6 Survival Skills for Bugging In and Out

A post by Dan Sullivan:

The topic of survival skills is a big one. There’re literally hundreds you can learn and become good at that will help you survive. From filtering water to homesteading to raising animals to making primitive tools and weapons, their number and complexity may seem intimidating. Ideally, you should get each family member to specialize in a few of them so you’re always covered no matter what happens… but some of them are too important not to have everybody learn them.

In what follows, I’m going to talk about the skills useful in both bug in and bug out situations. Hopefully, you’ll put them high up on your list, maybe even forget buying new gear for a while to focus on how to use what you already have.

#1. Staying fit.

You might be tempted to think that being in shape is only useful in excercizebug out situations (particularly if you’re older and feel that it would be too much effort). Indeed, if you can’t run, jump, walk for miles on end with a backpack on your back crawl and fend off attackers, you’re unlikely to survive in the wild. But being in shape is also needed for bugging in and homesteading purposes.

If you have a garden, if you have animals to take care of, if you have to walk for 2 miles every day just to bring water, then you need to be in shape. You need good joints, muscles, flexibility and stamina. Best to get used to them today so the shock isn’t that big post-collapse. Besides, if you break something after it hits, taking care of a wound or a broken bone is going to be really tough with little access to doctors and medication.

#2. Climbing Trees

Why would you want to climb a tree? To escape a dog, a human attacker or even a flash flood. Even if you’re bugging in, you might still do it to pick up fruits from your fruit trees, to climb onto kitchen cabinets to reach for your preps or even in your barn to hang something or to retrieve it. The movements are more or less the same and the dexterity and strength in your arms and legs are all musts.

treeKeep in mind that there’re multiple techniques to climb trees, some of them using ropes, as demonstrated in this video:


#3. Outdoor Cooking

cookingOutdoor cooking is the obvious choice for when you’re in the outdoors, but why would you need this when you’re bugging in? Well, with no electricity or gas, you might be forced to use your firewood to cook something in your back yard. Your solar cooker won’t work indoors, of course, so becoming a master at off-grid cooking is not a bad idea.

Though outdoor cooking is no big deal, once you start to get the hang of it, you’re going to become better at it. You’ll start to better season your food, maybe even look up online for recipes to surprise your family.

#4. Purifying Water

Water filtration and purification are seen as Bushcraft skills, but you’ll need them for when bugging in as well. Maybe your water source is contaminated, maybe you need to filter and then purify rain-water.

Ok, so you might not have to make a DIY water filter using charcoal, but you still need to know all the possible ways to do it. You could use a bandana to filter it and bleach to purify it… or you can simply boil it and then condense the vapors to get pure water.

#5. Bartering and Negotiation

Whether you bug in or out, you’re going to run into people. Knowing how you talk to them in and SHTF situation could make the difference between getting what you want or, worst case scenario, getting killed. I use the word “kill” sparingly but in this case it’s a must. People in 3rd world countries kill each-other every day for next to nothing, so there’s no reason not to assume they won’t do the same in the U.S. or any other “developed” country when they’re desperate enough.

#6. First Aid

Whether you need to treat a wound inside your home or out in thefirstaid wild, the anatomy of the human body is the same. Sure, when you’re bugging in, you’re less likely to injure yourself. You also have better conditions and many more supplies at your disposal, but the set of medical knowledge and skill is the same.

Final Word

I’m not a big fan of long endings, which is why I think the only thing I can tell you before you’re off to learn these skills is: practice, practice, practice!


Dan Sullivan



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