Putting food on the table during a SHTF event is the motivation behind why many folks start prepping. But, we must think ahead to how we will all continue to do the same post-SHTF as stockpiled supplies eventually dwindle, game is hunted out, and society begins to rebuild.
Unless an asteroid hits the Earth, life, as it always does, will go on. A vital part of any food security plan must also include a detailed section related to post-SHTF skills that can be used as a new career to put food on the table – and be used as a solid bartering service, as well.
Learning how to farm to some degree is probably already a part of your food security plan. That’s great, but you will need to both do more and have more if your agricultural skills are going to be able to serve as a post-SHTF job.
Stockpiling seeds, as well as harvesting and properly preserving seeds from what you grow is also essential.
To have a successful post-collapse career as a farmer you must not only have enough land to grow what your family needs and have enough left over to barter for food items you do not cultivate…
You also need quality dirt, a growing spot rotation plan, home canning tools and supplies, as well as the manual or horse-powered equipment to work the land once the fuel supply has been depleted.
There are many different types of farms and farmers. The tips noted above were for a traditional vegetable gardening operation.
You could also operate a dairy farm with cows or goats – or both, a hay and straw baling operation, a fruit grove, nut farm, or cotton farm, for example.
The type an amount of equipment (and help) you would need to work as a farmer will vary depending upon the type of product or products you intend to grow.
You can also learn how to pasteurize milk at home to kill potential bacteria and perhaps offer a safer milk to both use and barter with to put food on the table post-SHTF.
2. Medical Professionals
Calling a doctor will not likely be an option during or after a SHTF event. Garnering medical care, be it emergency or routine, will remain difficult even during a societal rebuilding stage.
Even if going to medical school or nursing school is not a possibility for you, possessing or learning some type of medical skills – even advanced first aid, can help put food on the table after a doomsday disaster.
Paramedics, firefighters, EMTs, nurse’s aide or nursing assistants, veterinarians, and veterinary assistants should all be able to put food on their family’s table post-SHTF by bartering their medical skills.
You can often register for classes either online or at a community college to take at least entry level or non-credit courses in the curriculum designed to lead to a degree in any of the above noted fields.
In many communities that are served by volunteer fire departments, you can request to join to serve your community and the department will pay for the first aid, advanced first aid, and firefighting courses that will all prove useful during and after a SHTF event.
Grants to take state tested nursing aid level courses are also frequently offered in many states both at local learning centers and online.
In addition to garnering new or enhanced skills, you should stockpile as many medical supplies as possible for use in your post-SHTF career, and not just to use during the doomsday event on your own family.
Being able to offer medical care to both human beings and survival livestock may just make you the “richest” person in your area once the dust settles, and folks start to regain control of both their lives and the community.
This post-SHTF career is related to the demand for medical professionals noted above. Relying on modern medicine will not be an option for long during a SHTF event.
Pharmacies and hospitals are going to be extremely likely targets of looting during the early hours and days of a disaster.
Once those shelves are bare, refilling them during a doomsday event, and the societal collapse that follows will be a near impossibility – to say the least.
Learning the natural healing and prevention methods of old coupled with growing your own herbs, roots, medicinal plants, and “weeds” will provide the basic materials needed to launch a post-SHTF apothecary business.
Many herbalist classes exist online (some are free, but more in-depth ones are not) as well as at many community colleges and county extension offices.
Taking a gardening class to learn more about growing herbs, some of which thrive in the shade, will also help you to cultivate a stockpile of apothecary supplies that can be dehydrated and preserved for long-term use.
Some of the herbs, roots, and flowers most commonly found and used in natural remedies include:
|Cayenne Pepper||Black Pepper|
Foraging for wild plants that can be dried and preserved for post-SHTF use can also aid in the stockpiling of herbal remedies base ingredients – and won’t cost you anything but the time spent hiking around your survival homestead or in the woods.
Never pick anything that you cannot 100% identify, know has not been sprayed with chemical pesticides, and it is legal to harvest.
