Become A More Well Rounded Prepper


Most everyone is good at ‘something’. What I mean by that is most of you have ‘a job’ or a career which is likely complementary with a skill or skill set that you posses – something that you’re good at – or something that you have learned along the way. Even if you are retired, you made your way to retirement through areas that you were good at or became good at…

Most of us have our specialties and areas of so called ‘expertise’. While some of these areas of expertise may be specific and valuable within the framework of today’s modern world, these skills may not necessarily be beneficial in a post-collapse world.

So, why am I saying this?

I’m pointing this out so that you might consider becoming more ‘well rounded’. I don’t mean overindulging in cake and ice-cream to expand into a well rounded figure, but I do mean expanding your skills in a basic way to improve your self-reliance and self-worth in a world that may not be so ‘modern’.

In today’s modern world, careers may often be narrowly focused and specialized. Even today’s broader skill sets are intertwined with high technology and modern methodologies. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. We are fortunate to be living in a modern world of conveniences and technologies. However if you place yourself in a hypothetical world which has collapsed to some extent, how many of those skills and abilities will be of importance or value?

When you get down to the basics (the things that our ancestors were particularly good at), how many of you posses any of those skills and abilities? How well rounded are you?

Having a broad set of ‘practical’ and ‘hands-on’ skills that compliment the basics of survival and self-reliance will be most important during a time of collapse.

I have also found that the more of these skills that you posses, the easier it is to adapt. Adaptability is a unique ability to use what is available to you in order to accomplish a task or goal. The more well-rounded you are, the easier it is to adapt.

So, what general skills will help shape you into a more well rounded prepper?
A few thoughts include the following:

Homesteading and Farming
Mechanic / Mechanical
Home Cooking / Home Canning

I believe that you’re getting the idea…

Because we live in a modern world where we can buy pretty much anything, this same world has eliminated the requirement to know the basic practical ‘survival’ skills of yesteryear. If you’re a prepper or someone who is preparedness-minded, in order to become a more well rounded prepper you should expand your practical skills sets…

Related Article: Practical Skills That People Once Knew

Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills



  1. My life course has necessitated me becoming well rounded, from growing up on a farm, then ranch and being around that most of my life have learned just enough about all sorts of things to be able to get by. From being in construction I have learned a lot about all the trades, both by necessity and curiosity.

    I actually enjoy doing most craft and trade work, and farming, gardening and everything associated as well, have a real bad habit of wanting to try new crafts or hobbies so have dabbled in everything from leather craft to welding, to making knives and doing furniture building. Not really sure what my favorite is, I do like the smell of leather, and the feel of a nice soft oil tanned hide, but love the smells of the wood shop as well.

    Have no idea if any of it will even matter though, our world is screwed up. I would be perfectly happy to just putter in the shop or garage or on the farm and just be left alone.

    1. One thing I might add is to have a good stock of product to work with, for me its having a good selection of hides and knife steel, a pile of nice wood that I add to regularly and all manner of fasteners etc. I think as the world degrades this stuff will become either overpriced or unobtainable.

      1. Hi Nailbanger,

        Those are valuable skills that will serve you well in a disaster. You are one of those folks who can figure out how to build or fix things (among other skills) and that will be priceless if/when a disaster hits.

  2. It will be important to have skills that are what many folks describe as basic skills. That would be the skills that Ken listed in the post, all are important and probably crucial to being able to exist in an upside down world.

    One person cannot be totally proficient in all skills needed to survive. Most of us are probably in the ” jack of all trades” category. I suggest taking basic classes in your deficiency area at local community colleges if that is a workable option for you. There are classes in basic carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc. etc. available. Don’t forget the local library for a wealth of books on everything.

    I also suggest coming close to folks that have the skills that you do not have. For example I am not a doctor so we have built friendships with 2 doctors. Look at your circle of friends and what skills your friends have, perhaps help them with a project and learn from them. We have helped folks learn canning food. We get help, they gain knowledge & experience, win-win for both. It is important to evaluate your skills and see what you can also contribute. It is good to look at your skills as barter-able in the future, or perhaps even now. Happy learning.
    peace & grace

  3. I have learned many trades throughout my life and once I accomplished one, I move on to the next, not forgetting what I learned and still practicing most of them. I did most of them because I enjoyed learning, and at times I had to learn the skills because I had to, not because I enjoyed them.

    What I learned that are important in survival situations not mentioned which I have done them all Ken mentioned above in one way or another-

    Electrical wiring, First Aid-CPR and Blood-borne certifications, veterinarian care, tanning hides, weaving, fishing and hunting, wild food gathering including uses and making them palatable, training animals such as horses and dogs for human use, using primitive weaponry, large machinery operation as tractors, backhoes, semi-tractor/trailers, pattern making, metalwork-light blacksmithing, drafting/designing & making blueprints, and bush-crafting in making items and shelters from nature.

    No wonder men stay away from me, they usually want a helpless female. ;-)

      1. I figure if he’s out there that’s probably exactly what happened. Two ships passing in the night, and someday we’ll both be smacking our heads going, “Wait, that was YOU?”

        1. Interestingly every woman I have met who did like or do the stuff I like doing wasn’t a good match, but the girl I’ve been with for almost 20 years is nothing like me, but oddly somehow it works, and quite well too, when you can truly just be you and relax is the best.

    1. Hi Stardust,

      Wow… that’s an impressive list of survival skills – some of which I’ve never been exposed to. You are really well-rounded!

      And, any man would be fortunate to have a smart and skilled woman like you in his life – once he got over that whole “helpless female” thing ;)

      1. So Cal Gal,

        The last man who got over the helpless lady thingie took $200,000 from me that wasn’t his, using “my” skills. Can’t win for losing, but now I let those type ships pass in the night. Pun intended ;-)

        1. Funny in a strange way….wish I could introduce that male to the woman who took a “lump sum” from me they deserve each other LOL point being there are a lot of fish in the sea and the land sharks come in both genders.

