prepping skills

40 survival skills for self-reliance

Prepper Skills
Prepper Skills
Grain Mill
Canning tools
Chicken coops
First Aid kit - comprehensive, exceeds OSHA and ANSI guidelines
------------------------------------------------- Revised 01/18/16
(C) Copyright  2012-2016 by All rights reserved. The site happily targets concerned
citizens who are self-reliant survivalists, preppers and homesteaders with original content on survival
following societal collapse. You may link to our site, but you may not reproduce any part of our content, or
store our content in any retrieval system to represent it as your own. Further, you may not transmit content in
any other form or by any means, including (but not limited to) electronic, photocopy, mechanical, or recording
without written consent. makes no warranties. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising
program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, or

Thanks for visiting!

This article on survival skills has been archived by and saved 17 times between July
30, 2012 and March 19, 2015. This helps protect our copyright. Do
NOT copy. (Linking is okay.)
First aid manual
Prepper Cheesemaking wax
Candlemaking is a prepper skill
Developing hobbies and skills for self-reliance

Knowledge is your passport to survival. Your skills are your wealth. Self reliance
depends on the forgotten skills of the past and the survival skills you build and
practice upon as a prepper. Do you have basic survival skills?

Take an assessment now. Skills might include fire-building, edible plant
identification, navigation with a compass, or medical knowledge such as having
taken a CPR class or occupational knowledge as being an Emergency Medical
Technician, Nurse or Physician.

Other skills for survival might include cardiovascular or physical fitness, signaling or
sign language skills; having a knowledge of off-the-beaten path terrain so you can
identify escape routes by foot. Skills useful down the road might be car repair,
carpentry, welding or cooking and gardening.

Three great books on self sufficiency (all from the same terrific author), to get you
started on the topic, include:

  • Forgotten Skills of Self Suffciency of the Mormon Pioneers. Another classic
    book by Caleb Warnock is Forgotten Skills of Self Sufficiency. Unfortunately it
    is out of print and in high demand. Used books are selling from between
    $95.88 to $231.37 for the 2011 book.

  • More Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency by Caleb Warnock. Learn about
    self-seeding vegetables, keep chickens without ever buying feed, collect
    water from rain and snow, find wild vegetables for everyday eating, and even
    make your own laundry soap?

  • Herbal Healing and Family Health. Modern medicine can work wonders, but
    most of it has roots in the healing powers you can find in your own backyard.
    This informative book by Caleb Warnock teaches you to harvest, dry, and
    store herbs that will keep you healthy. Discover how to use natural remedies
    safely, so you can nurture your family's wellness without leaving home.

Preppers are always happy to hone a skill or learn a new one! Following are some
suggestions of skills to build...

List of 40 Prepper Survival Skills for Uncertain Times

Prepper Skill #1: Archery.
Archery is a hobby that will help you hunt and defend your group. Consider the
renewable resource because arrows can be recycled or repaired.
You can learn to craft your own arrows, much like the native Americans did in
centuries past.

Prepper Skill #2: Backpacking.
Backpacking can help you learn the basics of wilderness survival with manmade
comforts including, water filtration methods, cooking methods and navigation. As
well it can help with endurance training. Experience backpacking further can help
you carry a bugout bag properly. (Hint: You want the weight to rest on the hips and
not have all the weight on your shoulders.) Walking long distances through rugged
terrain prepares you for other bonuses, like learning how to keep mosquitoes and
ticks at bay, avoiding trenchfoot, and minimize blistering feet. The sense of
confidence it provides is undoubedly why the scouting community loves it so much.

Prepper Skill #3. Baking and Bread making.
Bread is one of the staples of the American diet. There's nothing more satisfying to
the soul than crunching into a bite of freshly baked bread. Preppers are happy to
make dough rise without the use of a bread machine in kneading by hand. The learn
to make  bannock bread, biscuits, cornbread, tortillas, flatbreads and other peasant
breads from scratch.

