Let me tell you this… It’s easy to purchase preparedness supplies, tools, and preps for just about any aspect of being prepared for this or that… However, it is not necessarily so easy to apply those supplies, tools, and preps into survival skills when it comes right down to it – ‘the hammer hitting the nail’… SHTF skills. Practice them before you need them for real!
Let me put it anther way… Just because you have the ‘stuff’, doesn’t mean that you know how to use the stuff. And just because you might know how to use the stuff as it applies to a particular skill – doesn’t mean that you have learned enough about that skill to be adequately proficient. There is always a learning curve! Some steeper than others.
And I’m not just talking about ‘bushcraft’ survival skills, although those could be important too. I’m also talking about any SHTF skill having to do with preparedness, whatever that may be.
Off the top of my head, here are a few examples of what I mean…
What are SHTF skills? Well, I’m sure many of us would agree on some of the essentials. But there are many others too. Some of which depends on your own situation, talents, whatever you’re preparing for, etc.
SHTF, or, shit hit the fan, basically implies that one’s situation has become affected by an event or events which have disrupted life as we know it. To an extent that requires some amount, or lots of, self reliance to sustain one’s-self (or family, household, etc.) through the event(s). Typically we’re referring to a wide impacting situation (although of course it is possible to have SHTF, being very personal or affecting just you, or a few).
Having said that, I’ll brainstorm just a few thoughts. Point being to practice your SHTF skills of self reliance and/or sustainability.
Gardening is definitely a SHTF skill
Many of you backyard gardeners will likely relate to the fact that it’s not always easy to simply grow a garden that yields a bounty of produce. LOTS can go wrong! It takes years to learn from your mistakes (I’m still learning!). I make some mistakes on my own gardens every single year. I try to correct them for next season. It’s never ending it seems. It gets even more challenging as you increase your garden size, or try new vegetables.
I know there are preppers out there who feel nice and cozy and comfy because they have ‘survival seeds’ for ‘just in case’. Well they are going to be in for one big surprise if and when they actually have to use them if they are not currently practicing gardening!
Additionally, do you have any idea how many calories of production it may take to stay alive? Do you know what to grow? Have you been succesful at it? Have you done the calorie-math?
Home Canning is definitely another SHTF skill
Same goes for food preservation. There are many techniques. How many preparedness-minded folks have actually tried them? How many are proficient with any of these techniques? Just because you have purchased a pressure canner and several cases of canning jars doesn’t mean that you will know how to do it when you need to do it…
Now that you’ve harvested all those potatoes, carrots, (whatever)… Do you know how to properly preserve them, like using a home canner? How many have actually done it enough times to become comfortable with the process?
Do you have the right home canning recipe books to assure safety? Although you bought that nice pressure canner, have you used it? It’s an easy SHTF skill to acquire, but you need to actually do it, more than once too!
Making Homemade Bread From Scratch Without Electricity
Now that you’ve purchased many 5-gallon buckets & pails of wheat for long term food storage, what do you do with it when you need it? Practice making homemade bread from scratch – and without electricity. This is certainly a SHTF skill!
Have you ever taken out your shiny new hand / manual grinder and actually milled wheat to make a loaf of bread? Do you know how to make a loaf of bread by yourself? Could you do it without your fancy electric breadmaker? Or electric oven? See what I mean? Practice… try it. Figure it out.
Pull The Plug – Flip off the MAINS on your Breaker Panel
There’s a particular reader here on Modern Survival Blog (alias ‘NRP’) who first suggested this many years ago. Have a “lights out” weekend. Shut off the electricity and see how you do. This will open your eyes, so to speak…
I don’t want you to lose all the food in your freezer, or things like that… but, if the power was out for a week, you would lose all that food in the freezer. Unless… (unless what?) Well, figure it out. What would you do in that example? Got a generator? Know what to do with it to save your freezer contents? How long to run it? Figure it out, before SHTF.
There are many things that you will uncover during a lights-out weekend. You may have already uncovered these things if you’ve gone through some sort of natural disaster whereby your electricity has been out for a long time…
Oh, and what are you going to do without TV or the internet? How will you entertain yourselves? The horror!
The Primitive, or Bushcraft SHTF skills
Just because you have a Magnesium Firestarter or FireSteel does not necessarily mean that you will be able to succesfully start and build a fire. Have you ever actually tried starting a fire with your FireSteel? I know…you have a lighter. But, you might want to try other methods too.
Here’s another one — have you tried to build a fire when it’s all wet outside? Talk about a challenge…
Can you make a simple shelter with a tarp and cordage? What if you didn’t even have that?
Cooking over a fire?
Navigation with a compass?
Tying various knots?
Batoning wood for a fire?
Fishing? Gutting and then cooking?
Just because you bought a gun and have practiced shooting with it a few times, does not mean that you are proficient with that firearm. Take time to practice. I know ammo is crazy expensive these days. Maybe dry-fire practice (so long as it’s okay to do with your specific firearm)? (clear the weapon please!) Or buy a .22 (handgun?) for less expensive practice? That’s one reason why I bought my Ruger 22/45 LITE several years ago…
Do you have multiple firearms? Can you pick one of them up and instinctively know exactly how to run it?
Have you practiced (first with an empty weapon!) drawing from a concealed carry position up to the target – to the point where it’s quick and instinctive? (start slow… finger off the trigger!, etc..)
Listen… the examples are endless. You know what I mean…
The very important point is this: Practice your SHTF survival skills now, BEFORE you actually need them. Make the time.
Have you any examples of learning a particular SHTF skill? Or suggest more ideas in this regard?
[ Read: What Are Survival Skills? ]
[ Read: Practical Skills That People Once Knew ]