Wednesday, May 15, 2013

25 Skills to Practice This Summer

Summer is a great time to practice a bunch of survival skills.  Obviously the ability to perform a variety of survival skills in the dead of winter, in the middle of a storm--basically under least optimal conditions--is crucial, getting the hang of these skills under more optimal conditions (namely in the summer) is a good idea.  Here's some things to learn/practice:

  1. Geocaching (no better way to learn how to use your GPS device).
  2. Camping/hiking/backpacking (how to survive without running water, electricity, etc is a necessary skill).
  3. Fishing (catch your own food).
  4. Swimming (a vital skill that everyone should know).
  5. Growing your own food (a great way to produce food on the cheap and develop a useful skill).
  6. Preserving the harvest (can you can, freeze, pickle, and otherwise preserve your own food for future use?).
  7. Walking (there are plenty of people who can't walk more than a couple of miles.  Regular nice, long walks are great for your health as well as survival in some situations when you need to evacuate on foot).
  8. Shooting (I'm becoming more of a fair-weather shooter as the years go by).
  9. Distance bike/canoe/kayak trip (being able to cart yourself a long distance under your own steam is a valuable skill).
  10. Home improvement projects (to develop self sufficiency skills and save money).
  11. Barbecuing (learning how to cook over an open flame is both useful and tasty).
  12. Shelter building (this could be something as simple as building a chicken coop or a garden shed).
  13. Plant and tree identification (can you identify which plants in your area are poisonous? which can be used for medicine? which ones are edible enough to add to your usual meals?).
  14. Raising animals for food (chickens and rabbits are easiest; pigs and cows much more complicated).
  15. Boy Scout merit badge stuff (can you tie a variety of knots, navigate by the stars, etc?).
  16. HAM radio (summer is a great time for HAM Fests).
  17. First aid (your local Red Cross, DEM, fire department, etc. usually offer a variety of first aid classes--a set of critical skills you should know and practice).
  18. Making money (extra cash is always useful; hold a garage sale, sell stuff on CraigsList, mow lawns and challenge yourself to do other things to raise a set amount of cash).
  19. Do preventive maintenance things (clean your guns, sharpen your knives, change the oil in your car, etc).
  20. Master a new skill (make cheese, knit a sweater, reload your own ammo; the more skills you can add to your repertoire, the better).
  21. Revamp your BOB (not a skill necessarily but a continual opportunity for improvement and preparedness).
  22. Conduct drills: fire drills, lock-down drills, evacuation drills, etc.
  23. Entertain yourself without electricity (this is, surprisingly, a useful skill as when the power goes out, people have absolutly no idea how to entertain themselves without a working cell phone/TV/computer/etc.  Play cards, read a book, whittle a figure, etc).
  24. Develop a hobby (be known as the guy who can: build a bird house, make a robot, make his own moccasins, etc.  Hobbies are useful for developing useful skills, creating another stream of income, entertaining the kids, amusing the neighbors, killing time, etc).
  25. Travel (make your summer vacation a survival-worthy adventure.  The further off the beaten track you go, the more survival lessons you can learn).

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