Wild plants most often found in natural remedies include:
|Yarrow||Queen Anne’s Lace – wild carrots|
|Lamb’s Ear||Red Clover|
Basic Herbalist and Apothecary Supplies
- Mortar and pestle
- Manual gel capsule machine
- Gel capsules in adult, child, and livestock sizes
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Airtight storage containers in a variety of sizes
- Carrier oils – olive, almond, coconut, and glycerin are most often used
- Amber glass store bottles
- Medicine droppers for liquid herbal remedies
- White cotton cloth for making poultices
- Cheesecloth for straining ingredients
- Double boiler
A successful beekeeping operation will also offer the SHTF survival prepper multiple avenues for bartering to put food on the table. The honey itself can be traded for food you do not grow or raise yourself, but that is just one way to use the bounty produced by the apiary.
Thanks to the potential natural healing powers of honey, it can be sold or traded with an herbalist for either herbs that you can use to flavor and add extra nutrients to the food you are cooking, or for post-SHTF “medicine” or aid.
A beekeeper can also rent out his or her hives to farmers and backyard gardeners to help pollinate their crops to foster a robust harvest – and in return share the food that is produced.
Honey can also be used as a preservative. A beekeeper could trade honey produced in the apiary to folks who needed it to preserve the meat and fruit they produce, in exchange for those same items.
The bees themselves can become a commodity for barter in a post-SHTF society. A full producing colony or quality queen bees can be traded for food and other goods and services a prepper needs.
Common Beekeeper Tools and Supplies
- Beekeeping suit
- Beekeeping hood
- Beekeeping gloves (they cover the hands and the arms)
- Hive tool
- Queen catcher
- Sugar and water to make supplemental feed
- Queen excluder
Purchasing all of the supplies that you need to start beekeeping as part of your post-SHTF career plans – as well as quality bees, will typically run close to $400. But, almost everything you purchase can be used for many years, indefinitely.
Building your own beehive boxes and frames will greatly reduce the startup costs. The one thing you never want to skip on is bee quality, especially when it pertains to the queen bee.
Catching wild bees and incorporating them into your beekeeping operation is also an option – but it is one that takes skills, a few more tools, a good bit of time, and an enhanced risk of getting swarmed and stung a dangerous amount of times.
Raising your own meat may make you a prime target during a SHTF situation, but if you can keep all of your survival breeding stock throughout the worst of the disaster they can be used for bartering for food, goods, and services post-SHTF.
When folks hear the term “ranching” they think of large spreads and big livestock, like cattle.
If you have ample acreage as part of your survival homestead, keeping cows would be ideal. But, you can keep medium or small livestock to feed your family and to barter with on substantially smaller plots of land.
The live animals can be sold as breeding pairs to other ranchers, farmers, and homesteaders that survived the long-term disaster or sold to butcher for meat.
While meat as a source of protein will be vital to the prepping family, garnering vegetables, fruits, and bread will be necessary as well.
Being able to butcher live animals as a sole career (or a side business to run with a ranch) will be an in high demand post-collapse.
Setting up a home butcher shop that is purely for residential use does not require any type of government oversight if you live in a rural area where zoning laws and permit offices do not exist.
If you sell your services to the public in a pre-SHTF world, expect to deal with a lot of red tape and added expense.
Preppers who survive the SHTF event, have carpentry skills, and have stockpiled the manual tools to work in an off the grid world will likely also be in high demand.
When society begins to rebuild both in a figurative and literal sense, men and women who can repair or build homes, build outhouses, livestock pens and coops, and construct wood bridges etc. will have ample necessary skills to trade for food to put on the table.
Common Woodworking and Carpentry Manual Tools
|Manual Drill||Tape Measure|
|Sliding Bevel||Moisture Meter|
|Block and Tackle||Hacksaw|
|Ball Ping Hammer||Combination Square|
|Divider Compass||Marking Gauges|
|Mortise Gauges||Striking Knife|
|Carpentry Pencils – Drafting Pencils||Straightedge|
|Winding Sticks||Folding Rule|
|Pinch Rod||Feeler Gauge|
|Trammel Points||Frame Saws|
|Back Saws||Hand Brace Drill|
|Rasps and Files||Drawknife|
In a post-SHTF world cars may not still be running or even if they are, getting usable fuel for them may not be.
Once gasoline and diesel fuel stockpiles run out, only those folks who can use and make their own biodiesel fuel will be able to operate vehicles and machinery.
It will be horses and not modern vehicles and farm equipment which will offer transportation and power in a post-SHTF world.
