When you start preparing to survive, there's an almost unlimited list of projects to take on. But unfortunately there is usually one item that is in limited supply. Your bank account. In an ideal world we'd have the best of everything, of course, but for the most part us survivalists have to learn how to do-it-yourself, with makeshift materials and a little ingenuity. I'm here to say that this is not necessarily a bad thing, as learning new skills and improvisation is one of the best forms of training you could possibly ask for. Being prepared is more than the amount of cans you've got stored in your underground bunker. A true survivalist is able to prepare, react and adapt to anything that gets in their way. And the more skills you develop along the way, the higher your chances of becoming truly self reliant. Today, we're going to cover a number of preps you can do, which also teach you skills necessary to survive once the SHTF. Ready to get started?
How to make an oil lamp An easy project to get you underway is to make an oil lamp. It's incredibly simple, but a nice way to boost your confidence, while learning a useful technique. All you need is a small tin, a fuel source, and a wick. Many preppers like to use altoid tins, simply fill it with a combustible oil (olive oil burns great without smoking or the risk of a flash flare up if you knock it over), make a hole in the lid and insert your wick until it soaks the oil. Light it and you've now got light.
How to build a radio There's a bunch of guides you can follow online, but I'd stick to a simple electronics project kit to start with. You'll learn how to build the circuits, and along the way learn basic techniques like soldering which can be a great help should you ever need to "fix" something electronic in the future. Plus, it's a fun project to do with your kids, especially once you get it working!
How to get power One of the first big projects I'd recommend is harnessing one of the natural elements to create electricity. It will teach you a ton, and is also incredibly useful for becoming a more self-reliant household. You could build a turbine to spin in the stream on your property, or install a wind or solar energy kit. Take the time to understand how it all works as you set it up, including the inverter and your battery banks. You'll find you actually learn more building this from scratch than simply getting a professional to install it for you, which means you'll be better able to fix any problems, or rebuild it should you ever need to.
How to build a shelter When you're stuck out in the wild, on your own, the most critical aspect to your survival is getting protection from the elements. Learn how to build a shelter, and the different types of structures to use depending on the material in your area. Creating a comfortable sleeping platform, a waterproof roof, and making it safe with the right knots and lashes is all part of this. Spend the time now to develop your skills, so you can rely on them if you ever do need to. Plus with a little effort to make it decent enough, it could be a backup bug-out-location until you get something better organized.
How to grow food If you've got the means, and a little space, learn how to grow your own produce in a garden. The trick is to get the seasons right, and if you're feeling adventurous you can always dabble in hydroponics or aquaponics, or build a greenhouse to extend your seasons and get a higher yield from your crops. By growing your own food you're reducing your reliance on the grid, and giving yourself a confidence boost that you will be able to harvest your own should the supermarket shelves ever run dry.
How to can food When you're growing your own food in your garden, you're going to need a way to preserve the bounty of your harvest to stop it going bad before you can eat it all. Learn how to can your food, so you've got supplies on hand when you really do need them. Plus, even if you're not able to grow your own (perhaps you're in a city apartment), you can still buy produce in bulk from a farmer's market and start building your food supplies.
How to build a smokehouse Canning is all well and good for produce, but if you've got meat you want to store one of your best options is to smoke it, letting the wood smoke dry and purify the meat. This means that if you do manage to land larger game, like bringing home a deer from a successful hunt, none of it will go to waste. I can't recommend this last one enough, nothing can go to waste if you really do want to survive. What I like to recommend, is that you should be spending your time on things that will better your life right now, as well as setting yourself up for whatever SHTF event may come. Don't forget that the real key to survival is to be adaptable, and the best way to achieve this is by learning a broad range of different skills. Heck, you may not ever experience a real disaster in your life, so remember to enjoy and learn things that will make today, and tomorrow better too.