This is a site that aims to teach people about survival. Our goal is to impart knowledge about how to survive in extreme situations, and to do our utmost to help you be prepared to face these kinds of situations. Preparation comes in two forms. You can prepare physically for a disaster – which would include things like making sure that you’re reasonably mobile and fit, making sure that you have an appropriate amount of emergency supplies, and so forth. You can also mentally prepare by absorbing knowledge and skills that will help you overcome the odds and live through a disaster scenario.
If your main goal in a crisis or disaster situation is survival, it’s absolutely crucial for you to understand what your priorities should be when it comes to survival.
What do humans need to survive? Do you really know what your number one priority is? Will you be able to act efficiently and prioritize correctly in order to maximize your chances of protecting yourself and your family?
That depends on whether or not you’re aware of what humans need to be able to survive.
The Rule of Three
In the survival world, experts use the “rule of three” as a basic guideline for what your priorities should be in the event of a major disaster or man made catastrophe. You’d do well to commit this to your memory.
You can survive for 3 minutes without oxygen (or in icy cold water).
You can survive for 3 hours without shelter in harsh conditions – extreme heat or extreme cold.
You can survive for 3 days without water.
You can survive for 3 weeks without food.
Your disaster planning and the actions you take in a real life survival situation should take into account the rule of three. It actually goes against most of our ‘common sense’ ideas about what it would take to survive in a disaster, doesn’t it? If you ask the average person what they’d do to prepare for a genuine crisis, they’d probably talk about stocking up on food.
But food is actually the last on the list – humans can survive for a good amount of time without food.
In this article, we will go over all the things you can do to make sure you can meet your most basic survival needs, in order, and provide you a multitude of relevant resources to each of the basic neccesities covered in the rule of three. You can’t neccesarily ‘stock up’ on oxygen, and being in ice cold water is a very specific situation – but there are things you can do to prepare yourself for meeting the other three basic needs that humans need to survive. There are also skills that you can learn so that you can build or procure those neccesities if you end up in a situation where you don’t have access to them.
So, we’ll go over them. In the order of Shelter, Water, then Food, we will teach you how to make sure you can meet your basic survival needs in a genuine disaster or catastrophic situation.
Building or Finding Shelter
When we talk about shelter, we’re not just talking about a roof over your head. A lack of shelter is most devastating in the face of extreme weather – too hot, too cold, too wet. Those are the three things that shelter can protect you from.
In the US, being too cold is likelier than being too hot (as opposed to places in Asia or the Middle East where heat is the bigger danger). So, how do you shelter yourself from cold?
The invention of fire was crucial to the development and flourishing of mankind. Being able to control the temperature of our environments is key to human survival. We take this control for granted now with radiators and thermostats, but dying from cold is a very real possibility in a crisis. So the most essential ‘Shelter’ skill that you need to learn is building a fire.
If you have the right supplies, starting a fire is easy. If you have a lighter (if not, here’s a list of the best lighters for survival) dry firewood, and fire-starter (for example), getting a fire going is so simple a child could do it. But it’s entirely possible you’re stuck in a situation where you have minimal supplies. Well, to prepare yourself for that situation, here is a guide to starting a fire in the primitive way without a match or lighter.
Cold is at its most dangerous to you if you’re also wet. Humans can experience hypothermia at much higher temperatures than you’d might expect – 30 to 50 F is all it takes, and your chances of freezing to death are much higher if you’re wet from rain (or if you’re sweating or were submerged in water). Basically, being wet has a multiplying effect on the danger of being cold. So if you’re stuck in the wilderness and it’s cold and wet, you’d better learn how to start a fire in wet conditions. This guide assumes that you weren’t a complete idiot and that you at least had something to spark a fire on you. The article will teach you what you need to start a basic fire, and the technique for keeping it alive. It covers the concept of the fire ‘triangle’ — comprised of fuel, heat, and oxygen – and how you make sure your fire gets all three.
If you’re in need of a long lasting source of light and heat that is portable – for example, if you need to navigate in the darkness in a wilderness survival situation – then you’ll want to learn how to build a torch. Flashlights are great, but in a prolonged crisis where you don’t have access to electricity, you will eventually run out of batteries. In these kinds of scenarios, torches are the answer. That’s why you should learn how to make a primitive torch that’s long lasting and will allow you to maneuver in the dark.
