Top Six Outdoor Survival Skills, by Jonathan Gardner

I love searching the Internet and libraries for bushcraft and outdoor survival-related videos and books. Now I have something to tell you. Many of these lists you read are wrong. If you do a search, there will be a general consensus of the top five skills being Shelter, water, fire, and so forth. I’m going out on a limb in reporting that they are wrong. Not all wrong, but it is not what you should study. Most of the listed are not skills. Water is not a skill, I’m not going to give you a tutorial on how to make water, water is not a “skill” it’s a priority. So the top five survival skills often listed, are priorities, not skills.

In my opinion, the top six skills for outdoor survival are as follows:

  • Rope Fabrication
  • Bow Drill Use
  • Pottery Making
  • Spring Making
  • Knot Tying
  • Trapping

Immediately, many people will see problems with this list, and that’s good to think critically about it. Now let me backup my reasoning starting with Rope making. People say building a shelter is a skill, but often these tutorials start with prefabricated materials.

Rope Fabrication

Rope is quite easy to make from a variety of plants, both strong and fine. Yucca, Dogbane, Milkweed, Stinging Nettle, Cedar, White Basswood, and Tulip (poplars), are all excellent sources for rope material. Once you can identify several sources for fibers you will want to practice twisting material into rope. Often when you watch a survivalist running a scenario they mention there is never down time when surviving. Twisting rope is something that is a low calorie, time consuming task that you should spend every bit of “down time” doing. Primitive shelters often use rope to bind bundles of grass together to make waterproof, windproof barriers. Building a shelter is difficult without rope. If you are out in the wild, in any place in the world you will also want fire. If you do not have a lighter or fire making tools on your person, a fire bow is the best alternative that I know of to make fire. You need rope. Trapping, you need rope. Fishing, you need rope. Describing how to make rope is simple, twist two threads clockwise, and then twist the two threads together counterclockwise, while gradually introducing more material to the individual threads. The best way to learn however, is to watch someone skilled or watch a video of someone skilled, and then practice.

After you have become skilled, you can begin to create fine, and strong enough twine to fish with, but you will start to ask, how can I make this stronger? You can treat your primitive rope and twine with pine tar, or “pitch” which will help the twine stay intact and protect it from sun and water damage. Pitch is harvested and processed from white pine tar.

– One method for making pitch is to mix pine sap with wood charcoal, and then heat the mixture up in a container.

– The second method is to use a “airtight” non flammable container packed with pine wood (preferably loaded with sap). This “airtight container” needs holes for venting, and the bottom needs holes so as the sap heats up it will flow out the bottom into a catch container. While this is not directly a “rope making skill”, it is part of the process, and this pitch can also be used to waterproof nearly anything and was used for traditional boat building.

Warning:  Because pitch is highly flammable, extreme caution should be used not to ignite it, should you use it in any application.

Rope fabrication is a critical foundational skill. Every EDC kit includes rope, or twine, or string. However, harvesting and processing rope is fairly easy (although time consuming) and is a skill readily taught to young children as well.

Bow Drill Use

Bow Drills are primitive tools used to build fires. But, they can also be used for construction and fabrication. Bow drills are built from yucca, aspen, white cedar, basswood and willows. I’ve tried several times to build a fire from a bow drill, and unfortunately have not had success. I also would put the Pump Drill under this category. Alternative forms of making fire involve flint and steel, quartz, jasper, and agate also can create a spark against high carbon steel. The sun can also be used, with a magnifying glass, or perhaps a salvaged sheet of reflective material. If you have a space blanket, you can use it to focus sunlight for a fire. However, the most likely materials to be found in a survival situation are the materials to build a bow drill, or pump drill. Especially, if you already know how to fabricate twine or rope.

Pottery Making

Pottery is found throughout the world. It is a simple process from a material found nearly anywhere. Clay is found in many creeks and river banks, right at the surface. Clay ranges from a beautiful gray, to beautiful reds. Some people may immediately respond by saying pottery is a long term primitive skill, not a short term emergency skill, which I disagree with. I think if you’re stuck in the wild for two weeks (or even less), you can utilize pottery.

