Extra Skills

Skills have and will always be the greatest prep we can have. They costs nothing, weigh nothing, will never run out and will never break. In fact they will only get better the more you use them.

In any survival situation there are specific skill sets which will be invaluable, but like any skill, they need to be practiced. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you have read "How to...." and that will be enough because it isn't and you will get caught out. If you are ever in a situation where you HAVE to use these skills, you won't have time to get it wrong, you need to get it right first time... and that comes with practice.

Below are skills we feel you should become comfortable with. They are fun and easy to learn, but will serve you well.

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POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE (PMA)

This is perhaps the hardest skill to learn as it requires you to change your entire mindset. John Hudson who teaches the Psychology of Survival and S.E.R.E to the British Armed Forces believes that the moment you give up, you lose! In any SHTF situation the first thing to go is often your morale and positivity and if you let this happen it is a downward spiral from there. 

You need to celebrate the little wins and not lose focus of the reason you want to make it out alive (alive in this case being actual or metaphorical).

Like any stressful situation, an emergency is likely to cause a degree of panic and worry, its at time like these that the positive mindset needs to be enforced, it will probably not come naturally and will require you to take a second and reinforce that attitude in yourself (give yourself a slap). How you deal with the situation after that is up to you, remember your skills, try to think clearly and rationally and don't make any decisions that could endanger you or your group.

Once last thing - DON'T GIVE UP!!

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SHELTER BUILDING

You can survive 3 hours without shelter, and lets be honest, everything is easier when you are dry and out of the elements whether rain or shine. Being exposed to the likes of rain, wind and direct sunlight can bring on hypothermia, hyperthermia, sun stroke, dehydration and in worst cases death which is why shelter should always be your first concern. 

Learn to build a shelter with the resources you have around you, a basic lean to should be suffice in most situations especially when you are alone but try other shelters such as debris shelters, Wikiup/Teepee styles which are better suited for more than 1 person.

Your shelter can be improved upon as weather becomes more hospitable, but get yourself familiar with the process, find out what works and what doesn't so you don't make the mistakes when you can't afford to.

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FIRE STARTING/MAINTENANCE 

Fire is life!! We use it to keep warm, purify water and cook our food. Fire can also be used for signalling and for protection so is a necessity in any survival situation.

Practice making fires in a variety ways and with different tools.

  • Lighter / Matches / Ferro Rod 

  • Flint and Steel

  • Friction Fire (bow drill, hand drill, rudiger roll, fire saw)

  • Refraction (Magnifying Glass)

  • Chemical (Potassium and Glycerol)

Practice achieving flame from an ember and the stages of wood prep required to build an actual fire.

Once the fire is built you then have to maintain it, you really don't want to be starting a fire twice if you can help it, so make sure you have the right fuel ready to keep it going through the night.

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WATER PURIFICATION

Humans can only survive 3 days without water, potentially less depending on your work rate and environment. Assuming you have shelter sorted water should be next on the agenda.

First Port of call should be to locate a water source. Ideally you should be looking for a fast flowing stream, but any source of water will suffice. The next step is to filter and purify the water. If you haven't got a a metal container for boiling or a purifier then you need to look at making one. Check out our page on water purification for ideas and information.

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FORAGING

Being able to identify edible and inedible plants is a skillset that the human race seems to have lost over the generations with not many people capable of confidently identifying anything other than blackberries and acorns.

Everyone thinks that when it comes to wild food, you need to fish, hunt and trap, and for the long term meat is a fantastic addition to your diet, however the truth is that hunting and trapping is a long game with no guarantees of success, however if you know what you are looking for then foraging will provide you with everything your body  needs in the short term; carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Take a look at the book; FOOD FOR FREE by Richard Mabley, or better yet, book yourself onto a foraging course.

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Navigation

One of the biggest causes of emergency situations is people getting lost and because they we'rent expecting to get lost, they didn't have the right kit with them.

There a various methods of navigation which will help you find your way and are almost all free and easy to practice with all the information available online.

  • Map and Compass

  • The Sun

  • Stars

  • GPS

  • Your Watch

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CORDAGE

You wouldnt think that cordage making would feature highly on a list of survival skills, especially when any prepper worth their salt doesn't leave home without paracord, either on their wrist, keyring or in their bag. However Dave Canterbury has it listed on his 5 C's of survival for a reason. The uses are endless, shelter building, fishing, sewing, bow drill, lashing everything from splints to rafts as well as snares.... the list goes on! With all of these uses, it won't be long before you run out of paracord at which point you need to know how to make more, and the best materials to use for cordage.

The 3 main methods for cordage making are:

  • The Rope Lay

  • The Finger Role

  • The Thigh Role

For a detailed description of how to - check out the link below