  • Get a Grain Mill. Milling is another skill Preppers might add to their repertoire .
    If you're interested in bread making, purchase "Flour Power: A Guide To
    Modern Home Grain Milling" and you'll be off-the-grid ready with bread making
    skills! Pair it with a grain mill and a cast iron Dutch Oven.

  • Make Bannock Bread. Learn to make Bannock Bread, a hearty survival bread.

Prepper skill #4: Bartering.
Watch the video "One Red PaperClip" which provides all the inspiration you need.
When you watch the video you will understand how one young man took one red
paperclip and traded up until he was able to get himself a house. It's an amazing
story and worth sharing with everyone you meet. Many famous people have said it,
including Tennis Player Arthur Ashe,

Prepper Skill #5. Beekeeping.
You'll enjoy the very thorough beekeeping section of the book Little House in the
Suburbs: Backyard farming and home skills for self-sufficient livin
g, by Deanna Caswell
and Daisy Siskins, including acquiring bees and bee products, such as honey candy
drops and more. Read
more about beekeeping. Honey, you can do it!

Prepper Skill #6. Beer making.
Becoming a brew master is not only a satisfying hobby, it could prove useful in
bartering. Check your local laws, but brew making for personal use is legal in many
states. People will always want to drink and beer is a classic. A great way to
the art of brewing beer is to buy a kit and the most highly rated kit on the market is
Coopers Do it Yourself kit. DIY Beer kit by Coopers has a near perfect rating (83
customer reviews and a 5-STAR rating). Includes instructional DVD and step-by-step
directions, bottles and ingredients for your first batch.

Prepper skill #7: Butter churning.
Butter churning provides instant gratification. The kids will enjoy the challenge and
the rewards as well. Include them in the process and learn how to make flavored

Prepper Skill #8: Camping.
Everyone should be a "Happy camper," particularly Happy Preppers. Basic camping
equipment could give the edge and a positive outcome for survival and camping is a
fun family activity. It's also fun for women to do on their own! (Try
"Let's Get
Primitive, The Urban Girl's Guide to Camping,"
by Heather Menicucci.) Happy Preppers
have a stash of equipment such as backpacks, tents, camping stoves, fuel, water
filters and freeze dried foods and essentials in their "bug out" plans. Stacking up on
freeze dried foods for camping means that prepping will not go to waste: Happy
Preppers can sample their favorite brands before buying in bulk. In the event  of the
unthinkable, the camping foods can serve as comfort food and a reminder of happier

    * TIP: Happy Preppers know that stashing nitrogen packed #10 cans will
    provide a 25-year shelf life to freeze dried foods. The most popular brand of
    freeze dried food is Mountain House beef stroganoff. Read our Canned Food
    tips and Freeze Dried Pantry pages.

Prepper Skill #9: Candle making.
The art of making a candle can be a simple as inserting a wick in a can of Crisco.
Want more ambiance? Consider the art of candle making.

Prepper Skill #10: Canning.
Happy Preppers have learned the basic canning methods. Canning fruits and
vegetables from the yard will help them survive the lean Winter months in the new
society. Happy Preppers will be happy to barter their canned food products should it
become necessary.

Prepper Skill #11: Charcoal making.
Making charcoal is a firebuilding skill. Learn also to make a charcloth, which will aid
you in firebuilding as well.

Prepper Skill #12. Charcuterie.
Charcuterie is the craft of salting, smoking, and curing, though originally Charcuterie
was a craftsman art in creation of pork products such as salami, sausages, and
prosciutto. In modern definition, it's the art of salting, cooking, smoking, and drying
meats. A Prepper may learn to make sausages, terrines, and pâtés or even olive
and vegetable rillettes, duck confit, mortadella and soppressata or smoked
almonds!  Immediate right,
"Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing,"
paves the way towards learning the skill of Charcuterie.

