Millennials lack Necessary Survival Skills

Doug Williams

It is a little scary to think that if a survival situation happens, I am more likely to survive if I pair up with my ninety-year-old Grandmother than with anyone born in the years 1984 to 1999.

I seem to have fallen through the gap not being a grandmother (or grandfather) and born a few years before 1984, maybe we’re the generation of all-rounders?  I hope so!

This group we’re talking about, dubbed “The Millennials” have been surveyed to see just what skills they possess.  Specifically, In the area of practical survival skills, and they seem to be coming up a little short, well, compared to grandma!


Why is this?  Why this particular group of young people?  One word seems to sum it up … technology.   Our young generations are moving away from the outdoors to the indoors in favor of all the fun, time-saving (or time-wasting, depending on viewpoint) toys and tools of today.

Where I spent my childhood trying to find the two perfect rocks to bash together to make little knives, or playing with flint and steel to make fire, these children spent their time in front of televisions and computers.

I was physically fit(ish) as a child – able to scale trees, deal with my own cuts, gouges, grazes and much more, I could tie simple knots that didn’t some undone, sometimes ever.  It was accepted back then that after breakfast you went outside and amused yourself.

The words “I’m bored” were never uttered more than once as doing so caused a list of chores to appear, and next thing you knew you spent the day scrubbing floors or chopping up firewood.

Letting a generation of children stay indoors to further their skills in operating keyboards, mouse manipulation, and joystick driving is going to have a serious effect for years to come.


Other than a small number of outdoor enthusiasts, no one will be able to sit patiently next to a small child and show them how to catch fish, how to build a small dam across a stream, or how to set a snare.

The new generations are being let down by the previous generation that wanted to make things easier for them.  The survival skills that our ancestors slowly built up over time are being lost in the Western world.

When disaster strikes and the millennials find themselves in a survival situation, they will flounder.  Unable to build fire to stay warm or to scavenge for food in the wild, they may be in for a grim outcome.

The survey showed that more than half of millennials could not tie a knot and nearly half had never swum in open water.

Map reading skills have also been dropped.  Most of these skills are learned from patient parents and relatives or organized groups such as scouts and guides.  With such television shows as Bear Grylls and Survivor about, you would think that the skill levels would be higher.

We forget that survival skills are practical and need to be actually practiced for them to be used successfully.

I hope that we can encourage them to adventure and learn more about the world around them, not the built up artificially created one but the wild natural one that’s there if you look for it.

What’s a Compass???
What’s a Compass???


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fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival