150 Survival Skills We’ll Need After The Collapse

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150 Survival Skills We'll Need After The Collapse

When a society collapses, access to basic comforts and resources collapse with it. Stores aren’t open and even when they are, the shelves are bare and prices are out of control. There’s a long history of societal collapse due to wars, plagues, and catastrophic natural disasters.

Most of the population finds themselves in desperate straits, struggling to satisfy the most basic needs. Those who survive typically have the skills and experience to improvise solutions. Here’s a list of many of those skills. Each offers a link to a book or article expanding on the subject. 

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Basic Home Repair Skills

It may be difficult if not impossible to find, let alone hire, someone to do many of the home repairs we often encounter. Having the tools and skills to keep things working around the house is a skill that everyone will eventually need. 

Plumbing Repairs 

  1. Plumbing 101
  2. Whole house plumbing
  3. Faucets and spigots
  4. Home flood prevention
  5. The plumber’s toolkit

Electrical Repairs 

  1. Basic wiring
  2. Understanding electricity
  3. Electrician’s tools
  4. Electrical trouble shooting

Home Structural Repairs

  1. Home repairs 101
  2. Basic construction and home repairs
  3. Roofs
  4. Walls
  5. Windows and doors
  6. Flooring
  7. Guide to construction tools

Pioneer Construction and Domestic Skills

Our pioneer ancestors honed the skills to build everything they needed. Their tools were basic and hand or foot powered. More importantly, they knew how to use the tools and materials to build just about anything from log cabins to the brooms that kept them clean. 

  1. Choosing pioneer tools
  2. Using pioneer tools
  3. Log cabin construction
  4. Timber frame construction
  5. Choosing the right tools
  6. Emergency shelters
  7. Log splitting
  8. Rail splitting
  9. Woodworking 
  10. Timber cutting
  11. Blacksmithing
  12. Pioneer survival skills
  13. Rustic furniture making
  14. Off-grid lighting solutions
  15. Knot tying
  16. Building a fence
  17. Welding
  18. Carpentry 101
  19. Rope and net making
  20. How to make charcoal
  21. Restoring vintage pioneer tools
  22. Basket making
  23. Pottery
  24. Broom making

Auto and Engine Repair

Being able to do basic repairs on your vehicle may become very important as supplies and services become limited. Just as important is the ability to do small engine repairs for chainsaws and other gas powered tools. 

  1. Auto maintenance and mechanic skills
  2. Basic small engine repair

Electricity Generation

At a time when electric power may become undependable or simply unavailable it helps to know how to generate your own power. 

  1. Solar
  2. Wind power
  3. Water power
  4. Powering your house with a gas generator


Gardening and the ability to do all of the things associated with it is a critical skill for anyone anywhere. Even people who live in apartments without a yard can raise their own vegetables through hydroponics or bucket gardening

  1. Garden planning
  2. Harvesting seeds
  3. Starting seeds indoors
  4. The milk jug greenhouse
  5. Propagating plants
  6. Growing, pruning and grafting trees
  7. Building a greenhouse
  8. Permaculture
  9. Composting
  10. Vermiculture
  11. Farm and garden tools
  12. Hydroponics
  13. Bucket gardening


If you have some land, you can consider livestock. But even on a small plot of land you can raise chickens, rabbits, and even a few pigs. There are many skills associated with animal husbandry from the care and feeding of the animals to butchering, tanning, and shearing. 

  1. Animal husbandry
  2. Building barns, sheds and outbuildings
  3. Breeding and birthing livestock
  4. Raising chickens
  5. Raising rabbits
  6. Growing your own animal feed
  7. Butchering livestock 
  8. Sheering sheep and processing wool
  9. Veterinary skills
  10. Tanning hides
  11. Beekeeping 

Into The Wild

Even if you live in the city you can wild forage edible plants. And if need be, you can hunt, fish, and even trap wild game. Wilderness areas offer the most opportunities but don’t assume that the city and suburbs aren’t without foraging and at least fishing potential. 

  1. Wild foraging 
  2. Foraging in the city
  3. Hunting
  4. Fishing 
  5. Trapping

Food Preservation

For thousands of years we’ve developed, refined and improvised solutions for preserving food. This is another fundamental skill that will continue to be critical at a time when electricity and refrigeration are unreliable. 

  1. Canning fruits and vegetables
  2. Pressure canning meats and seafood
  3. Root cellaring
  4. Dehydrating
  5. Drying
  6. Fermentation
  7. Smoking


It’s projected that by the year 2035, 1.8 billion people around the world won’t have access to drinkable water. Knowing how to collect, filter, purify, and store water may be one of the most critical skills to master and should be at the top of your skills list.

