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Skills you need to Survive

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posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:15 PM
Ok I've said it a few times on various posts, the key to survival is knowledge. If you have food and guns you can survive a short term SHTF situation but you'll never prosper in the long term.

I'm an optomist in that I figure if things go really bad I don't need to just prepare for survival for a few months but long term, I need to preserve the knowledge that will allow my children and grandchildren to continue on after I'm gone and burried. My oldest keeps saying she's going to build me a pyramid when I die.... she's into Egyptian things these days, which is better than her old comment of putting me in a museum on display when she went through the dinosaur phase.

That said I want to discuss ideas of skills that people think can be useful and how to "acquire" them. I also want to strongly encourage people to learn some of these skills and practice them frequently. If you live near neigbours who are of like mind then consider learning different skills so everyone can share knowledge later and trade.

Mecical Skills

- everyone should have a first aid and CPR course.

Advanced medical skills

- you can take a paramedic course, or a EMT course.
- I have a copy of "Where there is no Doctor" by Hesperian (ISBN 978-0-942364-15-6), they also publish a dentist book and a one on midwifery.

Cheese Making

- Cheese making is fun, easy and soft cheeses are ready to eat in less than 2 days. Hard Cheese is a great way to preserve milk and it's proteins for long periods of time.
- I make a pretty good brine soaked cheese that everyone at work loves, my soft cream cheese replacement is pretty good. I have given up trying to make mold ripened cheeses (like Brie) because I can't get them to work correctly.

- The art of preserving meat with out a fridge or freezer
- I recently picked up a book on the subject, it has a lot of recipes and information but I haven't tried any of them yet so not sure how good it is.

- Learn to preserve foods for over winter.
- I like "Home Preserving" by Bernardin (ISBN 978-0-7788-0137-3). I've tried a few dozen recipes and they all turned out very good. Especially the chutney.

- I'm just starting to read on this subject so I'll update later if I find good sources.

Wood working
- I suggest that everyone have access to hand tools like saws, hammers, chisels and a brace and bit or two. Try making furniture with your hand tools. I've made a cherry wood table that was a great dining room table. A bunch of chairs and an end table for the mother in law. There are some good books on medieval wood working that show how the old ways of doing wood working.

Gardening and Seed Saving
- Again another one where practice is better than a book.
- I have a copy of the Storey's book "Seed Sowing and Saving" (ISBN 978-1-58017-001-7). Of the three books on this topic it's the best in my opinion.

- I haven't tried this yet but it's on my list to try. Anyone have a good source for knowledge and recipes?

Animal Raising
- Again get some hands on skills, but as far as references to help you figure out the best bread for you I like the series of books on various animals by Storey's.

General Skills
- Storey's also makes a bunch of small pamphlets (under $3 each) on things like brewing, sewing, building a composter, building a chicken coop etc.

- get the tools and practice, stock up on scrap metal. Old leaf springs are a great source of metal.
- There are several good books and some rural colledges have classes on weekends.

Alcohol and Brewing
- Alcohol can be used for more than drinking, it also has uses as a disinfectant, a fuel source (lanterns and stoves) and as a way to make tough meat more edible.
- Hundreds of books on brewing, there are different ways depending on your source material.

Sewing and Textiles
- Sewing is a good skill even if all you can do is mend your clothes.
- Processing wool (ie carding, spinning and dying etc) are great skills if you have access to a source of fibers.
- Weaving cloth is also something not enough people know how to do. I tried taking a class a decade ago and boy did I stink. Obviously this is not my strong area.

Tanning and Preserving Hides
- Lots of books, but really something you should try at least once to see if you can do it, before you have too.

Ok that's the list off my head anyone have other ideas?

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:20 PM
Great list of skills there. Need to practice them not just read about them though.
And your daughter has a good idea with that pyramid thing. Have you read about pyramid greenhouses?


[edit on 5-7-2009 by whitewave]

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:36 PM
I've never tried a pyramid greenhouse but I have a fair amount of food in my various gardens. I've practiced a lot of the skills on that list. I use books to teach the basics then I move unto actual practice and hands on what I learned. I travel for work a lot and books are a great way to pass the time on planes.

She was more thinking in terms of a tomb.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:39 PM
Well composting will be needed, eh?

Sorry. I'll just get my coat and go. *slinks out of thread*

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:43 PM
I tried curring a hide with salt a decade ago... It was a lot of work and not something I'm keen to repeat unless I had too. It was a lot of work and difficult to fit around my work schedule.

Another good project is to get your kids involved in some of these projects and skills from an early age. All of mine take turns watering the garden. My oldest has used some tools on occasion and the next one likes to help pick berries and tomatoes.

