The practical art of survival!

The practical art of survival is one that most of us Preppers work at on a regular basis. In today’s post, we are going to take a closer look at the subject and how we can make ourselves even better at surviving in the world, both during and after SHTF hits.

I feel I need to make one very important distinction here and that is that survival is the actual art of surviving a crisis and not just preparing for it. Oddly enough some people seem to use the terms interchangeably for some reason, however in this post we are going to look at what it would take to survive in an SHTF world and maybe at the end, we can discuss what we could do now to facilitate and increase our chances of survival when the time comes.

I think you would agree that surviving a SHTF situation would depend on what the reason for the SHTF is. Right? The trouble is, there are so many things that could cause the tipping point to be reached and a SHTF situation to develop. Because of this I think we should look at things that could possibly be required in a worst case scenario and while there are many, they would also have several things in common, when it comes to survival. Let’s break these down into a few simple categories and look at what it would take to satisfy each of them

  • Safety/Security – Now I know that some people will say that water should be the first thing on this list, but if you are not safe, then the water will likely do you no good at all. It is with that in mind that I chose to list this first. So how exactly do we define safety and security? My definition of this is fairly simple. To me it basically means that you are in a place or situation where you feel that you can safely sleep, without fear of being attacked. Now I know that in some situations, there may be no way for this to really happen, but for the purposes of this post, it should be your over-all goal. It is the road map that you use to survive by, constantly trying to reach such a place. It could be a retreat, a hidden cave or just a small spot under a tree in some secluded forest away from others. Whatever it is to you, it will be to goal that keeps you moving forward when others give up. Once you feel that you are fairly safe, then you can move on to the items below.
  • Water – Because you can only survive for 3 days without water, then it is quite simply the most important resource that you need to locate and acquire. You need to remember that just because water looks clean; it doesn’t mean that it is. Drinking water that is not potable can make you very sick for a long time and even cause death in some situations. If you don’t have a water filter with you, you could use an old 2 liter bottle with the bottom cut out of it and filled with alternating layers of rocks and sand to remove large contaminants from the water and then boil the water to finish making it safe for drinking. At the very least, you should boil your water before drinking it. While there are many different types of water filters on the market, here are a few that I recommend: LifeStraw, Sawyer mini filtration system, Katadyn Vario Water Filter, and for large groups, the LifeStraw Mission water purifier. These are all excellent choices for surviving the outdoors in an SHTF situation.
  • Food – I know that this is really a no brainer and that while you can go for 3 weeks without food and still survive, I wouldn’t recommend it. Unless it is the dead of winter, there is no reason to go hungry, with food all around you. The key is to learn to recognize which plants are edible and which ones are not. Things like Dandelions and Cattail plants are found all over the US and are easily recognizable. I strongly suggest that you invest the time now to learn which ones that are edible before you are faced with a difficult situation. Many animals are good for eating such as Rabbit and Squirrels. These are both fairly easy to find and to catch or kill. A long pointed stick or a dead fall trap could both be used in these situations to meet your survival food requirements. Just remember that food is all around you, so there is no reason to go hungry. While they may not be what you are accustomed to eating, they will certainly keep you alive in a survival situation. I recently found a card deck that has 52 edible plants listed on them, along with color pictures and information about how to prepare them. I strongly suggest that everyone keeps one of these in their Bug Out Bags as a quick reference in an emergency.
  • Shelter – Shelter is a necessary item when it comes to survival. Without it you could quickly succumb to the elements and possibly get sick and die. These don’t need to be elaborate affairs and can be quickly constructed from old tree branches and dead leaves from those nearby. An old hollow tree could even work in an emergency. A simple tarp strung between 2 branches on a tree could help keep you dry in a sudden down pour. Yes, Shelters can be made of just about anything and so there is no reason to go without when you need one. Many people buy smallPop up” tents  and heavy duty emergency blankets and keep in their bag for a quick shelter when on the go. Whether it a tarp or a tent, you should have something in your bag just in case you suddenly find yourself needing one.
  • Information – This is not something that you commonly hear people associate with survival. However if you are lost or need to know about changing weather conditions, then you will need to have something with you. In some cases, this may not be possible but if you are lucky enough to have a bug out bag with you, then it would pay to keep a small windup radio or battery-powered radio just in case you need it   Whether you are hiking or running for your life, it could make all of the difference in the world when the time comes. Here is a windup radio that I recommend and a Ham radio for finding out what is going on, as well as calling out for help in an emergency. They are small and cheap, but very powerful.

If nothing else get some weatherproof matches and a flashlight to throw in an old bag and keep with you just in case you need it. Remember, that there are many ways to survive in the wild, if you need to, as long as you keep your head on straight and do a little preparing in advance. Take advantage of the abundance of information on the internet and learn how to survive when you have nothing.  In this post, I have tried to cover the basics needed to survive in the wilderness and hopefully gave you a few ideas of what you can do now to get ready for when you may need to do just that. Until next time, keep on prepping!

-The Sargent-

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