Now, most agree that the key to living the good life is to get yourself to a point where you and your loved ones can enjoy some of the luxuries that this world of ours can offer. At the same time, the world can be an unpredictable place to be. Even in the most peaceful of times, catastrophes can hit via  natural disasters that can strike you unawares. The main focus to living well, is to be able to maintain the level of living you have become accustomed to.

However, if circumstances are, that you have to try to do that… say without electricity, then it can be harder to accomplish and a bit more complex to maintain. If this is the case, and could be for anyone at anytime with the chances of economic downturns and wars, along with more rumors of wars usually bring, there are a few skills that you should know how to to do and practice them on a regular basis

Since modern-day structures, societal standards, and infrastructure are a house of cards, possessing these elemental skills are as important now as they were 10,000 years ago. Here are the beginning to the more advanced skills that everyone should know (and yes, even the youngest among us):

I. How To Use Basic Tools

Not only how to use them, but also have confidence in using them. While most people should understand how to use basic tools like a saw, screwdriver, and hammer, some people have no experience with these hand tools. Many in today’s world wouldn’t know how to use a hammer properly let alone a hand lathe or a planer. Anyone of you who find themselves in the second category of no experience using the tools should start by making items like furniture using hand tools so they have some basic know-how.

II. How To Build A Fire

Beyond a match or a lighter, most people don’t understand the fine lines of starting a fire for warmth or cooking. The single most important thing any person should know is how to build a fire. It is what changed us from roaming the earth looking for warm climates, to fueling our industrial age. Modern-day human beings have become complacent and many people can’t even start a fire if given lighter fluid and a lighter.

Being able to start a fire with limited materials can be critically important when in a survival situation. Starting a fire from scratch using a technique like the fire bow or fire spindle certainly requires a great deal of practice.

III. How To Survive Nights Out In The Open

Homeless in the cities may make it look doable (and it certainly is) but for those who haven’t had the experience of facing the elements in an adverse environment or with no environment at all over their heads, it can be daunting and something you would need to learn quickly. Surviving a night in the wilderness is not something most people have ever experienced. Darkness combined with cold temperatures, stinging insects, and potential precipitation can make for a miserable experience. In order to ride through the night, one must have a fire (a consistent source of warmth) and a shelter (to keep from the ravages of the elements) that is appropriate for the environment they find themselves in.

IV. How To Purify Water From Most Sources

The best way to purify water from any pathogens is to boil it, but this may not always be an option. You can have those iodine pills and other tablets that can also look to have drinkable water from contaminated sources, but if you are unable to do either, how to you 1) get water from the thin air and/or 2) make sure the water is safer to drink. There are tried and true methods that can be done that may not give you enough to swim in but could keep you and other hydrated as your bodies need to be.

V. How To Create A Shelter

Creating a shelter for a short term stay, or for a more longer period of time is going to be extremely important in the “life not sucking so much” category. Ideally, a Bug Out Bag should come equipped with a tarp to make a quick makeshift shelter for a night. However, a long-term stay someplace will require a more sturdy structure that keeps the elements and bugs out and traps heat and warmth inside.

Now that we covered the Basics, here are some Intermediate Skills to conquer and practice:

A. How To Make A Sturdy Raised Bed

It may be okay for the younger set to be able to lay their heads down and sleep anywhere, and you might have been able to do that when you were a kid. It seems the older you get the harder the ground seems to get, and that can wreak havoc on your back and joints. Making a raised bed keeps a the “survivalist” off of the cold ground and away from the bug-type predators while sleeping through the night.

B. How To Hunt

Beyond getting reliable water source to drink from, you are also going to need to eat. For those who know how to do it, hunting is a skill that can provide you with the sustenance everyone should have. As meat is the best calorie source in a survival situation. Hunting with a rifle, bow and arrow, spear, and knife should all be options for the experienced hunter.

C. How To Trap Animals

Trapping animals is a time-efficient way to capture prey. Learning basic techniques like the deadfall trap, bird trap, and fish trap can greatly increase caloric intake in a survival situation. Could also help you in the areas of clothing, and other additional uses around the man-made structures. [See the advanced category below!]

D. How To Make A Spear

If not equipped with a rifle, or anything to craft a bow and arrow, hunting mid-sized game like wild boar or even fish can be done with a spear. Additionally, a spear is a great weapon for protection in a great number of circumstances – so understand how to make and use a reliable primitive spear.

E. How To Sharpen Tools And Knives

Sharpening tools and knives are an important part of survival in the wilderness and your Bug Out Bag should be equipped with a sharpening stone. If not equipped with a sharpening stone or file, use a slick stone or the bottom of a ceramic mug to sharpen the blades you need to keep cutting and using.

F. How To Fish

A proper utility bag should include basic fishing equipment like a fishing line and hooks. It may take a bit longer to see results this way if you aren’t using a spear or an underwater trap of some sort, but even in a winter situation should also know how to ice fish, as fish is one of the most plentiful calorie sources.

