We have covered how to build your dream team and dealt a lot with how you ended up getting to a rally point base camp with another group of dream teams. Congrats! You didn’t die in the first few weeks of the zombie apocalypse! What was failed to be mentioned up until this point was how you made it this far. How did you?
Personally, I watch a decent amount of post apocalyptic stuff in movies and TV and I’ve watched a lot of survivor-types of shows. You may have similar stories, or have been in boy scouts. Maybe you camped a ton.
Here are some skills that will be important for when/if the collapse happens. You will notice some of these had roles associated with it in part 1. You don’t have to be the best at everything, but knowing a little about some of these could go a long way.
- Camping – I intentionally added this skill here to cover about 800 smaller ones. This has to do with starting a fire, putting up a tent, campfire cooking, gathering firewood, and many others. This is the most basic of skills that would be important when going to a rally point. I know in the last one, I talked about a lot of people camping around a house in a complex. This could be tents, or it could be the pull along/RV types of units.
- Hunting/fishing – you do need some skills to get protein. I’d say this is up there in priority. While I can’t hunt, I can fish rather proficiently. I could teach someone to fish as they teach me to hunt. Getting protein is a big deal. You can get it from worms, lizards, and insects – but I’d prefer something on the fire with substance.
- Survival skills – advanced camping, if you will. How to recognize edible berries. What certain plants in your region could do to help you in a crisis. Knot tying. How to make a shelter. How to find water. Using a compass. Making tools. I would implore people to not “bug out”, but if you did get separated from the major groups at your rally point camp, how would you survive? This is important to know even for a day or two. The human body could go weeks without eating, but only a few days without water. Getting one of those water filtration devices you can carry with you might be key. Finding a spring is one thing, but if it’s laden with bacteria from animals upstream, you’re going to die.
- Hiking – you should have some decent hiking boots and the ability to hike 10+ miles. This may include understanding how to read maps, understanding topographical maps, finding water, and understanding dangerous areas to avoid.
- Biking/running – I think some endurance skills will suit people very well in emergency times. Those who are unhealthy and cannot chase someone may be the first to perish. Likewise, those who can flee danger and sustain a long term effort away from danger may be those more likely to survive
- Basic defensive skills – you don’t need to be Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee – but it would be of interest to know how to handle yourself in a fight. Let me first point out that conflict resolution skills might be superior to fighting skills to avoid any conflict, but sometimes conflict is finding you. It’s one thing to brawl with someone in college because your manhood is called into question. It’s another thing to legitimately hit someone as hard as you can in the windpipe with a chop which may end his life. In crisis situations, the other guy isn’t going to tap out. You may have to break the arm. Biting. Clawing. eye gouging. Getting leverage is very important – whether you are learning it through wrestling, akido, karate, or jiu jitsu. Most of these fighting styles teach you how to move to put yourself in a better position than your opponent. Again, you don’t need a 5th degree black belt, but any training is better than no training.
- Shooting – this can fall under hunting, to an extent. Hunting is a lot more than just pulling the trigger on a defenseless bambi. It’s tracking, understanding scent and wind, stealth, and then even the skills of cleaning. With shooting, it’s more understanding the skill of how to hit the targets over and over. Muscle memory.
- Bow – Using a bow and arrow could also be crucial. I took a college class on this and it was fun, but you realize there’s a lot to it. Sometimes you don’t want to use a boom stick. Maybe the situation has you in a perch in the high ground and someone 40 yards away in one direction, and a band of people 200 yards away in another direction. The single person is coming your way, and the band of people is moving away from you. A bow and arrow could eliminate the single person threat without alerting the group of bad guys.
- Cooking/nutrition – I had this under camping, but these skills are important. Certain foods have certain nutritional values. Other foods have very little. Understanding what you are eating and how to cook it properly is invaluable! Understanding how to make bread from base ingredients. How to make cheese. Cooking is one thing, but how do you make the ingredients – to the ingredients?
- Gardening – It would be great if you stumbled across all kinds of food, but in a crisis situation 2-3 months in, it’s likely a lot of people’s gardens have been plundered. This could be extremely important when it comes to rebuilding a society and feeding a population. Large scale farms will no longer be operational due to what I think will be issues with getting gasoline to places like this. Smaller scale community gardening will probably be a big deal.
- Medical skills – any of you nurses out there would be HUGE for a team. You might not need a plastic surgeon at end of times, but those with triage medical skills in many different specialties could be key here.
- sewing – this could be important in regards to making clothing, repairing clothing, or dressing a wound. If you have to flee your house in a hurry, you aren’t exactly taking your entire wardrobe with you. If you’ve watched “The Walking Dead”, Rick was wearing the same outfit for years. I’d think you might need another outfit at the least to change into while you wash your main outfit. Blood, dirt, bacteria – for hygiene purposes, you need to stay clean. Sewing new items could be huge for a team. However, one thing that might be plentiful during end of times is mall clothing. Remember that. While the stores’ shelves may go bare within days due to a rush to get food, there will be a glut of clothing available. That being said, if your rally point is 50 miles away from the nearest mall, it might not be safe or practical to drive that far.
