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The modern world has brought with it a wide range of conveniences that have made life much easier for those fortunate enough to live in a wealthy country. However, these conveniences also mean that a majority of people have forgotten skills that were once basic necessities for survival.
Now, in the event of a major collapse, there are a number of skills that most people will need to relearn in order to survive. If you would like to get a head start on mastering the skills you will need to know following a major disaster, check out these basic skills that most people will be forced to learn after the collapse.
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1. Animal Husbandry
Growing a garden is a great way to put food on the table, but if you want more than a vegan diet, then animal husbandry is a skill that you will need to know.
In a world of cash and credit cards, bartering has become a mostly forgotten skill. There was a time, though, when most all goods were purchased through bartering – and we may very well return to that time in the event of a major collapse.
Related: Bartering 101 – hat to do When Money Has No Meaning
Raising an animal such as a goat or a steer to maturity won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to butcher an animal. Likewise, hunting for game such as deer also won’t put any food on the table unless you are able to process your kill.
Before you go out and purchase livestock that you intend to eat or take to the woods on a hunting trip, make sure you know how to butcher an animal.
4. Candle Making
Life without electricity presents a wide range of challenges, and one of those challenges is lighting your home. While there are a number of ways to light a home without relying on electric power, putting up candles is one of the most effective and most convenient methods.
Also, if you know how to make your own candles you can keep your home lit for as long as you have candle-making supplies available.
Related: How To Make A Candle That Lasts 100 Hours
Knowing how to garden will take you a long way when it comes to keeping food on the table. However, most garden vegetables are only harvested during specific seasons and will only last for a matter of days unrefrigerated.
If you want to ensure that you have a supply of food that will last year-round, knowing how to can the vegetables you harvest is essential.
6. Fire Starting
In almost every disaster scenario, knowing how to start a fire is one of the most important skills you can have.
If you want to ensure that you are able to stay warm, cook food, and more when the electricity goes out, fire starting is definitely a skill that you should learn.
7. First Aid
When going to a hospital or clinic isn’t an option, even minor injuries can become life-threatening. Thankfully, most complications due to injury can be prevented using basic first aid skills.
In a post-collapse scenario, first aid is undoubtedly one of the most important skills to know if you want to survive in a world that is full of injury risks.
Related: 9 Most Important First Aid Skills To Learn
Like hunting, fishing enables you to put fresh meat on the table at a time when purchasing meat from the store is no longer an option.
Best of all, it’s easier in most cases to have success fishing than it is to have success hunting, especially if you have access to a pond, lake, or river that is stocked with fish.
There’s plenty of food to be found in the wilderness providing you know what to look for. Thankfully, foraging is a relatively easy skill to learn. To become a successful forager, you will need to know what plants are edible in your area, where to find them, and how to identify them.
Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to locate a worthwhile amount of food no matter where you might be located.
Putting food on the table is by far the most concerning challenge that goes along with surviving a major collapse.
If you are able to grow a garden, though, you can ensure that you and your family are fed long after the last supermarket has closed its doors.
Related: Urban Survival Gardening: A Guide for Beginners
11. Home Maintenance
When things break down around the home and you aren’t able to call for professional help, home maintenance skills such as plumbing, electrical wiring, carpentry, and more will be very valuable.
If you live in the right area, hunting is a skill that can enable you to put fresh meat on your table at a time when fresh meat is a rare and precious commodity.
There’s a lot that goes into being an effective hunter, though, and many of the skills necessary to bag large game can take years to master. With that said, hunting is a skill that you should start practicing sooner rather than later.
13. Making Butter
Butter is an essential ingredient in a wide range of recipes. It’s also something that people used to make for themselves back in the days when purchasing butter from the store wasn’t an option.
Of course, you’ll need fresh milk (and therefore a milk cow) if you want to make butter. If you do have access to fresh milk following a major disaster, knowing how to make your own butter will bring a lot of meals back onto the menu.
14. Making Soap
In addition to keeping your clothes clean, keeping yourself clean will also be much more challenging after a major collapse as well the minute your soap supply runs out.
Thankfully, soap isn’t a difficult product to make, and it’s something that almost everyone knew how to make for themselves back before the days of store-bought soap.
Related: How to Make Soap From Fat and Ashes
In a world where almost everyone has access to GPS navigation at all times, navigating the old-fashioned way has become a forgotten skill. But in the event of a major collapse, cell phone service is almost certainly going to be one of the first things to go.
Unless you plan to stay in one location the entire time, knowing how to navigate without using a GPS will be an essential skill. Purchasing some maps and planning your bug out routes is a great place to start. Learning how to navigate in the wilderness using the stars and physical landmarks is also a valuable skill to know.
16. Seed Harvesting
If you’ve stockpiled seeds, growing your first garden shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge. Once you’ve run out of seeds, growing another garden the following year becomes much more difficult.
