If you are serious about being prepared to survive any eventuality, then there are several skills you need to learn. But if you are a beginner, there are a core set of skills you need to get a handle on first. Survival experts often disagree on what these skill sets are and in what order they are important, because there are a lot of variables involved. But from my point of view, there are seven basic skills anyone who is interested in surviving the worst case scenario should master first. Here is my take.
You should have already decided on these threats that you feel particularly vulnerable to and you should build your core preparations, including bug out bag, bugging in preps and transportation around these seven skills. They are listed in my order preference. Once you master these, begin mastering other additional skills.
I have often been accused of being too “gun heavy” in my preparation advice. But I still maintain that if you cannot defend yourself and what you have in an effective manner, then you become nothing more that a supply room for predators of the two and four-legged variety, and a meal for the vultures. Thats why I listed
defense first. Where you live, the local laws, the society you are in and you own personal situation will determine how you prepare yourself in this area. If you are legally able, I highly recommend that you own at least one firearm and learn to use it. And practice with it. What type or how many firearms you should have is up to you. Do your research and draw your own conclusions.
You can go a long time without food if you have to. But you can usually only go without water for two to three days, and you will start becoming inefficient before that. In my article, Water, The Second Consideration Part 3 I go into some detail about how to find and purify water. But you should acquire at least a few portable water filters such as the Life Straw or the Sawyer Water Filter as soon as possible.
How to start a fire is a seriously critical skill. You can keep warm, boil water, and cook. And there is a psychological plus in having a warm, comfortable fire at night in an emergency. (assuming the tactical situation allows). It also helps to keep unfriendly critters away. You should always have at least three ways to start a fire on you. Your basic BIC lighter is a good choice. A stormproof lighter is an even better option. A magnesium fire starter should be in your bug out bag or EDC kit. You need to practice fire making before you need to do it in an emergency
Learning how to build various shelters in the wild can be done through any number of excellent survival manuals. One of the best is the SAS Survival Guide But you really need to consider getting a lightweight tent or at least a tarp for shelter. They make some really good lightweight tents that are easy to transport and even fit in your bug out bag. The Kelty Salida 2 is an example, but there are many more on the market. Do your research.
You could go up to 40 days on average without food, but it isn’t something I would recommend as a hobby. Without nourishment you start loosing energy and your thinking will become distorted. You will make mistakes. Despite their detractors, MRE’s are a good survival food for a limited amount of time. Learn to trap small game, and know what plants in your area are edible. If you are near a river, lake or ocean, fishing is an excellent way to provide the nourishment you need. As far as hunting larger game, this takes training and experience. Way too many people think they are going to live off Bambi and Company if the SHTF and they have no experience in hunting.
In a survival situation, you wont have 911 to call. You will have to deal with any medical issues yourself, and you need to have at least basic first aid training. Having a proper first aid kit is a basic must.
The American Red Cross gives excellent first aid training classes which everyone should have, whether you are preparing for survival, or just every day living.
There are a million reasons why you may need to get from point A to point B. The ability to navigate without the use of a compass or GPS is a basic skill. There are many good manuals that will teach you how to learn these skills as well as navigate with a map and compass. The U.S. Military FM-25.26 is an excellent reference and learning tool.
I believe that having a degree of mastery of the above skills will give you a solid foundation to survivability.
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