Survival Skills

Bug Out Plan: Assessing Your Survival Skills and Weaknesses

Survival Skills Quiz
Bugout Profile: Assessing your survival skills and ability

A disaster situation, especially one where survival may be at stake, exerts a lot of unusual pressure – on you. If you can grab your bug out bag, throw it in the car and drive to safety in a few hours – great. If not….

As we’ve mentioned several times in other bug out profile articles, there’s a big difference between disasters and emergency situations that temporarily cause people to leave and those that may take weeks or months before a return is possible, if at all. Namely, survival skills.
Put another way, if you live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and because of a hurricane you have to escape to North Florida (say Tallahassee), you grab your BOB, jump in the family vehicle and head north. The only skills you need are the ability to negotiate traffic and have earned enough money to pay the bills in North Florida. However, what if you live in Fort Lauderdale and there is a major political uprising in South Florida and because of the situation all over the U.S. you have to retreat to the nearby Everglades to survive.

As every Floridian knows (and a lot of other people), living in the Everglades on a long-term basis would be…difficult. Getting out of Fort Lauderdale and to a safe place in the ‘Glades may be a survival challenge in itself, but living there with the mud, snakes, alligators and insects is an even greater challenge that requires survival skills.

The skills and abilities for living away from civilization are many and varied. It’s obvious that being fit and healthy really helps, but you need to know your limits, no matter what your condition. The necessary survival skills depends a lot on where you go when you bug out. Survival SkillsAssume a situation more drastic than relocating temporarily to another city, that is, bugging out to a survival situation either more or less in wild nature or in some kind of altered human environment (like after a major earthquake or a bombing attack).

Living “off the grid,” that is, away from settled areas and cut off from electricity, phones, food sources, and all the other things that are provided by “civilization” puts to the test all kinds of skills and abilities, for example:


Orienteering Survival Skills
– a fancy word for knowing how to move around without getting lost. Some folks are good at doing this intuitively, but most people need to learn how to read maps, use a compass, and understand ‘the lay of the land.’ In other words, orienteering is a survival skill. It’s obviously useful in wilderness survival, but it’s almost as easy to get lost in an urban environment – especially if a disaster of some kind has altered it substantially.

Hunting Survival Skills – probably self-explanatory for most folks as it’s a way of providing
food (among other thSurvival Skillsings). For most people, it takes time, even years, to build up the skill to be a successful hunter – and having to do it in a survival situation may complicate the difficulty. By the way, hunting doesn’t mean exclusively shooting something with a gun – bow and arrow, slingshot and spear can also be very effective – and quiet. These are separate skills in their own right. Also, shooting game is only the beginning, you need the skills for dressing and preparing to eat (or preserve) the game.

Fishing – another obvious option for survival skills, providing that fish are available. Most
people who bug out have probably fished, but the question for survival is how to do it with repeated success as a food source. Chances are you won’t have specialized gear; you might not even have a fishing rod. Survival fishing skills can be a delicate balance of improvising and knowing how to catch specific fish in a particular location.

Trapping Survival Skills – everybody knows about hunting and fishing, but trapping, an ancient skill, has gone out of favor. Trapping takes all the observation skills of hunting and then requires the specific skills of how to construct a trap (or set a commercial trap) and place it so that it actually catches something. While almost anyone can ‘get lucky’ with hunting or fishing, trapping has a learning curve; it’s a skill that has to be deliberately acquired.

Food gathering – outside of hunting, fishing and trapping the world provides food of many kinds, mainly plants and some mushrooms. The trick is knowing what to find, where to find it, how to gather it, how to prepare it and how to eat it – safely. Food gathering requires a lot of knowledge and survival skills, especially for observation and preparation, nevertheless, in many survival situations food gathering will be the most reliable and consistent way to provide food.

Survival SkillsImprovise construction and repair – these might be called MacGyver survival skills, the ability to use materials at hand to construct things, especially shelter, and to repair things you bring along in the BOB. Knowing your materials is one thing, ingenuity is another. Both are enhanced by lots of experience.

