By Primary Arms
Skills Every Survivalist Needs to Practice
Survival preparedness doesn’t always mean building your AR15 from the ground up, then slapping your hands together and calling it a day. Of course, when prepping for a disaster, having a dependable combination of an upper receiver, optic sights, and lower receiver is one tool you’ll need; it’s not just tools you need to consider when preparing for a sudden dynamic situation.
Proper survival requires specific skill sets. It’s not like you suddenly pick up on how to do things by osmosis. You must practice some of these things until you become an accomplished survivalist.
Learning these survival skills is part of the preparedness game and is just as crucial as your go-bags, water, and food. Remember, surviving an extended period in the wild is a far cry from booking a hotel penthouse for a week.
You can’t place an order for dinner and expect it to show up at the door of your hotel room. You need to prepare the food yourself if you intend to eat because no one else will.
While the dynamic conditions you may experience differ, there are some basic skills you’ll need to have under your belt regardless of the situation you suddenly find yourself experiencing. Most of these you can practice in your backyard if you have one. At the very least, find a county-living friend and ask them to let you practice on their farm.
Under duress and while experiencing the worst elements nature has to offer, starting a fire is not as easy as striking a match and catching the wood you’ve assembled on fire.
One of the most classic mistakes a prepper can make is assuming those boxes of matches will always be dry and that somehow they’ll be able to light a fire in a torrential downpour.
You may be a prepper who believes in survival in the most natural sense of the term. If so, you need to start practicing building a fire with some of the more traditional methods, all of which require more than your fair share of elbow grease.
Before the days of flint sticks or permanent matches, there was using the friction method of rubbing two pieces of wood together until you produced embers. This practice is not for the faint of heart and requires a ton of patience and a pair of strong hands to make a sufficient number of embers to start a fire.
If you choose to use the bow method of rubbing two pieces of wood together, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time at it. It doesn’t matter how dry the wood is; creating enough heat and subsequent embers will take a while, a long time of sawing that bow back and forth.
If creating fire using a friction-based method is your thing, then start practicing and continue practicing until you can competently build a fire.
Or you could purchase a few quality firesticks at relatively low prices and stock your go-bags and bug-out bags with more modern-day types of flint sticks. In today’s market, you can find reasonably inexpensive fire starters guaranteed to create sufficient heat and sparks to get a flame going, even when forced to use damp kindling.
Don’t Drink that Water Until You Do This
As any seasoned prepper will tell you, potable drinking water ranks high on the list of necessary items. The issue often arises during dynamic situations when you run out of potable water and aren’t in a position to find more.
While that running stream you bivouacked nearby may look fresh and enticing, don’t make the mistake of filling your water bottles with it fresh from the stream. Most natural water sources are rife with bacteria, and even if the stream is flowing, you can count on parasites, bacteria, and viruses floating along for the ride.
There are two courses you can take when it comes to making potable water, and each of them can make the difference of you staying hydrated and healthy or hydrated and sicker than you ever thought possible.
Water purification tablets are typically a preferred choice for most preppers these days. They do a great job if you get the quantity to water ratio correct. Some of the tablets these days improve the taste of the water while ridding drinking water of most bacteria and viruses.
If you’re the type of prepper who doesn’t want to leave the health of your intestines to a couple of pills, boiling whatever water you’ve sourced is the way to go. You will experience residue buildup on the pot you use, so consider making a filtration system. You can filter the water using an old Tee shirt or even use smaller rocks and charcoal from the campfire in an upside plastic bottle.
If you’re unlucky enough not to be in an area where a water source is even available, take heart you can create your own. You can build a solar still with a sheet of plastic, a catch container in the center of a dug-out hole, and a small rock. Place the container in the center of the hole and cover the hole with your plastic sheet making sure to cover all the edges, then place the small rock in the center of the sheet directly above the catch container.
With sufficient sunlight, condensation will form on the inside of the sheet and drip into the catch container. As you practice this method, you’ll discover what most preppers already know.
Using a solar still is going to take a lot of time to collect enough drinking water. If you’ve not got the luxury of staying in one place long enough, you may need to keep moving until you find a water source where you can use water purification tablets or boiling methods.
Don’t Eat the Mushrooms
Although running out of food is frightening, it’s not as bad as running out of water. Even the most average survivalist can exist for the better part of thirty days without food. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t hunt for or forage for a food source between a decent meal at a steak house.
Most countryside environments are lush with edible plants. Remember that friend and your friend’s farm you recruited to help you practice your skills. Here’s where you get the chance to brush up on your foraging skills.
While correctly identifying what plants you can eat and those that could kill you or make you sick is complicated, but you can become a master-forager in no time with enough practice.
Most country landscapes present various combinations of stinging nettles, dandelions, and even lamb’s quarters, wild blue and blackberries that will more than satisfy your nutrient requirements.
One word of caution is to stay away from fungi or mushrooms. Unless you’re an expert in identifying a toadstool from a Shitake, plucking, and eating mushrooms may cause death, or at the very least, a severe bout of delirium.
Tied Up in Knots
If you’ve solved the protection issue by carrying a rifle or pistol you’ve built and sufficient ammunition, there’s one thing you need to practice until you can do it without thinking, and that’s the simple act of tying a knot.
It doesn’t matter if you’re attempting to build a shelter, making snares to catch prey, or creating some innovation you suddenly discover you need. If you can’t tie a knot that will stay in place, you’ll likely end up in a very frustrating situation.
Before the requirement becomes a moment of desperation, drag out your trusty knot typing guide and practice tying each type of knot until you can do it blindfolded and without a second thought.
Building a Shelter
Most survivalists and preppers will readily admit that you’ll never be able to find a cave when you need one. When inclement weather starts pelting you, and you’re camping beneath the stars turns perilous, you’ll be glad you practiced building a shelter that indeed does its job.
Here’s your chance to revisit your childhood fort-building days without getting shamed. Practice the most prominent and straightforward first with a simple lean-to of branches covered with a tarp. Your shelter can be as primitive or as complex as you want it to be if it does one thing, and that is, it protects you and your tribe from the elements.
Of course, you may not have time to build a treehouse, but you may want to consider practicing your way to building a fully functional teepee. Hopefully, you’ve mastered knot tying before you give it a go.
Basic First Aid
As a prepper, having a first aid kit is only half the battle. What good is all the butterfly bandages, disinfectants, plus staplers, or suture needles if you don’t know how to use them?
Remember that you had to bug out because the situation turned worse, and now you’re on your own out in the wilds, and the closest thing to a doctor or medical help is you.
Grab a friend or even a family member and practice. Start with simple CPR, then move on to items such as learning the proper way to control bleeding and finding natural plants to soothe those painful insect bites and cuts and scrapes. Graduate up to discovering the appropriate way to set broken bones or a dislocated collar bone.
Practice until you’ve lost that nauseous feeling and you’re confident you can handle the actual situation when or if it happens.
There are a few more things you can practice in the comfort of your backyard, but these basic six steps will go a long way to ensure your preparedness should a dynamic situation arise. Learn them, continue to practice them, and stay ready.