One of the least pleasant aspects of survival is not, for most preppers, death or injury. For some reason, we like to think we’re immortals simply because “we prep”. The things preppers avoid talking about are survival skills, and that’s exactly what I want to discuss in this article.
It makes sense in a way… Practicing a skill involves practice, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. At the same time, there are things much easier to do that give us the illusion of safety: watching youtube videos and reality shows, reading, talking about survival on blogs and forums and, of course, politics.
But none of those things get us prepared like taking action and learning a new skill does. We have to actually get up our rear ends and start practicing.Now, the number of skills one can learn is pretty big, and the time it takes to become good at any of them is long. So what I want to do in this article is group them in a way that will allow you to prioritize them.
This means you’ll get to start with the ones that are more important to you, and also to figure out which ones you can delegate to your family members. I’ll do my best to rank them in order of importance, though I’ll most likely be subjective.
#1. Awareness and How You React
These are, in my opinion, two of the things you should start improving ASAP.
Being aware not just about how things seem to be looking worse as the days and years go by, but also to know what’s happening around you. You never know when a gunman shows up with an AK-47, you never know when there’s an earthquake or when a lunatic crashes into you on a highway.
(Being aware and cautious are not the same as being paranoid and afraid. It’s all about being prepared.)
Second, the speed with which you react can literally mean the difference between life and death. And although we’re all capable of quickly reacting to a threat, we may not be able to do it effectively.
The culprit? Tunnel vision. It’s when your mind focuses on one thing alone, ignoring everything else. So if you’re holding someone at gunpoint, you might not notice a second guy sneaking in from behind or from the side…. even though you would have in normal circumstances.
Bottom line is, mental and awareness skills should be high-up on anyone’s list.
#2. Fitness Skills
Fitness is one of those things that gets many folks discouraged when it comes to survival. But it’s important, because, whatever will happen, you will have to move fast. Some of the things you might have to do include running, jumping, one-on-one combat, stretching, carrying your BOB, throwing things, crossing a river – and these are just a few examples.
Now, I realize most people are old and there’s no way they can get in really good shape… and that’s ok. A little bit more speed or stamina or flexibility is better than nothing… and that edge might be the thing that will save your life!
#4. Negotiation Skills
I avoided the term “bartering” because I believe there will be many more situations you will have to negotiate with others in order to get where you want to go, to find out critical info and so on. When chaos unleashes, one of the biggest problem I foresee is other people… so knowing how to talk to them to you get what you want and increase your odds of survival is key.
#5. Medical Skills
This one is obvious. Any type of scenario, including bugging in, out and getting home can get you, a family member or a pet injured or dead. A starter first-aid course is mandatory, plus, ideally, a refresher course ever 12 months.
The second thing you should worry about are the medical conditions you already have, as they’ll surely cause trouble post-collapse. Things like arthritis, a bad back and knees, diabetes and so on. All of these need you to not only adjust your stockpile, but also to learn to do some of the procedures yourself when doctors may not be available.
#6. Bushcraft Skills
Although most folks prepare to bug in, ignoring bug out scenarios is a big mistake. No matter where you’re located, there’s always something that can destroy your home.
Take Yellowstone, for instance. If it decides to erupt, they say 2 thirds of the US will be under ash. If that happens, it doesn’t matter if you live in the wilderness; you’ll have no choice but to move either north or south as fast and as far as possible.
The list of basic bushcraft skills isn’t a long one, but practicing is definitely harder (in my opinion) than some of the other skills. Focus onstarting a fire, making shelter, outdoor cooking staying hidden and leave things like making your own primitive tools for later because they are not that important.
#7. Homesteading Skills
Why did I put homesteading skills after bushcraft, even though bugging in is more likely? Because I believe they’re less critical… Homesteading is something you do after the dust has settled, which means you’ll be more “relaxed”, for lack of a better word.
The other reason is that homesteading is something many people are already doing, at least in part. Things like plumbing, canning, gardening are mainstream, meaning you’ll be able to ask people for help with these. Not the case with bushcraft skills.
The flip side is that homesteading can get really complicated really fast. Skills like making wine, cheese, dehydrating and smoking food and raising pigs and cattle mean that you’d have to give up your job and focus on nothing but them to be a real homesteader.
I realize me enumerating these skills doesn’t do much to help you master them. The good news is, there are plenty of online resources you can check for each and every one of them. Luckily, they are only a google search away (and most of them are free).