(And now back to our scheduled programming of the ‘basics’ of prepping!)
While many survival stores on the ‘net necessarily try to sell lots of ‘beans and bullets’, in the end supplies may be the least important part of prepping. However, because gear is the easiest to acquire, requiring only a credit card, sometimes it is the aspect of prepping most people relate to, because it is something they can immediately jump into. I’ll admit that I was part of this group, and I acquired a whole lot of stuff long before I knew what to do with it.
I’ve since come to understand that acquiring skills is of far more value. Using a chain saw, running a trot line, knowing CPR and basic first aid, being able to change a flat tire or clean your battery posts, are all examples of useful skills. Robert Heinlein in his book Time Enough For Love says:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
As a specific example, let’s talk about starting a fire. While I have many ways to start a fire, including bic lighters, magnesium fire starters, and waterproof matches, none of those would replace or be more valuable than the ability to start a fire without any of those things. Any number of things can happen to our stuff, but its much harder to take away our natural abilities and skills. The important thing to remember is that any of us can learn to start a fire the ‘old-fashioned ways’. (And it’s one of the thousand things on my list! As I will go into detail in a future post, in a longer-term disaster scenario, supplies main use is to buy us time for our skills to come into play.
So if you’re just starting out on the prepping path, find out those around you who have skills you might one day need and ask if they would be willing to teach you. Most times they will be, as it is human nature to want to share what we know. Also check out your local Red Cross Courses or your local community college, as many offer one day or multi-day courses in practical skills. In future posts we will cover must-have and good-to-have skills and where to learn them. If you would like to discuss something in particular, please let me know!
Our next several posts will discuss the other 2 fundamental aspects of prepping: fortitude and supplies.