    2. No kidding. It’s quite funny to be working alongside a man and he’s always jumping in (dropping what he’s currently doing) to say “here, let me take that for you,” or “that’s too heavy for you.”

      Um…no, it’s not. But thanks, go ahead. I’ll take what you were doing…

      1. Funny you say that, because in my experiences, most men will walk by me and not help….. I also thought why pay $120 an hour minimum and $50 to come way out in the boonies for a plumber to fix a leaky seal in my faucet when for $2 I can do it myself? It was simple enough and I had wrenches, and half the time professionals like this refuse to come out. Same with electricians. Thus, that’s how I learned most my skills on my own.

        Sometimes necessity is the mother of reinventing ones self.

        1. Very true, on all counts. I usually learn new skills out of necessity. This particular friend DID offer to help. I was planning on doing a little every day for a few weeks, and he reduced that to a couple hours. I was very glad of his help.

          I just think the “weak woman” syndrome is funny. This morning another friend brought over a load of leaves and brought two men to help. She’s standing there with her mouth open watching me throw around bags of leaves and says “You’re very strong.”

          I carefully didn’t laugh, although I wanted to.

          1. Can I laugh for you? LOL. Leaves are light when dry. I wonder what she would say when I move 5 or 6 200-pound barrels of fish guts by myself….

            Actually my new male boss had a fit when he heard I was doing that for 6 years and told me I was incapable for the work I do, not listening to the equation of leverage, gravity, and tools I use to manipulate the barrels, so he made up lies about everything to show he was right without letting me demonstrate my skills to him. Then he developed a bad attitude which was difficult to work with. The weak woman syndrome has its downfalls.

          2. I enjoyed the comments re “helpless females”. I appreciate strong, competent, self assured women. I raised one son and one daughter.

            They both learned the same skills from me; carpentry with hand and power tools. Marksmanship and proper gun handling. Livestock care and management. Financial planning and budgeting, and the list could go on. Now I have the pleasure of spending time with, and hopefully passing along something helpful, my grandchildren. We are also all pretty good cooks.

        2. I am the posterboy for jack of all trades, master of none so to make a suggestion for all here on Ken’s site, when you have a ‘KODAK MOMENT’ about trying to fix anything or even how to do something a real resource well worth watching is going to UTUBE VIDEO type in what you are wanting to learn about the number of videos there will blow you away. I have been able to increase my problem solutions quickly and finalize a fix without having to wait on anything. Hope this helps everybody here.

    3. I don’t necessarily think that most men look for a “helpless female”, but I am sure that they don’t want to be hopelessly emasculated by a woman! Haha!

      1. The way that men tend to think of it (I think, anyways) is that if a women can do all the jobs they do and better, there is no use for them and they are essentially useless–and trust me, if any man feels useless to a potential partner, it’s really depressing.

        1. Youngster
          you wrote

          ” if any man feels useless to a potential partner, it’s really depressing”.

          Quite honestly, if ANYONE feels useless to potential/current partner that is depressing/unsexy/unappealing/etc.

          Someone few comments ago mentioned how he and his mate were quite different and it worked well.

          Key is to value yourself/your abilities and find someone who you value/values yours/theirs.

        2. That’s fine. But what about me feeling useless?

          I’m to be relegated to cleaning up the house, having someone take everything away from me that takes the least bit of skill or strength or intellectual ability because it will make HIM feel useless?

          I’m not to use power tools (that would make him feel useless) or even a stinking wheel barrow, for heaven’s sake! If I’m not going to be a full partner (him doing what he’s good at and me doing what I’m good at, whatever that may be) then the relationship is not worth it. If he’s going to feel “emasculated” by me being able to plan a shed or till the garden, what ISN’T going make him feel that way?

          I could sit in the living room and knit. Sure, that would make a great relationship. I’m strong, yes. Emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually strong, and I’m not going to pretend I’m someone else. I’m not going to pretend I’m weak, and I fully expect any potential “partner” to meet me halfway and then some. He’s got to give his 100% so I can give mine.

          If I can’t give 100%, I’d rather be single.

          1. I believe that you completely missed my point.

            I was not saying that you have to relegate your self to menial duties, or that you should act weak–I never once said that. What I was saying, more amplified by what anon added, is that partners need to compliment each other, and each person should have a role in a relationship (what role that is can be determined by the couple).

            If any person sees themselves as completely useless, then they will simply go somewhere they’re needed. If a woman can do anything better than a man can, as a GENERALIZATION, men who carry masculine traits will see themselves as obviously, not needed. The same goes for a man who carries more feminine traits, turning away more feminine women.

            I am not saying that there aren’t people out there for every person, or that you are generally incompatible with all males. I am sure there are people out there that generally compliment everyone else.

            My original point was that men who more closely carry masculine traits would be turned away from a women who can easily emasculate them. This is not to say that you should change yourself, not at all. I was simply offering an explanation why many men tend to gravitate towards “weaker women” as you put it.

            At the same time, I will also say that there are people out there that would carry complimentary traits to yours and wouldn’t put you in a position of knitting or something else. People are different, and people will gravitate to those who compliment them best.

          2. Youngster,

            You are very wise for your age. It will benefit you tremendously in finding the right woman to settle down with. Keep close to those beliefs and values and you will never be disappointed and you will have a great woman that will stand beside you no matter what.

            I wish I was as wise as you are when I was your age. Not sure where you got those values but be Thankful to those who taught you them.

            Good job young man.
            Adapt and Overcome.

          3. Thank you very much for the compliment.

            When I was even younger, I was pushed out of childhood and just grew up–for the most part, I was mature and intelligent for my age. However, I also have my flaws–I can be arrogant, overly logical to the point of being cold and inconsiderate among other things.

