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Survival Skills that really help...

1723 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  RIKA
There are a number of survival skills, knowledge of which would really help you in various SHTF situations. Not all of these involve firearms or other weapons at all but they are very worth learning, and a grasp of the basics is usually pretty easy. I have listed some below, I am sure you guys and gals can probably think of more of them:

First Aid - It is always nice to know how to stop arterial bleeding should you ever be so unlucky. Then again it maybe nice to know the difference between arterial bleeding and veinal bleeding. Of course, there are other more mundane wounds to which you may need to attend from small blisters, to sunburns, to bug bites - or even worse ones such as sucking chest wounds or a sharp stick in the eye. Take a first aid course - these are offered by groups such as the red cross. Any of these things could happen while on a wilderness hike, a family outing, or even at home.

CPR - Also offered by groups like the Red Cross, the pity is that you cannot perform it on yourself if needed.

The Heimlich Maneuver - This could be especially important is to know how to dislodge food that may be stuck in your own wind pipe should you be alone.

Basic Map Reading - Something I need to learn, although I can with a little difficulty read a topo to get me from A to B without too much up and down.

Compass Reading - Another thing in which I could use some lessons, although I have found my way with and without one many times before.

Distress Signaling - A good thing to know while on the hunting trip, skiing trip, or maybe even the family camp out when things go terribly wrong.

Swimming - what can I say about as basic a skill as this one.

Drown Proofing - it really could save your life someday if you enjoy water sports. You can learn this even if you cannot swim.

Foraging - I mean for edible vegetable matter such as plant leaves, roots, tubers, nuts, berries. (Forget mushrooms too chancy.) We all could probably use some more knowledge in this area.

Hunting - many people believe that having a gun and knowing how to use it is enough. You really should hone your hunting skills every chance. I live in an urban area, but sometimes try mine out on birds, or squirrels. Not as wary as those in the wild but not all that different especially since my dogs keep them pretty active in our small whenever they go out for a quick pee - see squirrel will chase. Even non-0hunters can ready themselves for a survival hunt by hunting with a camera and about a 200 mm lens. If you get fairly close shots, let's say of a deer, then you would be good to go with any rifle suitable for big game hunting with iron sights.

Then again there is the hunting of other critters that many would not want to consider eating. These would include: grubs, some insects, snakes, bird's eggs, crustaceans (such as crawdads), and the list goes on...

Fishing - None you don't just throw the hook into the water. Fishing is a skill that requires some knowledge to be more successful. Fishing can include use of hook and line, nets, traps and so forth. Yes you can even catch them by hand just like you have seen in the movies. I have done it, but it was not easy.

Trapping - In essence the same importance as the above two, maybe more important in the hunting arena, as it is a viable alternative or addition to any hunting methods.

Game & Fish Preparation - Ever ruin the meat that you were going to eat? I learned early on how to do that, so I also decided to learn right after that how to make sure to do it right. Ruining good venison is such a waste!

Cooking - Ever been on a hunting, fishing or camping trip and wish that Joe had come along because you remember that when Joe was there last year something was very different. Instead of eating spam right out of the can, Joe prepared dinner it so it tasted great, looked great and smelled great. Not bad to be familiar with the basics, it makes things a lot more pleasant when you can have an enjoyable hot meal so long as the situation allows.

Food Preservation - Know how to salt and sun dry fish for use later on. Food preservation could be handy if you come into a bonanza now and may face a shortage later.

Shelter Building - know how to build a lean-to that will not fall over in the first breeze that whispers Louise? Or do you know how to build a snow shelter that will help keep you warm? Get out camping with the kids and learn from them...

While I named a pretty good sized list of these skills, I am willing to bet you can think of more of them, I know I can.

Best regards,
Glenn B
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Lets see, weapons maintenance, vehicle maintenance,alternate energy, gardening,ham radio,animal husbandry, the list is vitually endless.
not much to know about vehicle maintenance, if you can't get the replacement parts, or if there's no fuel. Be plenty of vehicles sitting around, post shtf. About the only VIABLE ones, however, will be motorcycles. Where you going, in such a big hurry, anyway, hmm? After u make it to the retreat, that's IT. Trying to keep animals or do any gardening, for the first year of shtf, at least, is just going to get you shot.

Weapons maintenance is basically unnecessary, since you either wont be shooting much, or you'll be dead. If the guns are properly prepped, as in rustproof finishes with car wax over that, and Lockease lube on the articulating parts, there's nothing to worry about for many, many MONTHS, or many hundreds of rounds. There aint going to be anyone to talk to on Ham radio, and if u did, they'd likely just come kill you and take what you have. There WAS life before electrical power you know. What you really NEED it for, hmm? Nothing, if you're REALLY prepared and ABLE to handle shtf conditions.
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One thing I noticed about the things you consider necessary as survival skills is that I consider most of them to be skills based around the maintenance or acqusition of luxuries. While I did mention the luxury of knowing how to cook, I should have specified that I meant survival skills more of the nitty-gritty nature. Sorry I neglected to do so.

Skills used in those situations of a more remote and or immediate nature than a situation in which such luxuries as those derived from animal husbandry, gardening, alternate energy forms, or vehicle usage would be feasible are those of which I was inquiring. None of the skills you mentioned should ever be absolutely necessary to survive in a SHTF scenario even though they may be wonderful to have and would make things easier. I also mean survival more the everyday kind of situations that could arise while enjoying a favorite past time or trudging through a day at work. In these cases having a well maintained vehicle would be great to get to a hospital, but then it is not the down to the basics thing I am speaking about. Imagine the SHTF because you just drove you SUV off of a mountainside, and you and your passengers are all injured pretty badly. Now you have to survive and make it out or wait it out until help arrives. I could be hours, days or even weeks depending on where this happened. That is more of what I meant, with more immediate and more remote or down to basics being more of the key.

