Survival Skills Your Great Grandparents Had That You Don’t

Survival Skills Your Great Grandparents Had That You Don’t   Our great grandparents were true survivors and they were able to thrive in challenging times. The following are the survival skills your great grandparents had. If we think of our childhood and of everything they had to do, to be self-sufficient, we will realize they had skills that, today, we lack for certain.

It is hilarious how we became so addicted to technology. How we forgot some of the survival skills our great-grandparents and grandparents thought us. We now use our phones even for the most basic things. Stuff like calculating the tip or learning how to boil an egg. We should look back and learn some of the survival skills our grandparents had.

I don’t have so many memories of my great-grandparents as I would like to. However, I realize that some of the things we were doing together when I was a kid were more than just fun activities. They were real-life lessons, lessons that I’ve forgotten now.

Even so, I can be sure of one thing. The survival skills they used more than 90 years ago will prove useful for my family and me when SHTF and it will be every man for himself.

Here are some survival skills your great-grandparents had, skills that you should learn.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Hunting and Fishing

Everyone in your great-grandparents’ generation knew how to hunt and fish for food. It wasn’t a sport or a hobby for them. In fact, it was a way to provide for their family and cut down on food costs. It didn’t matter where they lived, if they lived in a rural area or if they lived in the city.

Being able to kill or catch their own food was an essential survival skill and it proved very useful, especially during harsh times, like the Great Depression.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Foraging

One of the few memories from my childhood involving my great-grandfather is about us going mushroom picking. Even though back then I didn’t pay too much attention to it, today I understand it wasn’t just a bonding activity. For my great-grandfather, it was more than spending time with me. It was about foraging and about teaching me how to find food in the forest. Foraging is the easiest way to procure food when being out in the wild.

However, you need to have the necessary knowledge of what is safe to eat and what it’s not. It is one of the survival skills you should learn and pass it on to your children.

Related reading: Foraging during summer.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Butchering

Prepper's Will - Butchering survival skill   A close friend of mine told me a funny story about his 5-year-old daughter, about how they visited a farm and what his daughter said; “Daddy is funny how there are two chickens, the ones we see here and the ones we eat”.

For kids and for most of the teenagers today, acknowledging the fact that the chicken breast they ate comes from an animal they interacted with is a definite NO. Even more, the thought of someone having to butcher an animal and turn it into food, for them is unbelievable.

In this modern age, it is unusual to have to chop up a whole chicken at home, let alone a full pig. Back in the days knowing how to cut up a side of beef or butcher an entire pig was a set of survival skills known by all men. Even most of the housewives were taking part in it.

Women were also dealing with the entire task when it came to butchering an animal. If supermarkets are gone, most of the people will turn vegans rather than having to deal with butchering. And even if they build up the courage to do it, they won’t even know where to start.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Bartering

When I was a kid, my great-grandmother used to send me to the neighbors to bring them eggs. I was usually doing it once or twice per week. I always thought the neighbors were grateful for the eggs and that’s why they were giving me strawberries or a jar of jam. Without knowing it back then, I was bartering with my great-grandparents’ neighbors. It took me years before I figured it out.

In fact, bartering was so common back then that they didn’t have to tell us how it works or why they do it. Bartering was part of daily life. It was a typical thing to trade goods and services with the neighbors. You had the constant feeling of being part of a bigger family.

It was a natural thing for people to do, back in the old days. Bartering is a skill that is coming back. It very well may be something you have to master when the dollar crashes.

Related reading: Barter items you should have for WSHTF.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Repairing and mending

The Lost Ways of LivingToday, if a shirt gets a hole in it, we throw it out and we buy a new one. We are a society that consumes without thinking and this trend is aggressively promoted by the media.

Your great-grandparents didn’t let anything go to waste, not even a beat-up pair of jeans and it was a common practice for every other article of clothing they owned.

Mending clothes was part of a woman’s chores. They took pride when restoring the favorite clothes of their loved ones. It wasn’t only about clothes, it was about anything that can be fixed or patched up, and it was a sustainable way of living.

These are skills that someday might come in handy and you should be able to know how to fix the things you need. When was the last time you repaired something? If you can’t remember it, you’re probably not the handyman type.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Lighting a fire without matches

This was something done every day and their survival skills were improving with time, they didn’t need any matches to start a fire. This skill is practiced today by many preppers and survivalists, as fire is something that we can’t live without.