            I sure hope you’re right, it seems that the world has a shortage of people who think like those on this blog. I imagine it being hard to find someone with similar values, and being someone who is shy and not a big social butterfly without any real friends, I am pretty lonely and feel pretty hopeless in that regard. Nonetheless, I will hope for the best.

            I gained my wisdom from a really nice book (I’m sure you can guess which one) and I still have much to learn. For the most part, I come across as more intelligent when I write because it’s how I write (The brainwashing of essays in highschool is burnt onto my brain).

          4. Youngster,

            I know the book you speak of and through that book is where you will find your true mate. Look into church groups for your age. Like I said hold on to your beliefs and values and you will be rewarded.

            I’m sure most women your age are into more things that you have no interests in, social media, them trying to be larger in life because they are insecure about themselves. Don’t settle.

            I didn’t find my true love till I was in my late 30s. She is awesome and supports me in any endavor I take on. And I do the same for her.

            Stay the course you will find her and she will be happy you came along.

            Take care and practice shooting that SKS.
            Adapt and Overcome.

        3. It would be sad if someone felt that way that was disabled or handicapped–whoever they choose as a partner will be better in skills in one way or another, and to my knowledge someone who has those skills would be an asset to the person.

          My best advice to the “intimidation” of a man having less skills than the woman, either get over it, or find someone who isn’t that skilled. It may be to your disadvantage to do so in a shtf senario, but you better not teach or encourage her in anything that will make her better in skills than you.

    4. @ Y-all

      All I have to say about the Woman/Man thing is this;

      I was the Man in the house, and I had my Wife’s permission to say so, God rest her soul.


      1. Luv ya NRP! You are a kind, gentle, smart soul. Your wife deserved you and you her.

    5. Stardust, sounds like you are the most well rounded person, man or woman I have ever heard of, kudo’s to you for your lifelong self education. I’m kinda like that myself and have found that common sense go’s a long way in anything you try. Keep on keeping on girl and watch your six, times are about to get really scary.

  4. These types of skills are what I am working to develop because my professional skills would have very little value in a crisis.

    My professional skills relate to accounting (particularly forensic accounting – investigating out how someone stole from their employer), finance, loss control, contract negotiation, HR, and marketing. If I had to survive with just those skills in a disaster I’d be in real trouble.

    So, I am continually reading about and practicing skills that include cooking and preserving, sewing (at least the basics including repairing clothes to make them last longer), first aid, gardening, and I am starting to work on some outdoors skills, including fishing (which I have yet to master).

    I know these are very rudimentary skills that would not earn a person a place in most organized disaster-preparedness communities or small groups. But, I figure I am still ahead of most suburbanites… and everyone has to start somewhere.

    1. Don’t downplay your skills. Think of what will be needed to organize a group of people in an SHTF situation–your negotiation, HR and marketing skills will be NEEDED. Maybe not in the first ten minutes or ten days, but human interaction skills may easily be in short supply when everyone is forced out of their cellphone world.

      1. Thanks, Lauren.

        I guess I was thinking only in terms of short-term survival skills. But, you are right that some of my skills would come to good use in a longer-term situation – provided I’ve made it that far ;)

    2. So Cal Gal,

      What little skill I started out sewing along a seam line from a cut out pattern with a little marketing skills, and knowing nothing else, brought me a $1000 a month the first month and $10,000 the next month in profit to where I had to outsource sewing to subcontractors. Marketing by sending out samples to big magazines to critique my products got me the business.

      These subcontractors who were professional seamstresses said I sewed wrong but it worked better than the way they sewed so they adopted my way since they had to sew through 3-4 layers of deerskin, elk, or heavy wool. I was a nothing in sewing before that… I paid a girlfriend to sew my apron in high school Home Economics class, that’s how skilled I was, LOL. Keep up the good work, you may be surprised what the outcome can be.

      1. Thanks, Stardust… what a great story – especially your tenacity and being able to show the “experts” something new. It’s always been interesting (and sometimes amazing) to me how people can come up with a better way of doing something when not constrained by “we’ve always done it this way”.

  5. I like the gardening and “homestead” work (even though I don’t have a homestead–yet) but I made a career out of words. Being able to soothe down someone who’s angry, working out compromises, figuring out how to get my clients what they needed.

    Now I’m a writer. In a post SHTF world the writing probably won’t be that important, but the people skills and communication skills I’ve developed will be.

    Food preservation, gardening, basic maintenance for the house and trees, herbs, sewing, those I’ve got. My other “skill” seems to be in the area of teaching and learning. I can teach almost anyone, even skills I don’t have but have knowledge about. I taught my nessies to swim, without them ever figuring out that I’m terrified of water. And given information and tools I can push my way through learning anything I need to.

    1. IMHO
      Post collapse, writing will be very important, whether recording the events or just organizing, but being able to write about it will be invaluable, electronics fail, period, they all fail, but writing can last for eons.

    2. Lauren & So Cal Gal

      Your skill in writing will be greatly need, look at what is being produced in the schools at this time. The students are not being taught cursive writing skills, everything is on computers. If they had to write a check or sign their names without the use of man made devices they are lost.

      Mathematics, where the skills of “So Cal Gal” would come into play teaching children and some adults.

      Yes, you both would require a chalkboards & lots of chalk but never underestimate the daily skills you both posses.

      1. With the math, it’s not just teaching. From finance it’s a single step into architectural design, roadbeds, drafting, bridge building, etc. Math will be seriously needed in that world, and particularly people who can do math in their heads or on paper.

        If we’re ever going to “rebuild” without learning it all again, we’ll need lots of math, and people who know math.

        1. Hi AC & Lauren,

          All true… and like many here I learned the hard way – no calculators. Scratch paper and pencils only during exams all the way through high school. Had to use calculators in college, and scientific calculator for statistics classes (the worst).

