10 Survival Skills You’ll Wish You Had When the SHTF

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When it comes to survival, ordinary men and women who are just now immersing themselves into the prepper world are more concerned about hoarding supplies than they are learning the skills they need for survival purposes.

Unfortunately, there are many situations where you will be unable to take most of your supplies with you. In truly dire circumstances, you will have to know how to do everything on your own, without the convenience of having readymade gadgets and tools with you.

The best thing you can do to protect the lives of yourself and your family is to learn what you need to know ahead of time, gain those skills, and practice them over time. You also need to teach your family what to do in these situations, in case they are separated from you or you are no longer around.

Multiple Ways to Filter Water and Stay Hydrated

The first thing many people understand in terms of survival is that water is the most important thing your body will need to make it through an awful situation. You may have many gallons or bottles of water saved up in your household.

However, this will not help you if you and your loved ones have to bug out to another location. Even if you were able to fill your car with as many gallons as possible, it may not last you for the entire duration of the survival event.

The same goes for supplies that help you purify water, such as bleach or water purifying tablets. You may not have the convenience of filter straws or a filtering machine to help you clean the water that you need to drink.

If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have the convenience of a water purifying system, you can always start by boiling the water that you need. Of course, this requires you to start a fire and if you are drinking the water, you will need to wait until it cools down enough to consume safely.

If you are unable to boil the water, then you want to filter it as much as possible using whatever you have on hand. For example, you can run the water through different layers – such as a bandana, coffee filters that are in your backpack, or other fabrics that will separate the particles from the water.

You can also create a homemade filter by using things such as a bottle, sand or gravel, cotton balls, etc. Try to make sure you have some activated carbon with you in your bug out bag.

Another thing you might be able to use is the sun. There is a solar water disinfection process that takes up to 48 hours, but it can help kill off some of the harmful things in your water supply.

Start a Fire Without Matches or Lighters

Many people rely on the convenience of having matches or lighters to start a fire. Survival preppers often have flint and steel to do the job. But you may not have either of those.

You can still start a fire without these tools on hand and use it to boil water, cook your food, wash up, etc. The most common method of starting a fire without matches that just about everyone knows is to cause friction between two sticks.

If you’ve ever watched the show, Survivor, you will know that this is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of work and skill in allowing the spark to breathe and catch the kindling on fire.

There are also ways that you can start a fire using hard materials such as rocks to create a spark, using the sun in a concentrated effort, such as through a magnifying glass, etc.

You should learn and teach your loved ones how to gather the proper tinder that will easily ignite and help in starting a fire that will last. You also need to teach them what kind of kindling well best work for catching fire to then fuel larger pieces of wood.

Forage for Food in a Bug Out Situation

Foraging for food is another skill you will want to learn far ahead of a true emergency situation. You’ll need to have books on hand and you may need to access the Internet while it’s still working to ask questions or find information.

You’ll want to know how to forage for berries and plants as well as nuts in your area. But you also need to learn how to find those same items in other areas that you may have to bug out to in the event that you have to leave your local area.

Come up with a list of everywhere you might end up having to go, and learn how to forage for food in those locations. Then, put your skills to the test and carefully forage for food without putting yourself or your family in danger.

If you learn the skill early enough, you will be able to ask for feedback on whether or not you have correctly identified the plants that you have gathered. You may also be able to find a local class or expert who can guide you in foraging for food. Just look for an herbalist or wilderness expert who can teach you the ropes.

Navigate Outdoors without Maps or Roadways

In today’s modern world, if you need to get from point A to point B, you may turn on an app such as Waze to guide you to the location. Or, you may have a GPS product that simply tells you which turn to take on which street.

In a survival situation, you may not have access to such luxuries. In fact, you may not even have a map on hand. You may not be able to travel by a major roadway if it is dangerous, and therefore will not have any signs at your disposal telling you which direction is the correct one.

You need to know how to navigate the outdoors using a simple, small compass that you will keep in your bug out bag. But even then, you may not have access to a compass, so you will have to learn how to navigate according to the sun’s location as well as the constellations in the night sky.

Build a Shelter from Your Surroundings

Building a shelter will be one of the most important things you’ll need to know ahead of time. While you may think you can simply set up a tent anywhere in an emergency situation, that may not be possible.

You might be out in the wilderness without any tools, tents or tarps. You need to learn how to build a shelter from what’s around you – the wood, leaves, moss, mud and other materials provided by Mother Nature.

