Proven Techniques For Putting Together A Survival Binder

What’s the most important part of your preps? Water. Food. Shelter. Defense.

And the correct answer is …. none of the above.

Yes, you need those essential life supporting items but if you asked me what is the most important part of survival prepping, I’d have to say information. Some will disagree with me on this, but that’s okay, we all have our opinions and that’s great – but don’t let your beliefs nullify your good judgement lessening your chance of survival.

Information and individual survival skills are key to survival and I can not stress the importance of a well-rounded and organized survival library. Having a good survival library is in my opinion just as important as having a stocked pantry, as they say; knowledge is power and when it comes to survival you can’t have too much information.

But books are expensive and building a survival library covering all the needed survival skills can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars, dollars that most of us don’t have.  If you have an extra $1,000 to purchase books and other related research materials raise your hand. Wow, not many hands raised – okay, Jim you can put your hand down now, we all know you’re bank account is overflowing with cash and you poop gold coins. No need to show off…

So for the rest of us, less fortunate survivors, how do we build a survival library without having to take out an extra mortgage on our home, selling our bodily fluids or pimping ourselves out on the nearest street corner. We start a survival binder (or binders), that’s how… Let’s get started…

What Is A Survival Binder?

A survival binder is simply a binder of collected information gathered from various sources both on and off-line. You can use any type of binder you want, but I prefer the cheapest that I can find. I get mine at the local Wal-Mart here is an example of the type I use.

Most department stores carry 20 lb 8.5 x 11 sized 3-Hole punched paper for use in this type of binder if yours doesn’t have this type of paper in stock a 3 Hole Paper Punch works well and is what I use.

To make it easier to keep up with what subject is covered in each survival binder you’ll want to label it with the title or subject covered. If not as your library grows you’ll have to spend a lot of time flipping through each binder trying to find the one you want with the information you need when you need it.

I write the Name / Subject on a one inch wide by eight inch long strip of paper that I cut from a standard sheet and tape this to the spine with clear two-inch packaging tape covering the paper.

One of the great things about the survival binder is that, unlike many books out there covering a broad range subjects that are of no interest or use to you with only one or two subjects about what you need, you can build your survival binder to cover only those subjects and survival skills that you need relative to your area saving you time, space and money.

What you put in your personal survival binder will depend on several factors, including but not limited to your location, survival plans and skill level. For example, if your retreat is in an area where raising a garden isn’t possible, then filling your binder with information on gardening wouldn’t make a lot of sense .

Or say, you live on the Cumberland Plateau of TN then you probably would not have a binder devoted to desert survival skills. You get the idea. Your survival binder should be put together with your individual needs and location in mind – don’t waste time or resources with anything else.

Now the next question is where to find reliable, printable information for free (I love that word… FREE), well let’s see, this blog obviously (check out the print friendly button at the bottom of each post) but where else…

A good place to start when looking for gardening, raising livestock and homesteading information is cooperative extension publications for your state and U.S. department of agriculture publications. Here is the one for my state –University of Tennessee Extension.

FEMA and the American Red Cross have a wealth of free information on emergency preparedness and survival ready to download and print on their respective sites. A good one from FEMA and a great place to start is FEMA Are You Ready? and best of all its FREE 😀 .

Your states Department Of Natural Resources is a great place to find information on topics such as trapping, butchering game, hunting, plants, trees etc..

If you’re looking for military tactics there are many sites (here is a good one) where you can download and print out hundreds of these types of manuals which detail everything from outdoor survival and weapons training to demolitions.

A useful and quick way to find printable information on many subjects is to do a google search for the topic with PDF (Portable Document Format) appended to the search. For example “raising tomatoes pdf” PDF files are great because they are easy to print and put into book form in your binder.

Today’s Task

Take a close look at your area, survival plans, and skills and write down those areas where you need more information – now start a survival binder with the correct information to fill in the gaps. Well, what are you waiting on…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Very good article. I love the idea.

  2. Really helpful information. I’ve started to gather information and am also adding local maps including hiking trails.

  3. JP in MT says:

    So far we have about 20 different binders of articles, lists, etc. of information we feel needs to be around here for “the inevitable”. That does not include books too.

    Another way we have found to create a cheap library is through using the Kindle app. I have subject dedicated tables and a master tablet, but you can download the app for a computer and use it too. I find that the tablets are easier to protect from EMP (I hope); my preferred container is a Russel Stover candy tin. They hold a 7 or 8″ screened tablet well, along with a charging cable and a USB accessory plug. The “subject specific” once are brought out when I update the downloaded books, then resealed with aluminum tape and placed back in my sealed metal cabinet.

    I download PDF’s and other ebooks and documents and store them on flash drives. I include an adapter to allow me to plug the USB-equipped flash drive into a micro-USB equipped

    Using these methods I now have a library of over 1500 books, many works of fiction and history, along with how-to books, medical texts, and cook books. I have several thousand PDF’s saved and many binders of printed material.

    Although my method is a little more expensive than just PDF’s and binders of printed material, compared to the money I have in a couple hundred printed books, it is minimal. There’s also the issue of storage space.

    As a way of saving additional money, buy your paper supplies and binders when school supplies go on sale; you can usually get them for 1/2 the regular price of less.