          But, I’ve never forgotten the basics – and it’s sad how many people cannot do long division by hand, or convert a fraction into a decimal – or even read a ruler. In a post collapse world those skills won’t provide food or mend wounds, but they could help re-build down the line.

    3. @Lauren;

      “Being able to soothe down someone who’s angry, working out compromises, figuring out how to get my clients what they needed.”

      That sounds very much like “conflict resolution” and will be a skill in high demand both in a small group and a larger community. Having someone who can soothe the crazed and stressed ego of many folks and show both sides there is a better way to resolve whatever issue is at the forefront at any particular time will be invaluable.

  6. I don’t have a career, off the homestead. I am a mom, a wife and I take care of the family farm all day by myself.

    We raise chickens, goats, turkeys and pigs and we have 2 horses. Cows we had to sell to make room for more fence, they are coming back soon. I raise and can the garden yearly. When we decided to have kids 17 years ago. I did work outside the home but then figured it saved us more money if we had a garden and raised our own meat and veggies, so I could stay home.

    Our grocery bill for a family of four is around $20 per week. I have learned and done all the home improvements. Have some very close friends who are in the medical field. The boys also hunt every year, different seasons. And tan hides. Hubby also has other works that I have not tried yet, welding, etc. We hope if in a SHTF, combined we would all be more then okay with the skills we have in set. But I do want to learn to make soap and need a milk cow!!

    1. Jan
      You have a career, just as you stated it is on the homestead. It is not the normal 9-5 career with two days off.

    2. Hi Jan,

      I agree – that is a career! You may not be on the “payroll” but what you do is harder than what most people do for a living, and you actually keep your folks safe and well-fed… that’s a really big deal!

  7. I think a valuable personal asset, that we can all exercise is just the willingness to serve…

    How many floods or fires has our country had in the last 1+, record setting and historical, and that is just weather related….

    Can you help a neighbor whose property has been damaged in a storm?

    If you don’t know the mechanics of some type of repair are you willing to lend a hand in helping that person who does have the skill set, and likely you will learn too!

    Sometimes we underestimate what we are capable of in a good way….

    And when you are willing to do something kind for others, you will learn something new, it will be returned to you…

    Sometimes we also underestimate the impact of a small gesture of kindness will go in giving someone hope…

    Are you willing to care for someone’s pet during a crisis?
    So someone with a tender heart for animals might be a blessing to a family in need….

    And lastly if you have a useful hobby/interest, encouragement to take the step in learning more and how it can be used in a crisis situation…

    You guys are the BEST! :)

  8. To Lauren and So Cal Gal:

    Both skills will be needed in times of shortage and hardship. I majored in economics though I work in the health care field. Does not make much sense to one looking at my life these days.

    Nursing is my day job, economics helps me with stock picks for my retirement nest egg. The next field of interest for me: Finding a solution for antibiotic resistant microbes.

    I will write the occasional article based on what I learned in the 3 years I lived off grid (and 6 summer seasons) because my best teacher was the experience of going out and doing it.

    The best way to learn a new skill: Go on a hunting or fishing trip with a guide. Ask many questions. I still go with guides for hunting these days though one can argue I have enough experience to go solo. Going fishing with a naturalist that can tell you what the fish are feeding on is a real joy and pleasure. Fishing trips are much cheaper than guided hunting trips. Take notes and keep journals of what you learn in the field and within a few years, you have a lot of accumulated knowledge.

    Lastly, my equipment recommendations for catching trout from high country lakes: I use spinning tackle. I use a Shimano open face reel with a Shakespeare Ugly Stick in Ultralight. I use 4 lb test mono-filament line under the brand name of Dupont Stren. I replace the line in my reels at least 2x/year. For live bait, I use crickets. For spinners, I use Panther Martin spinners in as light a weight as I can find(1/32 oz or 1/64 oz). Bring a small hand net for landing the fish.

    Brookies are in the lakes and rainbows are in the streams. Crickets are a no fail option in the Southern Sierras. You will catch bigger fish using the spinner. The fish are attracted to the initial splat of the spinner hitting the water and will take the lure as it descends. The water is so clear, you can see the action take place and the fish can see your line unless you use ultralight gear.

    Get your fishing license before you go. I caught and fined a lot of people for not having their license and I was not semi-permanently attached to a patrol car. I could generally be found 5 miles away from the nearest road with my badge, side arm, ticketbook and binoculars in hand.

    1. CaliRefugee-

      Thanks for sharing specifics about your acquired fishing knowledge, those are the types of comments that I appreciate most from Ken and the posters here…

      1. @ Walker

        I will have to add to CaliRefugee’s commentary. Panther Martin spinners are the ONLY way to catch Rainbow here in the San Juan and Animas rivers since I’m not allowed to use C-4 anymore. Additionally the Ugly-Stick with a 4 pound line……. A must have.

        Did a little fishing this past weekend, 14” Brown in a deep hole, on a Panther Martin Holograph Rainbow Trout, 1/32-Ounce, Fire Red…… was a BLAST.

        FYI, Catch and Release… :-)


        PS; one must ALWAYS remember, “The worst day fishing, is better than the best day working”.

        1. NRP- thanks to you too— I value the little hints and trial-by-error discoveries shared here.

    2. Thanks CR & NRP,

      I have everything to learn about fishing, but there is something really special about being in that environment – particularly since I live in the suburbs. But, I get that there’s a BIG difference between enjoying fishing and needing to fish to eat – so I appreciate the helpful tips!

  9. I find the different skills and knowledge people have here very interesting, specifically making connection between what you know or are skilled in and what may be needed.

    Possibly a few key “skills” are the ability to reason and arrive at a conclusion on how to do something, the mental capability to recognize when you need a contingency plan since the original approach “ain’t working”, and the ability to not over think and use common sense.

