Reviews: The U.S. Navy SEAL Survival Handbook

US Navy SEAL Survival Handbook

There is probably no person better qualified to write a book on survival than Don Mann. Don can survive anything as is evidenced by his many achievements since his retirement from the U.S. Navy SEALs. Whether it’s a Primal Quest event or a remote adventure race, Don has figured out how to extract the most from himself when the going gets tough. We can all benefit from his pointers. His new book outlines the full gambit from the basics of survival to the more nuanced concepts of the psychology of survival (probably the determining factor for most of us ordinary folk). After reading this book, there is no guarantee that you’ll have either the endurance or the grit to survive the most challenging scenarios, that may be unique to Don, but you’ll be far better prepared than you initially were and you just might have the mindset to navigate your way out of the most difficult environments. – David Ayres | President – TATE, Incorporated

I’ve been on multiple operational deployments with Don and taken a few recreational adventure trips with him. I assure you that Don knows about what he has written in this manual. I don’t mean theory or practicing survival techniques in protected environment where a time-out can be called and someone will come and provide a little assistance. Don has applied most of the things he describes in the real-world and in risky situations. Heck, he’s probably done all of this stuff but couldn’t share it because of the sensitive nature of his missions! While Don describes skills that are critical to survival, what you really gain from reading this manual is a sense of the attitude required to be successful in the harsh environments in which America’s secret warriors thrive. – John Wright, US Air Force and DoD SERE Trainer, Multiple Deployments in Support of the Global War on Terror

Survival is a skill everyone should have, but no one wants to be forced to use. Don Mann has spent the majority of his adult life in situations where the need for survival skills wasn’t just a possibility, it was, and continues to be, a reality. Don has traveled across the globe and survived challenges in every environment—whether as a SEAL on mission, or as a true outdoorsman hiking, climbing, or paddling his way in and out of danger. As you read, take comfort knowing these tactics and techniques were not written by someone who gleaned their knowledge from other books and backyard safaris…they were written by someone who has lived them, breathed them, and lived to tell about them. Thank you Don, for your dedication to helping America’s elite ‘Return with Honor!’. – Joe Holmes, MSgt (ret), USAF, SERE Instructor, 1986-2006

The Navy SEAL Survival manual is a comprehensive guide from an expert with the experience to back it up! The Navy Seal Survival Manual is a terrific, one stop source for your survival needs. – Randy Spivey, CEO and Founder, Center for Personal Protection and Safety

The Navy Seal Survival Manual is a tried and true manual that every outdoorsman and even survival instructor should possess. Don Mann has assembled the best global survival manual there is today and draws upon extensive operational experience as a Seal to hammer home the lessons rather than being another checklist of skills like so many survival books flooding the industry.
As a fulltime survival instructor, I appreciated the personal anecdotes and wealth of field-tested skills that he presents while knowing that someone with his impressive military career and fieldcraft has finely honed the art of survival forgotten by the modern world. Mann has written a book that will provide you with practical know-how and no-nonsense techniques for when the chips are down and the cold night is upon your back. – Tony Nester, Survival Instructor

Never Get Lost AGAIN! – As a former Navy SEAL, not only did I enjoy Don Mann’s Navy SEAL Survival Manual, but learned several things as well. This book is written by a career Navy SEAL combat medic and life long adventure racer. He knows more about surviving in potentially dangerous situations / nature than anyone I personally know. I look forward to keeping this book readily available – just in case! – Stew Smith, Navy SEAL Fitness Author

Don has certainly walked the walk in his years serving in the SEAL teams. Having gone through military survival training (land / water survival, SAR, SERE, etc.) and non-military (winter mountaineering) I can appreciate the depth of knowledge within each section. Surviving life threatening situations requires something unique for each individual. Don articulates a holistic view to help educate and prepare the reader for various scenarios. This publication is a must read for anyone looking to hone their survival skills. – Brian Dickinson, ex-USN CSAR Swimmer, Everest Summiteer/Survivor


There are a lot of books out there written on Survival. Many of them are quite good, but their approach is course-like and often impractical. 16 years experience has told me that these books are good and bad for one reason. They do provide lots of useful information but the biggest weakness I find with survival books is that they lose one thing, focus on the subject at hand. You mostly get lost in the vast amounts of erroneous information in these books that make you forget just why you bought in the first place; to learn tips that can help keep you alive in the event that you need it and don’t have professional training and drills behind you.

Forget Bear Grylls and his entertainment value Survival Episodes on Channel 4 and Sky Television, if you buy just one book on survival this year, make it this one!

Don Mann is very methodical in his approach with his Navy SEAL Survival Handbook, it retains its focus on the main goal throughout; Survival with minimal effort and GENUINE information! This gives the manual a clearly focused consideration to your survival the whole way throughout.

