Practical Prepping: Utilizing Resources and Gaining Experience
One of the most important aspects of prepping is learning the skills and techniques needed to survive a SHTF situation. What use will a stock pile of food or tools be if you don’t have the ability to properly use them, or start a fire for warmth and food preparation? With a few exceptions, survival isn’t about what you own; it’s about what you know. Prepping your skills should be a focus of any survivalist.
When approaching a building project, there are a few ways to go about it. Some people will read the instruction manual, or at least use it as a guide. Another group of people will dive right in, using trial and error to get the job finished. And then there are those who will seek advice, a helping hand, or watch a video on how to complete the task. Depending on the difficulty of the task, you may find yourself starting with one approach, and quickly changing to another. When it comes to prepping, I have found that all three approaches must be utilized; you must read, watch, and perform.
In these uncertain economic times, many of us are struggling to make ends meet, and savings are down to the lowest point on record. For the average prepper it may not be practical to run out and buy every book, video, and tool you need to help advance your skill set. My experience has taught me that there are inexpensive ways (although sometimes overlooked) to gather the things you’ll need. Here are some of the resources I have used to help me prepare without breaking the bank.
- The Local Library: Many of us have forgotten about this source for endless knowledge. While they may not always have the latest books on survival, I assure you that you will find something that will further your survival education.
- Ebooks and Apps: If you have a smart phone or tablet, there are many different websites and applications that allow you to take advantage of free eBooks. Some of the apps are merely a “Lite” version, and more content can be purchased at a cost, but it still is cheaper than the actual book most often. I recommend Amazon.com’s Kindle app, and browsing the Kindle Bookstore for all types of subjects. (It is important to note that you may not want to rely on these eBooks for future reference during a SHTF situation, and it may be wise to have the actual book on hand in case electronic devices no longer work.)
- Used Books in Stores and Online: This is very much self-explanatory. Why pay full price for something when you can find it for a fraction of the cost. Again I have found that Amazon.com has a very good selection of used books, as well as eBay.
- YouTube, Amazon Instant, and Netflix: You would be surprised how many YouTube Channels are dedicated to survival tactics, prepping, and “off the grid” survival. Sometimes you’ll have to sort through the rubbish to find a channel that suits your personal agenda, but once you find what you’re looking for and subscribe you can absorb a lot of knowledge. Many times it’s easier to witness a “how to” than to just read about it. Streaming video sites like Netflix and Amazon Instant are a valuable source of shows and documentaries that will allow you to become more familiar with all sorts of topics. Currently Netflix has the entire “Survivorman” series with Les Stroud, and a few other survival type series such as “Man,Woman,Wild” and “Man vs Wild”. We have to remember that these are Reality TV, and while some are more realistic than others, each one has valuable tips and tricks, but most of us will never find ourselves in these particular situations.
- Blogs, and Websites: If you want a simple plan on how to accomplish something, try eHow.com. If you want to research a topic, try a Blog, such as the one you’re currently on. The Internet is a treasure trove of bloggers trying to pass along information at no cost to the reader. The mainstream media doesn’t even truly offer this service anymore! Take advantage of other people’s ideas and experiences as much as you can because the more you know the better off you are.
- Go Out and Do It: While many classes on outdoor survival, first aid, and foraging for example cost money, the trial and error method is almost free (with the exception of materials used). That is not to promote hiking up a mountain with a knife and one match, while trying to survive a snowstorm. Rather try lighting a fire using multiple techniques, or build different types of shelters to see how long it takes, and how well they work. Hone the skills you have read about and watched others perform. The “hands on” approach is invaluable, and will be the greatest asset you have for survival.
Prepping is can be a way of life or a hobby. Remember a firearm or a hatchet is just hunk of metal if no one knows how to use it. Being intellectually prepared and experienced is crucial in every SHTF scenario.