  10. Good morning all;
    I’m going to toss out a little different spin on Kens Article, Who would have guessed huh??? Hehehe

    Here are to totally conflicting definitions of the word “Prepper”.

    Cambridge; Noun; Someone who believes that a war or disaster will happen soon, and who learns skills and collects food and equipment, in order to be ready for it.

    Oxford; Noun; A person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies. ‘there’s no agreement among preppers about what disaster is most imminent”

    As one that’s been around the block a few times and is proud to admit I live the “Lifestyle” I believe that someone that clams to be a prepper should take a minute to think about that claim to fame.

    life·style; Noun: the way in which a person or group lives. Synonyms: way of life, way of living, life, situation, fate, lot; conduct, behavior, customs, culture, habits, ways.

    This new (fairly new) ideas of Survivalist’s and Preppers that has come to fame in the past few years is GOOD, I totally agree that if having a name on something that gets more people aware I will promote and be a part of, very willingly. I will add very strongly that doing all of the Survivalist and Prepper “things” are very limiting in the sense of “making it” when the bottom falls out (Insert any words you want IE. SHTF) IF one does not practice and “do” the things learned, hence the term I prefer “Lifestyle”.

    I would bet my last roll of TP that 80%+ of the “preppers” out there believe that since they have 10 cans of Tuna Fish (Metaphor) on the shelf and a few Bic Lighters they are set to go. YES they may have a start (and may be all they can do for now), but if one is not living, using, and practicing all of the “skills” they think they know, than unfortunately they may fail miserably.

    Now I know most of the people that frequent this Site are not the stereo type “Doomsday Preppers” and I would bet that if y-all really think on it, you’re a Lifestyle-er NOT just someone that collects “stuff/skills” for that rainy day when all goes to he11, AND hopes ya did not forget something. I would also bet that same roll of TP that we’re all not the Mucho Survivalist GI-Joe/Jane that tromps around the woods thumping their chest every time ya happen to see Bambi running across the field.

    I guess what I’m trying to relay is, if you’re into the “lifestyle” than you are going to know what it takes to live “without” (fill in the blank). Is it a GREAT idea to know and learn skills? You bet your stash of Kleenex it is, is it GREAT to have those 10 cans of Tuna? He11 yes it is, I’m just trying to say is just don’t get caught in the trap of the “Prepper” or “Survivalist” mindset and think you are all set to go “if/when”.

    Practice, develop skills, practice more, use the “stored stuff” AND the skills, live well, yet live as if you may not have the Modern Stuff tomorrow.

    Just My 2¢ Worth

    1. Sadly, being in the situation that I’m in–I would never get a chance to practice any skills, so I’m left learning everything I can in theory, hoping that I can put it into practice when the time comes (I know, not such a good idea).

  11. My experience has taught me that that old saying:

    “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”, is absolutely true !

    Together with ‘The Will to Survive’ will get you there.

  12. Ouch Ken! I’m still trying to get my first job! (Which will most likely be menial, without any specialized skills) I guess if I put it that way… I’m pretty well rounded!

    But in all seriousness, I would love to get into the many different areas and learn all about all the skills you listed. Though, I hope to be going into the medical fields eventually–so that’s nice… At least then I’ll have ONE skill! :)

    1. Man, I wish I could come and visit you all and help out with whatever you guys needed! I’m sure that would teach me A LOT!

      1. Look up apprenticeships and…I think they’re called farm shares? Not sure. I hear of people all the time who are advertising for what you want. The last one I heard of was in Italy. They want people who are willing to work and learn, generally unconnected people who won’t bring strings with them.

        I heard of one around the early summer where they specifically wanted families with children. Airfare and room and board. Usually no salary, but if you’re gaining needed skills it might be what you need.

        Another possibility would be to go out in the country (the real country) and see if there’s someone who will trade room and board for a few months of work.

      2. For medical find an herbalist or midwife, even a veterinarian who’s willing to let you tag along and help you learn. If you’re interested in carpentry or blacksmithing, hunting or gunsmithing, same thing. Find someone in your area who works that trade and make an offer. Chances are good you’ll be able to find any trade you want to try within a fifty mile radius.

        1. The only problem with the apprenticeships and all that is where I want to go into when it comes to medical. I’ll leave out all the convoluted stuff that no one wants to hear, suffice to say that if I want to go where I do, I’m going to need to climb my way up a long ladder with specific steps and dedicate time and effort to it. It’s kinda a pain…

          1. Youngster,

            If it’s really important to you, you will find a way. I know someone who wanted to be in a medical technology field so she went to school for it and also did medical volunteer work in her spare time. That led to a low-paying position she filled until she had all of her certifications.

            Now she makes really good money working for a hospital and she loves what she does – but she went through a lot to get there. You’ll have to decide if that kind of specialized education and entry-level work is worth it to you.

          2. There’s no elevator to success Youngster, you have to take the stairs.

          3. Youngster,

            I’m not sure if you are talking about becoming a MD, but, for anyone interested in medical skills I’d start with local Red Cross classes and a basic EMT course. It’s not long and you can go on ride alongs with the medics and observe. Many of them are quite good. There were a couple in my area that were considered legends. A medic friend of mine told me that when X or Z was working even he would stop to watch.

            You can also volunteer in ERs.


          4. I am not looking to be an MD (as much as I would love to be a surgeon), and because of the money and time that would take, I am instead looking to be a paramedic, though, it’s highly regulated and I’m getting there, slowly as I may.

          5. As much as I would love the training and such… With the political climate and with NATO only involving itself in places where it shouldn’t I would rather not bet my life on such an excursion.

  13. Just read this headline..(guess these folks could’ve used this blog post)

    “Venezuela is telling hungry city dwellers to grow their own food” and in the story, someone suggests..”Agriculture shouldn’t be a solution” to the country’s shortages, said former landowner “.