You need to be able to build shelter for different weather situations, including extreme heat and cold, wind, snow and rain. You also want to be able to build a shelter that camouflages you from detection from other individuals.

There will be some situations where you may have tools at your disposal. It’s a good idea to learn certain carpentry fundamentals so that if you have to build a homestead off the grid and without any professional services, you’ll be able to.

First Aid Training for Minor and Major Injuries

There will be many instances when you are in a survival situation, where first aid is required. From simple sprains to major wounds, you will want to be able to understand how to treat someone without the benefit of a first aid kit.

Even if you do have a first aid kit on hand, many people don’t know how to use the supplies that are inside. So you want to educate yourself about how to use a first aid kit, and how to treat someone without one.

For example, you may need to know how to treat a wound by using nothing more than water and compression. You may need to know how to locate an aloe vera plant or other natural growing plant that can help you administer first aid to someone.

You want to gradually educate yourself on many different first aid situations, including how to recognize when someone is having a stroke or heart attack – and what to do about it if you are unable to take them to a hospital, how to administer CPR, etc.

Self Defense Measures to Keep Your Family Safe

Self-defense is another thing you want to learn prior to a SHTF situation. This is something that can help protect you from unsavory individuals who may want to attack you or take your supplies.

It may also help you in protecting yourself and your family from wild animals if you have to bug out in an area where there are large wild cats, bears, coyotes, feral pigs, and more.

There are many different measures that you can take for self-defense. Some people prefer to learn how to use weapons, such as being armed with a gun or knife. If you are choosing to go this route, you need to make sure that you are well versed in how to use both of these for self-defense.

You also need to know some self-defense tactics if you are caught without your weapon of choice. For example, you may want to learn karate or how to box so that you can eliminate the threat to your family in a safe manner.

This is something that you will need to make sure your family is educated in as well. You don’t want someone who is smaller or weaker to get caught off guard by an attacker and be unable to protect themselves.

Growing Your Own Food from Seed to Table

While foraging for food is a great skill to have, as well as being able to stock supplies, it may not be enough. There will be some long term survival situations where you need to be able to grow your own food from a seed and provide for your family this way.

Some people fail at gardening, not understanding how to keep pests away from their garden plants, not realizing how much sun the plants need, not being able to evaluate the soil, or know when to harvest.

You want to find out what zone you currently live in, or where your future homestead is located, and learn what types of plants you can grow for food, and in what season. Make sure you have plenty of heirloom seeds on hand for this purpose, and store them properly.

Keep in mind that you can’t speed up the growing process, so if you are panicking for food, a garden may not provide you the comfort you are seeking. There are certain plants that grow faster than others, and in addition to these, you will also need to stock up on seeds of plants that provide the most nutritional value.

Hunting and Fishing to Stave Off Hunger and Fill Up on Protein

Foraging for food and growing your own are great ways to take away the hunger you feel in a survival situation. But for energy purposes, you will need to know how to find the protein that will serve your body well.

Hunting and fishing are two skills that you will need to learn before a major event takes place. Even if you are not currently a hunter, you need to learn the skills it takes to trap small animals, clean them, and cook them in a safe manner.

You also want to learn how to fish with and without supplies, depending on what type of situation you are in. While supplies are great, not everyone has access to them in a survival situation, which means they have to rely on the process of noodling or fashioning equipment out of natural items.

Cooking Outdoors Off the Grid

Many people have been camping, and use the convenience of a propane stove to cook the food they need while living in the outdoors temporarily. However, there may be times when you need to cook outdoors on a larger scale, for a longer time.

You may not have the luxury of propane or charcoal to help you build a fire and cook the food for your family. You need to know what types of gear to buy, such as cast iron pots and pans.

These are too heavy and bulky for you to carry with you if you have to bug out. They may be fine for a homestead outdoor cooking purpose, though. If you have to bug out and can’t take your supplies with you, you need to learn how to use things like rocks over a fire or foil pouches to bake your dinner in a fire pit.

The last thing you want to do is become frustrated and feel hopeless trying to cook dinner without access to pots and pans, grills and ovens while you or your loved ones are starving and miserable.

Learning all of these skills ahead of time will give you the peace of mind to know that your family will be taken care of in the event of a major survival situation. Over time, you will want to practice these skills and perfect your own style so that you can quickly and easily implement them whenever the need arises.