In my “Skills” article, I mentioned knowing basic primitive skills. I have had a handful of requests to provide more definition to those. Regardless of the situation or the equipment at hand, knowing and perfecting some of the primitive skills will keep you alive for the long term in the event of something bad happens.
Where to call home for the short term.
Don’t be the person that camps four feet away from a stream in the spring. Don’t be the person that sets up camp in the middle of a bunch of dead trees. Don’t be the person that sets up next to a cliff face because of the great view.
Select a spot that can provide some shelter from the elements, access to a water source and is somewhat flat.
Pick a spot that is comfortable but not in the way of danger. Whether camping or relocated due to a disaster, picking a spot that is safe and comfortable is key. You may there for the short term or extended stay, ensure that this spot and you, can last there for a bit.
Building a fire – objective #1
Fire serves multiple purposes and should be used for all them in the event of an emergency. Warmth, boiling water, drying out clothing, keeping nocturnal animals away, smoking/cooking food, smoke screen or hardening sticks for weapons. Your long-term survival depends on your ability to make fire.
There are many ways to start a fire. Lighter, matches, Fire Steel, flint, battery, magnifying glass or rubbing two sticks together. The end goal is to get an ember to place within your fire pit.
You have your ember via your chosen method of starting a fire, now you need to add it to something to get your fire started. Starting with kindling (small dry sticks / dry leaves/dry pine needles/paper etc.) get your ember into the kindling to get a stable 2-3″ fire going. Now you can add to that fire larger sticks/logs keeping air circulating through to build it up.
Learning a couple different fire building tricks or techniques will help carry you in the long term.
Making a shelter – objective #2
Your shelter will depend on your circumstances and your available resources. Multiple different options to choose from snow caves to tepees, tarp lean to’s or tents. Anything is better than nothing in this regard for safety, warmth, concealment or protection from the elements.
Here is a couple of shelter builds that you can use.
Purifying water – objective #3
Moss, sand, clothing, bleach, iodine, filter, UV or boiling; you must have clean drinkable water or you won’t make it. Remember the rule of 3’s here (3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without air).
Whatever your choice of water collection and subsequent filtration is, having clean drinkable water is absolutely critical.
What to eat
Understanding what is edible is the pinnacle of survival. Don’t eat the pretty mushrooms, do eat the critters that you never even thought about putting in your mouth.
Nuts, some plants, bugs, game, fowl, fish, and certain mushrooms are great food sources, but knowing which ones you can and can’t eat, or knowing how to prepare them could be life-saving.
Foraging for food can be an adventure once you get into the right mindset. Some of the things that you never even thought you would eat become pretty tasty looking when you are hungry enough.
Sticks and stones to start.
Make a spear from a long straight branch, or a sling from a piece of clothing and a stone. Making these tools is the easy part, perfecting their use is the far more challenging. Try your hand an atlatl.
A rundown of some primitive weapons and how to use them can be found here.
Hunting, trapping, fishing or gathering, either way, gets you the food to eat and that is what is important.
I could write 10 more articles just covering hunting techniques (I might actually), but here is a short version.
These were the basic primitive skills that kept homo sapiens alive for generations. These are also the skills to allow you to survive when something goes horribly sideways.
Hopefully, this article has helped to point you in the right direction for your long-term survival. Keep adding to your skill set.
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