If you’re thinking about stocking up materials for building fires and torches, you might want to think about obtaining a supply of Kerosene, which is a good source of fuel for providing light and heat. It’s not the perfect fuel, but it’s one among a number of easily purchasable survival fuels, and it lasts a long time (unlike gasoline or diesel) and won’t ever suffer from being wet (unlike wood). Obviously it would be wise to have a variety of fuels for a fire on hand, so we’d also encourage you to have stores of dry firewood and perhaps something like vegetable oil.
Outside of fire, it always makes sense to have a couple of decent sized tents on hand so you have easy access to shelter. These days, tents are very straightforward to put together, and barely require instruction of any kind.
If you want a recommendation for a tent, we have an article about the best survival tents that might help you pick.
If you’re looking to put together an improvised shelter, there are numerous ways to do that – but in general, we recommend that you at least have an abundant supply of tarp on hand to act as a waterproof overhead component of any improvised shelters that you build. Some kind of cord or rope would also prove extremely useful, as would sticks or other kinds of support.
If you’re looking to produce something a little more permanent that will keep you sheltered longer term, you’ll probably want to have some experience or knowledge of woodworking. With some elementary woodworking skills, you should be able to learn how to build almost anything – survival level woodworking isn’t hard to learn, and you’ll be able to arm yourself with skills that allow you to set up not just a tent, but a potential home or long term shelter in a genuine crisis.
That covers the basics of how you can build shelter to protect yourself from dangerous or extreme conditions. Next up in the rule of three priorities is water.
Water is actually pretty easy to find in a lot of situations. If you live near the sea or lake or river, there’s water in abundance right next to you. Most places have some level of rainfall, another reasonably consistent source of water. Almost anywhere there’s wildlife or vegetation, there’s likely to be a solid source of water somewhere around.
The problem with water isn’t necessarily how to find it (we’ll cover these cases further down). The problem with water is how do you make sure it’s safe to drink. That’s where things get tricky. Seawater obviously isn’t directly drinkable due to the high salt content, but even water from other sources – lakes, rivers, rain, etc. can be unreliable. You can never be sure about the level of pollutants or contaminants in any natural water source, and even if the water is relatively free of those, you still have to think about microorganisms (i.e germs/bacteria) that could make you sick.
So, how do you turn unsafe water into drinking water? The answer is to filter it. In order to be fully prepared for a disaster, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you have one of the water filtration systems that we list in our article about the best water filtration systems. Some of these systems can turn water that would normally kill you or make you horrible sick into completely safe drinking water. Depending on the specific system you go for, the filters can last up to six to twelve months, so with one of these systems and a handful of backup filters, you could be buying yourself multiple years of safe drinking water even in the most dire of disasters.
Now, if you want to make plans for situations where you’re away from your home base, or if the water filtration systems listed in the article above are outside of your price range, there are multiple ways to make DIY water filters that will keep your drinking water safe. Make sure you read this guide on how to make 3 ways to make a emergency water distiller for survival. Distillation is a different process than filtration, but the end results are more or less the same – safe drinking water. Distillers are more realistic when it comes to what you might have on hand at home to be able to put them together, so in a true survival situation where you don’t have access to a filtering system, your best bet is to build an emergency water distiller.
On the other hand, if you want to stick with water filtration, you can learn how to make an emergency water filter. DIY water filters actually require some materials that you might not have access to at home, but the process itself is reasonably simple, and you can buy DIY filter kits pretty easily online if you want to stock those items up for disaster planning. There have also been some significant advances in the technology behind filtration, both DIY and with entire filtration systems – learn more about these advances in water filtration technology here.
If you want to plan for a situation where you’ve run out of water filters and you still need access to clean water, your best bet is probably to look to the sky. Rain water is generally safer to drink than water from lakes, rivers, or streams. Natural bodies of water generally come from just a few sources, so if those sources are contaminated or polluted, then the entire system would also contain those some pollutants and contaminants. Obviously, if the specific sources near you are known to be safe for drinking, then you don’t need to worry, but the advantage of rain water is that it comes from everywhere, and also by definition rain water has been evaporated, which is generally one of the steps needed to make water safe to drink. If you have a home base, it makes sense to prep for water shortages by learning how to harvest rainwater. It’s your best bet when it comes to collecting safe drinkable water from a home base or long term shelter.