Step 1. Gather the clay, as pure as possible. After you gather clay, you want to purify as well as possible. In a survival situation, you could stage different batches, as the longer you take processing clay, the higher quality you will have.

Step 2. Shape processed clay into a bowl. Make several, with variations on size and shape.

Step 3. Dry out the bowls for many hours

Step 4. Slowly warm the bowls for several hours

Step 5. Slowly heat the bowls to a very high (kiln) temperature

Step 6. Allow the bowls to slowly cool

This abbreviated process should show that this process takes several days, and that you will not
be able to travel while doing it. However, it is a simple process, and can be done with zero tools.
Some things that you can make with pottery… A bowl that you can cook in. You can boil water, and also you can transport water, and store water. With the same clay pottery techniques you can make a hearth, a chimney, or a small oven. So for long term survival, pottery can turn a miserable situation into a practical living situation.  Also, manipulating clay is obviously a step towards baking bricks. (For shelter structures, ovens, or for chimneys.)

Spring Fabrication

Springs are widely used, and until recently I did not realize that an effective spring could be made with primitive tools. Admittedly, I often fantasize about time travel, and what knowledge would be the most useful in establishing a kingdom. With that, I started to study ancient weapons, and why Romans had such an advantage against their enemies. Simply put, they were better at everything, but their ranged advantage came from spring technology. I am not talking about metal coils, but rather wraps of rope (rope, see a theme here?), between two parallel braced supports. The simple configuration was utilized in crossbows, ballistas, scorpions, and other high powered projectile launchers. Immediately, reading this you may realize that a crossbow made this way possibly is easier than making a longbow. However, springs can be utilized in traps as well. These springs can be built up to incredible strengths.

Knot Tying

Knot tying takes time to learn. I’ve learned how to do a dozen knots. But I immediately remember only three. Take the time to learn several knots. The best way to learn knots, is to choose a knot, and tie it every day for a week. Most of the time we will tie a knot at the end of a rope, but you may find you want to tie a knot in the middle of a rope. Also there are knots to tie two ropes together, and so on and so forth. The reason there are so many different knots, is there are so many different situations you
might need a knot in, and learning a knot without knowing what situation to use it means it’s a useless knot. A great set of videos for me, has been the Corporal’s Corner videos. He uses a few knots, in specific situations and demonstrates why you would use those knots.

Trapping

Lastly, let’s tie these together. We know the priorities of survival are shelter, water, and food. (So often the priority of security is neglected in survival, however the Number 1 priority is always security. Many people realize this. However, security is such a dynamic threat to address, where shelter is fairly static, the threat is cold, the solution is a water barrier and insulation) and luckily, shelter and water should be fairly easily addressed. Food, is I feel, terribly under-addressed.
Many people know to boil and filter their water, and can throw together a shelter of some sort. However, gathering food is difficult. As a rough estimate, let’s say you are twenty pounds overweight. Twenty pounds of fat will provide roughly 70,000 calories. Roughly what you burn in 20 days, or as little as 10 days for someone with a large amount of muscle mass, engaged in strenuous activity..

Keep in mind, if you are fasting and only drinking water, your body goes through a type of shock. Your blood sugar plummets, and your energy levels follow, so you cannot think clearly and decision making is impaired. Now, let’s add a very stressful situation you are not normally in, a situation you have trained for, but is outside of normality. Regardless, that will increase stress. What, if at the same time, you are not getting the coffee you are used to, or cigarettes?

Having been in these situations with other people, I have quickly  learned that “the will to live” does not replace discipline and training. Sports, such as baseball, football, soccer, are all examples of sports that are not won on the sportsfield. They are won through training, practice, and organizational management. What happens on the field is simply a reflection of the training work that was already done. The same is true with survival, how you perform during a survival situation has everything to do with what you did before the situation.

