One of the biggest misconceptions about being a prepper or survivalist is that buying and collecting various gear is what is required in order to be prepared for potential survival situations.
This notion is wildly inaccurate as acquiring gear is only part of proper preparation.
Adding new skills to your repertoire is vital so that you are able to keep yourself, your family, and anyone else you care to protect and provide for safety in potential worst-case-scenarios.
12 Survival Skills to Learn
Let’s breakdown 12 different skills you can learn that will greatly increase your chances of survival in challenging situations.
1. Securing and Sanitizing Water
We might be able to survive hunger for weeks but we can only endure thirst for days before our bodies begin to shut down.
Learning to find water, make the water potable, and learning how to store it is one the most important skills one can learn in order to stay alive. There is a wide array of products one can purchase to purify water such as portable filters, iodine tablets, and more.
You can also create a rain capturing system to boil and/or apply iodine tablets to or run through a filtration process. Factoring water sources is vital whether you intend to fortify your home or bug out to a different location.
Food is the next vital resource to factor in your survival strategy. Meat is a vital protein for survival and there is very little probability that a local convenience store will be available should civilization stutter.
Learning to hunt and trap animals will allow you to provide meat for your group and also acquire pelts and bones for other uses. In order to hunt and kill these animals, you must be able to track them. Topics to about when it comes to tracking can consist of identifying certain animal tracks, being able to distinguish which direction they’re heading, identifying types of animal scat, knowing local animal nesting patterns, setting up near water sources, and more.
Different areas have different species of game to hunt so studying the local fauna in advance of where you might intend to hold out is another wise move a prepper could make.
3. Bushcraft Food Preparation
Cooking in the field is very different from cooking in your kitchen. The level of convenience that many of us are used to will not be available so understanding some basic cooking concepts will allow you to be more flexible in the field.
Knowing how best to prepare food in a simple manner is vital as resources could be limited is another powerful skill to acquire.
I’d recommend learning a few basic recipes that you can easily reproduce time and time again as staples that can be open to adaptation depending on what ingredients may or may not be available at the time. Simple combinations of meat, vegetables, and anything else able to have foraged have always served me well.
Foraging is the act of finding edible plants, fruits, fungi, and more in the wild.
This skill is incredibly useful as it can be used to supplement meals consisting of hunted meat or even provide sustenance when the game is scarce. Make sure to take note of any specific areas that produce items you can forage for and consider them as a resource center that you should periodically visit to see what is available.
A good prepper will have at least a basic understanding of which local flora are edible and which ones are to be avoided. Where you live or intend to bug-out will have a huge impact on what kinds of edible items might be available to find in your local biome so studying up in advance will lend a huge advantage to any survivalist.
5. First Aid and Medical
Medical emergencies and injuries arise with regularity in even the best of times so it would be wise to be ready to address such issues without the aid of first responders.
Learning to disinfect and dress a wound, provide CPR, how to be aware of the signs of malnutrition, and other skills along that line can make all the difference in a worst-case scenario or a survival situation.
There are plenty of classes that offer instruction on many of the basics when it comes to first aid. This skill is very much worth investing the time, effort, and funds necessary to gain access to this information. Possessing medical skills can not only save your life or the lives of others but also makes you into a useful addition to any group should we find ourselves in an apocalyptic scenario of some sort.
6. Firearms Training
Being able to hunt for food and protect yourself, your family, and your resources come with having a firearm and knowing how to properly use it. Just having the gun is not enough as we must be well trained enough to operate with efficiency even when our brains are flooded with adrenaline.
Shooting, reloading, maintaining your weapon, and even performing drills all require some initial expert instruction with firearms but are skills that you can continue to practice on your own.
Hunting for food is a vital skill and we cannot look away from the fact that when society becomes strained there are those who do not live by codes of ethics who have no qualms about taking what you have and hurting you in the process so being prepared to defend yourself with a gun is another practical factor to prepare for.