Today it’s much easier to start a fire as there are all sorts of fire starters and other tools. It’s a skill that can be taught without difficulties and you should take some time and teach your kids how to do it. This article will guide you how to make a fire in the wild.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Bargaining

Today we don’t haggle, we argue with people about prices and we leave with a false feeling that we at least tried and we feel good about us, although we didn’t achieve anything. Our great-grandparents were expert bargainers and they managed to deal with local shop owners and merchants without breaking a sweat. They always left the store without second doubts and with the feeling they did good business.

It might be true that corporate chains control everything nowadays and haggling is becoming a thing of the past, but there are also some good examples that show skill is still alive. This is something that will come in handy during harsh times. If you ever bought anything from Craigslist and you managed to bargain and get a good deal, then there you have it. You were a haggler for a brief period. When SHTF, bargaining will be a skill that will save your life and help you thrive.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Knitting

I can’t remember a Christmas time from my childhood when I didn’t receive a gift knitted by my great-grandmother. She always took the time to knit something for us. She would always get me a sweater or a pair of socks for Christmas.

Also, I can’t say I was fond of it back then, but now I wish someone would give me a present that they made themselves. I would prefer that rather than receiving something bought from a store. Knitting wasn’t a hobby for my great-grandmother, it was a method of making useful items for our family.

It was also an excellent occasion to socialize with women from her community. You may find it strange that knitting is listed among the survival skills. However, if you think about it, survival skills are not only about hunting and foraging, they are about being self-sufficient.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Gunsmithing

Today, for most of us, being successful at basic gunsmithing can prove quite a challenge. We are used to buying aftermarket parts and that’s about all when it comes to firearm modification. It wasn’t the same for our great-grandparents.

Having a good rifle ready at any time, made the difference between having a piece of meat on their plate or eating a salad. One may argue that guns weren’t so advanced back then and it was easier to modify them. It might be true, but our great-grandparents had something we don’t, they had the ingenuity and knowledge to do it.

They didn’t have the luxury to buy a new part for their guns every time they had a problem. They managed to fix it with what they had at hand. Gunsmithing is a skill that would be searched for in a long-term crisis scenario. The more you know about your guns, the more you will gain from this knowledge.

Related reading: 5 guns every prepper should own.

Survival skills your great grandparents had – Handwriting

Mastering handwriting was something familiar for our great-grandparents. It helped them in various ways. From keeping in touch with the loved ones to having journals for crop cycles. Today this skill is dying and it is all due to technology. The habits our kids are developing has also led to its demise. If there will be no electricity, tapping your tablet will be in vain. To make a list of your supplies, you will have to rely on your handwriting skills.

There is no need to exemplify why writing is an essential skill and why it shouldn’t be forgotten. Sure, it might not be a survival skill as many would think, but what if you keep a medical journal that holds the cure for your sickness and the only way to get cured is for someone to decipher your writings. I guess this puts things in another perspective, doesn’t it?

Our great-grandparents and grandparents left us a great legacy. They taught us how to be self-sufficient and how to face life challenges. If you have forgotten what they thought you, it’s better to look back and re-learn their survival skills. The ways of the old days may soon be back and it’s better to be prepared.

Stay Safe and God Bless!

Other Preparedness and Self-sufficiency Resources:

The LOST WAYS 2 (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Drought USA (Secure unlimited fresh, clean water)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any crisis)

Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)

Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)


3 thoughts on “Survival Skills Your Great Grandparents Had That You Don’t”

  1. They knew how to be self-sufficient and many lived through the depression.Where they learned the value of hard work and making things last rather living in a disposable society.

  2. Dear Bob,

    First, HAPPY NEW YEAR and may joy and peace be yours!!!

    I’m really old and moldy and have great-grandchildren of my own these days and your above observations lay at the very core of my survival books and teachings.

    Although I never knew my grandparent or great grand parents, my mother and father lived through the turn of the 20th century. As a child I grew up on a self sufficient ranch and farm. I was hunting by age seven without supervision and taught how to butcher and cook my harvest.

    My father had a credo that went like this right up to his dying day (1970’s) , “Save it. It may come in handy to throw away some day!” He always repaired something that broke or quit working, sometimes several times until it could be repaired no more. He had a shop and storage barn full of all sorts of things that could be re-purposed, cannibalized for parts or reinvented to something completely different.

