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The Top 10 Survival Skills you should master!

10. Signalling and Communication

Pretty obvious but if you’re lost you will want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you, because the longer you’re out survival becomes much harder (if you weren’t prepared to be out for that long). It’s always worth having a number of signalling devices on you, because you never know which could be the best method of getting you rescued!

9. Growing your own food

In a survival situation that is only a going to last for a few days, this isn’t all that useful, but in the longer term. This is essential. Self sufficiency is key, whether you’re at home and growing your own food to save money or growing it to stay alive, the process is still the same. Growing your own food does take a bit of time, but the rewards are abundant. It’s also an easy skill to get started with!!!

8. Food Preservation

In a recent post on underestimated survival skills we mentioned how important the skill of being able to preserve food is. Well we still stand by that, because it’s all well and good to enjoy the times of plenty, but you need to plan for later. Whether it is a day a month, or a year. If you have preserved food and good food stores. Survival becomes that little bit easier.

7. Protection

We aren’t saying carry around an arsenal of weapons with you. We are simply saying be smart. Likelihood is the protection you will need is from the natural environment such as other animals, falling trees and overflowing rivers. There are a number of ways you can help protect yourself. 1) Get fit. This will allow you to be faster and stronger, both useful for a number of reasons. 2) Know your surroundings. If you know where you are, you’ll be able to get away quicker, or get safe faster. If you know where the dangers are most likely to happen, then it’s much easier to plan for those scenarios.

6. Medical Needs

Knowing your medical needs and knowing the medical kit you have with you is a must. You should have all the kit you need ready to go with you at a moments notice in your bug-out bag, failing that you should know what other items you can use to help with first aid, if your kit is depleted or damaged. In an emergency things can get really bad, at an alarming rate. Ensuring you are able to deal with these emergencies, not just have the equipment is a core survival skill. Small emergency first aid courses aren’t very expensive, and the cost of a course versus the cost of losing a life is a really simple answer.

5. Hygiene and Sanitation

It’s not the nicest subject to think about, but if you’re out in wild or even if SHTF, likelihood is that you won’t be able to just jump in a nice warm shower. You will need to find a way of washing outside. Not washing has a couple of side effects. Firstly your skin will start to dry. If your hunting animals may start to smell you coming, and finally it’ll probably be very hard to attract a potential partner (covering all bases here).

Aside from that you will also know how and where to remove not only everyday waste, but human waste too. You will need to ensure that where you get rid of this waste, it won’t affect your drinking water supply or attract animals to your camp.

You’ll have heard about the Ebola Crisis in Africa this year (2015) this is a disease that is transferred via bodily fluids (including excrement). This and other viruses can be contracted if waste isn’t disposed properly!

4. Fire

Fire is one of man’s first inventions. What a good one it was too! A fire will do a number of things for you. It’ll help keep you warm. It’ll help you cook food, it’ll help you see, and it will also keep larger predators at bay. There are so many benefits to fire making, and it’s a skill that should be very near the top of your skill list! In case you missed it, we have had a fantastic post written for us by Andrew Packer of Nomad Survival looking at how to build a fire even in wet conditions. Well worth a read!

3. Food

You can survive a little longer without food than you can without water, but not much. So once you’ve got water, you’re next priority is food. You should have already practiced your tracking and hunting skills. These will come into their own here. Failing that at least having the ability to forage for edible foods is a good start. But, even with that you will need to know what berries and mushrooms you can and cannot eat! Unfortunately with the way the modern world is today this is one of the skills that 99% of the world has likely forgotten as there is no need for it. But, picture this if anything changes would you rather be in the 1-2% that is able to hunt or forage or the 98-99% that can’t?

2. Find Water

Water is literally your lifeblood. Without it, you will not survive long at all. Therefore it’s important to know how to purify water, failing that you should know how to find more clean water. Obviously you will want to find flowing water (static water is bad for obvious reasons). You should have with you already something like a Steripen or water filter. These will help you get good quality water! Failing that, you’ll want to read our article on how else to find water. Honestly water is so, so vital to survival so really think about how to purify it, and how you’ll get more!