Calories In Versus Calories Burned

We can use 3,500 to 5,000 calories a day during a survival situation. Here are some plant that  you might consider:

  • One cup of chopped dandelion:  25 Calories
  • One cup of Burdock root: 110 calories
  • One oz. of Cattail root: 8 Calories

That’s a lot of plants that you would need to eat, to yield 3,500+ calories! So consider foraging plants which are high in micronutrition a supplement to what you hunt, fish, or trap for fat and protein. For fat and protein that you do not have to do a lot of work for, trapping makes the most sense. Surface water seems to be the best locales to find sources of meat, year-round. If you know how to make rope, you can make snares, nets, cages, and other traps. Do not limit yourself to just one food source. Note that you can only actively “mine”  (hunt) one source at a time if you do not utilize trapping.

JWR Adds: Setting a trap is like hunting 24 hours a day, and laying multiple traps is like having multiple hunters simultaneously out in the field.

Some potential food sources:
-Birds
-Rodents
-Small Game
-Fish (and other water creatures)
-Bugs/Worms

For instance: 100 grams of cricket provides 121 calories (12.9 grams of protein)

You can build traps (or simply gather) every one of these categories, and you should. Bird traps have been made in a variety of ways using string and rope. I see people in survival shows describe how they simply dispose of guts away from their camps because they do not want it around and I am disappointed. Guts are great to lure other creatures. Weave a box from twigs, and put the guts  under it, set a trigger to collapse the trap and you could catch a bird without even being near it.

Box cages can be used for smaller animals as well. Remember, animals walk the path of least resistance just like anything else, so you can funnel their movement towards traps by building walls of simple twigs and such. Guts can also be used to feed insects, and those insects can be used as fish bait. Cages can be built for fish as well, again using rope and twigs and rocks, you can build a funnel for fish.

If you become skilled with building primitive springs and triggers, you can build activated triggers for fishing rods, and other animals. It is important to build snares strong enough to lift the targeted animal off the ground to help prevent the animal escaping or chewing through the rope, or to drag your snares kit off.

Once you have examined the variety of trapping techniques you can use, it starts to reveal that you can quickly deplete an area of food and animals. I think there is room to argue the utilization of different areas, and to essentially travel from areas that are proven providers.

Conclusion

In closing, I’ve discussed in short several skills that I believe are fundamental foundational skills. As you think on this list, you can see how it becomes a system of skills, as all the skills are utilized in other aspects of survival. None of these skills require that you bring tools, but each of these skills will help you source tools.

I did not include edible plant foraging in this list, but I do not discount it. I think learning to catch fish will outperform any plant foraging, knowledge worldwide. But as you spend time outside in your area, you should learn what plants are plentiful and edible.

About The Author

Currently I live in New Orleans, so in the current pandemic I’ve been without work as I am an artist.  (Yes, a contradiction of ideas, an artist living in New Orleans who reads SurvivalBlog?) but I’m also a list of other things. I am working on designing electronic circuits for a variety of survival solutions. I’m interested in designing a solar powered, waterproof, shock-resistant, minimal, ham radio transmitter. I just finished designing a UVC lamp controller that will run a lamp in a bathroom once everyone has left the room (Kills Covid-19 along with other viruses, mold, fungus and bacteria). I’m also interested in designing other circuits, such as, motion sensors, and area denial systems. However, I will need support to continue this, and improve the projects I’m developing. Some of the projects will be somewhat sensitive and I will not openly advertise the capabilities of the systems, however I would like to make them available to other survivalists and patriots.

One example is actually what I’m writing this article on. Currently, my screen is a 3.5” touchscreen running on Linux on a Raspberry Pi 2. Although this is very small, I have a full size keyboard and mouse. Overall this system cost me about $100, and has a MS Office [compatible] suite. Using this system provides a great deal of privacy as many of the other systems out there monitor many types of activity you conduct, and exploits of operating systems, target other systems.

If you are interested in contributing to electronic solutions please join my groups on assorted platforms. You can find me by searching Jonathan Gardner on other platforms. You can also email me at JohnGardner@gmail.com

I look forward to reading your comments. Thanks. And be safe and prepared out there!




