There’s a lot more to being prepared than simply stockpiling a bunch of stuff. It’s knowledge and skill that often makes the difference between being a survivor or a statistic.
Just as in stockpiling goods, in a long-term crisis the more knowledge and skills that you have about how to deal with a wide variety of situations and challenges the better off you’ll be. However, unlike stockpiling. knowledge cannot be purchased. It’s gained through study, learning, and practice.
You may be saying,”Well, I have a bunch of books on how to deal with every type of situation, and if I can read it, I can learn it”. Although I do highly recommend having a Survival Library, having only books on hand — while helpful — is not ideal. You don’t want your family to be dependent upon you learning a skill for the first time in the midst of a crisis and some skills take years to develop.
With that in mind, here’s a Bucket List of skills you may want to consider. This is in no way exhaustive or in order of importance but should get you started:
- Sewing, Clothes Making and Repair: Learn how to quilt, crochet, knit, sew, spin, weave, and how to make clothes from basic patterns. It might be a good idea to pick up an antique manual pedal driven sewing machine. Many of them sell for quite cheap through Craigslist.
- Auto Mechanics and Engine Repair: Learn how to change oil, fix brakes, tune up engines, repair common issues (replacing water pump, alternator, etc) and so on. Included in this subject is small-engine repair/tuneups like chainsaws, generators etc.
- Animal Husbandry: Learn how to raise rabbits, chickens, goats and other animals provided you have the space and your zoning laws allow.
- Soap and Candle Making: This includes homemade oil lamps as well.
- Butter, Cheese and Yogurt Making: Be sure any needed ingredients are part of your food storage.
- Martial Arts: This could be boxing, ground fighting, knife fighting, stick fighting, and other forms of armed and unarmed hand-to-hand combat skills.
- Marksmanship and Defensive Shooting: There are many excellent top-rate schools that teach marksmanship as well as personal and home defense with firearms. For excellent marksmanship training, I highly recommend The Appleseed Project events that are held nationwide.
- Wilderness Survival and Primitive Skills: This includes local plant identification and use (edible, medicinal, and utilitarian); shelter building; water collection, storage and purification; fire making (using primitive and modern methods); animal snares; fishing; and much more
- Outdoor Skills: Separate from wilderness survival (but related) is basic outdoor skills such as knot-tying, navigation, hunting, trapping, mountaineering, tracking and so on.
- Medical Training: This should really go beyond first aid. Ideally you’ll want to take EMT or paramedic courses.
- Radio Communication: This includes small-band, CB and other forms of radio communication. Ideally you’ll want to get your Ham operating license.
- Metal-Working Skills: Learn welding, casting, blacksmithing. Also included in this subject is machining and other fabrication methods.
- Food Preservation: Here’s where you’ll want to learn canning, smoking, pickling, dehydrating, and curing.
- Food Preparation: Learn how to use all that bulk-stored food you’ve got squirreled away. Also included in this subject is food preparation off the grid — using wood/charcoal stoves, fire pit cooking, solar ovens etc.
- Gardening: This is one of those skill you can’t simply pull a book off your shelf, read it, and expect to be very successful at. You’ll want to learn this now to fully understand how to work with your particular climate and soil type. It also takes a bit of time to work up your soil to be its most productive.
- Bartering: This will be a very useful skill in an extended crisis situation. There are many flea markets and other local venues where you can practice this skill.
- Entertainment: Learn to play an instrument, sing, or learn other performing art skills . During tough times, moral is low. Entertainment can otherwise lighten a heavy heart.
- Home Repair and Maintenance: Learn the basics of carpentry, electrical wiring, painting, plumbing, masonry and so on. If you live in a remote area then being able to drill wells, clear land, surveying, and home construction techniques are also ideal.
As far as not having enough time, start now by turning off the television. Or quit waisting time golfing and get out there and practice some skills that can really be of benefit to you and others. Many of these skills can be practiced as a family. If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time.