Preppers: The Less You Know the More You Need

Packed Mule

Skills You Need To Lighten the Load

Fear caused by lack of knowledge will cause some people to rush out and literally grab up things they likely do not need, or know how to use. If you were to gather everything that you thought you might need, or were told you needed in a survival situation, you would need two mules and a wagon to haul it all.

You have probably seen some of the advertisements for survival, or bug-out-bags and emergency kits and may have wondered how you would carry all of the items. Well most people would not be able to. Some may think they can, but carrying 50-70 pounds around the house or up and down, the sidewalk is different than carrying it for 10-12 hours a day over uneven terrain.

Some kits have tents, sleeping bags, portable stoves and the list goes on. Do you necessarily need a tent, no but you need shelter, do you need a sleeping bag, no but you need protection in cold weather. Of course, you need water but you can only realistically carry 2-3 days supply at a time in a backpack.

There is no question about what you need to survive, but the question is, has fear and lack of skills driven you to carry it all on your back. Facing your fears means gaining the knowledge and skills needed to survive, so you can lighten the load.

Practically anyone can survive if they have an endless supply of food and water and if it is always within reach. Anyone can stay warm with propane heaters to warm the tent, as you crawl into your sub-zero rated sleeping bag, but can you carry it all and if you cannot how do you survive.

You know or should know that you cannot always pack a tent, heaters, sleeping mats and sleeping bags along with food and water to sustain you for indefinite period, so you need skills to replace or find what you cannot carry.

Humans sailed around the world hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Their ships landed and they begin life in a new world with nothing more than tools, knowledge and certain skill sets. They likely had enough provisions to get them started but when the salted fish and dried apples ran out they had to have certain skill sets and knowledge to survive long-term.

Water weighs roughly 8.5lbs/3.8kg per gallon. The average person during the normal course of a day will use approximately 80 to 100 gallons of water (United States Geological Society, 2014).

Obviously, during a survival situation you will not use near the estimated daily usage per person, but you will likely use more than you had estimated. You cannot carry enough water for any extended period.

If you try to stockpile it at home, weight may become a factor unless you have adequate storage space. At 8.5 pounds per gallon 50 gallons of water weighs 425 pounds. How long will 50 gallons last you? If you live in an apartment, can you store several thousand pounds if you live on an upper floor? If your home is built with sub-floors how much weight, will the floor hold?

If you have the ideal situation, you can store unlimited amounts but rarely is any situation ideal. You need to be able to find a source, wherever you may be, and make it safe to drink. You need this skill to survive.

Skills you need are not specialized, in a rural environment you need to know how to dig a well or find natural sources that will not be compromised by others. In an urban environment, you will need to know where public sources such as reservoirs and public swimming pools or fountains are as well as private pools and hot tubs. Once collected you will need to know how to filter and purify.

In an urban area keep in mind, you will be competing with others for water sources, so moving quickly to gather water is essential and any source will be limited depending on the number of people collecting it. You may have to search outside the city for a water source.

Hunting, trapping and fishing skills will allow you to eat, as well as knowing how to forage for edible plants, nuts and berries.

Basic construction skills along with tools will be needed for you to make a shelter in any environment. In many cases, you will not be able to pack a tent around with you but you can certainly carry the tools and materials needed as long as you have the basic skills to use those tools.

The only way to gain the skills you need is to practice. Work into it slow in a controlled environment. Set goals, and start filling a knowledge pack instead of trying to fill a backpack with material things.

United States Geological Society. (2014, March 17). Retrieved 2014, from