There seems to be cliques in the prepping world. The groups tend to stick to their beliefs about what is necessary for survival and scoff at those who have a different idea about how to survive after SHTF. You have those that are willing to eat grubs and MREs and live in tiny debris huts forever. Then you have those who have built up a homestead that will provide them with shelter and food and plan on living their days out there. Both options have some very useful and beneficial aspects. However, both options also have some downsides. Unfortunately, there seems to be this huge divide among these groups. It is an all or nothing type of choice in many people’s minds. Why?
The very nature of prepping and survival is to prepare for anything. Survivalists know you never want to put all of your eggs into one basket. Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head all the time. Just when you think you got it together and you will be fine, something comes out of nowhere and thwarts your plans.
Do you find yourself falling into one of these main styles of prepping?
The Fierce, Skilled Survival Experts
There are those who are military trained and are fierce opponents in a combat or self-defense situation, but they lack some basic skills like cooking a meal. This group can make a shelter out of branches and leaves in the blink of an eye and disappear into the foliage without even trying. This group is convinced they can find firewood and grubs to eat to survive and they don’t need to know how to grow their own food. This is dangerous. Eating MREs and living in a hut made from leaves is not a long-term solution.
Then there are those non-assuming, friendly, mind-their-own-business kind of folks who stay out of people’s way and are basically self-sufficient. They don’t bother you and they don’t expect you to bother them. Assuming nobody will bother you or your homestead because you are way out in the boonies is dangerous. Many homesteaders don’t bother learning self-defense or how to effectively defend their property against human predators because it just seems unlikely.
The Readers Who Never Do
There is a growing number of people who are interested in learning about survival and are anxious to read every little tidbit of information. They are not limiting themselves to just homesteading or just military-style survival. They want to know it all and become walking encyclopedias. Unfortunately, they rarely, if ever, actually get the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test. They know everything there is to know about making a bow drill, but have never actually done it. Knowledge is power and these folks are armed to the hilt, but will it help when it really counts?
There are of course a few other groups in between, but the point is each group tends to focus on a particular set of skills and ignores what other preppers are doing. Imagine rolling all of those preppers into one. Boy, would you have the ultimate survival expert!
Becoming More Well-Rounded
It is virtually impossible to prep the wrong way. There is no true wrong or right way. But, you can hinder yourself by focusing one hundred percent of your energy into learning only one way to survive. You are doing yourself and those who are going to be depending on you a major disservice by closing your mind to learning new ways to prepare and survive. Your way is not the only way. That young dude down the road may just have a better way of doing things. That old guy who hasn’t left his land in 50 years may have some pretty valuable information as well even if it is really old-school. You can always learn new things and then tweak them to suit you and your purposes. Don’t automatically discard the information offered by somebody who isn’t a part of your prepping world.
There are some primitive skills that have been lost over the years in favor of new tools that have been put out to aid in survival. It is easy to get caught up with the times. Advances in technology have given us some pretty cool gadgets, but nothing can ever take the place of working with your hands and using the things around you. Primitive is harder, which is why people shy away from those methods. However, primitive is the most reliable. Primitive methods have been practiced and perfected over hundreds of years.
There is no rule that says you have to limit your knowledge about new and old ways. Why people choose to do such a thing is often simply because they assume what they have learned is enough. You can never know too much about survival. You will never know everything there is to know. Survival training is often based on improvising and making do in the moment. You could never possibly plan or prepare for every single scenario. Instead, you must do what you can to arm yourself with knowledge and when a situation arises, you can quickly go through your mental catalog of new, primitive and army training to figure out which would work best in a particular situation. Survival is a very fluid situation. You are going to be facing new and unique dangers and challenges at every turn. All you can do is take it as it comes and apply your training.
If you are sitting there and wondering if you have truly pigeonholed yourself into a particular group and have inadvertently limited your skills, ask yourself the following questions.
What Are You Strongest At?
Sit down and think about the skills you have right now. What have you read up on and actually practiced? Make a list.
What Have You Seen or Heard, but Never Researched or Practiced?
This is your wish list of sorts. Maybe your neighbor down the road makes their own pressed paper briquettes and you have thought about it, but never really looked into it.
Can You Defend Yourself?
If you have know clue how to use a gun, a bow and arrow or other weapons and skills that will help you fight off an attacker, you need to strongly consider doing so. You don’t have to go into every situation with the kill or be killed mindset, but you will feel more confident knowing you can defend yourself if necessary.
Because you will struggle to think of everything there is to know (especially because you DON’T know) check out the following list of skills that are often overlooked in survival training. Make an effort to read up on them and physically practice.
Skills Everybody Can Benefit From
- Hunting small and large game with bow and arrow and gun
- Trapping small and large game
- How to field dress the animals you take
- Foragingâ€”finding edible plants, berries and nuts in the wild
- Basket weavingâ€”fish baskets for fishing, baskets for carrying gathered food
- Self-defense—all kinds!
- How to raise small livestock i.e. chickens, pigs, goats
- Starting a fire with two sticks/bow drill
- How to make cordage from vines
- Building emergency shelters from debris
- How to tan hides that can be used for shelters and clothing
- How to track animals and humans
- The art of camouflageâ€”you never know when you need to hide
- Making basic tools out of bones, rocks and items in the environment
- How to make soap
- Food preservationâ€”using the sun to dry your harvest
- Sewing, knittingâ€”you will have to make your own clothes and winter weather gear
- Leather working
These are some basic skills that may not seem like much, but when you are truly in survival mode and there isn’t a Wal-Mart or a home improvement store to run to, these skills will be extremely valuable. These are all things you can do today. You don’t have to go to anywhere to learn how to make soap or how to darn a pair of socks. These are all skills you can practice after work or on the weekend.
Do yourself a favor and make a commitment to expanding your skillset to include things you previously thought were unnecessary. You never know when disaster will strike and what you will be left with. If your matches are soaked, you have to know another way to start a fire. If you lose your knife, you need to know how to fashion another one to aid in survival. You can never know too much!