  1. Water collection from natural sources
  2. Collecting rainwater
  3. Water filtering and purification
  4. Water storage 

Pioneer Cooking 

Knowing how to cook without electricity may seem easy for the weekend barbecue chef, but if you have to do all of your cooking without power all of the time, you might want to look at some of the ways the pioneers made the best of things when an open fire was their only source of heat.

  1. Pioneer cooking equipment
  2. Pioneer cooking skills
  3. Woodstove cooking
  4. Cooking with cast iron
  5. Maintaining cast iron
  6. Starting a fire without matches
  7. Scratch cooking
  8. Rendering lard
  9. Milling grains
  10. Baking
  11. How to make apple cider vinegar
  12. Tapping maple trees for maple syrup
  13. How to make cheese
  14. Home brewing
  15. Distilling
  16. Stocking a pantry, keeping an inventory and meal planning


There are ways to keep foods cold without power, from root cellars to some improvised solutions like a cold box or even a metal box in a cold spring creek. 

  1. Root cellaring
  2. Refrigeration without power
  3. Making a cold box


It’s back to the kerosene lamps, but what happens when the kerosene runs out? Here are some ideas for how to make lighting sources for use both inside and outside when the lights are out. 

  1. Candle making
  2. Alternative traditional lighting (Crisco and bacon fat candles)
  3. Solar lighting 
  4. Torches 


When you can’t buy it new or at a time when no one can find clothes in their size or at a price they can afford, it’s time to literally take things into your own hands. 

  1. Sewing, knitting and weaving
  2. Spinning wool
  3. Mending and basic clothing repair
  4. Washing clothes by hand
  5. Leather crafting
  6. Cobbling 

Heating and Air-Conditioning

If you live in an area with weather extremes, your immediate challenge will be heat in winter and for those living in southern latitudes – some way to keep cool in summer. There are some good pioneer solutions and even some ancient technologies and ideas that were surprisingly effective and in some ways ingenious. 

  1. Woodstove 101
  2. Off-grid heating solutions
  3. Solar water heating solutions
  4. Emergency heaters
  5. The passive solar house
  6. Ancient solutions to staying cool

First Aid

When hospitals are overrun, doctors and dentists are unavailable, and calls to 911 go unanswered, it’s wise to the have the supplies, equipment, and knowledge to take care of medical emergencies affecting you and your family. 

  1. Basic first aid
  2. Minor surgery
  3. The Merck Manual Home Edition
  4. The OTC medicine chest
  5. Making medicinal herbal tinctures
  6. Dental first aid
  7. Natural cures
  8. Pet first aid


If you have a bucket of water, you can still flush a toilet even if the water taps are dry. But there’s more to sanitation than flushing a toilet. Here are some basic ideas to keep things clean. 

  1. Outhouse 101
  2. Soap making
  3. Making beauty and skincare products
  4. Making cleaning supplies
  5. Natural dental hygiene
  6. How to make toilet paper


It’s quite likely that law and order will be overwhelmed at a time of societal collapse. Home security and self-defense are common sense solutions you should understand and be prepared to implement. Here are some of the basic considerations:

  1. Home security
  2. Off-grid perimeter alarms
  3. Self-defense
  4. Non-lethal weapons
  5. Firearms 101
  6. Gunsmithing
  7. Reloading ammunition


The Internet may still work, and the same is true for cell phones. Then again, service may be intermittent or simply unavailable in some areas. Here are some basic ideas for how to not only stay in touch with family and friends but stay informed as events unfold. 

  1. Emergency communication options
  2. Family communication
  3. Signaling
  4. HAM radio 


We’ve become spoiled by GPS and any number of things could compromise the ability of GPS systems to continue to function. It’s time to relearn those map reading skills and learn a few others things about how to figure things out without electronics. 

  1. Navigation
  2. Telling time
  3. Without a compass
  4. Predicting the weather

Knowledge Banks

There are a number of articles that offer links to books that cover many of the skills we’ve mentioned and some obscure ones you may actually need to know. Here are the links to those articles, and the lists will take you to the specific books and titles for each subject. 

  1. Assembling a survival library
  2. Free survival books
  3. Urban survival books
  4. Top 10 books on survival
  5. Survival supplies

Did We Miss Anything?

Probably. If you think of a skill that should be on this list, please add a comment below. Even if a collapse never occurs or is not as severe as some fear, these skills are invaluable.

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