Prepper Skill #13: Cheese making.
Getting back to basics, Preppers know that waxed cheese can last 25 years if
stored in cool temperature! They buy hard waxed cheeses because the wax
protects against mold, bacteria and moisture. And while  Preppers are happy to
store cheese in various forms (waxed, freeze-dried, powdered, etc), they find a
satisfaction in making cheese from scratch. In a new society, this artisan craft would
become an essential survival skill. Read
cheese options for preppers.

  • Learn to wax cheese to extend the life of your family's favorites. Red Cheese
    Wax, pictired immediate right, is re-usable,. Remember, however, cheese wax
    is flammable (as is any wax), so you'll need to use a double boiler method,
    and in this way you will avoid melting the wax on the stove in a pot.

Prepper Skill #14: Chicken couping.
Chicken couping is becoming fashionable and is a happy part of a Preppers daily life.
Chickens eat garden insects and scraps and produce a beautiful and bountiful
supply of eggs of different colors. They are a natural composting agent! As a bonus,
chickens ares pets and can provide a way to reduce stress and improve the quality
of living.

Prepper Skill #15: Coin collecting.
While the government can take away silver bars and gold bars, coin collecting
provides the benefit of being a collectible, which may Look for junk silver coins (U.S.
coins dated 1964 or earlier). Low quality is okay, you're looking for the silver value
not the value of the coin itself.

Prepper Skill #16: Cooking.
If you want to make people happy, then feed them good food! Learning to cook
with whatever is available is a skill that Chef's often innately know, and one that
could make Happy Preppers even more happy. Skills may encompass methods for
Bread making, dehydration, canning, Cheese making and smoking meats. Happy
Preppers also know how to cook without electricity, including how to make a pit

Prepper Skill #17: Couponing.
The art of getting a good deal at the grocery store is not to be overlooked as a
prepper skill. There are ways to get what you want at a fraction of the cost--if not

  • Want to get started couponing? Check out Amazon's Coupon page
    (bookmark it and visit often):

Prepper Skill #18: Dehydrating.
Owning a dehydrator and knowing how to dehydrate foods is absolutely an
essential skill in assembling foods for your storage system. Drying foods is an
effective way to preserve them because it decreased water without thwarting
unhealthy organism growth. Have fun with the easy-to-use dehydrator, pictured top
right, which is ideal for drying fruit, vegetables, herbs, and jerky. While an essential
skill, dehydrating a three-month supply of food for your family is very labor intensive
and time consuming. Freeze dried will last longer.

Prepper Skill #19. Entomology.
While it's an extreme prospect for most Happy Preppers, the study of bugs could be
an important survival tool. Being able to recognize edible and poisonous insects
could be a survival tool even when backpacking or hiking. Crickets, for example,
provide a rich source of protein, fats and vitamins, and may be readily available in
your area. Generally, brightly colored bugs are poisonous. There are many cultures
that enjoy eating insects. Thai people, for example, enjoy eating bamboo worms.
Many other Asian cultures incorporate. There may be a day when the consumption
of insects will be hight than the consumption of mammals.

Prepper Skill #10: Fire building.
The most basic skill in prepping is learning to build a fire. Advanced preppers can
learn how to make bow drill or a hand drill to light a fire without matches, but first
each should go with the basics...

Prepper Skill #21: First Aid/CPR.
Take a CPR course, learn a few essential life saving skills. There may be a day when
there is no doctor around to help. Medical aid is essential and Happy Preppers have
first aid kit and may have essential first aid skills. The Red Cross provides first aid
classes. If you've mastered this, and have an interest become an EMT (emergency
medical technician).

Prepper Skill #22: Fishing.
The lure of fishing is appealing to many Happy Preppers. Depending on location,
Happy Preppers hone their fishing skills in rivers, lakes or oceans. Happy Preppers
may also learn the art of salting or smoking fish they catch, in the unfortunate event
that refrigeration is not possible.

Prepper Skill #23: Food Foraging.
Preppers are happy to learn about local vegetation in search of harvesting the land
for food. As some plants are poisonous, it's important for preppers to know the
plants to avoid and which ones to eat.

