It is often said that survival skills are more important than survival gear! This is true to a certain extent, since if you have the gear but don’t know how to use it, then the gear is useless! A survival skill, however, also takes practice!
The survival skills and knowledge that you carry in your head may very well decide your fate!
Survival Skill 1 – Shelter Building
Pull out your tarps, ponchos and even an old parachute and start practicing. Look at various ways of using your tarp or poncho as shelters. You can even use a Mylar blanket (we know them as a space blanket) as an emergency shelter along with plastic sheeting.
String a ridge line and drape the material over the line and stake down for a classic pup tent style. Another option is to gather some saplings and construct a tee pee using a tarp, poncho, plastic or parachute as cover for it. Practicing this survival skill will give you the knowledge you need to construct a shelter to protect yourself in a real survival situation.
Survival Skill 2 – Archery/Slingshot/Spear Skills
When practicing these skills, remember – safety first! Take care there are no children, pets or neigbours in the firing line! Make sure you also have sufficient backstop material to stop wayward projectiles!
The art of the slingshot is an often forgotten skill that can be useful for survival scenarios. Archery skills are very important, as the materials to make this gear is usually readily available, even in the wilderness. Practice not only shooting your bow, but also making a bow and arrows from materials that you have re-purposed.
Take a look at our post on How To Make a Survival Bow.
Survival Skill 3 – Fire Starting
Starting a fire on a summers day is a pretty easy task that the average person could manage comfortable. But what about starting a fire in less than ideal circumstances? Do you think you can do it when the wind is blowing, or what about in the rain or snow? Have you tried to make a fire without a lighter or matches? This is a survival skill that is essential to master, using multiple methods!
A great way to start a survival fire is using a ferro rod. Using this method requires that first of all you HAVE a ferro rod, secondly that your KNOW how to use it and lastly tinder to accept the spark. Making your own tinder to carry with you on hiking or outdoor trips is also a good skill to practice. Fire straws made from cotton balls smeared in petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is one method which I will cover in another post.
Char cloth is another useful method and I will be covering how to make and use char cloth in a post coming soon!
Knowing other methods to start a fire are also essential! Try the hand drill or bow drill method, using wood that you find in your back yard. Experiment with these methods till you find one that works for you and will allow you to make a fire quickly.
Survival Skill 4 – Foraging For Food Edibles
Do not practice this skill if you routinely spray herbicides to kill weeds in your yard! You shouldn’t be using herbicides if you are conservation minded anyway! If you know where and how to look, you can find wild edibles growing at practically any time of the year.
Most of these wild edibles, often classed as weeds, can be found in the wilderness environment as well as in your backyard.
Find relevant books on the subject, go on a course or speak to a knowledgeable friend. Improve your survival skill of identifying edible plants from ones that will make you sick at best, or kill you at worst!
Survival Skill 5 – Outdoor Cooking
Practicing the survival skill of outdoor cooking can be fun for the whole family! Don’t just fire up the gas grill for an outdoor meal, rather light a campfire. Practice cooking over an open flame using various methods. Learn how to cook meat skewered on a stick or using a flat, heated rock as a frying pan.
Use the open campfire to brew a herbal tea from the wild edibles your foraged for in your back yard. You can also use pine tree needles to brew a teas rich in vitamin C!
Purchase a lightweight camping stove that uses wood and try cooking various dishes on it. With a little ingenuity you will find that you can not only master this skill to provide nutrition, but also produce some delicious food!
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