25 Comments

  1. My top six skills would include trapping but none of the other skills you listed. Having said that your article made me think about the value of some of those skills you mention. My list is still different from yours, I value potable water as the most important item with shelter, fire and food next.

  2. Thank you, Jonathan Gardner! An excellent article filled with great ideas and food for thought. A few points to add to the conversation and in follow up…

    1) Many artists are creative and resourceful thinkers who produce in working studios. In those environments, artists often work with the technical limits and applications of materials. There is more science within the production of sophisticated art than many realize. It is not a surprise to find an artist reading the SB, and in fact, there are probably quite a few artists among us. It might be a surprise, at least to some, that not all artists are politically liberal.

    2) The distinction between priorities and skills was also important, and these are both key to any survival plan. In our own strategic planning, we work on these in parallel. Using the example of rope making from Jonathan’s article, we would suggest that preppers acquire various kinds of tying materials (from rope to thread) in addition to the raw materials necessary to create these kinds of resources. It’s very similar to the idea of having both shelf-stable stored food (an immediately accessible resource in a time of crisis), and the ability to grow or hunt food (a longer term more sustainable and renewable resource).

    3) Materials and technique specifics are important. Among Jonathan’s examples is clay pottery which is an excellent choice. It’s ancient and relatively low-tech, and can be reproduced with resources relatively accessible in most environments. In fact, this is a great topic to study, and about which to collect reference texts and technical resources. Among the important aspects of this is the ability to create forms specific to uses that might be needed over time (and may not be covered by other supplies in place).

    4) In addition to the ability to create clay forms, we would encourage everyone to have items that are sturdy (or unbreakable) such as stainless steel meal trays, cups, tea kettles, etc. Also items that are low-tech such as solar ovens.

    Again, our thanks to the writer. We look forward to the thoughts of other readers as well!

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  3. Whether it is a bow drill or another method, knowing how to start a fire in all conditions is, I believe, the numero uno most important skill. Fire provides us with so much. One could argue that because it can keep us alive in the cold, dry our clothes if they are wet, purify water, cook food, and provide psychological comfort, it is more important than shelter. From the age of 4, first thing we always did when camping is collect wood, and learned how build and start a fire. Even today, when the tinder fails to ignite, it is a humbling experience. Why? Because instinctively I know that without it, we may not survive. Those blessed with lots of experience outdoors know this.

    All aspiring survivalists should spend time camping 1950’s style, out in the open. It will literally, over night, reveal what our strengths and weakness are, even if we have done it a thousand times before. Skills are perishable. The essential skill that is most import to an individual, is the one they have not mastered. Be it the ability to start fire when tinder and kindling is wet, or erect a shelter that can withstand the wind and rain. Get those two skills mastered, and we will likely survive anything.

    1. “Whether it is a bow drill or another method, knowing how to start a fire in all conditions is, I believe, the numero uno most important skill.”

      Having spent a lot of time in the wilderness, I totally agree with Tunnel Rabbit. And the “psychological comfort” mentioned is probably the biggest benefit in a survival situation. If you can’t build a fire with one match, you still have a lot to learn about building fires. I always had the best success building a “log cabin” pyramid with my firewood with the tinder and kindling in the middle so there is no weight on them, letting the flames lick up through the larger stuff. Practice making your wood stove and fireplace fires with a single match.

      “All aspiring survivalists should spend time camping 1950’s style, out in the open.”

      Wait, you mean there are other ways to camp?? I’ve never used a tent, just a lightweight groundcloth under my sleeping bag. If it rains, I get under it. Sleeping in a tent you miss all the stars, meteors, bats flying overhead, the dying campfire making the shadows dance on the trees around your camp, etc. No, I’ve never been attacked by anything.

      If you are lost, the light and smoke from your fire are going to be the biggest help for the search parties to locate you. When they arrive, tell them to have a seat on a log, the fish is just about done and the cattail roots are choice this time of year. 🙂

    2. Thanks for reading and responding to my article!

      I definitely agree fire is the first priority. If you are caught in the wild with no equipment, is there a easier way to make fire than with a fire drill?
      I put cordage as the #1 skill, because I’m not sure how to make fire successfully without without it.