7. Self-Defense/Martial Arts
Many of my fellow prepper pals and I have debated as to whether or not martial arts or self-defense skills are vital for survival situations so here’s my take on it
First off, not every physical altercation needs to result in someone getting shot. When you have solid grappling/Jiu-Jitsu skills you have the expertise to defeat someone without seriously hurting them. Second, your nice gun will do no good if someone stronger closes to the distance and manages to take it from you. Someone with grappling training will end up with the weapon 9 out of 10 times in a clinch or scramble.
You can start becoming more difficult to kill by enrolling at schools that teach Jiu-Jitsu/grappling, Judo, MMA, and maybe even some Krav Maga. This skill is one that will take serious work to add to your repertoire but no one can take it from you and you can remain capable even without a weapon at hand.
8. Basic Construction and Repairs
Should we enter an SHTF type of situation then I doubt local handymen will be answering posts on Facebook so knowing how to perform basic repairs will help to keep you and yours sheltered.
A few basic notions to consider learning how to do would be building basic shelters, repairing roofs, insulating structures, building various types of garden beds and structures, putting together food preparation stations, creating fire pits, animal traps, and more.
There are tons of resources online that demonstrate how to make basic repairs and you begin to learn by electing to perform your own small repair projects in your home where you might normally attempt to have a contractor come handle it. Don’t be shy to get some time in driving some nails, cutting wood, spackling walls, and making repairs.
9. Food Storage and Preservation
Various pests and animals will greatly appreciate your hunting and foraging efforts should you fail to properly store and preserve your food items. It would not be wise to just set your food items down in the open after all that work to obtain them.
Take the time to learn how to protect your food resources by fashioning containment procedures and learning how to preserve and can food.
Some foods are ideal for long term storage and others spoil quickly so having a basic understanding of which foods are best for storage and how to prepare them in advance makes a powerful difference in your level of preparation for potential survival situations.
Here’s another skill that is often overlooked by those that call themselves “preppers”. One must be able to lead themselves first if we want to be able to survive and even thrive in the worst of scenarios.
If you have a family to take care then this skill becomes all the more vital. You must be able to make decisive calls for your family or group, be able to push yourself to remain disciplined with projects and training, keep others calm and hopeful for the future, and even reprimand yourself or others when needed.
Understand that survival is not a vacation and that there must be a driving force pushing yourself or others to build, train, produce, and more in order to conquer the elements, hunger, thirst, and any other aggressive parties looking to take what’s yours.
11. Making Fire
Being able to produce fire can is a skill that can really save your life and the lives of anyone else with you by being able to provide heat, cook food, utilize ash, make things, and so much more.
There are many useful tools and products you can purchase such as Ferro rods, waterproof matches, torch lighters, and other fire starter kits available for purchase online.
I also think it vital to learn fire creation tactics that do not require tools or products such as how to utilize glass or reflections to create fire or how to use sticks and stones to build fires as well. The classic tee-pee method has always served me well.
12. Situational Awareness
Situational awareness seems obvious as a useful skill but very few are aware of the depths of this skill and how to apply it.
Situational awareness will touch all aspects of your survival in one form or another. Being aware of possible prey to hunt will keep you fed. Having the awareness to detect signs of impending weather shifts can keep you and yours alive. Identifying a possible ambush in advance could change everything. Being able to recognize subtle changes in the behaviors of animals and people is another way to employ this useful skill.
You can sharpen this skill by striving to be more aware in each moment and try to catch yourself when you find you are experiencing a tendency to mentally drift off. Work harder to pay attention to sounds, sights, smells, and actively wonder what they mean. Use the stuff above your neck to stay alive out there.
I hope by now that you are well aware that just buying some stuff does not make you prepared to survive and thrive in a survival situation and that we cannot ignore the work that must be done in our minds and with our bodies.
Acquiring these 12 skills will absolutely increase your chances of survival by a large margin by making you into a superior prepper or survivalist. No one can take away skills, habits, knowledge, or training from you so you can remain effective regardless of nearly any setback. There are tons of amazing products and gear available on today’s market but if you don’t know how to best use them or are unable to keep others from taking your gear then it does you no good. Proper preparation begins with honing ourselves into people that are more difficult to kill and more resilient to whatever the world throws at us.