There’s a lot more to prepping than stockpiling food, water, guns and ammo. Prepping is also about the knowledge you have, and knowing what to do with that knowledge. One key thing I focus on in prepping and survival, is, the more you know, the less you have to carry, for example, knowing how to find tinder in the wild means you won’t have to carry fire starters in your backpack.
When finding the skills you need to learn, you should first identify what you are preparing for. Are you just prepping for a sudden job loss, or something a little more serious such as a hurricane, or even TEOTWAWKI. Here is what you will need to consider when trying to work out what skills you as a prepper should be learning.
What Are You Preparing for?
Firstly, you need to establish what you are prepping for, as this will have a great impact on what skills you will need to acquire. Prepping for a hurricane, for example, will require you to have skills in DIY, as you may need to board up the windows and doors to your home, whereas, if you are prepping for a total grid down situation, you are going to need a lot more skills than just DIY.
If you live in an area which is prone to flooding, you may want to learn about water filtration, methods to stop water entering your home, waste disposal and so on.
Prepping for a government takeover, or total collapse of society, you will be leaning more towards weapons skills, tactics and self defence skills.
If you are prepping for a pandemic, you will need to consider reading up on subjects such as home sanitation, hygiene, methods to reduce the spread of infection, what respirator masks are effective, and food storage.
As you can now see from above, every situation has a different set of skills required to deal with the emergency at hand, so being able to identify what it is you are prepping for is key to doing it right.
If you find you are prepping for more than one specific event, which you really should be, then the skills at the bottom of this article will also be useful, along with more specific skills related to each event you are prepping for.
Where do You Live?
The area in which you live will have a great impact on the skills you as a prepper should have. Living in a cold and wet climate, you may be more focused on shelter building, and fire making and keeping yourself warm, whereas those who live in a more temperate climate may be more focused on water sourcing and collection.
For a prepper living in the city, you are maybe not going to have your own vegetable patch, so you may want to focus more on things such as food stockpiling, water storage and home security, as opposed to someone living in the countryside, who may have a garden in which they can grow some of their own food, collect rainwater, and don’t have to focus on home security as much due to the lower population density of the countryside.
If you live in the desert, you will need to focus on shelter building, as keeping out of the hot daytime sun will be very important in order to avoid sunstroke. Finding and purifying water will also be an important skill set you should possess, as water can be very scarce in the desert. You may event want to think about storing emergency water in 55 gallon drums.
What Resources do you Have?
Are there many resources around you? Do you have any woodlands nearby which you can gather firewood? Are there any edible plants in your area? Can you identify them? What resources do you already have at your home?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself.
If you are prepping for a grid down event, and already have solar panels fitted to your home, then you will possibly need to brush up on your skills on electrical work, as your solar panels may require maintenance from time to time.
Prepping for a long term SHTF situation, do you have firewood stockpiled?
Do you have a stockpile of food and water?
What do your bug out bag include? Do you have a water filter? Pots and pans for cooking? An alternative method of cooking when the grid goes down? Flashlights, knives for hunting? These are all things you will need in a longterm SHTF situation.
Having the skills to use the tools you have at hand is essential. Many people have the best knives on the market, yet, still couldn’t sharpen them.
Identifying the resources you already have, and making sure you know how to make use of them is vital, but also, knowing what you don’t have available, and building a skillset to make up for this should be a major part of your prepping plan.
What Skills do you Have?
Are you an avid outdoors person with a vast array of bush-crafting skills, or just an average Joe prepping for the unknown? If you are out in the woods wild camping and practising bushcraft every weekend, then your firelighting and shelter building skills are probably already quite developed. Instead you might want to focus on building skills such as fitness, or hunting and fishing if you don’t already possess those.
On the other hand, if you are a city slicker, and have been to the woods once, on that much hated camping trip, then you should maybe look into picking up some wilderness survival skills, such as map reading and navigating, fire making, and water sourcing and cleaning.
You are maybe a great DIY’er, but lack skills in basic first aid. DIY skills will be important, as I have spoken about above, in a hurricane situation, or any natural disaster situation, though, first aid skills are very important, and should not be overlooked.
Each type of person has a wide variety of skills. You need to make a list of the skills you have as a person, then as a family, and work on building the skills you lack.
Top 12 General Prepper Skills
As a rule of thumb, I would say every prepper/survivalist should have the following skills, regardless of their situation, location, or disaster they are prepping for.
The skills listed below can come in handy in a number of survival situations, and are therefore worth taking note of, learning and practising them if you haven’t already done so.
- Finding, filtering and purifying water
- Finding tinder, and starting a fire
- Basic navigation techniques (reading a compass)
- Building a shelter
- First Aid
- Fishing and hunting
- Cleaning out animals (fish, rabbits…)
- Plant identification
- Growing and harvesting plants/crops
- Using the tools you have acquired
- Saving money for future emergencies
Example SHTF Scenario: EMP Attack
Tom: A city slicker, who has just started reading up on prepping, and has no relevant skills at all.
Tom and his family are in bed asleep. The dead of night is upon them.
Dawn comes around, and Tom wakes up, looks at his watch, and realises he has slept in for work, the alarm on his phone didn’t go off. On closer inspection, his phone is dead. He presumes the charger is faulty.
Tom reaches for the bedside light, switches it on, but nothing happens. He thinks the electric must have gone out, and that will explain his phone being dead too.
As there is no electric, there will be no breakfast.
Running to the door, Tom grabs his car keys, and proceeds outside, clicks the unlock button, but nothing happens…. hmmm. Using the key, he unlocked the car, and tries to start it, it’s dead! He now realises what has happened. This is what he read about the other day on a prepping website.
Tom finds a few of his neighbours talking on the street, they have no power, and their cars aren’t working either.
Tom tells them that he thinks there has been an EMP attack, and the grid is down, and most electrical items are fried, everyone begins to panic. The news spreads fast amongst the neighbourhood with residents coming to Tom asking for advice as he seems to know what is going on.
Tom heads inside, locks the doors, and wakes up his wife and explains the situation to her.
They are helpless, they have a few days of canned food, and some perishable items in the fridge and freezer which won’t last too long in the summertime heat.
What does Tom do in a situation like this? Remember, he has no skills in prepping… He would panic, run to the store, try and pickup food and water, to find it has already been looted!
If this was a prepper, who has acquired a vast skillset in wilderness survival, urban survival, self-defence, food and water storage, prepping and home security, the first thing he would do is bug in.
The doors to the house would be closed and locked, weapons would be brought out, and loaded, and any additional security measures that have been installed to the house would be activated, provided they are not electrical and the family would bug in unless they are no longer safe in their home, and in that case would have to bug out.