- horseback riding – I wouldn’t even know where to find a horse, to be honest, but I feel that if a true crisis hits, gasoline will run out in a few months if refineries are hit in some form of terrorist attack. Do you think you’re just going to drive down to your local gas station and swipe your credit card and fill up? Maybe in the first week, yes. But those of you who know how to ride horses, this might be pretty valuable for commerce and trade down the road. Visiting other base camps. Taking supplies to allies and purchasing other supplies from vendors.
- mining – I’m enamored by “Gold Rush” and all kinds of youtube videos where people are looking for gold and silver. If you have a good idea of how to find precious metals and refining them into usable coinage, you might be pretty valuable to a team. For the first 6 months, I feel a lot of barter and paper cash will be used, but this will ultimate yield to a gold/silver system. Gold is a lot more valuable per ounce, so it makes sense to have smaller bits of silver for smaller purchases and gold for the larger. For example, 2 silver dimes for a loaf of bread, but maybe 3 golden eagles (1 troy ounce each) for a horse and supplies. You can’t walk around with 100 pounds of silver to buy a horse. However, gold is very rare and the idea of giving someone a few grains of gold for bread is not practical. It would make sense that if you have someone on your team that can get iron ore, copper, zinc, lead, silver, gold – etc – this person could then help with not only making coinage, but casting weapons and materials. My guess is rather than mining iron ore, we’d first find scrap metal to melt into ingots to store. But taking ingots and then making money out of them could be HUGE.
- Leadership/following – there’s always the “alpha male” in the group who thinks he knows everything. Then there are those who follow everyone and can’t make a decision, or want to fly under the radar. You then have those who have led people, and can step up if called. In crisis situations, you need to poll people to find skills. Determine who is best suited to lead a particular situation. Tap that person to lead mini teams.
- Carpentry/building – this skill can help you early on by building defensive positions, but long term it can help you build shelters and then long term living situations.
Survival is about:
- Avoiding conflict at all costs. If any of you have seen the walking dead, they asked “how many PEOPLE did you kill”. It was one thing to kill walkers, they all did it. But it was a different thing with killing people. Densely populated areas with riots will yield to a lot of conflict opportunities. You need to avoid at all costs. This is a numbers game, and any time you get into a skirmish with anyone, your number can be up. Understand how to handle yourself, but also understand that a scrape of an elbow can lead to infection and death. Let alone possibly being beaten to within an inch of your life and no ER available. I cannot understate how important this is. In the first few weeks of crisis, your house needs to be a castle of sorts, and you need weapons and a defensive position to DETER people from trying to storm your house. They will also know to not come by your house, as it could mean death for them. There are so many abandoned houses as this point, those provide softer targets.
- The basics – food, water, shelter. Very few people will have 5 years of supplies. Likewise, most people probably have less than a week of food at their house. I feel like if you have 4 weeks of food, when a crisis DOES hit, you will not be having to venture out where the first riots/looting might start. See rule number one. Having 4 weeks of food, cash, metals, and supplies on hand will help you avoid some of the ugliness that can start towards the end of the first week, if not sooner.
- Adapting – if you are soft and have not had a lot of adversity in your life, you may not make it out of the first few weeks. You need to be able to adapt to new places, ways of living, responsibilities. Read “who moved my cheese”. Fascinating. IF you are living under the paradigm that “everything will be like it was yesterday”, you are going to be left behind.
- Acquiring new skills, and quickly. Time to roll up your sleeves and pitch in, now. Ask how you can help. You are only as valuable as what you can contribute to your group.
- Group dynamics – it’s possible if you have a cabin deep in the woods you can survive years by yourself. Possible. Maybe you are a former army ranger and eat this shit up. OK. You are the exception. Most of us will need groups of people to help us. For example, maybe my child is sick, and I need to be around people with medical skills. Maybe the grid goes down for a long time and someone in our group is a teacher and can teach the kids daily.
- Trade – things you have, people are going to want. Things people have, you will want. Currency currently is a means of valuing goods and exchanging goods for a perceived amount of currency. Stock up on certain really cheap items like white rice. When people are hungry, this can be valuable to give to someone to help build trust or trade for currency or other goods.
- Doing whatever it takes to live – at the end of the day, it’s you and your tribe above all others. Don’t ever forget that. You must treat others respectfully and demand it in return. But outside of your clan, trust is tenuous. You will have ally clans. But also be careful of clans betraying you. Be generous where you can be. If your clan hoards all of the food and wants to charge outrageous prices, another clan at your rally point might take offense to that and want to relieve you of your goods. Meaning – be fair with others. Expect them to treat you fairly. Be diplomatic where possible – see rule number 1.
To all of those who romanticize about their bug out bag and heading for the hills, you are looking at a few days to a week before you die, most likely. Maybe you live out of your car. Ideally. Leaving your car to hike miles further into the woods is bad. Very bad. Unless you are that ranger or eagle scout. The elements may get you. You slip and fall down a hill in the dark and break your back or leg. Done. Bears. Snakes. Cuts. Poisonous plants. Ticks. Let’s then discuss water supplies and how drinking bad water can kill you. What about mosquitoes. Where are you getting food? Water?
Survival in the raw would look a lot like later seasons of the walking dead. Think about them at the prison. They use that system to keep people out. Fences, barbed wire, walls, bars, weapon caches. Watch towers. When you sleep at night, you could potentially lock yourself in a cell to prevent others from killing you while you sleep. I feel those who don’t trust others will fizzle out in short time. You need to have absolute trust in some personnel.