    • Wow, JP, that’s impressive. I too keep some info on my kindle & want to get a dedicated kindle to put in a faraday cage. I also have over 100 articles in paper form in file folders, divided by topic. The size of those folders has been gradually growing. and theprepperjournal also have some good articles.

    • tommy2rs says:

      I’ve got a .50 cal ammo can I keep the Anker portable solar panel and battery bank in along with an inverter, the netbook, micro projector and one of the Kindles. It’s easy to just grab the can when I leave in the mornings. I’m considering a tablet to replace the netbook (in computer years that thing’s ancient) and the kindle, probably a Samsung.

  4. Firstin Line says:

    Good information. But don’t depend on your computer or flash drive to store your valuable information. Keep it on your computer for convenience but when the Lights Go Out, so does your computer and printer. So also print it and punch it and store it in a three-ring binder – a large one. You will quickly fill up the little one inch binders.

  5. mom of three says:

    Great article another place to find binders is at your thrift stores, sometimes they are over run with ever size available. I have found them from .29 to .99 cent. Check your local area for free paper’s on gardening, animals, recipes we have a local paper that comes out each month free and it’s a wealth of information.

  6. patientmomma says:

    I’ve tried storing pdfs etc on just about everything, external drives, flash drives, CD, DVDs, kindle, and eventually those storage methods go out of popularity or get damaged. As much as I hate to do it, I print out the most important items. I get binders at yard sales and thrift stores, just check the rings to make sure they are still closing tightly. I got an entire box of page protectors and several partially used reams of card stock at thrift stores. Just keep looking and when you find them, buy them. I print in B&W only but ink/toner is expensive. My printer does not do double sided printing automatically, so for book prints I go to the office supply or printer store when they advertise specials on B&W printing. For me, buying used books is overall the cheapest way of getting the information printed and keeping it organized.

  7. What a great idea, to condense the current half dozen milk crates of books to something portable. I have been loading up on low priced books from (cough) Everything from sniping to sauerkraut. Three, slightly used, Red Cross manuals for the price of one. Some of my relatives dread my gift giving. Livestock for barter may need a book to go with the critter. The books can keep things going just in case this old body stops.

  8. Have been doing that for the past 3 years or or so. Have 2 – 2″ thick loose leaf notebooks with stuff (divided by category), I have gathered off the internet with a good part of it from this web site. Called my “TEOTWAWKI notebook”.

  9. Does anyone know if it’s ok to use the fish antibiotics for people

    • little chicken says:

      Yes, I purchase fish antibiotics. When I get a prescription for antibiotics from my Dr. I get it filled at the pharmacy. Write down what it is for on the prescription. Vaccume seal it. Then I take the fish antibiotic, that I already had purchased and stored, exactly as prescribed for what my Dr. is treating. That is my way of keeping a fresh supply of antibiotic.

    • There is a great presentation on u tube; search: Patriot Nurse antibiotics. Also, research shows they are likely good for a decade or more (what the FDA isn’t telling).

  10. For a matter of multiple use we have forest service maps of almost our entire state then when we are camping and note a water source it can be logged on the map. What I’m doing at present is getting the unusual recipes like making corned beef or salted meat and those will get laminated . Having a binder I think is invaluable with this type of thing in it.

  11. tommy2rs says:

    Survivor Library has a bunch of pdf files on a good range of subjects as does this planet infowars page (NOT meant as an endorsement of Alex Jones, just suggesting this one page)

  12. I keep a lot of print outs. Everything from uses of Cayenne to making gun powder. I have back road and trail maps which can come in handy. I was using a GPS once and was up in the mountains in my 4×4 in the winter and the GPS said I was at the corner of road and unknown road. Lol

    Hey all check this out.

  13. Great article M.D. Being somewhat of a minimalist, I even have a carry binder I keep with me in the truck for emergencies and the rest in binders at home. As a camper, it is always wise to have a waterproof map. Or better yet, take your map to an office supply and have it laminated. Great article as always M.D.

  14. Something you might consider when printing up your binder contents. I use the clear plastic page savers, 2 printed sheets back to back. This keeps your paper safe from excess contact with dirty fingers and other contaminates, thus prolonging the life of the pages. I know that this increases cost (I don’t recall how much) but I feel it’s worth the price.

  15. Chuck Findlay says:

    I’m probably not in the majority when it comes to thinking books are expensive. For the information in them, the research it took to get it, the time it took to organize it, edit it, layout the format and order, have it edited books are downright inexpensive. All it usually takes to make a book worth the purchase price is one good idea you can use in your life. And I purchased them slowly over time. A few years ago I made a bookshelf (I do woodworking a lot) that I thought would last for several years before it was filled up. That lasted about 8-months and now I need to make another one.

    With that being said I do download a lot of info into MS Word files and download PDF files. These I put on my Nook E-Reader, put on both computers and about once a month I burn things to DVD’s.

    I also download a lot of U-Tube videos and backup them to DVD’s.

    I don’t print out that much stuff as I did in the past.

    With all the redundancy I have with electronic info (on 2 computers, on the Nook and Backup DVD’s) I don’t see myself not having access to the info if needed. I have an old laptop stored in a Faraday cage (a metal garbage can) I have numerous solar panels so I think I’m covered.

    And I also have a LOT of survival related books as (Like I said above) they are not expensive.

    PS: Several of my books were bought at garage sales, and thrift stores at a great savings.

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