If you want to be prepared for a situation where you don’t have a home base and you’ve run out of clean drinking water, you’ll need to focus on the survival skills necessary to help you locate sources of water that are safe to drink. There are two environments where this could happen. You could be stuck in the wilderness – for example, if you went on a hike and got lost, and also used up your supply of drinking water, then your goal would be to located things like rivers and streams where the water is likely safe to drink. You’ll also need to learn ways to improvise some basic water purification and filtration techniques – these might not make water totally safe to drink, but it will improve your chances of avoiding sickness. To learn more about the range of skills you’ll need to make this happen, check out our article about how to find water in the wilderness.
The other environment where you might find yourself without access to clean water is in some kind of urban disaster. If you’re someone who’s keen on the outdoors and survival skills, this is actually more likely. After all, anybody who considers themselves an outdoorsman should know to carry extra water with them as well as things like purification tablets and portable water filters. On the other hand, very few people walk around cities or towns with a multi-day supply of water and survival materials for making water safe to drink. If you find yourself in an urban environment and without access to safe water, here is how you can find safe drinking water in an urban disaster like an earthquake, flood, or hurricane.
Food is a complicated topic to cover when it comes to survival – it’s one of the lower priorities when it comes to the rule of three, as most humans can survive about 3 weeks without food. But in a country full of people who are so used to going to supermarkets and having access to essentially an unlimited supply of food, it’s no surprise that imagining a disruption in the straightforward supply of food can cause a lot of anxiety and fear.
Americans are more divorced than ever from the food they eat – the chicken we get is pre-cut, skinless, and boneless. Our vegetables come in big bags that are already chopped and frozen! It’s no surprise that there’s anxiety about the food supply being cut off when most of us would have no idea how to turn a live animal into food, not to mention the fact that the vast majority of us have no idea at all how to forage, hunt or grow our own food. Most of us are totally reliant on the commercial availability of food, and would be helpless if asked to fend for ourselves.
Survival planning and skill-building when it comes to food falls into essentially three categories:
- We can stock, preserve, and store foods that will carry us through disasters.
- We can acquire food in the wild by hunting, trapping, fishing and foraging, or by scavenging in urban environments.
- We can build a sustainable source of food by raising our own animals or growing our own edible plants/vegetables.
We’ll cover these three in the order listed above because that’s the order you’re likely to need these various skills depending on the length of the crisis or disaster you’re planning for. If you’re talking about a month of hunkering down in your house, adequate stockpiling and storage should get you through. Hunting and foraging are suitable solutions for surviving in the medium term, but are unsustainable if you’re feeding a large group of people or if you need supplies to last you for years on end. Understanding sustainable sources of food are essential if we’re talking about an apocalyptic, SHTF scenario where the world essentially reverts to a pre-industrial society.
Stockpiling, Storing, and Preserving Foods
The first question you’re probably asking when it comes to preparing food stores for a disaster situation is “What food should I be storing up?”
There are a number of factors to take into account when building your stockpile of food. You should be thinking about shelf life, nutritional value, caloric content, and cost. It’s obvious why shelf life is important, but why do we care about the other stuff? Well, nutritional value is important because the last thing you want in an emergency situation is for you or your family to feel sickly or weak due to lack of certain minerals, nutrients, or due to a lack of protein or something. Caloric content is important because calories are essentially fuel – you need a certain amount of fuel to operate, and the more calories you can get out of a specific food, the longer it’ll last you, and the last storage space it’s likely to take up (relative to other less calorie dense foods). Cost may or may not be an issue for you – but keep in mind that you’re going to be buying in bulk here. Most of us could do with more money, so keeping the stockpiles you acquire affordable is probably a good idea.
So, with those factors in mind, here’s a list of our top ten survival foods to stockpile for a disaster or SHTF situation. These foods all have long shelf lives and are reasonably affordable, and if you stick to the list, it should more than cover all your caloric and nutritional needs, including proteins, carbs, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. The list also contains a good variety of food – this will hopefully help you avoid boredom with the meals that you can make (there’s obviously a limit to how interesting food can be in a true disaster situation though).
If you want to focus more on just the essential calories that you’ll need to burn as fuel for your body, we’ve also compiled a list of the top ten best high calorie survival foods. This will prove particularly useful if you have a lot of mouths to feed or if you’re a larger person who feels like you need more daily calories than the average person to get by. There’s also a list of four survival superfoods included in the article to help you counteract the effect of the less nutritional items in the list.