Unless you are certain that you have enough seeds set aside to keep growing food for as long as necessary, learning how to harvest and store seeds from the vegetables you’ve planted is very important.
When replacing torn clothing with brand-new clothing is no longer an option, sewing will be an invaluable skill to possess. Since electricity isn’t a given after a collapse, learning how to sew by hand is your best bet.
Related: Needle & Thread – Sewing 101
Fresh meat may be your primary reason for raising animals such as cows and goats after a major collapse, but there’s no sense in wasting the skin you have leftover when it can be turned into clothing, tents, and more.
If you learn how to tan hide, you can put animal skin to use for a wide range of purposes.
19. Vehicle Maintenance
If you’ve stockpiled enough fuel, your vehicles will continue to be a very valuable resource following a major disaster.
Unless you know how to maintain a vehicle without relying on a mechanic, though, you won’t be able to rely on your vehicles for very long.
20. Washing Clothes by Hand
Laundry machines have turned a once-tedious task into something that no requires little effort at all. Without the convenience of electricity, though, you’ll need to learn how to properly wash clothes by hand if you want to ensure that you and your family have clean clothes to wear.
Related: How To Wash Your Clothes Without a Washing Machine
Being able to weld enables you to repair a wide range of metal products as well as make new parts and products using scrap metal.
Of course, welding requires electrical power in addition to a number of supplies, so you will likely need a quality generator if you want to ensure that you are able to weld, regardless of whether or not the power has gone out.
22. Well Drilling
After a major disaster or societal collapse, tap water may no longer be available. Of course, water is by far the most essential ingredient for survival.
While you may be able to gather and purify water from a nearby stream, digging a well will be a much better long-term solution. Well-drilling is a skill that most people used to know, and it’s one that could become very important again should there come a day tap water is no longer available.
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Kieran Roberts says
I have brother who is plumber, so his skills will be useful. I have another brother who will be able to grow food and save the seeds for next year.
What is going on in the world these days is a new experience for me, and I am new to growing food for myself and my 80 year old parents, who are acting like nothing is wrong and wel will all go back to “Normal”.
They don’t seem to understand that things are going to get a lot worse.
If you hear a little voice inside your head telling to you stop prepping, keep going and get as much as you can while it is available.
If you have another house in the country to bug out to, go there do not wait until the SHTF and you are unable to leave due to martial law.
N P DUNCAN ADAM says
Before electricity and all the modern conveniences arrived people in urban areas such as they were got together to form their own society’s they enacted their own laws and started up their own Peace Officers unless modern people have lost 3/4 of their IQ it is conceivable that the same will happen once people leave the large cities and form smaller communities and as the idea of electricity will not be removed from the brain of every person following the so called SHTF one might surmise that it will again be available locally in a limited supply those who do not have the skills to farm or forage will probably have the intellect to start an electrical generation system SHTF does not necessarily mean the demise of every mechanic or electrician.
You really need to start thinking in real terms sorry but there is NO such thing as a zombie and even if there were just wait till winter then go collect the frozen bodies and dispose of them it only requires a little thought.
One other small point melting Snow for water is a huge waste of heat as snow is about 70% air always melt ice thats solid water 100% every time you cook a meal above the cooking area there should be a large cloth full of ice even snow if you must that is melting into a container off to one side containers of water can be buried in deep snow and the snow will act as insulation to a certain degree.
If it does freeze it is 100% water that can be melted to produce more water than snow ever would store containers upside down so that the bottom freezes first dont use glass for water storage and even snow / ice should be boiled for at least a minuet before consumption unless you really want gut problems taking a chance on diarrhea in freezing conditions is a cruel way to die.
if a SHTF situation causes significant numbers of deaths, then foraging and salvaging from abandoned homes, businesses, municipal facilities, and anywhere else that might have anything usable will become an important part of survival for many people, This may be similar to the “Walking Dead” TV show environment, but instead of zombies you will have a lot more criminal activity to contend with, so your preparations and abilities to protect yourself (and others you care about), property, and possessions will be critical to survival, both at your “home” and while out and about. So please, always be cautious and maintain “situational awareness” to avoid getting ambushed no matter where you are, or whatever you are doing.
For vehicles and transporting more than you can carry on your person, also consider bicycles, adult tricycles, and any type of wagon or cart including kids wagons, gardening carts, and maybe even small utility trailers if you can mange to move them around while loaded. For motorized options, any type of kick or pull type of combustion engine powered transport (motorcycle / go-cart), may be better than a full sized vehicle because they need less fuel, less maintenance, fewer parts to scrounge for repairs, are far more likely to be operable after an EMP, and are easier to traverse around abandoned vehicles or rubble blocking streets and roadways, even using sidewalks, bike paths, and hiking trails when available if that is what it takes to replenish critical supplies (such as water) and bring it back where you need it, or move your “home” to a more suitable location.
No matter what your current situation is, the best advice is to plan ahead, stock up as best you can manage, learn all you can now while you still have time and resources to do so, and be willing and able to adapt as needed to changing conditions and situations when they occur.