Once again, the need for blacksmiths will be readily apparent in every community. Blacksmiths who can make horse shoes, wagon wheels, fencing components, weapons, gates, and tools can trade their services to put food on the table, and for other goods and services.
Common Manual Blacksmith Tools
- Turning Forks
- Tong Rings
- Tong Clips
- Metal Woodworking Hammers
- Swan Neck Hardies
- Hardy Hole Size in Anvils
- Hardy Tools
- Hardy Shank Fittings
- Cutting Chisel
- Cold Cutter
- Anvil Bick – Hardy Bick
- Mushroom Hardy
- Halfpenny Snub Hand Scroll
- Hardy Swage
- Rivet Header
- Rose Petal Swage
- Dog Bone Swage
- Bottom Fuller
- Top Fuller
- Cheese Fuller
- Cross Pein Hammer
- Hofi Hammer
- Clipping Hammer
9. HAM Radio Operator
Communication will be essential for many reasons both during and after a disaster. HAM radio operators will be able to warn members of their community about potential marauders, bad weather, and illness that is sweeping into the region by connecting with their peers around the state, country, and globe.
Information, as the old saying goes, “is power.”
A HAM radio operator that is willing to share or post news to help protect the community and to use his or her equipment and skills for residents trying to connect with loved ones away from the area, will definitely have a solid bartering service to offer in exchange for food and other goods.
In a pre-SHTF world, one would need a HAM radio operator’s license to legally.
Even if you may not need such a license during a post-SHTF disaster, taking the training and getting licensed now will teach you how to use the device, memorize frequencies, and connect with like-minded folks from both near and far.
The HAM radio should be stored without the battery inside in a Faraday Cage, as should any backup radios, receivers, boosters, and repair parts to protect them from any type of EMP or solar flare.
Top HAM Radio Brands – Devices
- Baofeng BF-F8HP
- TYT MD-380
- Icom ID-51A
- Yaesu VX-6R
- Yaesu FT-60R
- Kenwood TH-D74A
Being able to make patterns, sew clothing from scratch manually, and to repair damaged clothing, outerwear, and socks will eventually be a high demand career in a post-SHTF world.
Clothing will become worn a lot more quickly than it does not do to the increase in manual labor the survivors will be engaging in on a daily basis.
A seamstress (or sewist as they are now often referred to in our politically correct world) can also make clothing for children (who as we all know, grow quickly), and for the babies that will be born after SHTF.
In addition to being able to sew, a person who can knit, crochet, and quilt will increase his or her opportunity to barter services for food to put on the table for the prepping family.
Common Manual Sewing Tools and Supplies
- Manual Sewing Machine
- Thread – cotton, polyester, upholstery, quiltiny, etc.
- Patterns – free and and incredibly cheap sewing patterns can be found online, downloaded, and covered in clear contact paper to preserve them for long-term use.
- Seam Ripper
- Chalk or washable sewing pencils
- Measuring Tape
- Size Chart
- Sewing Scissors in both large and small sizes
- Pinking Shears
- Straight Pins
- Sewing Box
- Pin Cushion
- Fasteners- buttons, Velcro, snaps, etc.
- Needle Threader
- Tracing Tool
- Sewing Gauge
Get creative when stockpiling fabric. Check out yard sales for tablecloths, sheets, curtains, and other bedding items that are often sold for an extremely low price, and may even have stains or tears – making them cheaper still.
This type of multi-purpose fabric can be used to make baby sleepers, child pajamas, sturdy pants or lightweight sundresses.
Two of my favorite freebie sewing patterns guides even a novice seamstress through the simple steps to turn a pillowcase into a baby or toddler dress, and how to turn a man’s button down shirt into a dress for a little girl.
Just like with carpenters, a skilled mason will be worth his or her weight in gold. A skilled mason can repair or build bridges, retaining walls, structures, and even roads.
A community determined to protect its boundaries from marauders could keep a mason busy building walls, LP/OPs, setting fence posts and gate posts as well as other self-defense and boundary related structures for many years. As the community grows, so will the need for quality masonry.
Common Manual Masonry Tools and Supplies
- Square Notch Trowel
- Margin Trowel
- Brick Hammer
- Cold Chisel
- Wire Brush
- Veneer Mortar
- Portland Cement
- Ready Mix Concrete
- Yard Stick
- Measuring Tape
A potter can make not just plates, bowls, pie pans, and mugs but also storage vessels for food, foraging, and other necessary supplies that need to be contained and portable.