  4. Trapping.

    Depending on where we are, the opportunities and techniques for collecting food will vary a great deal. We’ll need food within 3 days before the body goes into starvation mode. At that point our metabolism slows considerably and our minds become focused on obtaining food at the expense of other considerations. In the Midwest where small game abounds, trapping is the most efficient, yet it can still be disappointing. You’ll need no less than 10 traps to get a small meal per day. Maybe. Those more skilled will do better. Here in Montana, trapping near a water source is possible as well, yet not as productive as fishing. If a fishing net is used in a creek, the odd of success is much greater still. And if we have a firearm and are in valley and near water, the odds of getting a deer are the highest. It does not take much to kill a deer. Here is where an ultra light .22 rifle, such as an AR-7 that weighs 2.5 pounds would be priceless, but fishing gear weighs the least. Teach a man how to fish in Montana, and he’ll likely survive.

    1. A .22 rifle can really come in handy in a wide variety of situations including the one you mention. For those reading this blog that don’t have one I would recommend that you get one. I like to use .22 CB Longs for exterminating striped gophers. I have a long bull barreled Remington target rifle with a good high powered 1” scope and it sure comes in handy as a “pesticator”. Gophers, woodchucks, skunks and sometimes much larger pests all get thinned out with this rifle. For those that have never heard of a CB Long before it’s just a .22 Long Rifle shell with a 29 grain bullet (instead of 40) like .22 shorts have and a very small powder charge. The result is a round that sounds like a pellet gun when fired. The firing pin can actually be heard when firing this round in a long barreled rifle. These rounds will not function in semi-automatic guns due to the almost non-existent recoil. Bolt actions, lever actions, pump actions and single shot will work with this round. Yes, the ammo does cost a little bit more than normal ammo, but I like the quiet nature of this round for small pests. I just looked at Jim’s Elk Creek Company listing and he currently has two rifles that will shoot this round.

    1. Wish I had more time and money to become specialized, yet I do not. And I would rather be a generalist than a specialist. The weakness that Delta Seven sees is the same I see. We are so reliant upon high tech that the obvious escapes us. It is best we stick to the basics and lower tech, rather become reliant upon a thin layer of higher tech that is essentially experimental, and not widely available. The Anytone AT5558uv radio mentioned yesterday with cross band repeat, is an important piece of equipment that can help strengthen our weakest point in commo. It is tough enough just to get folks to turn on a radio, let alone use a radio. I would use and promote Vietnam Era commo techniques first, rather than the latest. And that is apparently what the other guys are doing too.

    1. So true Joe! Ives been in 0 degree weather, and 120 degree weather!

      In cold cold weather, it becomes actually critical to keep body moisture from saturating your sleeping gear. In arctic settings from my understanding they actually sleep nude in a bag, but I don’t know the exact details to this.

  5. “I started to study ancient weapons, and why Romans had such an advantage against their enemies. Simply put, they were better at everything, but their ranged advantage came from spring technology. I am not talking about metal coils, but rather wraps of rope (rope, see a theme here?), between two parallel braced supports. The simple configuration was utilized in crossbows, ballistas, scorpions, and other high powered projectile launchers.”
    I’d like to learn to make springs to make any of these things in the author’s list. I’d appreciate if anyone could provide a link to an article, book title, or other resource with more specific directions on making any of those.

  6. Jonathan,
    Thanks for writing this article – very interesting. Have you considered writing a part two? We have a lot in common. You are no doubt ahead of me in electronics, but I have worked with it some. Going off a wiring diagram and soldering up a circuit is about as far as I’ve gone, but I have an interest to learn more as so much can be done with it. I’m fairly proficient with welding, plumbing, wiring (general household stuff), carpentry, farming, gardening, general mechanics, but the area that I’m a little “dull” in that I’d like more experience in would be circuit design. From scratch that is. When I get caught up on farming stuff I’d like to look you up online and more of what you do and are interested in. Oh, by the way – I’ve had all three wild plants you mention: Dandelion, Burdock root and Cattail root and I thought they were quite good. And I’m still alive! 😉

    Thanks again for the article!