The two oldest have started learning how to cook. Both can use a pasta roller and both have helped collect deadwood and build a small teepee fire.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:59 PM

Originally posted by whitewave
Well composting will be needed, eh?

Sorry. I'll just get my coat and go. *slinks out of thread*

Not sure how I feel about people as compost but your welcome to stay.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 07:25 PM
reply to post by exile1981

Some very good info on youtube right here:

Wilderness Outfitters

Only thing I'd say is some of it can be done cheaper than
the ways he shows, and some of his stuff is as cheap as it gets.

The knowledge he offers freely and I find it to be pretty damn good.

Good Luck to you all !

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 07:54 PM
I always see folks talking about "living off the land" in a SHTF situation, and just shudder.

No matter what else, if you're trying to live off the land, a lot of other folks are too. This means readily available high quality food sources will be depleted very rapidly. Remember you will be competing with the local wildlife, not all of which is edible, some of which might find you pretty tasty.

Hunting is a learned skill, and takes years of practice to do well. Fishing not so much, but after the dumb, easily caught ones are gone, well, yeah, novices won't eat much. After one season, nobody will eat much: the prey will be gone and the vegetation stripped.

Better bring lots and lots of energy bars for that first winter or two.

But the kicker is water: you better be able to find it, even if you need to dig for it, perhaps especially if you need to dig for it. Any long term habitation requires a reliable water source. Use dowsing rods to find it, teens are especially sensitive, especially girls. Dunno why, but they are. You can make dowsing rods out of an old coathanger, just cut it into two "L" shapes, about 3-4" inches long on the short end. Then just walk around holding them loosely in front of you. When they cross over, water is down there: the stronger the movement, the closer it is to the surface. Once you have a hit, quarter the area and determine the boudaries and see if it's nearer the surface somewhere else. Verify with more than one person, then start digging. Don't get carried away and dig a huge hole, dig one just big enough to work with until you hit water: you can enlarge it later.

Practice around your area and see for yourself, then include them in your kit.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 11:07 PM
The idea of living off the land always seemed stupid to me. Unless you live in the far north then the likley hood of there being more people than wildlife is 100%. You either have to have enough food stores to last the first couple years, or a way to grow the food you need. Either way you need a way to hold onto what you have and what you produce.

I think people should look at ways of banding together with similar minded people to work together to rebuild a society.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 11:17 PM

Living off the land is an idiot's idea unless your so remote that it is possible. All of these people who believe running to a state park with a damned bag and a gun is a "smart thing" to do would have a rude awakening when they find 10,000 other people who had the same idea.... and many of those people will love to take your stuff when you arrive or gladly take you out when they find you in the woods. Fear & Paranoia can drive normal people to do really crazy things, and let's face it.. some very bad people are also survivalist, it just isn't the family oriented type with morals. Hell, a few months ago I remember a topic which was mentioning killing and stealing from the neighbors with some people justifying it. THAT attitude should wake you up.

Unfortunately, today's modern society with living in cities and sub-divisions makes it hard to prepare a "hidden sanctuary" but I would advise anyone who has the means to prepare a concealed location "preferably underground" to weather out any long term X crisis. To many lunatics will be running around like the "end of the world" during a major crisis and they will be as dangerous if not worse as any wandering gangs of zombies.

Having a year's supply of food stored in your "sanctuary" is the best option. Depending on the crisis, Sit it out & low for a time.

[edit on 5-7-2009 by infolurker]

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 11:29 PM
In a "Mad Max" scenario like I think the shtf event will be; mobility will be the most important skill you can have. Being able to ride off road on a dirt bike and maintain it and stay away form predators will save your life.
Encumbrances and attachments will get you killed.

[edit on 5-7-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 07:42 AM
Whilst a good idea to know how to make stuff, more pressing is the need to know how to create FIRE, with that you can prepare food, boil water, clean wounds and a host of other things to consider. But mostly all you'll need is a lighter or flint.

Another good thing is , should / If /when the SHTF , there would be no need learn how to make leather, or how to create tools, gunsmithing as there would be ( should a mass of the population be wiped out for whatever reason , war, viral, zombie ) there will be enough supplies left in the empty homes and businesses that will be in the cities or even in the small outlying villages around the world.