An intuitive read, The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook contains everything any good survivalist will look to reference in a multitude of situations. As a reference and preparation tool, it provides the reader with subtle and “to the point” information on staying alive in situations where wits, common sense and training will see you through. Even if you don’t have any training, the manual is kept simple enough that any rookie can make use of the information in the best possible way.

In survival, improvisation is the name of the game on the ground, but preparation is the key to enabling said improvisation. With a fine-tooth comb Don has provided clear and concise pointers, how-to’s and excellent reminders for even the most seasoned of adventurers.

Memories of arctic training and -30 Celsius Tundra conditions came flooding back as I read the arctic sections and needless to say, Don’s words all made complete sense as I recalled the Staff’s instructions being drilled over and over into our heads many moons ago on the commando arctic course.

The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook is essential reading for any adventure racer, climber, explorer, military personnel or outdoors person; ensure you have a copy of this in your kit-bag! Everything from what to include and how to prepare your emergency kit to living off the land, from essential shelter building to personal administration and from the effects of weather to celestial and obscure navigation can be found in this manual.

I know this is one manual I will be using for the Hellweek PT™ Baalsrud Trail Challenge to the Arctic in 2013. – (Naval)Lt. Sean O Cearrullain (Rtd.) Hellweek PT™ Founder


The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook has all the lessons, reasons why and also the why not’s, of how to survive when “it” hits the fan. Everyone from Back Country to the Urban folks can benefit from all the information. You just never know and like it has been said “knowledge is power”. The lessons in this book can mean the difference between surviving and being home with those you love or not. Will you be part of the solution or live a life time of regret? I started reading it, but wound up studying it! – Jim Kelleher / Survivalist

The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook brought back some really wild and vivid memories of courses I’d been through in the military. It really captured what it was like to be there and how each evolution unfolded. Special Operation Forces (SOF) guys are pretty special just as the studies show. This Survival Handbook tells the public exactly how they are able to do survive in the wilderness. – LTC Blain Reeves, US Army

Having been trained by some of the most highly regarded survival experts in the US, I can say definitively that no one has more experience or knowledge on the topic of mountain, jungle, desert, sea or urban survival than Don Mann. Don’s survival techniques along with his philosophy on combat mindset have served me well in real world survival situations and life in general. The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook should be mandatory reading for anyone who spends time in the wilderness. – Dr. Stephen M. Erle, Director SEAL Training Adventures

A veritable how-to guide, The Navy Seal Survival Handbook is an absolute must have for every outdoor enthusiast, adventurer or Armed Forces member. This book is packed with a ton of useful information on wilderness survival techniques. A retired member of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs, Don Mann shares his acumen and experiences as an expert in the field. – Rick Sheremeta, Outdoor Photographer and Author

Navy SEAL, Don Mann, comes through again with another insightful and inspiring book. His knowledge of survival is apparent from the get go in The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook. The psychological angle intrigued me the most and was an amazing view of what SEALs sacrifice IN TRAINING, let alone what happens in combat situations. I gained a great deal of insight into the world of survival as well as deepened my respect for the Navy SEALs. Frankly if I was in a survival situation, I would want Don Mann there with me. After reading his book I at least feel like I am much better prepared. If you are a fan of survival, get this book. If you are intrigued by the Navy SEALs, get this book. Just GET THIS BOOK! – Matthew Fox, Expedition competitor

Don Mann’s book, The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook, is filled with very valuable information that could someday save your life. A very informative wilderness survival guide which focuses on surviving in extremely adverse conditions, The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook is a must read for anyone who spends time in the great outdoors. Don Mann shares a wealth of personal knowledge and experience operating in dangerous environments, drawing on his 20-year career as a Navy SEAL, adventure racer, ultra-marathon runner and mountain climber. Mr. Mann presents an incredibly informative review on desert, jungle, mountain, arctic and water survival techniques, as well as techniques on surviving extreme environmental conditions.
I found the chapters on Survival Mindset and Basic Survival Tips to be especially beneficial. These two chapters alone are a vital read for all outdoors recreationalists. I highly endorse this book as the definitive guide on wilderness survival and recommend it strongly as essential reading for military, civilian, and search and rescue specialists. – Jim C. Blount, retired CIA Senior Instructor and the author of Stay Alert, Stay Alive, A Guide to Counterterrorism for Everyday Life

The Navy SEAL Survival Handbook written by Don Mann is much more than a basic “Survival 101” handbook. Having retired from the Army, after a twenty-four year career, I read from a perspective of does this handbook have applicability in my life today, as a business executive? Answer: YES! It raises the business leader’s awareness that we travel in a dangerous world, that knowledge, skill and proper preparation is required to successfully meet our daily challenges, a “can do” attitude positively affects those around us and mental toughness is a required trait for success. This is a great read, for the special ops soldier, survivalist, adventurist, and business executive! – Terry L. Carrico

Survival books are in plentiful supply for just about every environment and at every level… it’s often a tricky task to decide which best suits your needs.