Prepper Skill #24: Gardening.
Preppers naturally have a green thumb! Gardening not only improves your health in
giving you physical exercise and sunshine, it instills a sense of self-sufficiency and

Harvesting foods from your own backyard (or even your porch or balcony) is always
more satisfying than getting it from the local grocery. Anyone can start simply with a
potted plant on the terrace or
begin a sprouted seed project in the kitchen. Best of
all, starting an inexpensive container gardens is an option available to almost

  • Backyard Winter Gardening! You can get fresh vegetables in any climate
    without artificial heat or electricity. Learn the way it's been done for 2000
    years with Caleb Warnock's popular book Backyard Winter Gardening,
    pictured right. Without fresh, all-natural winter gardening in the seventeenth,
    eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries people would have starved to death.
    The good news is that feeding your family fresh food from your own backyard
    garden all winter long is far easier and less time-consuming than you might
    imagine. And you won't find better-tasting food at any price!

Prepper Skill #25: HAM Radio.
Communications could be the key to survival in knowing the status of water and
food supplies, the condition of neighboring cities and of the entire country.
Operating a HAM radio requires a license, and the equipment can be expensive, but
this essential skill could mean survival for an entire community, making the Happy
Prepper an invaluable resource. Here's
how to get a Ham Radio License.

  • HAM Radio License Manual, pictured immediate right, is the #1 best seller in
    radio reference. There's much to know and this book covers it all, including:
  • Radio and Signals Fundamentals
  • Electricity, Components, and Circuits
  • Propagation, Antennas, and Feed Lines
  • Amateur Radio Equipment
  • Communicating With Other Hams
  • Licensing Regulations
  • Operating Regulations
  • Safety and more

Prepper skill #26: Herbal Healing.
Essential Oils may be essential to your survival, so learn all there is to know, along
with other herbal healing.

Prepper Skill #27: Horsemanship.
Learning how to ride horses and breed them could prove valuable in a post
apocalyptic world. If you have a horse, you have a mode of transportation!

Prepper Skill #28 Hunting and Trapping.
In times of desperation, everyone with a gun will be competing for the same
available game, whether ducks, deer, or wild turkey. Happy Preppers know what
game is available locally, and the prepare further by honing skills necessary for
preserving the meat by smoking or salting the meat in the unfortunate event that
refrigeration is not possible.

Prepper Skill: #29. Knitting, crocheting or sewing.
Darn! Those socks aren't going to get darned by themselves. Yes, it's back to
basics, but certainly knitting, sewing or crocheting is a good skill to have to get you
through tough times. Women during the
Great Depression were good at these skills
and could make almost any item of clothing. They had to buy shoes, because they
could not sew, knit or crochet shoes!

Prepper Skill #30: Paracord.
Paracord is a material that has a fond use with preppers. The high-strength cordage
is useful for lashing shelters and survival "furniture", and has a myriad of camping
and emergency uses. Preppers enjoy crafting leashes, bracelets, belts and survival
keychain bombs, among many projects.

Prepper Skill #31. Navigate with a compass.
Learn to navigate with a compass.

Prepper Skill #32: Target shooting / marksmanship.
The right to bear arms is an American tradition. And while Happy Preppers are not
gun happy, they do recognize that use of a weapon may become necessary in
uncertain times. We respect the Second amendment right to bear arms! We will
protect our family and our food reserves. The adage "Desperate actions call for
desperate measures," comes to mind. Learning how to properly care for guns and
ammunition and to practice at the shooting range, could be an interesting hobby to
pursue. Most importantly, with gun safety, is to lock and secure firearms safely away
from children. Even if a Happy Prepper is not happy with the idea of guns, he or she
should consider the protection of a bullet proof vest. "If guns were outlawed, then
only outlaws would have guns."

Prepper Skill #34. Raising Livestock

  • Rabbits: Get a hutch, some feed, and have a willingness to water and care
    for rabbits daily. It is a commitment, but anything worthwhile is.

