5 Primitive Skills That Will Come in Handy When SHTF

5 Primitive Skills That Will Come in Handy When SHTFIf you’ve been part of the prepping community for any length of time you know that when SHTF, life is going to change substantially. You may have an EDC and a BOB and even a bug out location ready and waiting for disaster to strike. But have you really taken the time to think about what a SHTF event would mean for your daily life?

You may be able to get through the initial chaos, make your bug out trip, and arrive at your bug out location. But the truth is that it could take a good number of years for our world to return to normal, if it does at all.


Shelter building could be one of the most important primitive skills that will come in handy when SHTF, especially if your bug out location doesn’t already have a solid shelter. One of the skills you need to master in order to build a shelter as protection from the elements includes how to choose your campsite or shelter location strategically.

Once you’ve chosen your site, you should know how to build a variety of shelters including tarp shelters, log shelters, and those from naturally occurring materials on your property.

Even if your bug out location is complete, you may be forced to abandon it or it could be taken from you without warning. If this happens you will need to master how to build temporary shelters on the run with whatever you have with you or around you. Knot-tying skills, the ability to make a rope from natural materials, to strip branches from a tree and even correctly fell a tree, will all come in handy.

Related reading: Making Cordage in the Wilderness

Navigation and Signaling

Following a SHTF event, your ability to find your way through unfamiliar territory or even a familiar area where landmarks have been destroyed by either a natural disaster or war will be critical. You will need to be able to navigate not only using a topographic map, landmarks and signs in nature but by using a compass to determine direction. The ability to tell time without your cell phone or a watch but by instead watching the sun or stars will also be vitally important.

If you haven’t yet mastered the ability to forecast the weather by looking at the sky and other signs around you, now is the time to learn. Another of the primitive skills that will come in handy when SHTF are the many ways to signal for help, including smoke signals, using the sun and a mirror or other reflective items, SOS Morse code, three fires together in a straight line or triangle, etc.


One of the most important primitive skills that will come in handy when SHTF is fire starting. You need to know how to find the right firewood and how to prepare it if need be. There are several different methods for starting a fire including bow drill, Swedish fire-torch, steel wool, or even using the sun with your glasses or a mirror. You need to master as many of these skills as you can.

One of the often-forgotten skills that can mean the difference between having a fire and not having one is building a tinder nest. Your spark is nothing without a proper tinder next to get it burning.


We cannot possibly talk about primitive skills that will come in handy when SHTF without talking about water. The ability to find, collect, filter, purify, and store water is literally a life and death issue. Without water, the average adult will die in just three days. Following a SHTF situation, you need to provide enough water to not only keep your family and pets hydrated but to nourish any livestock or plants you may be relying on for your future food source.

Related reading: Ready To Drink Natural Water Sources


When it comes to primitive skills that will come in handy when SHTF, not many are as important for your long-term survival than those of finding, preparing, and storing food properly. Mastering the skill to track animals, shoot a gun, fish, trap, snare, and use a slingshot for hunting are critical to your long-term survival. Knowing how to butcher and dress small game and other primitive skills long forgotten such as foraging, food preservation methods (smoking, dehydrating, canning, salting, fermentation, drying, etc.), and the ability to cook over a fire or wood cook stove are also very important.

Obviously, there are more primitive skills that will come in handy when SHTF than just those we’ve highlighted. But you will find that these five categories, when combined with good defensive skills, will go a long way toward making sure you and your family survive long-term following a SHTF event.

Other Useful Resources:

How to build a water generator – Converting air to water

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

How to make a one year stockpile of food and other survival items

How to make your home invisible to looters during SHTF

1 thought on “5 Primitive Skills That Will Come in Handy When SHTF”

  1. Frankly, I don’t see how a tarp can be considered as anything more than a temporary shelter. I never go into the bush without one, but it has a specific tactical purpose. In the desert Southwest, UV radiation destroys the viability of tarps pretty rapidly. If you are talking long term survival, log shelters (or their equivalent) will provide the best protection from the elements.


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