    Seems odd to me that they are not already trying to grow their own food, and the commentator which derides agriculture as a part of the solution, seems odd..

    These folks/country, illustrate why this blog post is of use/needed. Sometimes folks just need a push to get them thinking how to take care of themselves.

    1. @ Anon

      “Sometimes folks just need a push to get them thinking how to take care of themselves.”

      That quote just won the “Understatement of the Year” award here on MSB.

      FYI, that “push” should read a “Friggen 2X4 upside the head”.


      1. NRP

        grin, re the 2 X 4…

        Often used to hear that expression, not for awhile.

        Do you really think all those folks in Venezuela waited until the govt suggested they TRY growing something? Seems sad if so.

        1. @ Anon

          One needs to remember in Venezuela there is no “we the people” it’s totally 1000% Socialism. So, if the .gov does not allow the people to have the resources to grow food (aka seeds, water, land), than yes that’s correct, “all those folks in Venezuela waited until the .gov suggested they TRY growing something”.

          Did you happen to read the comments about the .gov cutting water back to those that “were” growing foods (and everyone else) for themselves?

          FYI, be careful who y-all vote for, Take heed America, ya better watch where Venezuela is headed.


          PS; Gardening and Farming, an essential “skill”.

          1. NRP

            Had not thought of the serious possibility they were previously NOT allowed to use water/seed/land/time for this..

            I recall, it used to be “not allowed” in Cuba, for personal use.

            good point

        2. The foundation principle of socialism is “wait to be told what to do.” If you don’t wait, you’re punished.

          Why would they even think of planting, when they’ve seen farmers stripped of everything because the elites needed to eat? Why should they think of fishing when the police will take everything they catch and they’ll end up in jail on top of it? Those who take care of themselves (or even try) in a socialist state end up dead.

  14. I have been in the auto industry my entire life, mainly body shop work. I have also been poor and had to do things myself or do without. The skills I have learned in this field are useful in many ways.

    I have basic mechanical skills, I can take anything apart and put it back together. I know basic electrical principles on both auto and home, I wired my garage with a 220 compressor and extra lights. I can weld and fabricate with metal, I have made many patches for rust holes and made some of my own tools, and I’m learning some basic blacksmithing. I have raised chickens, rabbits, and pigs for food. I raise a garden and freeze and can. I enjoy fishing, hunting and camping. I am certified in basic first aid. I am the jack of all trades and master of none. I have done so much for so long with so little that I am now qualified to do absolutely anything with nothing.

  15. @ car guy

    “I have done so much for so long with so little that I am now qualified to do absolutely anything with nothing”

    I LIKE that thinking :-)


  16. I agree teaching skills will be real important.

    Where my wife works most of the women are social butterflies. About every 2 to 3 weeks one of them throws some type of get together. More times than not my wife wants me to go. The only thing I have in common with most of the husbands is I’m breathing the same air in the room.

    So the last one we go to the toilet stops flushing in the guest bathroom. First thing husband says to wife is call an emergency plumber. I tell them I will take a look. Chain came off the handle..Ask for some pliers but guess what? This guy owns absolutely no tools.

    So I go to my wife and get her multitool from her purse. Now these people are aghast that I’m sticking my hand in the “sewer” water in the tank to fix the chain to the flapper. Had to explain to them the water in the tank was from the same source as their sinks and tubs. OMG!

    Here we are trying to improve and round out our skill set. There are Beta males/females with absolutely no skills. Not even the basics needed for bare minimum survival.

    So yea,having the ability and the PATIENCE to teach is a huge skill to have…

    1. @BJH,

      Could have done a tank water shooter, would have solved the invitation issue. ?

      1. Grey Lensman,

        I was going to show them how to flush the toilet with a bucket of water. I was worried it may of been too much for their fragile little minds to endure.
        Besides,they literally only had a small bucket that the husband kept his car cleaning supplies in out in the garage. Nothing else at all in the garage…

        1. Bill Jenkins Horse,

          I can’t come up with a snappy one liner, those folks are living on the edge of the ledge and don’t see the drop off. One unexpected event and they will be hosed. Probably nice people too. Your Janice guy to not stress the out any further.

          1. I mean really? Janice? I’m a crappy proofreader I know, but Janice is a new low…

          2. Grey,

            I knew what you meant. These electronic devices seem to think they know what words we want to type. I find myself correctly my posts all the time from the words my phone puts in for me. Drives me crazier than I already am…

        2. Hi BJH,

          We know a lot of people just like that. They take pride in having the most pristine garage in town… so they have no tools, no knowledge of how to make even the simplest repairs to anything. I’ve had women tell me they have never plunged a toilet in their lives; never hammered a nail, never sewed a button or a hem, never cooked a large meal from scratch, never put air in a tire… I could go on and on.

          I have a lot to learn, but compared with these folks I feel skilled! ;)

          1. So Cal Girl,

            I’m new to SoCal, do you find many/any “like minded” people here? So far, I haven’t met more than two who can put their phone down and look up long enough to say “hello”.

          2. Hi PP,

            No… most folks in my suburban neighborhood are stereo-typical suburbanites. We are friends with one couple who at least keep a good 1st aid kit and a little bit of extra water & food on hand. But, for the most part trying to talk with even really good friends about having a “little extra” on hand in case of an earthquake just gets you a shrug. I feel sure even our friends would think I had lost my mind if they saw the supplies I am building up and storing.

          3. SoCalGal, the politics at my wife’s work dictates that if these people have ever come to one of your events you have to show at their party/get together. Work just gets crappier if you don’t. I go to support my wife. All the husbands are these metro sexual Beta males and they swarm together like moths to porch lite.
            One of these guys carpeted his garage floor.Not so the kids could play there but to park their cars on. I bet he gets the carpet cleaned once a month.
            Yep,you are WAY ahead of them…

    2. BJH
      Be very careful, you & your DW may be called upon with her handy dandy multi tool for other repairs they find unfathomable.