    1. David N Goliath,

      I’d love to write more! I feel deeply honored to have been published on SB! I would love to publish more, and seeing this posted inspires me greatly!
      Electronics is not something I’m an expert in, however, I feel strongly that while firearms are important, electronic technology is key to preserving our liberty. The right to bear ham radio unfortunately was not coded into the Constitution. Ultimately, information is our greatest weapon in aid of liberty.

  7. This is an excellent starting article, but I would expand or re-focus the list a bit, in part using the ‘rule of threes’ (regarding priorities, listed by the things that can kill you most quickly in a survival situation), and the survivalist’s five most important items of ‘equipment’ – the ‘five C’s.’

    The ‘rule of threes’ (a somewhat variable rule of thumb): You can die in as little as three minutes without oxygen to the brain – learn emergency first aid, starting with ability to stop major bleeding, and artificial respiration to re-start breathing. You could die in as little as three hours from exposure (heat or cold), so learn to find or build protective shelter (and clothing…). You can die within three days from lack of water, so learn to find water (and make it potable, if necessary. You can die in three weeks without food, so learn foraging (plants, fish and animals) – as well as gardening, farming and animal husbandry – in various environments, and with various methods and tools.

    The most commonly used list of “five C’s” – critical categories of equipment are: (1) A CUTTING tool of some sort, (2) CORDAGE (rope, thread, string at all levels – mentioned in the article – along with the knot-tying skills (3) COVER (clothing and shelter – and I’d include footwear in the clothing) to protect from the elements (4) COMBUSTION – fire starting skills; note the article’s mention of the bow drill, but learn any and all other methods – the fire piston was used for several thousand years in Australia, for example, and (5) CONTAINERS – pottery obviously, but also basketry, carry nets and bags, bark and hollowed wood containers. (Baskets, wood bowls and bark containers have all been waterproofed and used to carry water and to cook in….) All of the “five C’s can be and have been made from scratch for centuries. Making a cutting tool of some sort from natural materials – stone, bone, shell, etc. – in the wild might be a great starting place.

    I’ve never seen the article’s mention of ‘springs’ before, but it’s a very good thought. The closest I can think of is a bow.

    For excellent ideas along all these lines, may I recommend two books detailing skills and techniques, and more – used around the world for centuries by ‘primitive’ (???) cultures:
    (1) Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills, and (2) Primitive Technology II: Ancestral Skills. Both of these books are put out by the Society of Primitive Technology, and Edited by David Wescott (Gibbs-Smith Publisher of Salt Lake City.

    1. Preacher,

      Thank you so much for reading and responding to my article!

      Honestly, I wrote it purposefully to challenge the typical survival skills put forward. It’s truly difficult to add information to such fundamental list. I love the list you mention about the C’s! So important, and if you have the opportunity to carry a lot with you definitely critical! My focus was definitely with the assumption that you forgot your kit at home. While cordage can certainly be easily made in the wild, there are so many high quality options I would always want to carry some with me!

  8. Hi Jonathan, interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

    The easiest survival food I ever ate was trout, caught with my bare hands. A co-worker told me about it and of course, I didn’t believe him. A few years later my son and I were backpacking in an area that had a small trout stream flowing through a meadow. We fished there a lot. When we got up closer to the headwaters, there was a grassy bank with an overhang. The fish hid under there as soon as they saw us. We laid down on our bellies on the bank, stuck our hands in the water and came up from behind them. They never moved. You have to hold your hand just right so you have pinky and thumb around the skinny portion back by their tail and index finger and thumb near their head and they won’t be able to get away once you slowly tighten you hand. It sounds crazy but try it!

    I spent a lot of time in the mountains for three summers, six days a week doing a study. I always carried 6′ of fishing line in my wallet with a #16 hook. Cut a willow switch, roll some logs for worms and grubs, and I could always catch my dinner. Anyone who is going to be spending time in the mountains where there are fish should carry some fishing line, it takes up virtually no room in your wallet. Same with waterproof matches. I carried them in my pack as well as always on my person, inside a waterproof match case the size of a shotgun shell. Making fire without materials you are already carrying takes a lot of time and effort and will put you in the wrong psychological mood when you most likely fail.

