I’ve been around a while, and when I first got into prepping, I knew next to nothing about hunting knives, EDC’s or stocking food and water.
However, I learned a LOT on my way up, and I can tell you – it takes a LOT to become an expert prepper.
It’s my job to teach you everything I know (and to share with you the new things I learn) in order to survive a disaster. And that also means helping you hone your skills so you can become an expert prepper.
7 Survival Skills You Need To Become An Expert Prepper
1 – Know How Much Daylight You’ve Got Left
It’s critical that you’re able to tell how many hours of daylight you have left in an SHTF situation. This information is pivotal in helping you know how much time you have left for hunting, , cooking your survival food, collecting water, and finding a safe place to build your survival shelter (P.S: if you need tips on the best places to build your shelter, click here).
However, if your watch breaks, your phone dies and/or your survival radio isn’t working, you’re going to be SOL until you understand how to figure out how much daylight is left.
Luckily, there’s a very simple way to get an accurate estimation of the time you have left.
This method works for the average-sized adult hand. In this exercise, each full hand represents an hour, and each finger represents 15 minutes.
First, move to a clear area where you can see the sun, as well as the horizon.
Place your right arm straight out in front of you, facing the sun. Then bend your wrist and tuck in your thumb. Your palm should be facing you, and the your hand should be making a horizontal line directly under the sun so it’s resting on your pointer finger.
Next, do the same thing with your left arm, tucking in your thumb and keeping your palm facing you. Put this hand directly underneath your right hand.
Continue moving your hands underneath each other until you reach the horizon. Once you’ve hit the horizon, count up how many full hands/fingers it took to get there. This will tell you how much time you have left.
For example, if you use this exercise and you can lay a full hand directly under the sun, plus two fingers before the sun hits the horizon, that means you have about an hour and a half until darkness sets in.
Here’s a handy visual to show you what I mean:
Keep in mind if you get stuck out in the dark you’re going to have to figure out how to get back to your home/bug out site (which can be extremely difficult once the sun goes down. Get home faster using our super popular Lensatic Compass (left) and our Glow-In-The-Dark Pocket Compass (right)
2 – Be Able To Drive A Variety Of Vehicles
Many preppers have a “bug out vehicle” they plan on using once SHTF – and that’s great for preparing. However, the truth is a ton of disasters can happen to that vehicle, such as it breaking down or getting in a wreck.
That’s why it’s dangerous to depend solely on one vehicle to get you the hell out of dodge.
None of us know what situation we’ll end up in when disaster strikes – and when that happens you may not even have access to your bug out vehicle.
So what do you do then?
For these reasons, it can be incredibly helpful to know how to drive a variety of vehicles, such as bulldozers, semi-trucks, all-terrain vehicles, and a plethora of others.
Also, if you don’t know how to drive a manual now, it is imperative you learn this instant. This is a life skill that really comes in handy in a crisis, as well as in everyday life.
Preparing in this way will help ensure you can get away in almost ANY kind of vehicle if you need to.
3 – Have The Tools To Barter With
One of the more popular topics in the prepping community is bartering, with booze and cigarettes taking center stage as the prime haggling tools.
And on one hand, people are right – booze and cigarettes can provide excellent ways to sway another party to trade with you, or to do your bidding.
However, the major mistake most preppers make is they leave these essentials out of their stockpile, assuming they’ll just “pick these up along the way.”
Other preppers who partake of the booze, cigarettes and other traditional bartering tools have these sitting in their bug out bag; however, they don’t have a separate “haggling pile” that they’ve segregated them into.
This, too, is dangerous because once SHTF and things get desperate, it’ll be REAL hard to part with that alcohol and cigarettes if you think you might not have enough to share.
Now keep in mind it’s not just alcohol and cigarettes people will be after – it’s also weapons and survival tools (particularly powerless ones in an EMP, like those featured here), survival food, emergency water, paracord, first-aid items, and fuel.
My advice is to stock your bug out bag, and then have a separate “haggling pile” with which to trade important items for bartering. This way you’ll have enough for yourself and your family, but you also can afford to part with certain things to get a leg up in a survival situation.
You can find a few of the hottest bartering tools below (sorry, booze and cigs not included):
4 – Your Boot Laces Aren’t Handy
Look down at the boot laces you’re planning on using for survival. Are they regular old shoelaces? If so, you’re ignoring one of the most basic and life-saving tricks in the book.
