The importance of learning new survival skills cannot be overstated, particularly in our increasingly unpredictable world. Mastering survival skills not only fosters a sense of self-reliance, but also prepares one to face unexpected adversities such as natural disasters, civil unrest, or wilderness emergencies with confidence and competence. Every skill acquired, be it first aid, fire-making, or navigation, enhances our resilience and adaptability in diverse situations. Learning survival skills equips us with practical knowledge that could mean the difference between life and death in critical scenarios. Furthermore, such skills not only benefit the individual learner but also their community, as they become a resource who can aid others in times of need. Therefore, acquiring survival skills is an empowering endeavour that provides tangible benefits, contributing to personal safety, self-efficacy, and communal well-being.

survival skills

Must know survival skills

When prepping for survival the more skills you possess the higher the chances of survival. Here are some of the most crucial skills to acquire:

  • First Aid and CPR skills: In any emergency situation, the ability to provide first aid or CPR could mean the difference between life and death. Knowledge of how to treat wounds, stop bleeding, recognize signs of shock, perform CPR, and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) are invaluable.
  • Food and Water Procurement: Knowing how to find, purify, and store water is critical, as is the ability to identify, hunt, gather, or grow food. Learn how to fish, set up snares or traps, and identify edible plants or insects. Also, learn proper food preservation and storage techniques.
  • Fire Making skills: Fire serves multiple purposes in a survival situation: warmth, cooking, purifying water, deterring wildlife, and signalling for help. Learn several methods of fire-starting, including friction-based techniques, flint and steel, and using a magnifying glass.
  • Shelter Building: Shelter can protect you from elements like wind, rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. You should be able to construct temporary shelters using available materials in the wilderness and understand how to fortify your home against potential threats in urban scenarios.
  • Navigation and Orientation: You must know how to navigate using a compass and a map, as well as natural signs like the position of the sun or stars. It’s also useful to understand how to follow landmarks and read terrain.
  • Self-Defence skills: In a civil unrest situation, you might need to defend yourself or your loved ones. You should know basic self-defence techniques, but avoid direct conflict whenever possible. This might also include knowledge about how to secure your home or a safe place against intrusion.
  • Communication: Knowing how to signal for help is important. This can include understanding Morse code, creating signal fires, using mirrors for signalling, or using a whistle. In more urban or civilized scenarios, having a ham radio and knowing how to operate it can be vital.
  • Physical Fitness: Endurance, strength, and good general health will make you more capable of handling the physical demands of survival scenarios.
  • Mental Resilience: Stay calm, think clearly, and maintain a will to survive even in the toughest situations. This also involves understanding basic stress management techniques and perhaps even learning about primitive survival techniques that can help you stay focused and positive.
  • Basic Repair and Maintenance: Knowing how to fix things with limited resources, like patching a leak in your roof, repairing a broken window, or maintaining essential gear, can be invaluable in both wilderness and urban survival scenarios.
  • Planning and Preparation: Understand how to plan for different scenarios, how to create an evacuation plan, what items should be in your survival kit or bug-out bag, and how to create contingency plans.

These skills, along with continuous learning and practice, can greatly increase your chances of survival in a variety of emergency situations.

survival gear for the wilderness

How to acquire survival skills

There are numerous ways to learn survival skills, ranging from traditional to digital methods. Here are some options:

  • Outdoor Schools and Survival Courses: These schools offer practical, hands-on experience in various survival skills. You’ll learn from experienced instructors and practice techniques in real-life settings. Examples include the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and the Pathfinder School.

  • Books: There are many survival manuals and books that detail techniques and skills. Examples include “SAS Survival Handbook” by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman, “Bushcraft 101” by Dave Canterbury, and “Wilderness Survival” by Gregory J. Davenport.

  • Online Courses and Videos: Websites like Udemy, Coursera, and even YouTube offer a wide range of survival courses and tutorials. These are particularly useful for people who prefer visual learning or have time constraints.

  • Scouting and Youth Groups: Organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, or the Boys’ Brigade and Girl Guides in the UK, offer training in basic survival skills.

  • Mentorship and Community Learning: If you know someone who has considerable experience in survival skills, consider asking them to mentor you. Joining local survivalist or prepper groups can also be beneficial.

  • Practice and Self-Teaching: If you have a safe, controlled environment in which to practice, you can attempt to learn survival skills on your own. Start small and simple, then gradually work your way up to more complex skills.

  • Camps and Expeditions: Joining guided adventure camps or expeditions can help you learn survival skills while also enjoying an adventure-filled experience.

Remember, safety is paramount while learning survival skills. Don’t try dangerous techniques without professional supervision. And remember, it’s not only about acquiring knowledge – frequent practice is key to mastering these skills.

Prepping skills FAQs

Q: What is the strongest survival skill to learn?

Determining the “strongest” survival skill to learn can be challenging as the importance of the skill can vary depending on the situation. However, many UK preppers agree that the ability to stay calm and think clearly in emergencies is foundational. This mental resilience allows you to effectively apply other survival skills like first aid, fire-starting, or finding food and water. Without a clear mind and strong determination, other survival skills may be less effective or even forgotten in high-stress scenarios.

Q: What is the most important skill I need to teach my children?

Teaching children about survival and preparedness is incredibly important. Of all the skills to consider, one of the most crucial is developing situational awareness. Situational awareness involves understanding one’s environment, recognizing potential threats or changes, and knowing how to respond appropriately. This skill will enable them to sense danger or changes in their surroundings, which is vital in emergencies.

However, alongside this, teaching them basic life-saving skills such as first aid and CPR, how to call for help (including dialing emergency numbers and what to say), and the importance of staying calm under pressure are also essential. Remember, the lessons should be age-appropriate and gradually increase in complexity as they grow older and can understand more.