Preppers and the Primitive Life

The majority of preppers view bugging out to live a primitive life in the woods as a last resort option. In fact, I would venture a guess that most preppers have planned or are planning a strategic relocation to make bugging in more sustainable. Others know they must endure a short-term bug out from their homes to a shelter or retreat location. But you may have also heard quite a few preppers say something like “I’ve got a permanent reservation at Mother Nature’s hotel”.

This category of primitive life preppers intend to bug out to the woods and live off the land at the first sign of trouble. There’s nothing outright wrong with this tactic.

Our ancestors did it. And there are scores of avid outdoorsmen, experienced campers, and backpackers who can live off the land for short periods. At first glance, relying on the primitive life following a SHTF situation seems a logical solution to the problem of more gear and supplies than you can carry.

There’s no doubt that having some primitive survival skills will come in handy in a SHTF situation. In truth, there are scores of preppers, such as Mors Kochanski, Cody Lundin, Dave Canterbury, and Lofty Wiseman, who teach primitive skills as a career and make a good living from it. Many of these experts practice what they preach at least part-time. Some of them even routinely rely on primitive skills to survive day to day.

What Are Primitive Skills?

The term primitive skills or bushcraft skills refers to someone who can live off the land and make the best of whatever situation mother nature may throw at them, without relying on manufactured gear and supplies. Living the primitive life centers around using the resources available in whatever environment you find yourself in, to survive.

But is primitive living for preppers really the best strategy? Is the primitive life a feasible way for people to survive long-term today? If you’re considering a reservation with Mother Nature when SHTF, we’ll give you some things to think about first.

Benefits of Primitive Living for Preppers

  • the more primitive skills you have the less gear and supplies you need to carry
  • your knowledge and experience can save your life if gear fails
  • resources are plentiful if you know where to look and how to use them
  • very inexpensive way to live; no need for much cash
  • become more connected to nature
  • easier to stay on the move to avoid hordes
  • no danger of looters stealing your gear and supplies
  • very skilled survivalists could stay alive indefinitely
  • improve your use of gear when it is available
  • Sense of pride and accomplishment in doing things yourself
  • Skilled survivalists will have best chance of procuring food ahead of others

Problems with living a Primitive Life

  • More labor intensive to accomplish daily tasks
  • Requires more physical strength and stamina
  • Time can work against you frequently(storm coming, getting dark, etc.)
  • More difficult to learn and perfect skills, especially in the moment
  • The number of primitive skills you need to learn is almost never ending
  • Knowledge doesn’t equal experience
  • Learning primitive skills to a level where you can rely on them to work every time regardless of conditions takes much time and practice.
  • During a SHTF situation, your stress level is high, your energy level and mental functioning may suffer so not the best time to learn or be practicing new skills.

So what’s the verdict on living the primitive life for preppers? There’s no denying that preppers who stockpile gear and supplies may one day find that it’s still not enough. Yet, even survival experts with the greatest amount of knowledge and experience admit anything can go wrong in a survival situation. Do you really want to bet your life and your loved ones lives solely on your primitive skills?

It seems to me, a better survival strategy is to strategically relocate and plan to bug in or to set up a survival retreat where you can go when you bug out. AND learn and practice as many primitive skills as you can in the coming months and years. If your gear fails, your supplies run out, are stolen by looters, or something else goes awry, you’ll be at peace knowing that Mother Nature is your backup plan and not your sole option.

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6 thoughts on “Preppers and the Primitive Life”

  1. Our ancestors didn’t do it. To them here was unlimited area and resources. Try that today and unless you have CONSIDERABLE holdings you are going to encroach on someone else’s property. From my experience they resent you looking across their property let alone sitting a foot on or harvesting from it. Some of us may have the skills but not the place to do what we want. Knowing what to do and being able to do it are not the same thing. We have good intentions but nowhere to do it in most cases. Bugging out would be wonderful if you live where others don’t. Most of us aren’t that fortunate.

    • You must live east of the Mississippi. There’s lot’s of open land in the west. I still would be very reluctant to use wilderness living as a primary choice, although 40 years of elk hunting and a 4 season teepee with a wood stove makes a huge difference in nasty weather. Bug in, get to know you neighbors, and have a couple of security plans is my primary plan, but I do live close to 3 volcanos in the Cascades. Who know what will happen. Best have several alternatives. A 5th wheel trailer and a diesel pickup don’t hurt, either.

  2. IF the SHTF moment comes, and all of the people that thing Mother Nature is inviting them to go for it actually try to do so, there will be wall to wall people competing for extremely scarce resources.

    If you think you can survive on what nature provides today, then on your next vacation spend 6 days without taking canned or prepared foods with you and see how you fare, just to see what nature really holds for you.

  3. When there was far fewer than 320 million people in the country, living in the wild would be a good choice if you had the skills. But now you’d be lucky to find a space to settle in and survive, nevermind find food to harvest.

  4. that’s why I say live in a state that borders Canada…. the cold keeps the riff raff out and you can always sneak across the border to places with much more nature resources and very low population density.

  5. Even if you had the primitive skills needed to survive, it is no quality of life. I have zero desire to live like that. Having a place to go that is well stocked SUPPLEMENTED with primitive skills is the ideal scenario. Anyone who lives in the northern climates that see negative temperatures and snowfall measured in feet will most likely not make it living in a bushcraft shelter.


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