Of course the skills you mentioned may come in quite handy later on, in a situation such as your retiring to a remote outpost to avoid capture, or in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event. They are great things to know more for the long term. I would along those lines also add Interpersoanl Skills to our list because teaming up with someone down the road who is knowledgeable of one or more of those would be a very good idea. Of course the gardening thing is useful so long as you have viable seeds to plant. It is always a good idea to stock any survival kit with a variety of seed packages for the next year's growing season.

The vehicle maintenance thing is more along the lines of what I was thinking, but more along the lines of if you need to make a small repair to keep going rather than long term maintenance. Of course in a nasty enough SHTF situation there may be no access to supplies to maintain a vehicle, or as I said above the vehicle may be part of the problem. These skills though would be wonderful for the longer term survival scenrio like something out of the movie Red Dawn (I am not making light of the situation it could happen, and may happen if the UN has its way with the USA), but none are I think needed for basic survival.

All the best,
Glenn B
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Glenn here's a site that can help you with your map use navigation/

There are many skills that we employ in our daily lives that are transferable if the balloon ever went up. Life is a learning experience, except for the inept, the lazy and the half wits. One of the things the military taught me is to assess your peoples skills and try to match their employment to those skills. Another thing to remember when working in a group is "There is no "I" or "U" in the word TEAMWORK".
Whoops that was with the exception of weapons maintenance, in that you certainly should have or be able to make some sort of a survival knife at the very least in order to survive.
thanks for the info on that site
Firestarting. A very necessary skill.
Not all SHTF situations (not even the majority) are of the end-of-the-world-you'll-die-as-soon-as-someone-knows-you're-there variety.

What about Glenn's car crash? Keeping injured people warm may make the difference between living and dying. If one person is able to trek out, the smoke will help lead rescuers.

Like it or not, if TEOTWAWKI happens, you're going to have to light a fire sooner or later. It might make you safe from people if you don't ever light one, but some other circumstance might make it more dangerous NOT to light one. Not to mention all the gee-whiz warmers (for food and body) aren't going to last forever. Any descision in SHTF scenario has the potential to get you killed, you just have to make a descision and hope it's the right one, nothing will make you 100% safe.

Shelter, already touched on can also be critical. best to have something with you to base expediant shelters on (poncho/tarp/tent). You should also have a means to build a more permanent shelter if it turns out that long-haul survival is necessary. Such things as axes, saws, hammers, etc can be useful. Unless you're a lone wolf, this kind of thing can be spread among the group, not everyone needs to have all of it.

Food. Traps, nets, trotlines will bring much needed protein. When possible, forage for plant food, and if it's a long haul thing, you'll need seeds, etc. just be sure to get non-hybrid seeds. They yeild less and smaller fruit, but the seeds garnered from teh harvest will sprout if planted. Beware most garden shops (ala Wal-Mart) sell hybrid seed, and your cheap seed is almost always hybrid.

Medical needs. Here's another big one. But one has to be smart. You simply can't take everything you'll need forever.

A lot of the stuff you'll really need for long term survival will add up to way too much weight for one person quickly. A lot of it also doesn't need to be had by every person of a group. A group can carry individual equipment and group equipment spread out among the members and have a lot of flexibility. The lone wolf doesn't have that advantage.
I would along those lines also add Interpersonal Skills to our list because teaming up with someone down the road who is knowledgeable of one or more of those would be a very good idea.
is important not only for getting together later, but before anything happens, so you can get off to a good start.
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Basic defense

Knowing basic defensive tactics might be handy, too. If you need it you won't survive long without it, and the learning curve would be steep for those who don't know anything about them going against people who do. People who think they're tactical geniuses will end up dying quickly the first time they attack anybody who has a clue. The wannabe predators out there will die VERY quickly(if they're lucky). If they're not so lucky they'll be taken alive and turned over to the women.
There are, of course, many other survival techniques that may help. I am surprised that no one has chimed in with some of the ones from the darker side. These would include theft, lock picking, use of camoflage etc... For certain I would have expected SOMEONE to have mentioned these already!
From Glenn Bartley: "These would include theft, lock picking, use of camoflage etc... For certain I would have expected SOMEONE to have mentioned these already!"

Doesn't every one possess these basic skills? :D

Seriously, simple theft comes easily to almost all of us though most of us choose not to follow that route. I learned how to pick locks shortly after I came to live with my real Dad. He has several sets of picks and books on opening all kinds of locks. I started on simple padlocks and progressed to Master locks with the mushroom pins. Opening different kinds of desk locks, cabinets and car locks was part of my training. The club that protects your car can be opened in 20 seconds without a key if you have the right equipment and knowledge. Lock picks require finesse and a light touch but for people like Melvin theres always the crowbar picking method. Slim jims and tools that reach into your car door or through your closed car window are easy to make. Even safes can be compromised if you have the right tools and enough time.

Camouflage is an important skill that you must actually practice to learn. Fortunately there are many books out there to get you started. I've gathered all the material for a ghillie suit but haven't put it together yet. Would be real handy for varmint hunting.

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It occurred to me to add that both the lock picks and the books are freely available through the internet, often at reasonable prices. One neat thing I've seen is a 'training lock'. Its a regular lock with replacable pins; it allows you to learn to pick one pin tumbler and then add pins until you're up to picking all five. Very handy tool - price runs from around $100 to $150. There are also lock shims for combination padlocks and other valuable tools. Even tryout keys like car dealers and car repossessors use.

Last thing: check your local laws about possession and use so you don't accidentally break the law.

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