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If you’re at all familiar with the world of prepping for natural disasters or other life-changing, cataclysmic events, you may have made some simple provisions of your own. You’ve decided that having a bug out bag is a good idea; you’ve stocked up on nonperishable items in your pantry; you have a plan for where to go and what to do when the SHTF. But at some point in a survival scenario, a difference appears between those who can simply survive and those who can thrive.
Skills that are more complicated than foraging for food or building a simple shelter will be highly sought after. If you can develop a proficiency in any one of these 12 rare skills, you’ll not only be able to help yourself survive comfortably, you’ll also be able to trade your skills for other people’s resources.
If you are one of the few people that can quickly and efficiently butcher an animal, consider yourself a shoo-in for every hunter’s favorite trading partner. Skillfully dividing an animal into edible proportions is harder than it looks, and it may be so valuable that you’ll never have to do any of your own hunting and instead take a percentage of your customer’s kills. Bonus points if you can utilize the firs and skins of the animals as well.
2. Animal Husbandry
Animals are more valuable when they produce more meat, more milk, or can be harnessed to help you get more work done. Those who are skilled at animal husbandry will have the knowledge to make these resources more productive. This means people can do more with less and can breed strength into their animals and weakness out. It is also a skill worth paying for.
Plumbing may not sound glamorous, but it is one of the most essential needs of a healthy society. Sanitation is vital to community health, and a plumber specializes in making sure the unhealthy stays separated from the clean. A fair amount of physics knowledge, mechanical ingenuity, and problem solving is necessary for anyone to be proficient at plumbing. With this in mind, many plumbers can repair just about anything, from fixing pipes to fine-tuning complicated pressure systems.
4. Home Brewing
In a survival scenario, home brewing will no longer be an illegal moonshiner’s game. While dabbling in making your own alcohol is a good way to make yourself sick, skillfully brewing a vat of delicious spirits just might save your life. Aside from the sanitation benefits of making your own alcohol, you can trade it for resources and ingratiate reluctant group members with it.
Blacksmithing is one of the most useful skills anyone could have for long-term survival. The ability to shape metal is what separates successful civilizations from stone-age ones. Not just anyone can smith well, however; there is quite a bit of science to learn and much trial and error for anyone to master the craft. If you’re experienced, you can expect the majority of your community to be needing your skills.
Beekeeping is one of the more underrated homesteading skills. While not the easiest to start (particularly with modern regulations and a fading bee population), a skilled beekeeper can have honey flowing at an extremely low cost. It is relatively easy to study up on how to manage bees, but the education is definitely necessary to keep your bees alive and your person protected from bee stings.
Just as with any piece of machinery, firearms won’t operate forever without maintenance. The elements take their toll on guns, and in a long-term survival scenario society will need people who know how to make, fix, and improve weapons and ammunition. Gunsmiths are what will keep a post-apocalyptic group on the cutting edge of weapons technology, preventing the world from sliding back to smooth-bore weapons and worse.
The ability to manipulate wood to any need will be an incredibly useful skill when the SHTF. Unfortunately, most people haven’t the slightest clue what to do beyond the basic shop class bird house. Anyone with any carpentry skill, from framing houses to building furniture, will be extremely handy in a survival situation. In addition, many survival locales involve wooded areas—places where carpenters can truly use their environment to their advantage.
Masonry is a triple threat when combined with smithing and carpentry. Find a mason in a survival group and you will discover the best planned, best built shelters and structures around. Anyone can stack some rocks together for a temporary shelter, but a mason has the knowledge and experience to truly fortify any place they choose, and as such would be a valuable asset to any survival team.
If your post-apocalyptic society has found a way to generate electricity, those who can weld will have job security for the rest of their lives. Welding will be needed for almost everyone, from farmers to mechanics to soldiers to homesteaders. If you have put the time and effort into learning how to weld, you’ll be a cut above most and in a key position for your community.
Any machine more complicated than a lever and pulley usually requires at least a little bit of expertise to repair. This will be even truer in a post-apocalyptic scenario, when good mechanics will be hard to find and wear-and-tear is expected to be more severe. If you specialize in repairing any type of machine, you may be the only one you know who can do it after the SHTF.
While almost anyone can read a book on local plant life and concoct home remedies for health purposes, anyone with true medical skill may be rare after a worldwide disaster. Anyone who has any knowledge of medicine will be extremely valuable in their community, from doctors to surgeons; from pharmacists to veterinarians. Many people cannot even sew simple stitches, let alone perform any type of delicate surgery. In addition, someone with the drug knowledge of a chemist or pharmacist will be able to make all sorts of useful creations, from painkillers to batteries and anything in between.