Rocket stoves and outdoor grills are great for cooking in a pot or skillet when the power is down or non-existent following a disaster or a worst case SHTF situation where fuel is either flat-out unavailable or intolerably expensive.
There are some things, though, that cook best in an oven. One solution, of course, is to use a cast iron Dutch oven or camp stove. These are great options, sure, but what about something made from the ground we stand on? I am referring to what is commonly caused a “Mud Oven”. Until my recent visit to the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington, I did not know such a thing existed. Live and learn, right?
10 Skills Every Survivalist Should Learn
A lot of people who are just getting into survivalism, whether they’re the Average Joe putting back extra groceries or a someone who just become interested in a self reliant lifestyle. A lot of these people believe that all you need to make it is an AR-15, 10,000 rounds of ammo and a bunker full of food. Nothing could be more from the truth!
If you’re looking to move into rural America or you planning on staying put where you are in the suburbs, there are a few skills that will become very helpful to you should the SHTF.
These skills can be learned rather easily and may provide beneficial to you beyond your dreams. Some can be learned by reading a book or watching a video while others will require you attending a few classes at your local community college. Here’s my list of skills every survivalist should learn.
#1. Stick Welding
Learning to stick weld is not that hard. You just want to get proficient enough to be able to know which rods to use or which amp setting to use so you can join two pieces of metal. It’s not like you’re planning on making welds on the Alaskan Pipeline. Are you?
Many community colleges now give classes on Welding. And they are very reasonable. Once you own a welder, you’ll find a million and one uses for it. Not to mention should you ever need some extra cash, you can barter or start your own small welding business on the side.
The little Lincoln cracker boxes are 220V welders that can be picked up cheap in a lot of places such as Pawn Shops or Craigslist. These are great for nearly any situation you’ll find yourself needing a welder in a survival situation. But they require a 220V power source. A better choise for the Self Reliant family is a portable generator/welder combo. This way you can take your welder with you plus have the convienance of a portable generator. Honda, Lincoln and Hobart as well as others all make excellent combo units. Just stay away from the cheapies, especially if they’re from China or Indonesia. They may be fine or they may leave you swearing.
#2 Small Engine Repair
Knowing how to repair your generator motor or any other small engine (such as Garden tractors, pumps, etc) is a must. Sure, you could either take it into town or call a repair guy out to your place, but in a crisis situation, do you really want to put yourself at that risk? Once again your local community college will come to the rescue. Many have classes over basic and advanced small engine repair. Once you’ve learned the basics, the rest is a piece of cake.
So the next time your butterfly sticks closed or your magneto isn’t firing, you’ll know why and more importantly, you’ll know how to fix it!
#3 How To Fish
No, I’m not talking about grabbing a can of worms and heading off to a stream. I’m talking about putting up a ton of fish quickly. If you even live remotely close to a large body of water such as a lake, river or pond, you should learn how to catch a lot of fish and do it quickly.
Learn how to make fish traps, nets and trotlines. Then learn how to use them properly.
Many fish have seasonal spawns where they will congregate in schools and move in mass to spawning areas. Most everyone knows that Salmon do this, but fish that live in lakes and rivers do this as well. Stripers, White Bass, Crappie, Walleye and many others spawn this way.
There are many fine books on the market that will teach you these skills. Memphis Net and Twine has a wonderful catelog that includes trawl and gill nets plus many supplies to help you achieve this goal.
Be warned, many of these techniques are illegal in a lot of States. Be sure to read the regulations for your area before trying any of these techniques out. Of course, in a survival or emergency situation, you’ll probably be more worried about eating than getting a fine!
#4 How To Butcher Animals
This skill will come in very handy for those of you who wish to raise your own livestock and to take advantage of the Wild Game in your area. You may need to connect with another like minded individual who already knows how to do this and convince them to show you as well. Learning how to properly cut up an animal, whether it’s a Deer, Cow or Chicken, is a valuable skill that every survivalist or person wanting to be self sufficient should learn.
Many butchers in my area charge 50 cents per pound on the hoof to kill, butcher and package a Steer. If you’ve got a 800 pound steer to put up, that can add up to a lot of money. I’ve even heard some butchers charging 75 cents per pound or more to do this!
Deer typically cost at least $50 and many times more to have processed.
Save yourself some money and learn to do it yourself!
#5 Learn To Trap
Trapping gives the self sufficient person or survivalist a whole other avenue for procuring fresh meat. Unlike hunting, traps that you set are working for you around the clock. You can also set a lot of traps in order to cover a wide area. This increases your chance of catching something for the Supper table.