Once the Mason jar lids run out people will resort once again to pottery to store food. Pottery creations can also be used to make growing containers for survival gardens, to store root vegetables, as well as for cooking and hauling water.
Common Manual Pottery Tools and Supplies
- Manual Pottery Kick Wheel – commercially manufactured or DIY
- Kiln – commercially manufactured or DIY
- Earthenware Clay
- Stoneware Clay
- Porcelain Clay
- Metal or Nylon cut off wire tool
- Chamois Cloth
- Wooden Rib Tools
- Pin Tools – for making pot lids and removing bubbles from the clay
- Throwing Stick
- Trimming Tools
- Glaze – commercially manufactured or DIY
- Scale Texture Tool
- Hole Cutter
- Triangular Loop Tool
- Wire End Tool
- Two Sided Handle Maker Tool
13. Rope Maker
Learn the bushcraft skill of ropemaking (among others) to increase your chances of bartering for food and other necessary goods and services in a post-SHTF world.
If we either suddenly or slowly find ourselves living back in an 1800s world, ropes will be commonly needed “tools.”
Ropes will likely be used as part of block and tackle to lift heavy objects once machinery has run out of fuel, to tie down goods on the way to the community market place, for climbing and rappelling, guylines, to construct tent-like structures, to lead and secure livestock, in wild game traps, to bale hay and straw, and to tow wagons and trailers – among many other uses.
Common Manual Rope Making Tools and Supplies
- Manual Rope Making Machine
- Rope Wrenches* in a variety of sizes and widths
- Rope and Pulley Traveler Board
- Bench or wall to mount the rope making machine too
- Tape Measurer
- Handheld Anvil Cutter
- Whipping Material – to secure the ends of the rope
- Electrical Tape or waxed lacing cord to cover the ends to prevent fraying
- Ropemaking material
Rope tools (or wrenches) are an essential, but a far lesser known part of the rope making process.
A rope wrench looks somewhat like a forked stick, and is designed to hold three strands of rope. It can also be attached to another wrench to form a cross shape so the rope can be composed of four strands.
Natural Material Rope Can Be Made Out Of
|Dogbane – Bast||Flax|
|Douglas Iris Bark||Basswood|
|Cotton||Whole Stem Stule|
A leathercrafter can make and repair equine tack like saddles and saddlebags, boots, gloves, satchels, footwear, straps, basket handles, and clothing items.
Learning how to tan your own animal hides will increase the availability of free materials to work with while learning or honing leather crafting skills before the SHTF.
When properly tanned, conditioned, and stored, leather will keep for many, many years.
If you do not raise your own survival livestock or hunt, check with a local butcher or hunter will often give you the hide of an animal if asked so they can avoid dealing with getting rid of the unwanted part of the animal.
Common Manual Leather Crafting Tools and Supplies
|Heavyweight needle designed for leather||Awl|
|Measuring Tape||Sharp Knife – Utility Knife|
|Thick thread designed for leathercrafting||Cutting Board|
|Stitching Clam or Pony||Spacer|
|Prickling Irons – Chisels||Burnishers|
|Dies||Leather Thickness Gauge|
|Leather Wax||Leather dye and deglazers – optional|
|Rivet Setters||Thick sharp scissors and/or rotary cutting tool|
|Pricking Wheel||Strap Cutters|
|Leather Stamps – optional||Stitching Groover|
|Strop||Compass – Wing Divider|
Every home that does not already heat with wood will need to convert to this natural energy source in a post-SHTF world unless they power with solar panels or other off grid power systems that are still functional.
A sawyer – or wood cutter, will be able to put extra food on the table by cutting and delivering firewood to the homes of survivors as well as businesses or makeshift community offices that emerge during the society rebuilding stage.
Even during the warm weather months of the year or if you are riding out the apocalypse in a hot climate, firewood will still be necessary to use for barter.
It will be needed for cooking, purifying water, pasteurizing milk from dairy livestock, and to boil water for disinfecting medical tools.
Blacksmiths will also be in need of a constant supply of firewood to heat their forges as will potters to power their kilns.
