By Gaye Levy | From Backdoor Survival | On Thrursday, March 7th, 2013

lady with a hammerThere comes a time when every prepper will say enough with all of the food and enough with all of the gear.  I do not know how to adequately articulate what I mean but after a year of seeking out the best stuff at the best price you just might want to stop – at least for awhile – and focus on something else.

When you get to that point – and hopefully a whole lot sooner – you will want to start working on the important skills that will carry your through when faced with hard times.  Today I would like to share my own list of important skills for preppers.


1.  Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, social skills or communication skills.  But regardless of what you call it, interpersonal skills will dictate your ability to work with others in a positive and productive manner.  By getting along with others, you will be able to build good community relationships and will become known as a responsible and honest person who can be trusted.
Having strong interpersonal or social skills will be invaluable when it comes to bartering for goods or services or for controlling a potentially deadly situation with reason instead of force.

2.  Problem Solving

The ability to think on your feet is going to be critical following a disaster or collapse.  In practical terms, this means that you will need to very quickly evaluate a situation and come up with the best possible coping strategy for surviving under dire if not incomprehensible circumstances.  You will need the ability to assess the risks you face and to act accordingly.

cooking by a campfire3.  Home Arts

Having the ability to cook from scratch, preserve your home-grown food, sew (or mend) your own clothing and maintain a clean and sanitary living environment will be critical to your health and well-being.

In modern times, we have become reliant on others to tend to our basic needs, whether from the supermarket, the mall or even the local power and water company.  Learning to get by on your own without modern conveniences will allow you to live more comfortably and to focus on the more important matter of staying safe.

4.  Perseverance

Perseverance is often described as having the steadfastness to do something despite the difficulty in achieving success.  Hard times or not, this is the skill that will give you the will to keep on going no matter what.  It will allow you to focus on the future – and hopefully better times – rather than staying stuck in the moment when all may not be perfect.
Perseverance is a choice and a habit that will allow you to set small goals that are attainable which will lead to optimism and ultimately a sense of accomplishment.

5.  Frugality

Being careful in the use of resources makes good sense.  This applies not only to consumables but also to the use of time.  Avoiding waste and eliminating costly habits will result in a simpler life, yes, but a life that is more likely to be filled with spiritual abundance.

6.  First Aid

It goes without saying that knowing how to administer first aid can save lives.  Basic wound care, suturing skills and even a knowledge of herbal home remedies can make a difference in whether your loved ones will make it through a crisis.

7.  Gardening

Whether your grow a simple plot of greens or maintain a mini-farm on an acre or two, knowing how to grow your own food will allow you to supplement any food supplies that you have in your pantry.  Learn to work and develop whatever land you have so that you can grow vegetables and fruits that will feed your family and possibly provide edible currency for barter in a SHTF situation.

gardening seeds

8.  Basic Fix-It Skills

Knowing how to pound a nail and operate a hand saw are just two of the many fix-it skills that will help you make repairs once you begin the recovery process.  Plumbing, welding,  electrical and general carpentry skills will always be in demand and will give you a marketable skill that will make you valuable to the community.  (The book Brushfire Plague described this well.)

9.  Defense

Whether you choose a stun gun, pepper spray, a knife or a firearm, get to know your defensive weapon well so that you can defend what is yours in a safe and sane manner.

10.  Compassion for Others

Caring for others when they cannot fend for themselves is the human thing to do.  Following a disaster or collapse, there are going to be people that are vulnerable.  They may be children, they may be elderly or they may simply be lost or separated from their loved ones.

Having the heart and compassion to deal with those that are physically or emotionally hurt is the right thing to do as long as you can do so without compromising your own safety.  Be prepared to deal with the frightened and to assist them in finding their way to safety.

11.  Know Yourself

Acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses as well as your passions and your fears.   Be strong in your faith and in your willingness to fail as well you willingness and desire to succeed.


Focusing on skills can provide a welcome break from the sometimes frantic and often times obsessive need to acquire food, gear and supplies.  Taking the time to think through the personal qualities that will guarantee survival is something that we all need to do from time to time.  Doing so will make you realize how much you have that is non-tangible but of great value none-the-less.

Keep in mind, though, that with any list, this is only a start.  With a modicum of thought, many more skills can be added to this list.  How about you – what skills would you add to this list?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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News Reporter
RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with over seven years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

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