Once you’ve built your stockpile of food, here are some other things to think about. Other than the food itself, you’ll need tools and utensils, as well as a heat source to prepare food. It’s not just as straightforward as going out, buying the food, then putting it in the basement and forgetting about it. Here are the top ten things that any serious prepper needs to consider when building their survival pantry.
Another thing to think about is how you might protect your stockpile. In a true life or death survival situation, most people are going to be out for themselves and their families. If your house is the only one in the vicinity with stockpiles of food, water, and other resources – well, let’s be honest. If things get bad enough, and other people know about your stockpile, they are going to come for it. Not to mention a whole range of other variables that could ruin your stockpiles – pests, bad weather, humidity, etc. Make sure you’re prepared for the threats to your careful disaster planning by reading our article on the essential things that you need to think about to protect your doomsday stockpile.
Because there are so many things that can ruin your stockpile, it’s incredibly important that you store everything correctly – to minimize the chance that disaster strikes and you need to dive into your storage of food only to find that none of it is edible anymore. There is some planning involved in long term food storage, but luckily a lot of the materials and containers that you’ll need are probably already things that you have on hand at home – and if not, they’re easily available and inexpensive. Learn the best emergency food storage methods in this article – these tips and techniques will help keep your family well fed and safe even in a world gone mad.
If you’re home base is not available for whatever reason – maybe it’s been destroyed, or you find yourself stranded far from home – you’ll have to go back to the old ways of preservation and storage to get by. Luckily, we’ve got you covered there too. After all, our ancestors survived without refrigeration and moisture control for thousands of years – an their methods are just as applicable today as they were hundreds of years ago. Learn the best primitive food storage methods to ensure your survival even when you don’t have access to ideal storage conditions.
One of our favorite of these primitive food storage methods is the drying or smoking of meat. These methods not only help preserve valuable and hard-to-come-by meat (in a survival situation), they also add flavor. After all, most of us still love bacon, and all that is is a smoked and cured piece of pork. You can approach learning to smoke/dry meat as not just a survival skill, but also as a cooking skill, which makes it doubly useful and much more fun – this isn’t a skill that’s only applicable to survival. Learn how to smoke and dry meat in this article – chances are you’ll be doing this on a regular basis even when all is right in the world.
Another method for preserving food is fermentation – by and large this is more applicable to vegetables, although certain kinds of animal products can also be fermented. Between smoking and fermentation, you’ll have both meat and vegetables covered in a true survival situation. Fermented foods also tend to be very nutritional, which is definitely a big plus in a situation where access to a balanced diet is difficult. Learn more about fermentation, and discover our top ten fermented survival foods here.
If you’re really serious about creating the best environment for food storage, and want to go as far as creating an environment where certain kinds of fresh produce can be stored for extended periods of time, you might want to think about building a root cellar on your land. Root cellars, when built correctly, are essentially refrigerators without the need for electricity. They can be used to store all kinds of things, but are particularly known for being the ideal places to store root vegetables. Learn how to build a root cellar and why you might want to by reading this article.
If for some reason you’re in charge of a food supply for not just your family, but a larger group of people, there are some broader considerations you need to take into account – things like labor, power, and security. If you happen to be a leader in your community, or you believe that you might be put into a position of responsibility in a survival situation, you should learn more about disaster planning and food preparation for a community. This article will hopefully give you some insight into what disaster planning on a larger scale takes.
Food Acquisition: Hunting, Trapping, Fishing, Foraging
Contrary to what you might expect, your best bet when it comes to hunting and trapping is to not focus on larger animals. When we think ‘hunting’, we think deer, elk, moose, and so forth – but the truth is that these larger animals are associated with hunting nowadays because hunting is more of a recreational activity rather than a survival skill these days.
When it comes to survival, your chances of finding a reliable source of meat increase greatly if you focus primarily on small game. Trapping and hunting small game like rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and so forth are your best bet if you’re in a genuine disaster and you need to hunt for food. If you’re thinking “I don’t want to eat squirrels or raccoons” – well, you’re clearly not in the survival mindset. If your goal is to live, it doesn’t matter what you’re eating – the goal is to obtain the most amount of food for the least amount of calories and time spent. Learn more about trapping and hunting small game for survival in this article.