Here’s an Expert Prepper Tip: Remove your old shoelaces and replace them with 550 paracord. This little trick will allow you to remove the laces when necessary and use them to tie down a shelter, make an emergency tourniquet, tie loose gear to a backpack, and about 97 other uses featured here.
Plus, the beauty is you can always cut more paracord from your supply and use this to replace your shoelaces with.
Or, if you’re really prepared, you have laces that also act as a fire starter like these ones:
Paracord can also be used as an excellent bartering tool, specifically because of its multitude of uses. If you need to pick up some extra cord, we’ve got top-selling 550 paracord for your use below:
5 – Know How To Fix/Maintain A Car
I was shocked to learn how many men and women out there don’t know how to fix and maintain a car.
This is an imperative skill to have because if you’re depending on your bug out vehicle to save you, you’ll need to know how to fix it when it breaks down (and yes, something is bound to break when you least expect it).
When SHTF you’ll need to know how to do things like change tires, replace fluids, change out hoses and belts, and replace spark plugs (just to name a few).
You’ll also need to have a set of tools with you to do the job, as well as oil, jumper cables, tow strap and at least one spare tire.
Note: If you want jumper cables that’ll jumpstart a battery 20 times on a single charge, as well as one that charges your cell phone and has a built-in LED flashlight, you’re gonna need our amazingly compact Pocket Jumper (featured below).
If S really HTF and you have to abandon your vehicle for whatever reason, you’ll also need to know how to salvage parts from it to use them for ulterior purposes. This is also a great skill to have if you find an abandoned car you want to scavenge. Learn the tricks of this trade here.
6 – Know How To Handle Conflict
When a major crisis occurs, everyone will probably be stressed out and agitated, and you’re likely to have quite a few heated arguments on your hands, and even a few fights breaking out because of it.
However, having the ability to keep a cool head in these situations is vital to your survival. This is because, in the heat of the moment, preppers can easily do or say something they’ll immediately regret, causing them to lose allies; this can even put a target on their back if they mess with the wrong people.
As such, it’s your job to know how to diffuse these situations, and to know how to deal with these conflicts when they occur.
By being the voice of reason in a tense setting, you’ll not only gain others’ trust and make a few allies (which is imperative in a survival situation), but you’ll also likely be the one your group looks to for guidance, giving you the power to influence the decision-making of the group.
Interpersonal skills should NOT be overlooked once SHTF – and the better you are at them, the better off you’re likely to be in a crisis.
7 – Make A Raised Fire
If it’s wet on the ground – or especially if there’s snow – it can be really tough to get a fire going and keep it burning.
However, if you make a fire with a raised bed, this helps eliminate the issue; it also gives you an easier way to cook and maintain your fire, as you’ll have a nice flat surface you can work on while standing.
This is also an excellent option for preppers with back problems.
Take a look below:
Now as you saw in the video, the man was able to make a pretty cool-looking and functional raised bed for his fire. And if you’ve got all the time in the world and an impressive hacksaw, this might just be the best option for you.
But let’s be realistic, people. There are going to be times when you’re in an SHTF situation and you just don’t have the time to build your own raised platform to stack logs on.
There are going to be times when all you have time to do is throw some sticks and tinder together, light a small fire, boil some water/cook your food/warm your hands, and get out of dodge. There won’t be time for all this other fancy stuff.
And if you’re bugging out in winter or in a rainy environment, you can bet there’ll be a good amount of snow and wetness on the ground.
So what do you do?
Instead of going through the trouble of making your own raised platform, you can make it easy on yourself and use tinder and fire starters that work well in any kind of weather.
I’m talking about our weather-resistant survival items featured below.
Each of these survival tools are guaranteed to work in the rain and snow – even if they’re soaking wet.
Using these, you can still get a spark going in the dead of winter or even in a torrential rainstorm (and every weather condition in-between).
Plus, the nice thing is that each of these survival products are so compact they can easily and safely fit in your pocket…which I can’t exactly say about the hacksaw.
My point is you’re going to need to be able to start a fire no matter what the weather conditions are. And unless you have these weatherproof survival tools on-hand, getting that fire started is going to be a way bigger hassle than it needs to be.
Do yourself a favor and stock up on the rain-and-snow-proof survival products below. It may just save your life in the upcoming crisis.