    Aside from being a master gunsmith, he was a blacksmith, auto mechanic, carpenter, plumber, electrician, musician, poet and best of all a master woodsman … no … he was more like a true mountainman.

    Unfortunately, as you pointed out, I dropped the torch once I became an adult, moved to the city and began raising a modern family. With deep regret in my heart I have only retained a smattering of fathers mastered survival skills.

    Still, I have 1,000 times the primitive and pioneer abilities of all but a handful of other old curmudgeons like me!

    The way of life you described above is pretty much gone and the reasons are we’ve become totally electricity and technology dependent. Worse yet we have become a “disposable society” and that includes the production of our goods and products (they are intentionally not build to never be repaired; only replaced).

    And, the real demise of that profoundly hardy way of life is the abandonment of our national Christian faith and morals within our society, which resulted in the almost complete demise of the natural, (man, woman) “nuclear family” that bonded us, one generation to another. We now rarely live in the same state, much less city as our children.

    When we were all members of a close knit family, surrounded by other close knit families, traditions and skills were handed from one generation to another and shared or bartered with our neighbors that we trusted with all our hearts. Today, people don’t know who live right next door!

    We have no brilliant, magic bullet answer here. We just know when this depended, self absorbed and instant gratification world collapses, only a few of us will have any chance of survival and becoming “pioneer self sufficient” once again.

    God Save Us All and our Nation,
    Orrin M. Knutson
    Peace Officer Retired
    Survival author and trainer

  3. thank you for your post. I agree with most of it. At one time i would have ate up all of it but i know too much and have thought out some of it as well. Since my teenage years during the 1960s and 70s I have been studying wilderness survival and homesteading preparing for the time when i would acquire land of my own and be able to practice these skills. What has added to these survival skills is faith in Christ which has taught me many unwritten survival skills that have been forgotten and some that not all of our forefathers possessed.

    One of those i am developing a sense of awareness of is community. If we have to have a gun to defend ourselves against our neighbors then how can it it be worthwhile to survive. Eventually our own families will turn against us.

    I lack the skill of bargaining and bartering mainly because it is hard to find others that want to do this. I have long valued the concept of trading my goods and services for the goods and services of others.

    from several years of combat training in the armed forces i have learned a few important facts that take away the romance of surviving a war or a nuclear attack. First the after effects of a nuclear attack will not be pleasant. I agree that the best place to be will be ant the center of the blast being instantly incinerated. The nuclear fallout will be terrible. If we escape radiation poisoning then the climate will be thrown completely off balance killing billions more worldwide but with slow agonizing deaths.

    Then there is the effects of chemical and germ warfare. I have learned of how a person dies from its exposure. A horrifying thought. Many of us know of the germs that can and will be used against us such as the bubonick plague and many other deadly viruses. It is a reality.

    Then there is the psychological and sociological aspects of warfare and martial law. Without government it is every man for himself. this means convicts and psychopaths of all kinds will roam the earth unscathed killing at will without discretion. We may live in community but gangs will from rogue armies that will roam the land raping looting and pillaging at will. If they are mobile they can escape the large cities and raise havoc on the communities nearby. Owning an assault rifle will be beneficial but remember that if you kill one of them they will remember it. You will scare them off for so long until one of them loses the fear and wants to take revenge on their lost comrade. Then they will come after you. The modern automatics and semi automatics are great but remember they are only effective weapons as long as you have ammo. when you run out you cannot shoot pebbles and rock salt. Then the ones you are trying to defend against also have these weapons and even more powerful weapons. They also have the skill and the attitude to kill indiscriminately. They just don’t care.

    I agree with many of my Christian brothers and sisters that we should kill them with Gods love and kindness. But as i just said, some people just don’t care. They will not respond to any measure of love. I call them the walking dead. We need to defend against them. They are not only gangsters but they are in the Soviet and Red Army and the US Army as well. I have met some of them. The best skill we can learn is to develop a sense of community where we can trust one another and know how to deal with those who go astray. A strong community has the best chance of driving these killers away and surviving a holocaust even a terrorist holocaust.

    I will continue learning my survival skills because it gives me satisfaction but the romanticism of surviving and restarting society is gone with me. I prefer to not be here but might be prepared if i am one of the unfortunate survivors.

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