While I’m sure many of our readers are already experienced hunters, trapping is actually the more essential skill when it comes to survival. Traps are set and then left, and in some cases you can build traps away from the areas that you’ll actually place them, which increases the time that you spend in a safer environment. Hunting on the other hand requires long periods of time where you’re exposed to the outside environment. Hunting also uses up more calories, making it a less efficient method of acquiring food. Check out this article about the benefits of trapping versus hunting to learn more.
Along with things like rabbits and squirrels, game-birds are also smaller animals that are worth focusing on if you’re forced to hunt or trap for food. Birds are reasonably abundant, and while they can sometimes be harder to spot, they’re also generally less cognizant of threats from humans down below. Whereas a deer or a squirrel will almost always bolt if it spots you in the bush, birds will happily fly overhead of you, unaware of the dangers posed to them by firearms and other projectile weapons. Here’s a list of the top ten game birds for hunting and trapping if you want to learn more about hunting birds.
Fishing is another important skill that you’ll want to learn to prepare yourself for disaster – this is (obviously) particularly true if you’re near a reasonable sized body of water. Again, fishing these days (outside of commercial fishing which requires a boat and massive amounts of equipment) is largely recreational – not very many people in America today rely on fishing for sustenance. There are a number of techniques that are unusual or illegal nowadays that can drastically improve your chances of catching fish in a real life disaster. Read this article to learn more about true survival fishing for an emergency situation.
If you’re thinking about learning more about fishing for survival, you’d do well to explore the history and methods of Native Americans. Native Americans we’re extremely proficient hunters, trappers, and fishers, and many of their traditional skills would prove extremely useful in a time of genuine crisis. We have an article about Native American fishing methods that you might find enlightening if you want to learn more about the topic.
Another interesting survival fishing skill that might interest you is spearfishing. Spearfishing is admittedly more of a hobby/recreational activity than it is a genuine survival skill, especially if you plan to use a speargun – but nevertheless, learning how to navigate deeper waters and getting good with aiming and loosing a spear at a target is never a bad idea. If you really want to learn how to use spearfishing as a survival skill, you’ll want to focus on free-diving and using a Hawaiian sling (which can be done in about 15 minutes with pretty basic materials). In a survival situation, you’re not likely to have access to scuba gear or a proper speargun, but if you can hack together a Hawaiian sling and if you’re comfortable free-diving – well, then you’ve turned what’s largely a recreational activity into a genuinely useful survival skill. Learn more about spearfishing in this article.
Foraging is another essential skill for food acquisition. In fact, foraging is probably the most difficult of the skills we outlined, because successful foraging requires a large foundation of knowledge that typically takes years and years to build up. After all, as far as we know there isn’t such a thing as a poisonous elk or rabbit – on the other hand, there are countless plants out there that might look appetizing, but will make you sick or even kill you. There are also plants that are safe to eat, but only if prepared in the right way, but are otherwise poisonous. We won’t be able to impart all of this knowledge on you – but we can give you a few rules of thumb to build off of. The key to becoming a good forager is understanding how to separate edible plants from the rest, and there is a specific method to this – beginning with a test of each part of the plant on your skin, followed by testing it on your lips, and so on. Here’s an article that will teach you more about wild food and foraging for edible plants.
We’ve also compiled a list of the top fifteen wild edibles to help you survive in the wild. This list is full of some of the more common edible plants in North America. Learn this list by heart and learn how to identify these plants properly. If you combine this knowledge with the method laid out in the article above for testing the safety of new plants, you’ll be far, far ahead of the average person in being able to acquire food in the wild.
Next, we’ll discuss the hunting of larger animals – game animals like elk and deer, but also some less traditional hunting targets. We actually have a very detailed five part guide about hunting elk which you should definitely read if you want to learn how to hunt elk effectively in a variety of environments.
A Detailed Guide to Hunting Elk
1. Elk Hunting – Ultimate Big Game Hunting
2. What You Need to Know About Hunting Elk
3. How to Spot and Stalk Elk, Hunting from Treestands, Hunting at Night
4. How to Hunt Elk in the High Country
5. Big Game Hunting: Final Points About Hunting Elk
There probably isn’t a more expansive and in-depth guide about hunting elk anywhere else on the internet, so if this is a topic that interests you, make sure you read through the whole thing.
