Learning new survival skills or honing existing ones doesn’t necessarily involve spending a weekend roughing it in the woods or going to some type or training facility.
While many of the most important hands-on training does occur outdoors, there are extremely valuable survival skills you can learn right now while sitting inside your home.
Watching a YouTube video is all well and good, but viewing videos should be a jumping off point to more detailed activities and projects, and not an end to the preparedness skills learning process.
Regardless of your survival abilities, there are a plethora of skills that you can learn in a hands-on while sitting at a table, or moving about inside of even a small apartment.
When you have an hour to spare, or even when watching the evening news to keep alert about what is going on in the world, you could also be working with your hands practicing a new life-saving skill.
Many of the items you need to learn and hone the survival skills below are likely already in a tote or shelf in your home.
If not, you can order them from either a brick and mortar store or an online supplier, and have them delivered right to your doorstep.
Learning how to tie a variety of survival knots can begin by simply watching how to videos, and following along with any scrap piece of rope you happen to have laying around.
You can practice and perfect your knot tying while sitting at the table watching television over the course of many nights or even weeks when you are spending time inside your home.
Learning how to make soap will help keep stockpile a multitude of bars that can be used to keep bodies clean during a long-term disaster.
While cleanliness may not seem like a top priority when the S is hitting the fan, the best way to help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, is to keep both yourself and your home clean.
Putting together survival caches is a short term project that can be buried or hidden later when you are outdoors.
Survival caches hold vital supplies, food, ammunition, or weapons that can help save your life, and get you home during a SHTF situation.
Scrap PVC pipe in your garage, a metal trash can, or small metal box all make good cache containers. The PVC pipe will be the most weather-proof.
Items commonly stored inside of a survival cache include: first aid kit, MREs, knife, ammunition, folding rifle, emergency Mylar blankets, lighters, water purification tablets, Lifestraw, etc.
Wild Edibles Identification
Sure, you cannot enjoy the benefits of foraging while sitting on the couch, but you can learn how to identify flowers, herbs, mushrooms, roots, plants, bushes, and trees that can be used for food or as ingredients that are growing in your area.
Dangerous and deadly look-alike plants should be committed to memory along with those that can be eaten raw or cooked.
Purchasing a book, watching foraging identification videos, and/or doing online research while at home will help prepare you for the next hike in the woods or around your property.
Print out photos of edible and medicinal plants that grow in your region, as well as toxic ones, so you can play a memory matching game alone or with a loved one to perfect your visual identification skills as well as overall knowledge of the plants.
Take an online first aid or CPR certification course (there will be a fee) or watch professional videos that teach skills but do not offer any type of certification or require a fee, to advance your emergency medical skills.
Learning how to create a makeshift sling, splint, stop profuse bleeding, or even add or remove stitches, will increase your ability to care for both yourself and those you love during a long-term disaster.
Herbs can be grown indoors any time of the year.
Order some herb seeds and start several windowsill or container gardens to start growing your own delicious and healing herbs.
If you do not have enough windowspace and natural light or simply want to pop up a folding table and grow a whole bunch of herbs, consider purchasing a seed growing light to attach to the table while learning how to grow them.
There is no need to buy a gym membership, buy trendy and expensive exercise equipment, or even leave your home to get better physical shape to become strong enough to survive a long-term disaster.
Intensive manual labor will likely be involved with any SHTF event – even if you are not forced to bug out.
There are a plethora of ways you can tone your muscles and lose weight inside your home without spending a single dime – even if you are living in a tiny house or small apartment.
Use canned goods or plastic 1-gallon jugs filled with water as weights to do arm strengthening exercises.
You can do jumping jacks, run in place, walk up and down stairs repeatedly, step up and down onto a short stool repeatedly, use kitchen counters to press your hands against for modified push ups, and do leg lifts alone or with Ziploc bags filled with rice duct taped around your ankles to add extra resistance.
Learn to Sew
Being able to make your own clothes (especially if you have growing children) mend clothing,and make cloth diapers are traditional homesteading skills that translate well to survival training for use during a long-term disaster.
If you do not have a sewing machine, or if one does not fit into your budget at the moment, buying a simple set of sewing basics to learn how to hand sew so you can learn basic stitches for clothing repair will get your rolling.
Learning how to sew fabric may also help you be better prepared to be your own first responder if stitches are ever required during a SHTF event.
Learning how to water bath can, pressure can, and dehydrate the food you are growing or buying in bulk will help increase your family’s food security in preparation for a long-term disaster or pandemic when you could become confined inside your own home for weeks … or even months.