Being from the UK , there are a number of locales that I have noted to get practically anything should I survive whatever dire event happens.
Food although plentiful in the homes will soon go out of date , but dried foodstuffs can last a heck of a long time.
Tools available in DIY stores will be easily obtainable a well as vehicles and fuel left in the standing tanks ( providing there isnt a massive fire anywhere ).
Clothes , Im sure will be in the homes as well as supermarket isle's.
Guns and ammo from most army or police stations, I have plans to head to town to get them should the event warrant it.
There are lots of different shops that would cater for any eventuality or need , army surplus , camping, cash and carry warehouse, garage for motor spares, homes for clothing and food.
There may be a need to head out to the wilderness first to escape whatever the event is but sooner or later veveryone that is left will head back to their homes , mainly for the comfort and simply because they know what is in their local area.

[edit on 6/7/09 by DataWraith]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 07:09 PM
There are a couple of different scenarios that you need to think about.

1) A situation that reduces the population (plague etc) - these will leave those who survive it with a lot of options as far as supplies etc.

2) Population reduction with radiation - less options than above but still a fair number.

3) No loss of population but loss of society - Lots of starving people in the short term but also you need to be protected from the two leg predators and you'll need supplies to last out because the huge number of displaced people is going to use up the supplies in nature and stores very quickly. Isolatd warehouses will last longer but not long enough.

I'm thinking that if I plan for 3 i'll be good for 1 and 2 also. I don't just want to survive I want to be able to start rebuilding.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 09:54 PM
Here's a link to a guy that actually is surviving. It's a long but worthy read. I think my favorite quote out of it all is when he says, "there will not be a declared SHTF day". It will be gradual until one day you realize that the S has already HTF and you weren't paying attention. Very good advice here.


[edit on 6-7-2009 by whitewave]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 09:59 PM
It sounds very nasty but "brain" tanning is by far the easiest way I have found to preserve (tan) garments for winter weather and makeshift shoes.
Add knapping to your list, everyone needs the basics on flint!
Learn to make cordage "rope" from whats natural I use yucca leaves and some rose bush bark ect....

posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 04:27 AM
This knowlege (sp?) will surely come in handy. Gives me some things to read up on in my spare time, and may even save my life one day. Thank you.

posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 08:25 AM

Originally posted by exile1981
3) No loss of population but loss of society

"people" are society, i've racked my brains and can't actually come up with a situation where society collapses to a starvation level without drastic population reduction.

maybe i lack imagination.

medical skills are always going to be an important plus, medicinal plant knowledge is an underestimated area that will always stand you in good stead. good books are a nice reference but you can't beat experience.

[edit on 8/7/09 by pieman]

posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 03:10 PM

Originally posted by pieman

Originally posted by exile1981
3) No loss of population but loss of society

"people" are society, i've racked my brains and can't actually come up with a situation where society collapses to a starvation level without drastic population reduction.

maybe i lack imagination.
[edit on 8/7/09 by pieman]

The one I was thinking of is an EMP that takes out all the electronics. It's a sudden loss of society as in no radios, no phones, no power or infrastructure. In the sudden short term there are a lot of very desperate and hungry people who are looking for supplies. In the long run this ends with a large loss of people but not quickly and the ability to forage will be nil with the millions of people looking for food around you.

posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 11:29 PM
I've thought of a few more skills.

Fire making
As one poster said it's a pretty critical skill.

Seed Saving
Ok this could be part of farming, but it's a whole seperate set of skills to save seeds properly for use the next year. Most people have a tendancy to think seeds come from the store.

Tire Repair
After the week I had I'm adding this one. If you need to bug out you need to have more than 1 spare per vehicle. If you are going on gravel roads you need 6 ply tires if you are traveling on rougher roads go for 10 ply. Having the gear to repair a tire is a good idea. If you need to bug out then you probally can't call AMA.

posted on Aug, 2 2009 @ 08:33 AM
What you list sounds more like homesteading skills than survival per se. Infolurker makes a good point about having 10,000 people running around the nearest state park with the same idea. That's probably true but I would estimate that that group would probably be reduced by 50% every month. In 6 months there would only be 2 or 300 left. Those who have supplies and can hide and/or defend what they have will be those who survive.
We can mock those who think that going into the woods is a good idea but how much more realistic is it to stay home? How long before you are forced to go out to obtain food, medicine, whatever ?
There is no single best answer for anyone. I DO think the wise choice here is to have several sets of plans for both contingencies, i.e.- for both staying at home and for leaving and finding refuge in the wild if you can. During the next few months I will begin a series of post on outdoor survival since there seems to be a great interest in it. I see people posting alot of poor and questionable information and I would like to be able to provide solid, reliable techniques. I have many years of experience in teaching primitive living skills in addition to working with the USMC scout/sniper school on mantracking, evasion and camoflague.
I hope things never get to the point where people will need to utilize these types of skills, it will be a sad day should it happen.

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