G. How To Butcher Animals

Butchering an animal properly to maximize use of the precious life-giving materials is a skill that requires some practice. You want to get the most out of that sacrifice the animal has given, and you do not want to waste food that can keep you going with the energy you need. As for skinning animals and cleaning them also requires proper techniques to do it right to preserve the skins for later use as well as certain other parts of the animal that can be beneficial to have access to.

H. How To Cook Outside

Cooking kills all pathogens that could turn a pleasant experience into a nightmare situation. No one who has had food poisoning will ever want to have it again. And for the most part, cooking over a fire and using fire to boil water are going to be the most helpful culinary techniques one can have.

Now that we have detailed a more complex way of providing for yourself in times of hardship, let’s take a look at the Advanced Category:

1. How To Preserve Meat And Other Foods

Preserving meat is a must in a situation where refrigeration is non-existent. People had methods of doing that before the advent of refrigeration and we can also learn how to do that today. There are two main ways to preserve meat, salting it or smoking it. Meat that has been properly smoked can last for months and keep providing you the caloric intake you need. There are also ways to preserve other foods, that with practice you will be able to do.

2. How To Determine Edible Plants

With the myriad of plants that are on this earth of ours, with many that could help or harm us, it is good to be able to know in times of hardship which ones could help serve us on the dinner table and not put us 6 feet underneath it. This is definitely a skill you need to practice over and over again. The best way to go about determining which plant is edible is to actively identify plants in the area by sight. This is a highly specialized skill to have.

3. How To Make Medicine

This is a specialization that could be valuable to everyone you come in contact with AND the most intensive for study. Making medicine from plants is another ancient skill that can come in extremely handy in a less-luxurious situation. Learn from an expert practitioner now so you can practice it over and over again.

4. How To Make Distilled Alcohol

Even for those who don’t imbibe, distilled alcohol can provide fuel, serve as a way to sterilize wounds, be used for barter, and consumed for “medicinal purposes”.

5. How To Tan Animal Hides

Large and small, after skinning any animal, the hide must be tanned before it can be used as clothing, or bags to carry things, or containers to store things. In many cases, salt in combination with an egg yolk mixture can be used to tan hides, among many other methods to preserve the skin, and keep it pliable or usable for several types of uses.

6. How To Make Clothing Out Of Animal Hides

After tanning the animal hides, they can be stitched together to create a great number of useful things. Leather is extremely wind-resistant, resistant to moisture, and lasts nearly indefinitely. That is why they still use it for belts, shoes, coats presently and still can be used for all other types of clothing or bags.

7. How To Sew By Hand

A sewing kit should be included in the emergency section of a Bug Out Bag so learn how to sew to quickly stitch up any wounds or mend torn clothes.

8. How To Manipulate Metal

This is a specialized skill that most people don’t have. Being able to fabricate anything out of metal improves life quality. At the very least,you should have some basic metal fabrication knowledge.

9. How To Weld

Being able to weld significantly increases the number of items that can be created out of metal and allows anyone to be able to repair machinery. Having the tools on hand would be another matter in times of getting out of dodge, but having the ability to fix and repair the metals that you depend on is a great skill to have.

10. How To Manipulate Wood

Some basic woodworking skills are a must because it is the most prevalent material that you will have access to. To create wood structures and shelters come in extremely handy in the wilderness, and knowing how to build them, from a standing tree to the walls and such of a shelter is, even now, a skill that is rare.

11. How To Make A Walking Stick

A walking stick, for a lack of a better name with a Y type of form on one end and a point on the other end serves as both as a tool of defense and a way to pin animals to the ground as you may need to.

12. How To Tie Knots

Beyond actually making the rope, tying knots, specifically square knots and slipknots, is another basic skill that every person should know, as it is required in many types of shelters and when creating animal traps.

13. How To Utilize A Horse

Finding, corralling, feeding, and riding a horse are skills that everyone will need to possess. As it was in the days of the Wild West, learning to ride and handle a horse and jump in the saddle if the situation presents itself, is handy to know.

14. How To Calculate Direction Finding Your Way

Being able to find out where you are and how to get around is a skill that can be done without having to look at google maps! Determining which way is north and south, east or west can be a bit tricky at times. There are ways to do it with things that stay stationary (mountains, rocks, lakes, rivers, etc.) For example, in the northern climates, moss always grows on the north side of trees, but not on the south side.

15. How To Calculate The Hours Left Towards The End Of The Day

To calculate the hours left in the day, simply place your hand underneath the sun and count how many fingers fit between the bottom of the sun and the terrain. All four fingers indicate that one hour is left in the day, with each finger indicating 15 minutes.

The Elemental Skills Everyone Should Know and Certainly Try

These are only a handful of things that have been done in the past, before automation and modern conveniences, that were widely known and practiced. Before the knowledge of these and more are lost, we need to continue on with the traditional methods of doing things when the items you get are what you make or gather with your own two hands. Armed with these elemental life skills, you and I can have the necessities that allow each one of us to get through tough times.

Let’s do this together!