All of the supplies you would need to get started can be ordered online and delivered to your doorstep for less than $100 for either home canning or dehydrating.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Keeping the home clean and germ free during a disaster (even if it is not pandemic in nature) will help keep everyone healthy.
You’ll not only save money that can be used for other valuable preps by making your own DIY natural bleach alternative, floor cleaner, kitchen cleaner, and bathroom cleaner, but can better ensure those you loved are never subjected to the potentially harmful chemicals found in commercially manufactured cleaning products.
Emergency candles may wind up being your only source of light during a long-term disaster. You can purchase candles relatively inexpensively, but it is still far cheaper to make your own.
Learning this skill will enable you to create more candles for personal use, or to barter long after store shelves are empty and the supply chain could be shut down.
You can buy beeswax pastilles and a few other nominally priced supplies so you can make your own candles using common kitchen tools, but you can also learn how to make them out of Crisco and other carrier oils that are probably already sitting in the pantry.
Meals In a Jar
You can use uncooked paste, rice, dehydrated meat, eggs, and vegetables, and other dry ingredients to make meals in a Mason jar to stockpile on your shelf for future use.
When prepared and stored properly, these nutritious and quick meals can last for many years – at least five or more in my personal experience.
You would essentially be making your own long-term food storage meals but using a Mason jar or vacuum sealed bag instead of paying far more for commercially freeze dried food ingredients.
Making firestarters in bulk to stockpile away until they will be needed during either a short-term or long-term disaster is another great way to enhance your survival skills without leaving your own home.
Most folks will have the items they need to make multiple different types of firestarters already in or around their home.
You can make dozens upon dozens of firestarters to stockpile for survival and camping use for far less than $10, in most cases.
Step Back In Time
There is no better time than the present to practice what life would be like during a long-term disaster when no modern amenities are available.
While you are at home for an extended period of time (at least two days) go off grid to test your mental, physical, and psychological survival skills.
Do not turn on the television, radio, cellphone, or any other screen device during this trial off grid survival run, cook only on a grill, fireplace, or wood stove, and don’t use an electrical or gas heating or cooling elements or tools.
At the end of the 1800s era session, you should have a far better idea what life would be like during a long-term disaster, and where both your survival skills and preps are lacking.
You can start whittling wood with nothing more than a quality knife and a piece of scrap wood or piece of a tree branch that you picked up in the yard.
Buying books or an online course about whittling can get your started, but there are many entirely free YouTube videos that can also help beginners learn the basics and safety guidelines needed to successfully complete projects like making a spike, spear, spoon, or feathered wood.
Rope and Net Making
Learning how to make your own rope, cordage, or nets will not only increase your vital survival skills, but allow you to create a stockpile of essential preparedness gear on the cheap – as well as adding yet another solid bartering service or supplies to your preparedness plan.
Baskets can be used in fishing, trapping, hunting, food gathering, and a host of other ways during a long-term disaster.
Ordering some basic supplies and either reading or watching a how to basic basket weaving video will help you get started on the path to master this traditional survival and homesteading skill in a matter of just a few hours.
Baskets of all shapes and sizes will be a valuable bartering item during a SHTF event. If you can collect some reeds or similar material from your backyard, you will have all the supplies you need to make a basic basket.
Do you have a detailed plan for getting home from work, school, or a frequently visited place via multiple routes or on foot?
Printing off a detailed map of the exact area you will be traveling and routing multiple ways to get home or to a bugout location, even if you have to do it on foot, will help you be better prepared for an actual trek during less than easy circumstances, if a SHTF event occurs when your are not comfortably inside of your own home.
Play Board Games
Yes, survival skills training can be lots of fun. Buying one of the several dozen quality survival board games created by real preparedness experts will get you both thinking about various scenarios that you could one day face, and the skills needed to survive them.
Most survival board games will teach you along the way, not just test your current knowledge.
Not all board games or survival card games require more than one player, so if you are inside of your home alone, increasing your self-reliance skills using games is definitely still a good possibility.
Both outdoor and indoor survival skills training will help you better prepare to face a world that has been thrown into chaos by a man-made or natural disaster, or a pandemic that will either literally or figuratively cut you off from the outside world.
Learning how to rely on yourself to keep your loved ones safe is the primary goal of any type of survival skills training – whether it occurs indoors or out.
Take advantage of any down time you have inside of your own home to increase your self-reliance and overall preparedness skills and stockpiles…
This way, when disaster strikes, YOU are not a member of the panicked horde rushing out to the grocery store in a desperate search for hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and water.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.