Skills For An Uncertain Future


The skill set that you posses for your current job might not be transferable to a post-modern lifestyle, a post-collapse society, or a post-SHTF world that will require skills more aligned with down-to-earth survival, practicality and self-sufficiency.

Learning a broad range of practical skills and learning to do-it-yourself while using one’s own hands, time, and practical knowledge will help pull many people through hard times – should it ever come to that.

General knowledge and know-how of the underlying fundamentals, systems, and infrastructure that keep us alive in our day-to-day lives has unfortunately been mostly lost by the majority of our modern generation…

It is a certainty that a broad and practical skill set of these fundamentals will be much more valuable and trade-able in a post SHTF world than many of the skills that are held today. For those who learn them, even in today’s modern world, will realize a satisfaction, comfort, and peace of mind knowing that they are more self-reliant and less dependent upon others.

What are some of these skills? In random order off the top of my head, some may include…

Construction, Carpentry, Woodworking

Architecture, Structural engineering

Brick layer


Machining, Metal working, Welding, traditional methods & tools


Alternative Energy, Solar, Hydro, Wind




Cooking, traditional methods

Food preservation techniques


First Aid, EMT, Nursing

Doctor, Surgeon


Natural remedies and medical treatment



Firearms, Gunsmith, Reloading, Shooting 


Combat training

Septic, Water treatment and infrastructure

Building Fences, walls

Raising Livestock

Automobile/tractors/engine mechanic




Forestry, Wilderness survival

Each of the general categories in this list contain many sub-categories of more specific skills. In general, its simply a matter of looking at a more basic set of needs for one’s self or community rather than the skills associated with the extravagances of modern life that we’ve become accustomed to.

Comment and add your thoughts to the list…


  1. What do you think are the best ways to learn these skills? Read a book? Take a college course? Experiment? I would love to be able to do a bit of all of it, but wouldn’t know where to start!

    1. The best way is to take action. First, decide what interests you. Second, use the internet to start researching. Tied for second is to use your local library and check out books on the subject. You can also buy books on the subject. Third, start experimenting yourself with projects. Tied for third is to find if there are any local apprentice opportunities. You spend some hours working for free, and in return you begin to learn a new trade. Not all, but some of these people will probably be glad to take on an ambitious person looking to learn. I’ve learned many things myself by simply tagging along with others or helping others doing their trade. Whenever I needed to hire professional help for something that I needed, I was sure to spend the time with them while I picked up useful knowledge. Whenever I’m in the company of someone else who is an expert in their own field, I ask questions and learn from them.

      It’s a process. But it must begin with some sort of action… Once you begin, the rest will fall into place.

    2. I don’t think that there is a best way.

      Some thoughts:

      – Try doing things like replacing a water pipe or electrical outlet whether you need to or not. It’s easier before you need to. Both have risks…

      – Water damage and electrocution come to mind.

      – You can mitigate these risks easily.
      + Turn off and drain the water supply (turn off main, open a valve as low in you home as you can). Don’t be surprised when your faucets hiss and sputter when you turn the water back on.

      + Turn off the power. Usually means throwing a breaker. I routinely work on “live” 110V circuits. Remove the load (unplug stuff on the circuit). There is a huge difference between the “shock” that you will get from an empty circuit from the one hat you will get from a circuit operating a refrigerator. Try not to stand in water.

      – Youtube can be useful. If you have power.

      – Books can be useful, when dry.

    3. If you are looking to learn some skills I would start with the building end. A little research should help you find way’s to volunteer in your area. Check your local church ect. This will give you access to people to help you learn the basic’s on electrical,plumbing, framing ect.

    4. YouTube my friend. You can watch videos of just about anything you can imagine. Some are stupid but like I was taught “a stupid question is one not asked”. You can learn a great deal by watching others and how they themselves have gotten ready to Bug Out

  2. Add soap making and shoe making. Making soap is much easier than shoes if you’ve got what you need but youtube has plenty of instructional videos on them. Youtube is great for learning a lot of the stuff on the list I’d think.

    Someone could also grow tobacco plants for trading. Bee keeping is another skill. Honey would be very valuable.

  3. Ah, another skill is growing Stevia plants (a natural sweetener) and learning how to get the sweetness out of the leaves, also for trading and to improve moral.

    You must make yourself invaluable to any group so it would be stupid to kick you out. Its a must for people socially awkward like me.

    1. Your example is one illustration how special skills or abilities could make you an asset in a post-collapse environment. The more that others benefit from your skills, the more invaluable you become. If, as in your example, your skill is an alternative method to grow/make your own sweetener substitute, or your previous example of soap making, shoe making, etc… The more practical goodness that you can bring to the table, the better…

  4. How about still making? Anyone able to produce liquor would be of real benefit when TSHTF…

  5. I think there’s going to be a need for entertainment after a hard day’s work at all these other skills, so I think people who can sing, play an instrument, or even build musical instruments might be pretty popular. All work and no play is just existing, not surviving.