      I can just see it now, you fixing a simple item. And they are preparing to faint at the thought of tidey bowl water on your hands(sorry but that is just to darn hilarious! lol)

  17. My former career at a phone company gave me skills in construction, pole climbing, ditch digging, ladder work, use of many small and large tools, wire work/splicing, trouble shooting, driven large trucks, trailers, backhoe, ditch witch, pole setting truck/set poles too. Once moved a large 6000lb reel of cable using my entire body to roll it.

    Now my personal home skills….small engine/oil change/spark plugs maintenance…painting, snow plowing, gardening, sowing, some electrical and plumbing, beading, jewelry making, learning crocheting and ham radio.

    All of my home skills were learned out of necessity of living in the boonies and having to do it myself. Almost forgot, the chain saw and splitting wood(manual with maul if I had to) I love a challenge and when I’m told I can’t do something, I will do it anyway come hell or high water….so I keep learning, even in retirement!

  18. From my experience (which is quite meager compared to the majority of you) is that desire/necessity, capitalizing on your learning style (thank goodness for YouTube) and knowing and using the proper tools makes for the best learning experience when it comes to learning/improving skills.

    1. Tools? Zombie sheeple still rely on the old saying “if you can’t fix it with a hammer, it must be an electrical problem”. The chasm between the doers and the clueless is as wide as the Grand Canyon – and growing because the educational system has failed us.

      1. Deliberately–remember John Dewey? Who created our filing system and our school system? He was the first to say that his system would produce workers, without incentive or ambition. I don’t remember the exact quote. That was what the industrialists of the time wanted, so they jumped on the bandwagon.

        1. I doubt that very few would be able to go into a library (place where books are kept and loaned out) and find a category or topic based on that system now. Gone more quickly than writing.

          1. I was so sad when I went into our library and found that they had removed the card catalogs. So sad. Clerk just looked it up on the computer. Works great until the EMP or CME.

          2. Oh, you mean the catalog. Yes, the catalogs are long gone but they still use that system on the shelves. I thought you meant it was not being used any longer.

        2. That is so crazy! I only just heard of Dewey.

          I home-school and this summer I read a homeschooling book and it talked about his philosophies and influence on our education system. I home-school for many reasons, but one reason is because I want my kids to know how to learn and be independent, open, but wise thinkers who know how to plan and execute rather than just being told what to think….funny thing– my BIL who just received a teaching degree hadn’t ever heard of him.

          I thought it was odd that one of the main influences of the public education model is not thoroughly studied. The only reason I can think is that it back to being taught what to think. Why should people be aware that the current school system is modeled after factories and just based off of one man’s opinion (as far as the factory influence) rather than the only way it works?

        3. Hi Lauren,

          Yep… like many here, when I was in school there were home ec classes (cooking and nutrition basics), sewing, wood and metal shops, and some schools still had an auto shop class. Our friends kids look at me like I grew a third eye when I talk about taking a cooking class or having to sew a skirt and gym bag in school… same with typing class. Those types of physical skill classes were removed from the budget of public So Cal schools years ago.

  19. @Car Guy

    Not only are you a Jack of all Trades but you write beautifully. With such skill in clear writing you could also write technical manuals or papers for others. There must be many opportunities available on the internet should you wish to go that way.

    Even other forms of writing. You turn a nice phrase. Kudos to you.

  20. My wife is a strong woman. I wouldn’t of married her if she wasn’t strong.

    I want her standing beside me not 2 steps behind me. The only time I want her behind me is when she is kicking me in the pants because I’m screwing up.
    My wife taught our boys to cook, clean and do their own laundry. She was teaching them self reliance in all aspects of life not just what Society thinks a man should do. Besides,there was no way she was doing it once they left home.LOL!

    I told my boys that if they couldn’t be trusted with washing their own clothes correctly they couldn’t be trusted with driving my cars. Needless to say,they are pro’s at doing laundry. They help their wives and their boys will be taught as well.

    Actually, I’m doing laundry right now. My wife’s laundry at that. Trust me, I don’t screw it up either. I cooked dinner and vacuumed the house. The wife never minds helping me clean and oil our guns or any other chore around the Homestead.

    People get hung up with that’s women’s/men’s work label.
    Work is work. It all needs doing…

    1. Remember the show “Dobie Gillis”, the character who shouted “work” like it was painful. The actor went on to play Gilligan.

      Get busy and get to work. “Doesn’t matter if you’re wearing pants or a skirt”, “ya gotta eat” quoting my Grandmother. Learned a lot from her! Beach’n

  21. My husband and I are both medical professionals. Which is why we have to live near a hospital for work. Suburbans wanting to be rural. But, we have a garden (mostly raised beds), I love to can, he loves dehydrating. I can sew. He can fix plumbing. We both do minor electrical repairs. He knows small engine repair. Etc.

    We’re not young. But we have a lot of wisdom and we know a lot of people. Hopefully those skills will help us.

    Also, I can cook Thanksgiving dinner on a grill, a wood fire and a camp stove. Dinner’s ready!

    “Thank you God for this food and bless it for the nourishment of our bodies, Amen.” An old Quaker blessing, heard all my life. Luv ya’ll, Beach’n

  22. One last Grandmother story. Then I’ll stop.

    I went to visit her when I was in my late twenties. She had been a widow, living alone for a couple of years. I stopped in unexpectedly and she was thrilled I was there. We sat at the old kitchen table and drank well water and munched on Nilla wafers. She asked me about my life and the only thing I had to complain about was my boyfriend.