Another relatively common large animal that could be a source of meat for your family for weeks is bear. We don’t normally think of bears are hunting targets (or as food), but in a survival scenario, if that’s what you’re given, then it’s what you need to go after. One of the reasons we don’t hunt bears are because they are extremely dangerous – elk are prey, and will run from you if they spot you. Bears on the other hand can be aggressive, particularly if they feel that you’re a threat to their cubs. While bears are mostly omnivorous and aren’t generally looking to eat you, they are definitely a huge danger to you anytime you’re near one. That being said, again – if hunting or trapping a bear will help you survive, then that’s what you need to do. Learn more about how to hunt bears for survival in this article.
When trying to target larger animals and predators, it generally makes sense to think about baiting over hunting. Hunting a bear or lion is challenging even in the most controlled of environments, so doing it in a genuine survival situation is a bad idea. You can learn more about baiting large game and predators here.
Here’s where we get weird. Ever thought about eating snakes? You’d think that you want to avoid snakes due to their venom, but in actuality pretty much all snakes are edible. The only thing to be aware of is that a snake’s venom is stored in it’s head (it’s why they bite). They have venom glands in their heads. As long as you cut off the head of a snake, you’re in the clear in terms of being able to eat it without needing to worry about venom. Find out more about eating snakes for survival here.
Another unusual (but potentially very effective) source of protein to add to your diet in a survival situation or crisis is insects. In certain parts of the world, insects are treated as just another ingredient to be eaten – in Mexico for example, grasshoppers are frequently fried and eaten as a crispy snack. If you really want to be a survivalist, then you should probably stop being squeamish and get fully on board with eating bugs and insects. If you’re on board with adding insects to your diet (they really are a fantastic source of protein), discover the top 15 edible insects for survival by reading this article.
If you’re still squeamish on the idea, but you want to learn more about the benefits of eating insects and why it shouldn’t be a big deal to you, check out this article – it goes over how other cultures aren’t squeamish about insects, and why you should consider insects as a source of food in a survival situation, as well as some of the most common edible insects in North America.
Finally, to finish off the food section, we have a couple of fun articles for you about interesting ways of hunting (outside of using a gun or survival bow). Spear hunting has a long and stories history, and spears are also an effective method of self defense in a world where guns aren’t easily accessible. Learn more about spears for hunting and self defense here. Even more primitive than spears are slingshots – if you want to learn how to put together a projectile weapon out of the most basic of materials, we have a detailed account of an experienced outdoorsman and former marine constructing and hunting with a slingshot as part of a 5 days survival training cycle.
Even in a survival situation, everybody wants to eat well – good food boosts morale and would probably help break up the monotony in a world without TV or the internet. In the interest of preparing the best food you can with a range of unusual proteins, check out our list of top ten survival recipes which includes deliciously strange dishes like like Kentucky Fried Rabbit and Baked Raccoon.
Growing and Raising your own Sustainable Food Supply
Hunting, fishing and foraging are all well and good if you need to find food sources over a short term. But in the medium and long term, what can happen is that the numbers of the animals that you’ve been hunting start to deplete. The foraging becomes more and more difficult. Don’t forget – if you’re in a disaster situation with no end in site, then it’s likely that there are other people in and around your area who are in exactly the same situation. If you’ve survived by hunting, fishing, and foraging, then it’s likely that there are other survivors too who are doing those very same things to survive.
That’s why in an extended survival situation, it’s important that you start thinking about how you can get a sustained supply of food. There are really only two ways to do this – you can raise animals, or you can grow plants (or a combination of the two). In truth, if you really want to be fully prepared for a large-scale disaster scenario, you should probably be planning your sustainable supply now. It’l lbe easier to get your hands on seeds and livestock now then it will be in any kind of post-apocalyptic setting.
If you want to learn how to raise your own animals for food, there are a number of points you’ll want to consider. Animals have to eat too, and you definitely don’t want to be in a situation where you have extra mouths to feed in a disaster – so it makes sense to focus on animals that can largely fend for themselves. Animals that h ave multiple uses should also be considered – chickens, for example, aren’t just meat, they also lay eggs and their feathers can be used in various ways. Sheep produce milk and wool. You get the idea.You also want to understand the breeding patterns of the animals you’re looking to raise – some level of reproduction is obviously a good thing, but on the other hand overcrowding your animals can lead to disease and other issues. If you want to learn more about what animals you should have around in the case of a genuine crisis situation, make sure you read this article about the best survival animals to raise for the armageddon. It covers not only animals you can raise for food, but also animals that would prove useful to you in a disaster situation.