What’s more important is knowing what type of trap to use in order to catch your intended target. If you’re wanting to catch a Wolf, then you’ll be sorely disappointed if you use a trap or snare intended for a Mink.
The Survivalist needs to know how to use Snares, Live/Box traps, leg hold traps and body gripper traps. All have their use in the Survivalist tool shed!
Snares can be used in a survival situation to catch everything from Rabbits to big game animals like Deer and Bear.
Most States have a Trappers Association. They routinely have meetings or weekend get-togethers where there are seminars on basic and advanced trapping. There’s always something for beginners. Look yours up and get on the list today.
#5 Gunsmithing – Learn To Repair Guns
If you’re living the Self Reliant lifestyle or you’re a Survivalist, then chances are good you have some firearms around, or you should! But do you know how to fix those guns if they break? Can you disassemble your guns, clean them and reassemble them and have them work properly? Sadly, from what I’ve seen, most people can’t. Some believe they can, but their idea of cleaning is spraying a half can of WD-40 into the action and calling it clean.
Do you keep spare parts around for your guns? Probably not. But you should and you should learn how to fix a firearm if it breaks, especially the military type firearms.
Brownell’s has a huge library of Video’s and Books on Gunsmithing. Grab yourself some that cover your type of guns and learn how to clean and repair them.
#6 Learn Basic Carpentry Skills
Can you plumb a wall, build a barn, square up walls or plumb a house? If not, these skills are easily learned. Your local community college may come to your rescue again. If you’re the type that can learn from a book, then you can find many fine books on building and carpentry at Amazon.com. If you live near a Barnes and Noble, they have a decent list of books as well.
These skills are necessary should we face a long term crisis. Carpentry, Electrical and Plumbing skills will all be in demand and you could make a lot of friends quickly if you the one in your area who knows how to fix things.
#7 Auto Repair
This is close to the Small Engine repair skills you’ll need, but on a much larger scale. You’ll need to learn basic maintenance and repair skills and obtain some advance skills like possibly being able to rebuild an engine or transmission. If you have a newer computer controlled vehickle, then these skills will be more important. Older, non-computer controlled vehicles are much easier to work on than those built today.
Also, depending on who you listen too, these older vehicles may give you some protection from EMP attacks. No sensitive electronics to be fried in case of an attack.
At the very least, you should be able to change a tire, break a tire down and repair it with basic hand tools, change out starters, alternators, water and fuel pups. If you can’t do these simple chores, you’d better have money or another vehicle to rely upon should one go down.
You should also be able to tune an engine and adjust carbs and troubleshoot your vehicle. This may all sound intimidating, but all are easily learned skills.
#8 Operate a HAM Radio
I have to confess. This is one skill I don’t have right now, but I’m certainly going to work on it very soon. In the case of a disaster, a HAM radio will allow you to communicate with the outside World to find out what’s going on.
There are plenty of books and courses on operating a HAM radio, all that is required is a little time and effort.
After Hurricane Ike struck, we were without power for two weeks. At the end of this time, I was really getting use to not having a TV blaring every day or phones ringing. I was very content to hang around my home while cleaning up the debris left by the Hurricane. Once we got power back on, I was amazed at how much news I’d missed out on. I was also amazed at how much useless information we have coming at us everyday without realizing it!
Learn to use a HAM radio. Get your license, find out what type of equipment you really need and get going!
#9 Hunting Skills
It’s easy to assume that all self reliant families or survivalist know how to hunt. But that isn’t the case. Many don’t even have the skills to find and harvest squirrels or rabbits, not to mention big game. To be successful on a regular basis, these skills will have to be learned and will usually take some time. It’s not as easy as going out to the City park and pot shooting city squirrels.
You can bet that when the SHTF, others will be out putting food on the table. The same food that should be headed to your table!
Most hunting skills can’t be learned from a book or video. Your best bet is to find someone who is successful and tag along. have them show you what to look for and specifics on each game animal. At the very least, you’ll need to get out in the woods and watch how animals exist in their part of the World. Once you understand how animals move and use the woods, you’ll be on the right path to being a good hunter.
#10 Advanced First Aid
Yeah, there are other important skills I could have used at #10, or any number for that matter, but knowing advanced life saving first aid skills should be the goal of every person who is prepping for the worse. It’s just good common sense that you should know these skills. And I’m talking about skills that go above and beyond those taught in basic first aid classes.
You should know how to treat major wounds, such as a sucking chest wound, until help can arrive. Could you set a broken bone? How about removing a bullet? It’s not as simple as some macho guy on TV makes it look. You’ll have to assume at one point during a crisis, you’re first aid skills will be needed. If not by you, then possibly by a family member or friend. You may be their only hope for surviving.
