine is a similarly named but completely distinct publication that covers all aspects of country and rural living, from working on your own vehicles and raising your own food, to homeschooling children and even more philosophical articles on what it means to be truly self-reliant.
Another great “variety” magazine, there’s something in here for everyone, and it rarely fails that the contributors will bring up subjects that you have either forgotten about or just failed to account for in your own plans.
If you live on a homestead, or just want to, this is another magazine that you positively must subscribe to.
The mag also has a great website, so make sure you check that out right after you subscribe to the paper version!
14. The New Pioneer
A polished and beautiful magazine for homesteaders and rural living folks, The New Pioneer focuses more on fundamentals and basics.
Introductions to growing your own food, making your own compost, building your own gazebo, repairing fencing, harvesting your own Christmas tree, cultivating your own yeast-things like that.
For folks who are well accustomed to this lifestyle or for truly seasoned and well-rounded preppers, a lot of this will be academic at best but for people who are just getting started or are coming around to a new way of life, this is among the very best publications of its kind.
15. Hobby Farms
Let me tell you, there’s no such thing as a “hobby” farm even if you’re just doing it for fun: farming is hard, hard work, but you can make it a little bit easier with the right knowledge and hobby farms magazine will help you get it.
As you want to expect from the title, Hobby Farms focuses specifically and exclusively on farming alone: everything from raising and taking care of various livestock breeds to growing all sorts of vegetables, herbs, fruit and even mushrooms, and everything in-between.
Do you know what a skid steer is? Do you know how it differs from a compact tractor? Hobby farms will tell you, and teach you how to maintain them.
A great magazine if you’re leaning hard into growing your own crops or raising animals.
16. Truck Camping Life Magazine
Do you like camping? Do you like camping directly out of a truck? This is the magazine for you, but more specifically it is a publication that is full of great information for any prepper who is planning their bug out around a motor vehicle.
Covering all aspects of outfitting, setup, recovery, repair, navigation and more Truck Camping Life magazine will quickly become your bible for if you want to make over landing and vehicular bugouts their primary option for responding to disasters.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.