How to Become a Survivalist


There are many potential natural disasters and man-made catastrophes that could prevent access to staples like food, clothing and shelter. Becoming a survivalist means developing a preparedness mindset and learning the skills necessary to survive anything from inconveniences to calamities.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertile gardening land (at least 2 acres for a family of three, scaled 1/4 acre per additional child)
  • Nitrogen-packed heirloom (or non-hybrid) seeds for long-term storage
  • Gun or bow
  • Ammunition or arrows with hunting tips
  • Hand tools including hammer, screwdrivers, saws, nails, etc.
  • Hand-operated grain grinder and other appliances
  • Approved food-grade plastic storage buckets
  • Choose at least one form of hunting weapon and style. Practice regularly for development of marksmanship skills by firing the weapon at targets from different angles, such as from tree stands or from the foot of a hill aiming upward, to ensure accurate shots in any terrain. For bow hunting larger animals such as deer, an excellent primer is "Bowhunting Pressured Whitetails" by John Elberhart. If choosing firearms, "Complete Guide to Hunting" by Gary Lewis.

  • Learn can or bottle vegetables and meats. In long-term disaster situations, electricity will not be available to operate power-hungry freezers, so gaining proficiency in two or more alternative meat-storage skills is a must for any serious survivalist. An exhaustive publication which takes the reader step-by-step is "Preserving Summer's Bounty: A Quick And Easy Guide To Freezing, Canning, Preserving, And Drying What You Grow" by Rodale Food Center, edited by Susan McClure.

  • Purchase a minimum of one 50-pound bag each of dry cleaned wheat, beans and powdered milk per person in the household, whether adult or child. Place the dry non-perishables in food-grade plastic buckets and keep a lid snapped tightly onto each at all times, opening and using only one at a time until gone.

  • Improve your gardening skills using heirloom (non-hybrid) seeds. Allow several plants of each vegetable type to grow into seed. Don't harvest those plants, just collect the seeds from the plants and allow them to air-dry for several days. Place them into dry containers and plant them for food the following year.

  • Study up on at least two species of edible foraging animals that can be trapped easily, and then learn how to build traps for those animal types. For example, pheasants eat wild berries. By tying a piece of string to the stem holding a couple of berries and then connecting the string to a stick which holds up the trap cage, the bird will trigger the trap when pulling the berries off of the stem. For the beginning trapper, a good reference for starting out is "Beginners Guide to Hunting and Trapping Secrets" by Duane Lund.

  • Learn how to build an outdoor wood-fired oven for cooking when natural gas, propane or electricity aren't available. Stockpile cooking staples such as yeast (keep plenty on hand but rotate because yeast expires), salt, spices, wood and matches. See the reference below for Forno Bravo's free oven plans which guide the survivalist step-by-step in building a highly durable unit.

  • Keep at least one month worth of drinking water stored per person in the household, a minimum of one gallon per person per day. If possible, have your own water well drilled and install a have a hand-operated pump alongside the electric pump.

  • Stockpile sharpening stones and files, as well as an assortment of knives and machetes. With hand tools and plenty of knives, you can deal with almost any situation.

  • Pay attention to what you and your family use on a daily basis, and how much. Write down how much of everything used, even to things as small as toothpicks. Keep a journal of all items and quantities used, and then plan a minimum 90-day stockpile of those items.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep all canned meats in a cool, dark environment for longer storage periods. Discard any jar which comes unsealed during storage as it is most likely spoiled and unsafe to consume. Dry edibles should be kept in cool low-humidity area.

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