This is my top 10 list. If you don’t know these, then you should be working on learning them. If you do know these skills, then start your own top 10! Remember, these are only the skills you’ll need to start if you want to be truly self sufficient or become a true survivor.
many of you live in areas where you get a lot of snow and the risk of being stranded is real. please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with these safety suggestions. be prepared! be safe!
Surviving a Blizzard While Stranded In Your Car
Blizzards are usually forecast well in advance but actual snowfall amounts and the impact the storm cannot be predicted with any accuracy. The experts are not able to predict precise snowfall amounts because a slight wind change or temperature increase can move the storm or alter the storms severity. This can cause an area to be blanketed in snow where the prediction was only for a mere dusting. The area where the storm was predicted to be the heaviest may receive the dusting. After this happens a few times, people tend to not believe and sometimes outright ignore the warnings, and thus do not properly prepare. Being prepared is especially important when you have to commute by vehicle in the winter months and preparations become even more important if you are planning an extended road trip.
Road trips can take you in and out of various road conditions and climate zones in just a matter of hours in some cases. You may start your trip where the conditions are temperate and by late in the day you may be in the middle of a snowstorm.
Winter Essentials for Your Vehicle
- High Protein Snacks/Foods Such As MRE’s Trail Mix Hard Chocolate Peanut Butter: The Digestive Process Helps Increase And Maintain The Body’s Core Temperature And High Protein Foods Take The Longest To Digest Thus Keeping The Core Temperature Elevated Longer (72-Hour Supply)
- Three Day Supply Of Water: To Keep The Water From Freezing If You Park Outside Place The Water In Styrofoam Coolers With Newspaper Or Other Insulating Material
- Extra Cell Phone Battery and Charger
- Several Thermal Blankets and/ Wool Blankets
- Traction Pads/Sand
- Tire Chains
- Folding Shovel
- Flashlight: Avoid Lights That Require Power From The Vehicle’s Battery
- Emergency Markers For The Road And Signal Flags/Brightly Colored Material To Attach To Your Vehicle
- Winter Boots Hat Gloves Extra Winter Parka
- Duct Tape
- Heavy Gauge Jumper Cables Or A Battery Box Than Can Jump Start Your Vehicle
- Nylon Paracord
- Fire Starting Materials, (cotton balls covered with petroleum jelly) emergency candles and a coffee can, can also be used to heat vehicle and lighting. Make sure to leave a crack to the window and I wouldn’t recommend falling asleep with it burning.
- Nylon Tow Strap: Avoid Tow Chains Or Metal Cables Because These Can Snap And Whip Around Causing Injury
- First Aid Kit
- Glow Sticks: Place One In The Front And Back Window: The Glow Can be Seen At Night And During Heavy Snow
Once you realize you are stranded remain with the vehicle unless there is an immediate danger in doing so. Place the glow sticks in the windows and attach signal flags by raising a back window on the material to hold in place, and do this on both sides. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not obstructed with snow or other debris. An obstructed tailpipe can force toxic fumes into the vehicle.
You can run your vehicle’s engine for ten minutes at a time, every 45 minutes. This keeps the engine from getting too cold and will keep you warm as well. Make sure you have a window down a few inches to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Once settled in, avoid opening the doors to keep the heat inside the vehicle. Heat conducts from warm to cold so you must contain the heat around your body by using the blankets.
Most blizzards are accompanied by gale force winds resulting in whiteout conditions. This means you can become disorientated just a few feet from the vehicle. When you have to leave the vehicle, tie a rope to you and the vehicle to keep from becoming lost. Many people simply do not believe that you can be just a few feet from the car and become lost but you can and soon will drift farther away from the vehicle if you do not have a rope attached to you.
Once the blizzards passes you may not be able to dig yourself out so attempt to make a signal fire and to help you warm up. The safest place for you is with the vehicle. If you are off the road out of sight from the road make sure to attach signal flags where you went off the road so passing motorists or rescue personnel can see them.
Eat and urinate before sleeping. The body will have to work harder to keep the excess fluid warm and the digestive process will help keep you warmer as you sleep.
Some of those that become stranded get an anxious feeling and believe that they should start walking for help. If you have no idea, how far civilization is away, walking from your vehicle, which is your only shelter, is dangerous and deadly. If you are close to civilization then road crews with plows and law enforcement will be out servicing the roads and looking for stranded motorist. If you were miles from civilization, you would likely not make it that far on foot without getting lost, injured and succumbing to hypothermia.
Wandering off means that rescue personnel will find an empty vehicle. Stay put, wait for help, and if properly prepared you can quite easily survive the harshest of conditions if you do not panic and if you stay put inside your vehicle.