Don Mann’s book draws from his long experience as a Survival expert and trainer with the Navy SEAL teams, having worked, fought and survived in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. Instead of a full blown NAVSPECWAR manual bogged down in jargon and nomenclature that only a “Goat Locker” graduate could successfully utilize, Don and Ralph take the essence of the program and give it a “real world” make-over, blended with Don’s background as a corpsman, and his experiences as an elite endurance athlete… the result of which is a no-nonsense, highly informative and easy-to-read (and therefore implement) survival handbook.

There is an over-riding feeling as you read the book that these aren’t just ‘instruction manual’ words on a page… Don has been there, done it, tried it, tested it, lived it, breathed it… and behind every segment and chapter there is almost certainly an experience or story that will probably still be classified in 10 years time!

If you want proven survival methods, skills and techniques… then this is the book for you. – Darren G.


Don Mann is one of those immortal cosmic enigma nightmare types. A Warrior Renaissance Man that is wrapped up in a unending thousand tool Swiss army knife. I have tried and tried to Objectively define him and I think I never will as he is always coming up with strange + brilliant ways to teach us and motivate us like no other Modern day Prophet on the Planet.

Ever since I first met Don, I have always been surprised, motivated and constantly blown away about then Next Big Thing he is planning on completing or competing in and Crushing it.

His literary word-smithing has a certain sweet satan seductive role to it in where he draws the reader in and then holds him there glued to the print until DON lets him go.

I first had experience with this phenomena with his book “The Complete Guide to Adventure Racing”…I could not put it down and carried it around like a bible preaching it to everybody….packing it away in both dry bags and back packs with my mandatory gear on long multi day trips into the wilderness or on Multi day Adventure races because I knew I would also quite possibly using it to save my life and my teams and get across the finish line together.

Then came “The Modern Day Gunslinger”, where again I was blown away by all the highly detailed CQB techniques and shoot and move techniques with various weapon systems in every environment imaginable. I bought quite a few of those and gave them to friends of mine who were SWAT, FBI Gang control division and Treasury secret service agents and the like. Each of them said back to me-Wow…This is GREAT!! we haven’t been instructed on any of these techniques with such detail before..Thank you!!

Then Don comes out with an auto biography “Inside SEAL team Six”. He told me some of the back stories on some of these ops with little tid bits here and there when we worked together but never the WHOLE Truth and nothing but the Truth…as long as it wasn’t blacked out by the USG or the pentagon…The Whole big picture of his extraordinary life really put everything into perspective from this consummately quiet but very Brave Operator/Warrior…

Now Don comes out with the “US Navy SEAL Survival Hand Book”…and I am thinking OK.. what has Don got here that I haven’t studied in the S.A.S Survival handbook” ? Answer: EVERYTHING!! AND SO MUCH MORE!! And the way it is written delivers hard hitting, never forgetting, subjective, been there done that, real world scenarios of specific combat medical injuries and treat them in time sensitive field expedient method to keep the wounded operator alive and still in the fight till extract off a hot LZ.

The attention to detail in all the different chapters and categories was almost overwhelming but portrayed in a way where even a 4 year old could read it and immediately respond and employ what Don presented for something like treatment for a tension pneumothorax or sucking chest wound.

The US Navy SEAL Survival Handbook is my NEW Bible where I will have to take everywhere I go for that just in case scenarios which in my line of work-is many and hiding behind that rock, cliff face or tree. It looks like I’m also going to have withdraw another huge amount of funds from the bank to buy Don’s latest book for my friends again as well. It will also be on the mandatory Packing list to all my clients for their Hairy Scary Training Evolutions as well.

One day I’ll have been way out there somewhere alone, barley surviving after a bear attack on my mt bike and the National Forest Rescue guys who find me alive will ask me” how did you stay alive for so long…?!!” I won’t say a word…I’ll just reach into my pack show them another one of Don’s books I kept with me at all times…just to keep me alive.

Thank you Don!! for writing another book to keep my wild Hairy Scary Butt alive and crushing it another day!! – Jono Senk-Founder and CEO Hairy Scary Evolutions, 3rd Ranger Battalion 


Hi Don, I just bought 3 copies of your new Navy SEAL Survival Handbook….Excellent book! I attended a wilderness school in Colorado in 1995 and again in 1998. The Instructor was Mountain Mel Delweese. I was wondering if you know him? Your book is a perfect match for those classes. Good stuff !! Thank you. – Rick B.

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