Defense and safety – don’t mistake these as simply a matter of carrying weapons. The skills involved with defense and safety are more complicated than that, for example, detection is a primary skill long before a weapon is drawn. Of course, the skill of knowing how to use a weapon for defense (or offense for that matter) is still very necessary.

Camping/outdoor survival skills for heating, cooking, sheltering, hygiene – anyone who has done extended camping will be familiar with these skills. If they’re not familiar, then as a survival measure it would be a good idea to practice ahead of an emergency. The survival skills are similar to the everyday routines, but doing them in a different environment (whether in nature or in some post-disaster human environment) adds unique complications.

We’ve kind of reserved the “Assess your skills and abilities” for the last because, if you’ve been following the other Bugout Profile articles, this one is all about you. By now you hopefully have a reasonably good idea of what kind of emergencies you might encounter where you live, you’ve checked out routes and means of transporting yourself (and others) to safety, and you’ve taken a good look at the factors that might influence survival such as climate and geography. Now you need to honestly and resolutely place yourself into the various survival scenarios and ask yourself, “Do I have the ability and skills necessary to survive?”

Keeping in mind that the only blanket answer to that question with a high probability of being accurate, is “maybe,” (disasters have a way of dictating their own requirements), you still should become aware of skills and abilities that could be improved. For an obvious example, we’ve spent a lot of time in these articles relating the Bugout Profile to the bug out bag. Most BOBs are backpacks, and by definition these are hung on your back and you schlepp them around with the power of your legs.
Survival SkillsThe heavier the pack, the harder it is to carry over a distance or a long time. So, if you’re not in great shape, then having a BOB that weighs 60 lbs. (for example) is not realistic except for very short distances/times. This could be a crucial assessment of your ability in many survival situations, and fudging the assessment is not a healthy option.

“Guesswork for survival skills and abilities is a fool’s game.” We don’t know who said this first, but ultimately it’s accurate. The only way is to test the skills and abilities in as realistic a situation as possible. Even that is approximate, but actual experience will get you much closer to the truth.

How much time are you willing to put in preparing for survival skills? Acquiring skills and keeping up your abilities, especially physical strength and stamina, take a lot of time. Even professionals find this a difficult question. However, if you consider yourself a survivalist, or are serious about a bug out bag, then developing your bug out profile, learning or improving skills, and accurately assessing your abilities has got to be part of the package – otherwise, lack of honesty, lack of skills, and lack of knowledge can get you killed. How much time is that worth?

Survival Skills Quiz

What Say You?

Bug Out Bags 101

Bug Out Bag List - Building the Ultimate BOB

Bug Out Bag List – Building the Ultimate BOB

Putting together a bug out bag is really not that difficult if you have a bug out bag list to go by. However,  putting together a comprehensive, well packed bug out bag requires a little bit more attention to detail. Using a bug out bag list will help you stay organized,
Read More
Bug Out Bag Essentials - Top 10 Bug Out Bag Items

Bug Out Bag Essentials – Top 10 Bug Out Bag Items

Bug Out Bag Essentials. Every article that you read about how to build a bug out bag is going to have a list of 50 or 60 items that you should include, but what if you just want to start a basic bag? Can you get away with just a
Read More

Picking the Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

Considerations for a Bug Out Bag Backpack When it comes to a bug out bag backpack, there’s a spectrum of options. At one end, there’s literally a non-descript bag, into which you throw survival gear and get out of Dodge. At the other end is a bug out bag, or more exactly
Read More
Bug out Bag Gear

Bug out Bag Gear Redundancy Solutions

Redundancy in Bug out Bag Gear This may seem obvious but redundancy in bug out bag gear doesn’t always mean having two of something. It’s closer to the old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Redundancy in survival gear means having more than one way to cover
Read More
Bug Out Plan

Bug Out Plan: Why Bug Out at All?