Common Manual Sawyer Tools
- Splitting Axe
- Wood or Steel “can’t hook” tool
- Curved Draw Shave
- Pulaski Axe
- Long Handled Brush Clearing Hook
- Tool Ditch Blank Blade
- Crosscut Saw
- Two Man Crosscut Saw
- Tree Loppers
- Pruning Saw
Being able to make barrels will keep a SHTF survivor busy and his or her family well fed. Barrels will be used to store any number of food items being kept both residential and transported to a market for barter.
Water will be toted and stored in barrels and wooden buckets, as will fish, and so on.
Once society has started to rebuild a volunteer fire brigade will likely form to help protect the homes and other structures in the community. They too will need ample buckets to use for firefighting.
Common Manual Tools Used By Coopers
- Hoop Driver
- Coopers Hammer
- Rounded Draw Knife
- Hollowing Draw Knife
- Coopers Hand Adze
- Sun Plane – Topping Plane
- Cooper’s Croze
- Howell or Chiv
Possessing the ability to both make and repair footwear will help a doomsday disaster survivor put food on the table for the prepping family after a SHTF event.
Shoes and especially boots, must remain in good repair for folks to complete the daily and physically demanding tasks that will need accomplished in order to not just survive, but thrive after a massive disaster.
A cobbler, especially one with leather crafting skills, will be easily able to barter footwear repair and making services for food, good, and other essential services.
Children will need footwear replaced even more frequently than adults due to their growing feet – ensuring a steady supply of customers long into the future.
Stockpiling shoe and boot laces of all sizes, leather, rivets, and sole inserts will help ensure you have the supplies you need to start making shoes and boots once the need arises, or make some now in a variety of sizes so you can trade them for food at a moment’s notice.
Common Manual Cobbler Tools
- Manual shoe repair machine – optional but so highly recommended
- Shoemaker Hammer
- Shoemaker Rasp
- Shoemaker Pincers
- Shoemaker Knife
- Pattern making supplies: Shoemaker tape, Straight Angle Ruler, Shoe Last, Utility Knife, cardboard, compass, 4A paper, pencil or erasable pen
- Thick leather for upper and lining
- Texon and Shankboard for insole cardboard coverings
- Vegetable tanned leather for heels and soles
- Shoemaking nails
- Hardwood or Steel shanks – depending on shoe type
- Contact glue
- Reinforcement Tape
18. Gunsmith and Reloader
Making and repairing firearms might seem like a risky proposition during a SHTF event – and it may very well be. In a post-SHTF world, as society rebuilds, the risk that comes with helping others remain armed will be reduced, but not necessarily zero.
That being said (alright, typed) you could become a doomsday millionaire of sorts if you possess both the skills and supplies necessary to work as a gunsmith.
A gunsmith who is also an accomplished ammo reloader only serves to advance his standing in the community as well as the ability to barter for food and others goods and services. Anytime you barter firearms of any type, you run the risk of having those same goods turned on your and your family.
Arming your community and training all members to serve as a militia will, in contrast, help keep you and your loved ones safe. Both possible outcomes are solid points to ponder when considering gunsmithing and/or reloading as a post-SHTF career choice.
Common Gunsmith Tools and Supplies
- Gunsmith screwdrivers with tapered and beveled heads
- Gunsmith pinch pin set
- Armorers wrench
- Gunsmith Hammers and/or ball pein hammers
- Gunsmith rawhide mallets
- Laser bore sighter
- Hex key set
- Gun Vise – bench vise
- Bench Block
- Standard screwdrivers set
- Torx head drivers
- Gunsmithing feeler gauge
- Needle files
- India stone
- Dremel set
Making cookware and tools from tin is a skill that has been almost lost in our modern society, but one that will surely see a staunch resurgence in a post-SHTF world.
Not only can a tinsmith make household goods, he or she could also use their skills working with light metals to repair machinery, built traps, and fencing.
Common Manual Tinker Tools
|Pelican snip||Tin snips|
|Pliers||Copper soldering bits|
|Oblong hole puncher||Soldering iron and accessories supplies|
|Angled piccolo seaming pliers||Flange and curve bender|
|Straight piccolo seaming pliers||Single and double seaming tools|
|Double lock seamer||Lap joint seaming pliers|
|Vice grip wrench||Bender tool|
|Seam opening pliers||Picard hammer|
|Crimping pliers||Bottom swage|
All of those horseshoes the blacksmith made are not going to hop onto the hooves of horses all by themselves.