    She said to me. “I remember when your Grampa and I first got married. We were in the garden working and he asked me who I thought should be the boss. The man or the women?” She answered, “the man, of course”. She paused and I asked, “so…”

    “Biggest mistake I ever made!” She said. Love to you Grandma! Thank you for all your wisdom and love. Beach’n

    1. Too funny. I was told from my g-ma that the man is the head of the household, but the woman is the neck of the household, that controls every move the head makes!! LOL

  23. Besides our abilities to gather enough of the right supplies and know the skills of how to use them, the most important skill for all of us will be our abilities to know who to trust and who not to trust. Knowing the right questions to ask, how to Barter so the everyone will get a fair deal. Recognizing danger and taking the right precautions.

    I expect the first six months to be the most dangerous after a series of bad events happen so that will be when I will be extremely cautious.

    I expect all of our futures will see and experience some extreme behaviors of people. We have hopefully prepared mentally for this, but until we are actually put to the test, all we can do is hope that we will have the inner strength to provide, protect ourselves and loved ones from harm.

    I hope that all who have shared their wisdom, thoughts and feelings at this site stay safe!

    God Bless!

  24. With each passing day I’m becoming a more well rounded prepper… I eat more Rib Eyes and peanut butter and Habanero jelly sandwiches and enjoy my gargantuan homegrown breakfasts!! Guaranteed to make you a more “well rounded” prepper. :)

    1. @ CrabbeNebulae

      FYI, that Habanero Jelly, well it actually melted the Glass Jars I put it in…. HAHAHAHA


      1. @NRP

        We made some more this afternoon. 12 – 1/2 pints. Didn’t melt the glass but we had to wear goggles and a face mask while cutting them up and pulsing them through a food processor. A whiff of it takes the breath away and makes your eyes water. Not so bad after putting in the ACV and sugar though.

        It’s pretty intense by itself but pretty good when spread on stuff or used as a dip. But of course, we don’t make it to gobble down by the spoon full!!

  25. There is much discussion and polite comments about who is the “Head” of the Home, the man or the woman….

    You all should not be so eager to be the “Head” of anything..

    I read a joke long ago which sort of put it in perspective….and proves it really only takes an _ ss _ ole to be “in charge”…

    The various body parts were arguing one day about who was “really” the most important and in charge of the body…

    The various parts all had good arguments, but all had to admit defeat when
    the _ ss _ ole said..”You all are going to be in rough shape if I get plugged up for a few weeks….”.

  26. “It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    You are the master of your fate,
    the Captain of your soul.”

    Joseph Conrad – ‘Lord Jim’

  27. Head of household?

    The rooster rules the roost
    The hen rules the rooster

    At least that’s what my wife says–

  28. I have been reading the comments and some are so funny and it reminded me of my childhood. As the eldest of 6 my dad would take me (and the brothers when they got older) to do the jobs he was doing for the grand parents and neighbors. I don’t think he consciously realized I was female until I got married and was expecting the first grandchild. funny story, I was helping out (was preggers) with some minor construction in the house and Pop,bless his heart, all of a sudden said,”You can’t do that ” When asked why, He said you’re a woman. Of course we all looked at him like he was crazy and started laughing, he realized what he had just said and laughed it off as well. I know how to drywall,tape and mud, build things that stay solid, fix toilets, do some car repairs. My grandmother and mom taught me how to sew, knit, crochet and cook from scratch but somewhere along the line I inherited moms inability to keep buttons on things LOL. I taught both my sons how to cook, clean properly not a just a lick and a promise and sew just as my MIL taught all 5 of her boys. Both DIL’s REALLY REALLY appreciate the training the boys got.

  29. To Youngster:

    In order to become a paramedic, you need to become an EMT-1 first and work for approx 2000 hrs before the better schools will consider your application. You need to find out before you get into advanced practice if you can handle the sight of blood and bodily fluids, burning automobiles, people screaming and more before you invest 6 intensive months in Paramedic school. The best places to learn all of this? Drive an ambulance for at least a year in a large metropolitan area. I did this for 3 years before my agency sent me to Paramedical training out of UC Davis.

    In an urban area, you will see more in 1 month than a rural medic will see in 1 year. I remember seeing US Army medics standing and watching at some of the busier ED’s I have transported to. Do not forget that you are going onto a scene that may not be fully controlled by Law Enforcement yet. Medics are not supposed to go to uncontrolled scenes. So, you may be encountering things in the field like sniper fire, domestic disputes where the domestic partner is still assaulting the person that made the original 911 call, Gang members coming into the ER to “finish the job” on a shooting victem you just brought in. First responders find out Rule #1 real fast: Sh_t happens.

    Also remember, in becoming an EMT-1 or Paramedic: If it is raining,or snowing you still go out. If the patient is homeless, psych case, uncooperative frequent flier, you still have to go out and bring him/her in (sometimes with LE help or escort). The busiest shifts are 3rd watch going into Noc shift. (1500 hrs through the night)

    It is a good job that will always have vacancies. It requires brains that do not shut down in times of crisis, common sense (not very common these days) a strong back (#1 disability that removes people from the job) and the ability to think on your feet. It can be tough on the family life with the hours.

    Small private ambulance services are the career ladder to jobs within fire departments and police departments. I ended up going into a public service agency after I was hired off an ambulance in a large Central Valley City in California. I am of short stature (under 5’8″ tall so I ended up riding in the back of helicopters quite a bit with the patient to the ER. It is a cramped space back there-not much room to work.

    One day, I got tired of playing on the side of the freeway, working in the rain and dodging drunk drivers going through the flare patterns so I went to Nursing School and got my present job where I just celebrated my 19 year anniversary. I got a bigger house with a beautiful wife (whom I met in Nursing School) 5 cats and a spoiled dog.

    I have not set foot in a helicopter since those days. It is a young persons job. 167 missions with 1 autorotation. My back was stiff but we all were able to walk away from that one. Of the people I trained with, 4 died in helicopter crashes, 1 shot by a sniper in big Bend TX and 1 paralyzed from the waist down (hard landing)

    and this was during peacetime in the USA.

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