Vehicle maintenance after SHTF, Really?
The main things you need to know is how to change a tire, how to swap out a battery and how to siphon gas.
As far as storing gas. Untreated fuel is only good for about 6 months, treated fuel may be good for a year or two at most. Chances are you won’t be storing 500 gallons of gas or diesel for SHTF, or it won’t still be good by the time you try to use it.
So if your vehicle was not in good enough shape to last 2 years without maintenance, you are in trouble.
After that, you probably will not have the fuel to run in it.
As far as parts, unless you bought ALL the parts for your vehicle could possibly need, pre SHTF and stored them, you won’t have the parts to maintain it with anyway.
So this is not an issue.
(Plus anyone having a running vehicle after 6 months of SHTF, will be a big target for robbers, looters, etc. They will assume that you have other things of value stored up also.)
A better thing to learn is the care and use of burden animals and their equipment, like Horses, mules, Oxen, etc. As once the vehicles no longer work, these will be necessary for use as transportation.
Carol McComb says
I think most farmers who have these animals will not be willing
to sell them as money will have little value. I bet they will be
using them for their own needs. How then, does a city slicker
get some work animals?
Seed savers need to understand most fruits and vegetables are hybrids. Seeds saved from hybrids will not produce the same quality and sometimes won’t bear fruit at all. They will grow a plant but that might be all you get.
What you need is a supply of heirloom seeds to grow your fruits and vegetables. The seeds saved from heirloom varieties will produce the same fruit over and over as long as you dont allow cross pollination (hybridization).
Ultra Skeptic says
“Of course water is by far the most essential ingredient for survival”!! ?? I’d say that water is in second place, well behind healthy air. And sometimes third place, when extreme climatic conditions make keeping warm even more vital. Priorities vary. Situations vary. Crises vary. But since human idiocy prevails no matter what, the messages on this site are very important, even when I disagree with some small perspective.
Assuming that during a SHTF, there are no bio weapons, nukes or other air borne contaminates then clean air should not be a problem.
So that makes water the next high priority item on the list.
As far as heat or fire, that is a high priority item also.
In most cases where you need heat, you already have water available, as rain or snow.
So that need was already partly fulfilled.
Though there are a few times when that still might be an exception. Most of those locations are unsuitable for long term survival, so you should not be out there anyway, after SHTF.
The bigger issue here is he said ” well drilling”. Chances are after SHTF, you will not be “drilling” for water, but digging wells.
Well digging requires more of a learning curve and better construction methods. Not only from cave ins, if not properly shored up during and after construction, but in drawing the water from it.
What about those of us who rely on electricity to live? I’m on oxygen and a bipap/cpap.
Solar power and back up batteries. That’s what I’m doing due to the same issue.
Citizen Mike says
None of what you mention will really work in an urban area. The law will basically no longer exist.
Rose Rayner says
its true that the urban areas will be lawless which will make things more difficult
learn to homestead in your apartment there are articles here for that very thing also partner up for safety for example if you live in an apartment building work with you neighbors to grow indoor gardens raise hamsters gerbals rabbits as livestock growing lettus for their food as well as yours most have exercise equip at home hook them up to carberators to generate small amounts of electricity etc
Do you mean alternator?
Which is why you should plan to bug out, early on before things get to crazy.
If you study on survival topics rather than just storing up stuff, then you can survive in the woods or the countryside.
There are lots of thing to eat,( though some of them you won’t want to eat), lots of ways to find or make shelter.
Life would be rough, but probably no rougher than in an urban area and if you prepared properly, you would a better chance at long term survival than in an urban area.
One thing that is often overlooked, is that a lot of homesteaders or farmers will need lots of manual laborers after the power goes out.
With no machines to do all that work, they will be looking for good people to live and work with them. Giving you a chance at a somewhat regular life.
Town’s will have lots of new job/ business opportunities. Livery stable, Farrier, wheel maker, black smith, old time barber, furniture maker, things like that.
So bugging out or relocating is not as bad an idea as many naysayers have made it out to be.
Elbert Jones says
How about learning to distill your own Alcohol for DRINKING? A lot of people will trade a lot of stuff for a Bottle of MOONSHINE WHISKY
Illini Warrior says
you know another name for the ingredients that go into making booze? >>> it’s called FOOD
highly doubtful there’ll be food bountiful and other resources to go into the booze biz >>> that comes in wayyyyy down the post-SHTF slide of recovery – you need to survive that long first
Not necessarily true.
One of the reasons that Moonshine was popular in the rural areas like the Ozarks, was the problems of transporting a harvested crop to be able to market it.
Towns were few and far between and everybody tended to raise crops for their own needs.
So there was not much of a local market for it.
So instead it was easier and more profitable to convert it into moonshine.
After the first year or two of SHTF, this would probably become a similar problem. Plus there is always a market for Liquor.