1. Shelter

We’ve given the number 1 slot to shelter. Why? If your bugging-out or planning on being out for a few days you should always have at least 3 days worth of food on you and a couple of methods of water purification. Therefore you priority should be to set up a good camp that will protect you from the elements. A good shelter should be safe and dry, and the longer you are planning you live out for you can always build an extension. If you’ve not built shelter before, you really need to practice it and learn the skills needed, because it isn’t just something you can do without practicing. We have written a piece on ‘things you need to consider when shelter building’. This is a good piece to get you thinking about things before you get started!


2 thoughts on “The Top 10 Survival Skills you should master!

  1. Anthony - 11:57 am 04/09/15

    My Top Five+
    (In no specific order, due to the variances of environment priorities will shift)

    1) Fire
    It takes skill to create in the wild (more than your average Bic carrying Joe would think), yet is so vital, you will be thankful you learnt this, (hint: when looking for small burnable wood (twigs etc) try snapping it in two, if it’s not a clean snap (ie it bends too far) it’s too damp, keep looking,) related to this is knowing how to use such tools as a saw, axe or survival knife (ie batoning,) to process wood for burning, these tools will also be useful with the next item on the list….

    2) Shelter
    It only takes one bad night of exposure and you will be meeting your distant heritage on the other side, do not underestimate this, (hyperthermia can creep up on you slowly, so have contingencies to combat this once you spot the signs, don’t wait for it to hit you before you think of what to do, it will make it hard for you to focus and think straight, that said, prevention is better than cure) this is not a hard skill to learn, Btw, you should consider your first form of “shelter” your clothing, so invest in the correct type, and layers, keep your head warm, I would also class your sleeping system (sleeping bags etc) as part of your “shelter” as it too protects you from the environment, also tarps and tents are a obvious choice,

    3) Water
    It’s good to have options, but items that need batteries (without a way to charge them) or that are depletable (ie pills) will not last long, keep those options for when you can’t sterilize water via boiling. (ie in an emergence, you can’t find fire wood, or are too ill to move) always plan long term, so learn the basics of filtering and boiling, (the time needed will depend on the “stuff” floating about in the water, (you can use a piece of tightly woven or fine fabric or a millbank bag as a basic filter, (you can also let the water stand until the sediment sinks to the bottom then pour off the clearer top water, or learn how to make a filter out of carbon etc) clear water just needs to bring to boil, (between a single minute to three depending on altitude,) floaty (particulate matter in the water, grit but often organic matter you do not want) stuff (after you have done what you can to filter it) takes longer to “cook” so boil longer (several minutes, I’d say a good 5 to 10 minutes just to be sure depending on water quality, but use common sense, this will not remove industrial pollution, nor make black water drinkable look elsewhere)

    4) Food
    Learn to Forage what you can eat and can’t (try and stay away from “fungus” this country (UK) has the most lethal fungi in the world, even professional experts in the field of fungi have fallen foul to, so be very thorough in your study before risking the use of fungi,) and learn how to Hunt (be it small or large game or fishing, be careful of the laws governing this practice, learn how to make and set traps where and when, and how to actively hunt using tools) the more you learn the better you eat, (but it’s never going to be a trip to Tesco’s) people started out as hunter gathers, but that is a speculative way to survive that can only support small numbers for a short time in one area, they had to be nomadic to survive, until someone thought of farming, which in turn lead to a stable supply that lead to the development of the civilization and technology you see around you today, all related, so be grateful to farmers, (but remember if the worst comes to the worst you can survive on just weeds and worms, er….yummy….I’m sure a fine Bordeaux could fix that…..)

    5) Medical
    Learn first aid, it’s not hard yet can save lives, (even when not equipped to the gills with gear, you will know what you need and can improvise, that being said antibiotics are a God send LOL)

    Bonus: when you learn survival it’s not just skills it’s habits, you need to learn to be cautious in everything you do, reduce risks, something that take time to learn, if you have an accident you may not have the luxury or time to call 999, (something many people take for granted in developed areas of the world,)

  2. Fast-SOS - 1:08 pm 04/09/15

    Great to see a survival list that is not just guns and ammo!
    food preservation and grow your own are so overlooked these days, massive respect for you putting them on the top 10 where they belong
    great post
    All the best,

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