Imagine that there’s a huge disaster looming over you. You and your family are faced with living in a world where the comforts of modern civilization are lost.
What do you think you would you need to survive this new life? What are the things that will allow you to prosper in this new environment?
It’s a hard one to imagine, sure there’s plenty of movies and TV’s about it but it’s not really real to most of us, it’s definitely not that real as I sit in the Outdoor Revival office, in front of my computer. Out of the window, I can see cattle in the fields and a load of solar panels that contribute to our power needs. What would it be like if none of it worked?
Obviously, there are the basics that need addressing; food, water, and shelter, they’re immediate needs, and there’s also other things that we will need to carry on with our lives.
What’s also interesting is that for many of us we imagine that there needs to be some huge catastrophe to impact and change our lives, we should recognise that there’s a lot of people that change them out of choice, they live off grid with minimal luxuries and they enjoy their lives, so, while there’s no doubt a great deal of adjustment that would need to be made, some people might well thrive in a new world.
Water is essential for any form of survival, it needs to be at the top of your needs list. The safest way to ensure the water you collect is safe to drink is to boil it.
If you can boil your water and then store it, you can have a long term solution to your water needs. You can build filters to remove dirt and bits from the water. If you have the capacity, you can build a condensing unit to collect water
This will be necessary for warmth, cooking, and for morale. A fire in a controlled environment can be a great comfort, and let’s face it, the end of civilization as we know it would definitely be very stressful!
Make sure you have a few different ways of lighting fire, lighters will soon run out of fuel and matches can only be used once so having strikers (although they will also wear out) and friction fire lighting skills would be very useful. Once you have a fire, you can keep it going, even if it’s just storing an ember.
Fire also means you get safe water, so these first two points are closely linked.
There’s a good chance that you can carry on living in your home for a while, but that might not be possible, and you’ll be looking for shelter. A building is generally better than a tent or tarp but if you’re on the move or you’re away from any buildings having a tent or tarp is a good option until you build something more permanent. You need your shelter to provide you with rain and wind protection and if possible, insulation, making it more comfortable to live in.
It’s well worth practicing the construction of tarp and natural shelters, it can be a fun family thing to do and stand you in good stead in case there’s ever an emergency.
There are two groups of tools we’re going to cover here, the first is Edged tools and the second is General tools
Axes, Knives and Edged tools:
These tools are very important for making life easier, yes you can get by using flint flakes, but a tool made from good steel, with a good edge will last well and give a life time of service.
Axes – This are simple tools that can do a number of jobs such as cut wood for cooking, warmth and home building. They can be used as weapons and for many things knives are sued for such as dealign with meat.
Knives – The best knife is the one you have on you. If you have a selection of knives it’s great as they can be used for many different things from eating to preparing food and general chores to skinning animals and defending yourself.
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There’s nothing that replaces the right tool for the job in hand, in light of this if you want to construct something then having construction tools are very useful.
A selection of basic tools could be. Hammers, saws, nails, screws and screwdrivers, wire and cutters, post knockers, bolts, spanners, clamps, glue etc.
You might be fine for a little while, the clothing you have now will work for the foreseeable future if looked after, but it will need patching and repairing so make sure you have a good sewing kit with lots of needles.
If you need to do heavier work leather tools might come in handy, an awl, punch, needles, thread etc. This can be used for belts, shoes and even construction.
We have talked about fire already so what you would need to cook (other than food) are pans and grills. Cast Iron pots and pans would be a good choice in this survival situation, it’s tough and can be used over a fire as well as on a stove, it’s great for nearly any cooking you can think of.
Good choices are Cast Iron Dutch ovens and skillets, between the two you should have nearly everything covered for cooking bread through to stew and dumplings, or roasts and rice puddings.
Bow and arrows, spears and hunting weapons
The bow and arrow are the simplest means of hunting for food. You can make arrows and, if looked after, a bow will last a lifetime. Animal bones can be rendered down to make glue, which then can be used to attach a tip. Use bird feathers to fletch the arrows. Arrows can also be recovered and used again. Knowing how to make a bow and arrows is a skill that can be passed on, or used in an emergency.
Spears are also a good weapon, particularly when there’s a group of you that can corral your prey, it’s easier to fashion than a bow and arrow, but it does mean that you are generally closer to your prey, but they can be effective.
Some of you may wonder why this is here, but it’s unlikely that you’re going to retain all the information that you need to survive and then prosper on a long-term basis, so you need reference material and what better way than having books to point you in the right direction. So, have a good think about what skills you’ve already got and what you need to know and base your book collecting around these areas.
So, there you have it, the basics that might be useful to know and be prepared for. If you’re looking at long term solutions there’s a lot more that needs to be considered and prepared for but for now this is a good start.
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