    As far as a fire bow goes, I could never get that to work. In high school after reading How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier, I tried and tried with a fire bow with zero success. I finally said to heck with this! I took a wooden dowel, stuck it in my grandpa’s drill press and drilled away. I got lots of smoke but still couldn’t get a red glowing ember to light a fire. So it all depends on which two species of woods you use and a far better way is to use a stick like Tom Hanks did on Castaway. I’ve seen people start fires that way in 90 seconds and you don’t have to make any rope first. I’ve tried tons of natural tinders in my day but for staring fires with things other than matches, cattail head fibers almost burst into flame like gasoline. You can ignite them with sparks, unlike any other tinder I’ve seen or tried. I’ve also had success making fires with a magnifying glass but it needs to be at least 2″ in diameter.

    I ate some bee grubs about a month ago when I had to remove some comb from one of my hives. Some I fried in butter and some mixed with scrambled eggs. Now that I know they actually taste pretty good, my first go-to survival food (if there were no trout to catch by hand) would be to start turning over logs looking for grubs. Tearing rotten logs apart in my area yields some huge beetle grubs that live inside the logs. Easy to catch a lot of, high in calories and you burn very few calories collecting them. If the Donner Party and Argentine rugby team could eat what they ate, certainly people can get over the “yuck” factor and eat grubs in a survival situation. The smaller ones you can probably get down without even chewing them a lot. Anything that looks like a mealworm also falls into this category. Pill bugs (sow bugs, roly polies) are also very common and edible. Aside from the common gray ones, there are some really huge ones in my area and other parts of the country as well.

    As far as knots go, one a lot of people don’t know is the trucker’s hitch. Super simple, and for frugal people, you can use it in most cases instead of expensive ratchet straps. To make it even simpler, to make the first loop you can just tie a granny knot in the rope after doubling it over.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucker's_hitch

    The best statement in the article: “The same is true with survival, how you perform during a survival situation has everything to do with what you did before the situation.”

    Learn to light your burn pile or wood stove with things besides matches. Try catching fish with your hands next time you are camping. Fry up some grubs. Learn and eat the edible plants in your area. If nothing else, you’ll have some great stories to tell family and friends. You’re thinking of survival in terms of getting lost in the wilderness, but every one of these skills will be very much needed in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Learn them know so they will be second nature after the SHTF. And your neighbors will think you’re a genius when you are teaching the skills to them.

    1. StF, your post today was pure gold. Especially the part about grubs. I am working on learning more about soldier fly larvae. A friend is part of a research project and says they thrive in the deep winter greenhouse he manages.

      I so appreciate your contributions to our collective wisdom.

      Carry on, in grace

    2. Thanks for reading and responding!

      I tried to make a fire using a hand drill as well! I would love to catch fish by hand that would be lots of fun! I watch this survivalist in Texas who demonstrates a lot of fishing by hand, and honestly I find it quite unnerving! I’ve started many a fire with a magnifying glass, and I’m interested in making a compass embedded in a magnifying glass that hangs on a necklace.

  9. Thank you everyone for your positive responses! I’ve been contemplating this for a long time. I’m as mentioned extremely motivated and interested in developing electronic equipment for fellow Patriots. If anyone can collaborate with this please let me know. Recently I’ve been working on timing circuits to run UVC lamp relays. Ultimately I’d love to build a private encrypted satellite communication network for Americans who do not want big tech to give away their privacy…. Little goals right? (With the price of satellite launches being reduced so rapidly, this isn’t as far fetched as it use to be)

  10. I’m way late to this comment thread, but wanted to thank you for the piece.

    One word of caution: When using hand-dug ‘wild’ clay for making pottery items, it’s important to know that it does not contain lead. It would be worthwhile to send samples from your area to a lab to be tested.

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