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Survival Skills

Updated on August 18, 2010


Depending on who you are, and what you read, there is a very good possibility that you believe that survival skills are a necessity that we will need very shortly.  It's hard to ignore all of the negative news, the red numbers, and the increasing conflicts throughout the world, and in my opinion that is a good thing.

I don't think you should be sticking your head in the sand, because I read the news, I go over the numbers, and I see the desperation that is building in society.  Increasingly people are getting more angry with the government, unemployment, and rising costs, and this is exactly why I believe you need to learn some basic survival skills.  Hopefully you'll never need to use them, but if you do, at least you will have them.

Basic Survival Skills

Because survival skills are such a large topic we won't be able to completely cover it in this article, and we will also be linking to other articles and resources to use as well. This is not a topic you can sit down and learn in one night, but it is something that you can start to learn!

Basic survival skills will consist of:

  • Mental survival
  • Physical preparedness
  • Trades and skills
  • Equipment

Mental Survival

If it sounds cheesy, then you might still be overly confident in the world around us, and that is fine. Regardless of how serious you feel about the subject, you're here and reading. Survival is very much mental, because if you are unprepared mentally then everything else will completely fall apart.

In our review of "Survive" by survivalist Les Stroud, he states that mental preparedness is the number one must on your list. He said that with mental preparedness you can survive most situations even if you lack many of the other skills, but it won't work vice versa!

Mental survival consists of:

  • Remaining calm.
  • Recognizing the severity of the situation that you're in.
  • Accepting that the situation is real, and you have no choice but to deal with it.
  • Having the will to live.
  • Making plans:
    • Recognize what you need for immediate survival.
    • Make plans as to how you will achieve these goals.
  • Force yourself into action.

It is extremely important that you remain calm in the current situation. If you are frantic then you may make a stupid decision that could end up impairing or killing you. Being calm will let you remain in a coherent, and logical mindset.

After you're calm you must assess and accept the situation for what it is. Don't waste time thinking of what you could have done to avoid ending up there, or where you want to be. Don't just lay around thinking of how unlucky you are, just accept it and move forward.

It is imperative that you have the will to live. If you don't have the will to live then you risk not doing anything, or doing everything half-heartedly. Think about God, family, friends, hobbies, work, or whatever will motivate you to live.

Now you need to formulate a plan. Think of what you will need in the next few minute and hours and come up with a smart and safe way to accomplish these goals. Once you have a plan in place, quit tweaking it to perfection, put it into action.

Physical Survival

Ideally, everyone should have ripped muscles and perfect health, but we live in the real world. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't be as prepared as possible. You know that tooth that has been a little sensitive? Or that dental procedure you've been putting off? Get it done.

Did you put on a little extra weight after you got married? That can become a 30 pound dead-weight that you have to lug around. Can you make it up a flight of steps without losing your breath? If not, then you better get to work. These are the little things that don't really matter in the world that we know, but they can drastically alter how you will do in a survival situation.

Physical Checklist:

  • Dental and medical procedures
  • Lose weight, build muscle and endurance

Trades and Skills:

If you get the mental and physical aspects down, then you will want to work on the various trades and skills. This area is huge and can encompass many things but some trades and skills to work on would consist of:

  • Fire building
  • Shelter building
  • Hunting
  • Wood working
  • Sewing
  • Tracking
  • Navigating

All of these skills are invaluable and will help depending on the given situation, and there are many others that we may have missed. Depending on the situation, it might be better to learn other skills. For example, let's say that computers crashed worldwide and we took a few steps back towards the stone-age. A person that is skilled in car repairs, welding, woodworking, or some other trade may be in higher demand. It all depends on how you think things may go.


We put this last because, despite popular belief, a person with absolutely no skills and in terrible health can have an entire sporting good store with them and still fail to survive.  Equipment is a nicety, not a requirement to survive.  Not to burst any bubbles, but the first few generations of man made it through just fine without all of the camping luxuries we have now.

Equipment is great, but without the skills to use it properly, it just becomes dead weight.  Don't let the ownership of equipment lull you into a false sense of being prepared to survive.  We have a couple of articles below that address equipment:


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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      This is an informative article that I enjoyed reading. I believe that people should be more self-sufficient and proactive whether it's with their finances or survival through disasters whether they are natural or man made. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wizzie Crone profile image

      Wizzie Crone 5 years ago from

      The potential for disaster in the US and world increases every day, whether it is weather, economic collapse, terrorist attack, or some other unknown catastrophe. The world has become a scary place. Being prepared is a necessity. Your hub provides some very important information. Good article.

    • J. McCoy profile image

      J. McCoy 7 years ago from CA (originally)

      Great hub. You have a lot of very good material here. I like how you addressed managing survival stress. I also especially agree with your perspective on equipment. That only comes with a good amount of experience. You certainly get my ^vote up and "useful."

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 7 years ago

      This is an Awesome Hub,.. Alot of great info !!!