5 Basic Survival Skills Everyone Should Master

I believe that there are 5 basic survival skills everyone should master so that they can survive just about any disaster that life throws at them. Of course, I am assuming that you are not injured or incapacitated in any way during the disaster.

Mastering these skills will allow you to create a shelter to protect yourself from the weather, build a fire for heat and to boil water and cook food, safely use a knife and find food that you can process and eat.

1. Building a Shelter

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There are many things that could cause you to need to build a shelter. You need protection from the wind, cold, heat, rain and even potentially the wildlife in the area.

The first step before beginning to build is to find a safe location. You want to make sure that you are protected from rising waters during heavy rain and dead or rotting trees that could fall over due to high wind. You also want to be near the materials that you will use to build your temporary shelter.

There are many types of emergency shelters that can help you survive in the wild. The type that you build will depend on several factors such as the materials that are available for you to use, the terrain that you are in, and even your skill level.

If you have a tarp then you will have more options than someone that does not have one. Learning to build a shelter with debris from the land is a worthwhile skill to have. Click here for some emergency shelter building ideas.

2. Starting a Fire

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Having the skills required to start a fire during an emergency (or even just while camping) is very valuable. Fire can be used to boil water, cook food, provide heat and keep local wildlife from entering your camp area.

Knowing how to prepare the tinder bundle, what materials that you can use to help get the fire started faster and keep it burning longer, and how to control it so that you don’t start a wildfire is very important.

Fire starting methods can include using matches, lighters, fire strikers and even many primitive methods. If you can get a fire started using multiple methods then you will be much better off during an emergency.

3. Purifying Water

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Once you have picked a safe area to build your shelter, acquired the materials needed to start and maintain a fire then you can turn your attention to water. We can’t live very long without water. Drinking contaminated water can make a bad situation even worse.

Hikers and campers are usually familiar with items like the LifeStraw water filter. It is a lightweight device that can be used to filter and purify water for drinking and cooking purposes.

You can also boil water to kill most harmful organisms in it so that it is safe to drink.

Click here for more information on primitive methods of purifying water.

4. Using a Knife

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It sounds pretty silly to say it but a lot of people do not know how to safely use a knife. Add in the stress of an emergency situation and it can be downright dangerous!

You’ll probably need to use a knife or hatchet to build your shelter and start your campfire. Knowing how to do it safely is very important.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone grab a knife to open a box and they pull the blade towards their body. All it takes is one little slip and they have just cut or stabbed themselves. In a crisis that could be fatal.

For more on knife safety, click here.

5. Finding Food

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The final basic survival skill that everyone should learn is how to gather food in an emergency. You might be lucky enough to be able to go to a store and buy dinner.

Then again, you might find that you are on your own.

Having the ability to catch a fish, snare a rabbit or squirrel, or even shoot a deer or wild boar can keep you alive long enough to be rescued or to survive whatever disaster has happened.

Click here for some ideas on primitive methods to catch a fish.


Hopefully, you will agree that these are valuable skills to have. Odds are that you will only ever use them if you go camping but if a disaster strikes where you live then at least you will be capable of taking care of yourself and your family.


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About the Author: Red Neckistan