    I know….everyone has their iPods and other gadgets for music, but nothing replaces live performances.

    1. I don’t think that entertainment is going to be a skill in high demand when SHTF to be honest. If I had to get rid of one person out of the above list and an entertainer, the entertainer would be hitting the road.

      1. Prior to the twentieth century actors and musicians were often classified on the same level as bandits or charlatans. Except for those with extraordinary skills or have important connections the lowest worker who worked with his hands had more status.

  6. I am glad my father was so hard on me growing up combine that with joining the marines and now I am confidant that I can and will survive well keep up the good work ken

  7. I’m a jack of all trades, professional at none. I was told to learn everything you can so I started young, and now can build a house from the foundation up, do printing, irrigation, operate most any equipment you name it. But the single most important skill I learned in life is not to be pigheaded. Listen to what people can teach you and use it. Even if it is from a kid, children have a pure thought process compared to adults and that’s why you learn at an early age better than as an adult. As to the best way to learn skills? Take carpentry for example. If you know someone that does it for a living go out on his jobsite and help out. Same goes for plumbing, electrical or any other skill. The skills you learn will never be wasted. If survival skills are something you don’t know about learn them now while you still can access them on your computer. Their are videos, books online, maps, even facts about the edible foods in your area and courses you can take on survival. There will be a greater demand for construction skills than say a music teacher if TSHTF. Anyone thinking of hitting the wood on bug out needs to know certain survival skills, without them you will not make it.

  8. Help your children help themselves. When they are very young, say five or so, then have them sit with your while doing repairs. Have them work closely with you to do some element of the repair, and carefully say things like “Righty tighty, lefty loosey”, to get the mneumonic in their head about tightening or loosening up a bolt.

    Teach them pliers are to hold a bolt from turning and not to tightened or loosen it. People are not born knowing which saw to use, but learn them.

    Girls can learn just fine and it’s quality time, for young people will inevitably discuss their hopes and dreams and concerns while just working on routine maintenance. Doing this from their youngest age, means you imparted them with practical skills.

    Ancestral skills are devalued by adults as beneath them, so naturally your children and teens devalue them. Then they need things fixed as adults and are shocked by the cost of the “labor” portion of the project.

  9. Volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity, or such.
    There are professionals in every trade working there.
    You can learn a lot while doing good things.
    Read books, internet, practice.
    Oh yeah, aquire the tools.

  10. I am what is called a jack of all trades , as I was coming up I had many of the jobs listed , most part time to help off set my income working as a Deputy Sheriff , public pay sometimes is not the best , so you do what you have to do , but in the long run it will help to know a good deal of trades , and I am thankful that I do have the experience , hopefully it will be put to good use in the future . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  11. Ken, you forgot distilling of spirits. Alcohol has many practical uses, not just drinking. I myself have made beer. I never went beyond that to wine or harder alcohol, but it could be a highly sought after product after a SHTF scenario.

  12. At Goodwill or St Vinnies you can find good cheap books for desirable skills. Books that will show you how to fix or add onto your houses electrical or plumbing. Books on carpentry and cabinet making. Some of these are printed in sets where each book covers a different skill. The format typically includes plenty of full color pictures and detailed explanations as well as cautions where needed.

    When I was a kid there was a blacksmith near me (I lived in a large city so this wasn’t as common as it would be in the country). But most of their work was on trucks and trailers. That is they would repair almost anything made from metal and a few things made from wood. I have stood at the door watching the blacksmith make leaf springs and fabricating other parts to repair any number of things. A great skill to have.

    Also where I grew up machine shops were the largest and growing business. The first Jet engines for military and commercial jets were built in this city and GE farmed out a lot of the maching to small shops. We also had many skilled immigrants from Europe who brought a significant amount of knowledge and experience to the industry. About half of my friends when I was growing up had a metal lathe, mills and other machine tools in their basement because their father was in the industry and would moonlight from home. This isn’t as common today but it still exists, people whose hobby or work is machining and manufacturing in their basement or garage. Another great skill that can be learned if you have the desire.

  13. Butcher, tinker, scavenger/recycle/repurpose, trader, forager, the ability to be open minded and creative.

  14. With all the crap going down in the financial section all the politicians are trying to sway the public to worry about transgender bathroom law and not the issues at hand. They are all in it together for there bottom line we need to put a real American in office and hope for the best and continue to prep along the way…..
    Best wishes

  15. Read through all these & didn’t see anything mentioned about learning the sewing trade. People need clothes mended & also scarfs, blankets mended & jackets. And also music teachers, music is a big moral builder. I personally would keep a musician in my community. Music is VERY important.
    And lets not forget a preacher of the Holy Bible. that is very much needed.

Comments are closed.