A farrier, or a person who doubles as a blacksmith as often happened during the pioneering days, will have no shortage of work to use as barter for food in a post-SHTF world.
Horses that are used for heavy agricultural work and wagon pulling, will need their hooves trimmed and shoes replaced a lot more frequently that the pleasure riding horses most farriers serve today.
A horse’s health is deeply linked to its feet and no survivor with a horse will want to chance their primary source of transportation turning up lame by neglecting proper horseshoe replacement and hoof care.
Common Manual Farrier Tools
|Solid grip nail puller||Forge|
|Shoe puller||Hoof testers|
|Rasp – in varying sizes||Tongs|
|Straight pein hammer||Cross pein hammer|
|Pritchel – a pointy chisel||Rounding hammer|
|Nailing hammer||Nail cutter|
|Hoof gauge||Hoof stand|
Another blacksmith and farrier type post-SHTF career that will put food on the table is that of wheelwright.
Wagon wheels will not only need to be made, but also repaired on a regular basis. Wheels will not only be needed for wagons, but also for off grid power sources like windmills.
Common Manual Wheelwright Tools
|Broadax||Goose wing axe|
|Adze||Chisels in various sizes|
|Ball pein hammer|
22. Water Hauler
If you have a natural spring, creek or pond on your property that supplies more water than your prepping family can use (or if live next to a river), you could become a water hauler.
Delivering water to other members of the community in exchange for food or other goods and services will require a sturdy pulling team of mules, donkeys, or horses, a wagon, and containers of some type to hold the water.
23. Basket Weaver
Just like the need for buckets and barrels will increase substantially in a post-SHTF world, so will the need for baskets.
Simple bushel baskets will be needed to house and transport the garden or farm harvest, to take goods to market, to make fishing traps, wild animal traps, and a host of other common household, farm, ranch, and small business uses.
Basket materials can be woven into simple fences to keep small critters out of growing plots, to use as tomato cages, to make trellises for plants to grow upon, and to be used as sitting or hanging planters.
Common Manual Basket Weaving Tools and Supplies
|Saboten Pruning Shears||Chip Carving Knife|
|Angled High Precision Shear||Plato Cutter|
|Plastic Folding Tool||Sanding pads|
|Caning Awl||Mini Spring Clamps|
|Spring Clamps||Long Nose pliers|
|Weave Rite Tools in various sizes||Hand plane|
|Heavy duty awl||Spoke weight|
Natural Fibers Used For Basket Weaving
Once society starts to rebuild parents with children will need them to learn how to read, write, do math, and understand useful science concepts (especially agricultural ones) and want them to learn American history.
Everyone will be working either in the home, on the farm, or in some other capacity that serves to build and protect the post-SHTF community – meaning someone will need to tend to the children when they too are not embroiled in chores.
The old-fashioned one room schoolhouse will likely again develop, with the children starting school after the harvest, and ending the year before planting time.
A bachelors in education will be great to possess, but merely the ability to teach children the basics along with useful information they must master in the new world will suffice.
Homeschooling parents, of which there are many in the prepping community, will be especially well positioned for such a post-SHTF career choice.
Stockpiling pencils, chalk, buying or making individual chalkboards, laminating learning activity sheets, buying or making learning games, and using the Charlotte Mason concept of hands-on, “living books” instead of textbooks.
Outdoor learning will also be a huge advantage for both the teacher who needs supplies, and for the students who need to learn the skills they will one day use to both support themselves, survive, and then thrive in a world that will be far unlike the ones their parents grew up in.
In addition to these 24 jobs that will put food on the table post-SHTF, preppers can also barter their hunting, archery, and angler skills to trade a protein rich food source for milk, fruits, vegetables, honey, etc.
An enterprising prepper might also want to build what could be used as a barn or farm machinery equipment shed now and a trading post after the long-term disaster and trade space at the market for food to feed their family.
Most preppers likely have some of the skills and some of the supplies needed to engage in the post-SHTF careers already in their possession.
Choose one or two of doomsday disaster career choices, and focus on honing your skills to master all necessary aspects of the job and then cross-train members of your family so they can help your run the business – or go solo in case you are hurt, sick, or do not make it through the first phases of the SHTF event.