For many survival has become more than a hobby, it is a way of life. The survival industry is a vast and ever growing community built around developing self-reliance skills and reconnecting with nature. It is in this exciting pursuit many skills get overlooked and in some cases are underrated. The thought of rubbing two sticks together is exhilarating… “I am man, I have made fire!”
It carries this sense of accomplishment that I have not found in any other skill. Then there is building this mansion in the woods from only what nature provided. In comparison to our modern day homes it is nothing but some simple sticks put together to build a shelter, but that child like part of us sees an amazing fort capable of withstanding the weight of the world. Each of these are vital skills as well as many others, but what about the ones that are just as essential, but not as popular. Are we setting people up for failure, or maybe even… injury or death? These are the Most Underrated Survival Skills that I think everyone should be implementing.
#1 SAFETY – I am not talking about creating safe places in the woods where everyone wears a bubble suit, although I could see that happening in today’s society. I am referring to teaching people good body mechanics as they move through the woods, safe food handling practices, proper knife/axe/hatchet/saw techniques, developing solid communication chains (filling out an ISOPREP Report, and leaving with someone you trust), and understanding one’s own capabilities.
- Great knives to teach/learn knife safety: Mora Scout 39 Green FT01363 / Mora Garberg / Sigmora
- Free ISOPREP Report
#2 SECURITY – Many times we associate the term security with tactical or firearms training, and in many ways those are vital to security, but what about the soft skills such as shelter location, perimeter alarms, predator deterrents (bear bags, bear spray, etc), how to respond to predators, and then the most dangerous animal in the woods… man. Knives can be carried where guns cannot. I highly recommend you develop some knife fighting skills.
- Quality Bear Bag and Bear Spray
- My favorite self-defense blade the CRKT Obake Titanium EDC Knife
#3 SELF-AID – I just spent 8 days training in some intensive wilderness medical skills, and realized that my knowledge of proper wilderness self-aid was sorely lacking. I am grateful for this eye opening experience, and plan to make it a priority in my training. I think every individual should at least know how to control/stop bleeding and create a sling, splint, and sprain wrap. Want a real challenge? Try putting a splint and sling on your own without any assistance.
Vital Items every medic pack should contain:
- CAT Combat Tourniquet
- SAM Medical Splint
- Israeli Battle Bandages
- Starter First Aid Kit: First Aid 2.0
#4 SIGNALING/SELF-RESCUE (NAVIGATION) – With some basic navigation training there would be far fewer people getting lost in the woods. Even something as simple as terrain association could make a huge difference. I have been an avid woodsman for over 10 years, and I have been known to get turned around from time to time myself. I have found that just taking a few seconds every 100 yards to identify key features in your surroundings help immensely. Carrying a good compass and understanding how it works is important as well.
- Cammenga Compass or TruArc Compass
- Survival Land Navigation DVD
#5 SANITATION (HYGIENE) – Last but not least sanitation and hygiene are rarely if ever talked about in the survival community, and the lack of sanitation is probably the number one reason for stomach bugs and infection. Keeping your camp clean and tidy will promote good health and morale. Designate areas for waste elimination (restrooms) at least 75-100 yards outside of camp. Properly wash your hands when possible. Even some coarse sand in the creek rubbed on your hands will help. Bring toilet paper and bury/burn, or make sure you understand which plants or rocks work great for wiping.
I hope you enjoyed this post, my intentions were not to educate you in each of these areas; however to bring them to your attention so you might research and seek out proper education in these areas. Please show your support Sigma 3 by sharing this blog post, and shopping with the provided links in this post.
Justin “Sage” Williams
Director of Operations/
Sigma 3 Survival School