Why Develop a Bug Out Plan? Are you are a prepper without a bug out plan, or very strong bug-in plan? If so, you're basically wasting your time if an "end of the world as we know it" event happens. This is a pretty strong statement in which some people may not agree.
Read More
Bug Out Bag List

Here’s the Ultimate Bug Out Bag List

Bug Out Bag List If you've read our tutorials you have probably noticed that we have shied away from publishing a definitive bug out bag list ... mainly because a real bug out bag list is relevant to your specific circumstances like geographical location, skill set, food and water availability
Read More
Survival Skills

Bug Out Plan: Assessing Your Survival Skills and Weaknesses

Survival Skills Quiz Bugout Profile: Assessing your survival skills and ability A disaster situation, especially one where survival may be at stake, exerts a lot of unusual pressure – on you. If you can grab your bug out bag, throw it in the car and drive to safety in a few
Read More
pack a bug out bag

How to Pack a Bug Out Bag: Making it Personal

Addressing Your Personal Needs When You Pack a Bug Out Bag: When you begin to pack a bug out bag, you need to consider some personal needs, medicine for example, may be critical. Other items, such as a Bible, speak to different needs in a survival situation. The point is
Read More

Bug Out Plan: Provision Your Bug Out Bag for Inclement Weather

 Bugout Profile: What are the weather realities? Let’s suppose that you live in a northern U.S. city and disaster strikes, say citywide riots, and you need to grab your bug out bag and get (far) away from town. What’s the first thing you need to know is in your bug
Read More
bug out location

Bug Out Plan: Your Bug Out Bag Dictates Your Bug Out Location

Bug Out Location: Where are you most likely to be should you need to bug out? It’s an important question, because it’s a big part of determining your bug out plan and survival strategy. A lot depends on the type of disaster, survival means avoiding it, not running into it. Your
Read More
Developing a Family Bug Out Plan

Bug Out Plan: Developing a Family Bug Out Plan

Bugout Profile: Family Bug Out Plan This is a common image for bugging out: You hear a warning, some kind of impending disaster. You run to the closet and grab your bugout bag. You head for the car, throw the bugout bag in the back seat, and drive away to
Read More
Bug Out Vehicle

Bug Out Plan: Should I Have a Bug Out Vehicle?

Bug Out Vehicles? Wherever you are going, how will you get there? When disaster strikes, it’s a good bet many people think they can jump into their favorite petroleum fueled bug out vehicle and bug out. Not so fast. Literally, it won’t go so fast. For one thing, assuming the disaster hasn’t
Read More
Planning bugout bags

Bugout Plan: How Long do Bugout Bags Need to Last?

Planning Bugout Bags: How long will survival conditions continue? Most disasters don’t cause generalized survival conditions, bugout bags need to be planned accordingly. Their effects, though severe, are usually dangerous (a matter of life or death) for only a few hours, days at most. It’s mainly disasters that radically change
Read More
Build a Bug Out Bag

Should I Buy or Build a Bug Out Bag? – Bug Out Bag List Included

Should I Buy or build a bug out bag? Bug Out Bag List Why in the hell would I buy a bug out bag when I can build a bug out bag? We here this quite often, and the truth is, you shouldn't if you have the time and money
Read More

Accuracy ProductsFood Storage
Water Filtration & StorageWater Filtration & Storage
Bug Out BagsBug Out Bags
Survival KitsSurvival Kits
AmmunitionFirst Aid Kits
Ammunition AccessoriesBug-Out Packages
Packs, Bags & PouchesBackpacks & Pouches
Fire StartingFire Starting
Flashlights & LightingFlashlights & Lighting
Knives, Axes, ToolsKnives & Accessories
Tents & SheltersTents & Shelters
Survival SeedsSurvival Seeds
Bug Out Bag CoreKitsBuild a Bag / Kit
Cookware & StovesCookware & Stoves
MRE's & RationsMREs & Rations
Sleeping GearSleep Gear
First Aid KitsFirst Aid Kits
Survival BooksSurvival Books
Paracord & ClipsParacord & Clips
Solar EnergySolar Energy
Fishing GearFishing Gear