  • Goats: Goat keeping in your backyard may be more practical than tending the
    chickens or raising rabbits. Goats provide many benefits:
  1. Goats provide you with meat. Goat meat is comparable in nutritional
    value to lamb or beef.
  2. Goats clear the land. Goats will eat just about everything to keep a fire
    line on the perimeter of your homestead to mitigate the risk of wildfires.
  3. Goats produce milk from which you can make: cheese, yogurt and even
  4. Goats are pack animals. A select few preppers consider their goats
    "bugout goats.
  5. Goats produce dung. You can use their dried dung as fuel or their fresh
    dung for composting the manure.
  6. Goats will provide you with hide and hair! Turn their hair into mohair
    and their hide into tanned leather.

Prepper Skill #35. Scouting.
Scouts are the ultimate preppers.Like the motto says, "Be prepared."  The original
Boy Scout manual, above left, is an invaluable resource in bushcraft.

Prepper Skill #36. Shoemaking.
A lost art, shoemaking is an important prepping skill. During the Great Depression,
people could make most of the articles they needed, like clothing, or make do
without. Shoes were the harder exception and as a result they had to get crafty
and insert cardboard or repair the ones they had to make them last longer. (They
often couldn't make new shoes from scratch.)

Prepper Skill #37. Self Defense.
The study of Martial Arts not only develops self confidence, it is an extremely useful
survival tool. Happy Preppers have a basic knowledge of self defense tactics to
employ. Martial Arts have many peaceable alternatives, such as Aikido, which
contains no attacks, only defense. Without competition everyone is winner!

Prepper Skill #38. Soap Making.
Soapmaking is an essential prepper skill.

Prepper Skill #39. Welding.
Welders can offer a creative source of toolmaking from weaponry, to repairing a
vehicle, to creating an energy source. What can you weld together for your survival.
Your welding skills may help you in a survival situation. Welding is a prepper skill
recommended by Practical Preppers.

Prepper Skill #40: Whittling.
Whittle while you work! Whittling is a skill. You can whittle useful items as you pass
away the evening time, including a knitting needle or a crochet hook, games for the
kids, a slingshot, a bow and arrows, and so much more. Your shavings are helpful
for lighting a fire!

So what new prepping skills are you planning to acquire?
Get happy sharing your hobby ideas with HappyPreppers on Twitter. We're Happy
Preppers and happy to hear what you have to say. Please visit us on Twitter and
join the secret society of Happy Preppers to get prepping tips, share ideas, and to
learn of new products to keep you happy and prepared. Get ready, get prep, go!

Happy Endings...
Whatever skills you choose to add to your list of hobbies will be worthwhile! Fix-it
skills, build-it skils, make-do-without it skills, home-making skills, you have more
skills and resources available to you than you may be willing to admit. You're a
prepper and one thing's for sure, you are resourceful!

Related articles...

Prepare to live happily ever after with us at - the emergency
preparedness Web site of prepping, survival,
homesteading, and self-reliance.
Breadmaking is a survival skill
Beermaking is a Prepper Skill
Happy Prepper
Next Prepping Article
Happy Preppers site for survivalists + preppers
Thanks for visiting us at! Prepare
to live happily ever after
with us. We're the happiest
preppers on the planet.
Prepping with Kids
Snackmaster pro
Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black
Ham Two Way Radio
Adding butter to your food storage
Survival Skills for self reliance
Lost Skills of self-reliance
Surprising uses of Vaseline
How to use mylar for survival (correctly)
How to use oxygen absorbers effectively
Get started dry-pack canning
how to use coffee for survival
How to remove rust with stuff around the house
Why you need a larder of lemons
Nine Weird and wacky ways to use WD-40 for survival
20 unconventional uses of Vick's Vaporub
Ten things your first aid kit should have, but probably doesn't
27 uses for a  five gallon bucket
Getting rid of bugs naturally
Got milk in your food storage - 12 reason why you need to stock up
How to save money for more preps