Skills Every Survivalist Should Know
Kevin Felts 04.29.19
A question to the reader: What would you consider important skills every survivalist should know? For the sake of context, this is the same question I have asked myself for decades. With limited time and resources, it is impossible to focus on all survival skills. We can touch on various skills to get a basic understanding, but if we wanted to focus on exact list, what would that list contain?
After putting much thought into the topic, this is the answer I propose. Let’s use our ancestors as an example and focus on skills that allowed them to survive for thousands of years. Furthermore, let’s divide our ancestors into two groups:
- 100k years – 10k years ago.
- 10k years ago – current era.
Why should we divide humanity into two groups based on years? At the end of the last Ice Age, humanity was faced with a dilemma: adapt or starve to death. Numerous species of herd animals had gone, or were on their way to being extinct: Mammoth, Mastodon, Giant Sloth, and Giant Bison to name a few.
With the massive herds gone humanity had to adapt, and that adaption came with agriculture and domestication of wild animals.
100k – 10k Years Ago
Humanity lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. We followed the herds, fished and forged. The food was preserved in a number of ways, such as the Native American Indians drying salmon or buffalo meat.
Skills that allowed tribes to survive:
- Food Preservation
Even in the 21st century remote tribes still use those methods to find food.
10k Years Ago – Current
As discussed earlier, around 10k-12 years ago humanity started to domestic livestock and wild crops. The domesticated crops we have today, such as corn, wheat, plums, are a far cry from their ancient ancestors.
Through selective breeding we developed new breeds of chickens from their wild jungle fowl ancestor.
What does all this mean?
After our ancestors developed agriculture and animal husbandry they had to learn a new skill sets, such as:
- Crop rotation
- Saving seeds
- Selective breeding of livestock
Let’s keep it simple and just say farming and gardening. Farming is defined as “raising crops and animals.” However, not all farmers and gardeners, and not all gardeners are farmers.
If we took everything we talked about above, put it in a pot and boiled it down, what would be the essential survival skills?
- Preserving food
- Farming (animal husbandry)
A lot of people are going to disagree with that list, and that is fine. We could say blacksmithing is an essential skill, and that is an excellent point. However, in the grand scheme of things blacksmithing is a relatively new invention. Our ancestors survived for tens of thousands of years, maybe even hundreds of thousands of years without smelting iron.
Maybe there should be a follow up article where we talk about other skills such as pottery, basket weaving, blacksmithing, and making gunpowder?