One of the more feasible animals for you to think about raising in preparation for disaster is chickens. Chickens are smaller animals, are easier to control, and require substantially less land than raising a herd of cows or sheep. After all, relatively few of us have backyards large enough to graze a herd of cows – but plenty of us have room for a few chickens. Read this article to learn how to raise “backyard” chickens for meat and eggs for survival purposes.
If you want to focus more on learning how to grow your own food, the very first thing you want to consider is what you should be growing. Some plants are easy to grow, and some are incredibly difficult. Some plants require a ton of water, or only grow in certain environments, whereas other plants can thrive in a variety of situations. In a survival situation, the last thing you want to be focusing on is gardening, so the goal here is to pick things that are edible and easy to grow. If you want to know what to grow in your survival garden, check out our list of the best survival seeds for preppers.
If you’re wondering how you should fertilize your garden, well – we have the answer for you. Survival composting is an important skill to learn if you’re planning to maintain a survival garden even after disaster strikes. After all, you won’t be able to head down to the shop and pick up fertilizer. While plants don’t technically need fertilizers to grow, in many cases that’s because the fertilization of the soil happens naturally – via animals and other plants. If you’re looking to grow the same plants over and over in the same patch of soil, very soon that soil will become deficient in nutrients, and your plants will begin to worsen in quality, yield less, and eventually die. Sustained agriculture requires the use of fertilizer, so in a longer term survival scenario, how will you fertilize your plants? This is why survival composting is an essential skill that you should be learning if you want to maintain a post-apocalypse food source.
When it comes to growing your own food for survival, increased yield is always a good thing. Higher yield means more food to feed your family with, and more seeds to work with when you replant. One extremely effective way of increasing your yield with the same piece of land is to use hydroponics – which basically means growing plants in water rather than soil. Combine that with a survival greenhouse and your yields should increase exponentially. Building a survival greenhouse does take resources, but in a genuine disaster, it could be the difference between slow starvation and survival.
Another key thing to consider when it comes to a survival garden is how you can defend it. In a real disaster, if people see your crops are edible, they will take them. This doesn’t just deprive you of food, it also jeopardizes the entire garden as a sustainable source. So, what’s the best way to protect your crop? Sitting in front of it with a weapon gets old real quickly. What if there was a way to camouflage your garden so the layman would think it was just a bunch of inedible weeds? If you want to learn more about this technique of hiding your survival food supply in plain sight, you should definitely read this article about how you can grow secret survival garden.
An additional (and rather offbeat) sustainable food source is one that might gross you out, but it is nonetheless effective. That’s right, it’s bugs! Insect harvesting is a legitimate and extremely straightforward way to get your hands on a sustainable source of valuable protein. It sounds disgusting, but if it came down to it, most of us would rather eat insects than starve. The thing about bugs is that they are extremely high in protein, really good at surviving in difficult conditions, and breed extremely quickly. All the things that make us hate bugs in today’s world make them a valuable source of food in any post disaster world. That’s why we urge you to go and learn more about insect harvesting for survival.
One thing that isn’t covered by the rule of three is medicine. What do you do if you or a member of your party gets sick? What do you do if you’re already sick and you rely on some kind of treatment or prescription to survive?
Even in a relatively minor disaster, prescription medicine can become hard to come by. Think about a political situation like Brexit and the projections that have been made about likely shortages in essential drugs in the UK. That’s a situation that’s purely driven by trade treaties and legal issues. Now what would happen in a genuine SHTF disaster situation? It’s important to really consider what might happen to prescription medicine in a apocalyptic situation and prepare accordingly.
Any real survivalist worth his/her salt should be aware of the importance of basic first aid. If someone close to you gets wounded or injured, how will you respond? How can you save a life when there’s no ambulance coming and no EMTs or doctors on hand? Acquaint yourself with basic survival first aid so that you’re fully prepared to react in the best way properly if things really take a turn for the worst and someone gets badly injured.
If you know first aid basics and want to take your skill to the next level, there’s nobody better to learn from than professionals in the field who’ve had hands on experience acting as a medic in dangerous conditions. We have an article about Army Ranger combat medicine written by a former Squadron Surgeon of the 82nd Airborne Division that covers the protocols used by Army Rangers to deal with life-threatening injuries and what equipment you should have on hand to deal with these kinds of critical situations.
As we’ve discussed, the two things that are important to prepare are your skills and your supplies. This rule applies to first aid and medicine as well. We’ve covered basic first aid skills, so let’s dive into supplies. Your typical first aid kit (the kind that you might find in an office in a neat little glass case) is inadequate to deal with any serious injury or health incident. Having proper first aid supplies in a disaster could prove the difference between survival and a quick death. Learn about the top ten things you need as emergency first aid supplies to make the best first aid kit for survival.
In a situation where you’ve run out of the necessary prescription medicines and other supplies that you need to stay safe and healthy, you’ll need to turn to nature. We’re not recommending ‘natural’ healing over prescription drugs designed for specific purposes, but in a real disaster, the supply of medicine is likely to dwindle quickly, so it makes sense to understand what natural alternatives exist and how you can spot them. Here are 15 clinically proven herbs and supplements that can help you survive in a world without pharmacies or doctors. Also, a list of the top medicinal plants in North America will come in handy if you want to learn how to recognize potentially life-saving plants in the wild.
Now, what if we’re talking about everyday ailments like colds or stomach bugs? What about small cuts that get infected? They don’t seem dangerous to us in today’s world, but in the middle of catastrophe, falling sick or feeling weak could spell doom, not to mention the fact that untreated infections, even from minor scrapes and cuts, can prove lethal without treatment. Learn how to combat some of the more common health challenges you’ll face by reading about the ten best survival home remedies to know when disaster strikes.
For a more in-depth understanding of herbal medicine and what effects specific plants have, we also have a rather detailed breakdown of various botanical and herbal medicines and what ailments and injuries that they can be used to treat. It’s broken down into three categories – trauma (severe injury), illness (bacteria, viruses, etc) and organ systems. You’d do well to study up on all this information – knowing about herbal medicines and medicinal plants will help you save lives in an emergency.
We also have an article about the positive and negative effects of Kratom, a controversial plant that is used in traditional Southeast Asian medicine.
Guides About Meeting Basic Survival Needs
We have a number of detailed guides that cover multiple aspects of the rule of three (plus medicine), but didn’t fit into any specific category.
Perhaps you want to find out the exact supplies that you should be stocking up on to prepare for a real SHTF scenario. If so, definitely start looking into the essential emergency supplies that will help you survive any disaster. If you don’t have most of this stuff on hand already, start to accumulate. You never know when things might get bad, and the list covers everything from food/water to shelter to medicine and more.
If you want to be prepared for a situation where you’re stuck in the wilderness with minimal supplies and equipment, you can learn more about living off the land here. Chances are, you’re not really mentally or physically to live off the land, but after reading the article, you should be slightly closer than you were before. Again, it covers all aspects of the rule of three.
Maybe you’re planning for a hunker-down situation where you’ll be set in place for an extended period time with minimal exposure or interaction with the outside world. In this case, you should start building your secret stockpile. By stockpiling over time, you can very quickly get to a supply of food, water, and equipment that will allow you to survive for a year or more (if that’s what you want to plan for).
Having access to food and water becomes increasingly difficult in the event of a genuine nationwide or global famine (the kind which we haven’t seen in centuries). Learn how to survive a famine and start preparing yourself to deal with complete food scarcity and a lack of access to clean drinking water.
In a more localized disaster situation, you may find that you need to urgently evacuate, but without the aid of the government or other institutions. If at all possible, you should have a storage of food on hand for just this situation, and be prepared to haul this supply on foot for a good amount of time. If you want to ready yourself so that you’re prepared for an emergency evacuation, read this evacuation survival guide we’ve put together.
If you’re looking for an all purpose plan for finding food after the collapse of society, you should know that the best method is to use all methods at your disposal. That means having an understanding of all the ways you might get access to food – scavenging, storage, hunting, farming, etc. Broaden your understanding of how to survive in a post apocalyptic situation by learning how to find food after the collapse.
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Why You Can Trust UsSecrets of Survival has been around since 2002 (almost 20 years) and our survival knowledge is the real deal. We were writing and discussing survival and prepping before people even knew what the word “prepping” meant. We also preceded the trendiness of survival media nowadays… for example, we were arround before Bear Grylls filmed his first episode of Man vs Wild.
Our contributors and writers over the years have included survival experts of all stripes – including a Green Beret Special Forces Medic, a former Navy SEAL, a leading survival instructor who’s been featured on National Geographic and PBS. Every article is either written or reviewed by someone who is an expert in either survivalism, prepping, or homesteading (or all three) and our goal is to be as practical and educational as possible.
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