15 Survival Skills Your Life Depends On – Budget Overview Included

| Last Updated: March 28, 2021

The most common question we get is "what can I do now to prepare for a survival/prepper lifestyle", "How do I improve my prepper defense?" and of course "how much is it going to cost?". These are both legitimate questions and we are glad to do the research and find the best products at the most reasonable price for you.

As you're reading this online we assume you're familiar with online shopping, so the links included are for Amazon mostly, which is the highest rated in online shopping security and convenience. Now let's get into this!

What You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Wilderness Survival Essentials and How Much it Will Cost

Below are the main things you can do to prepare, plus a few of our favorite items:

1. Fire Making

Surprisingly this is the one skill that is most easily picked up, and since we have dedicated a free pdf to teaching you how to make fire in any situation there's no longer any excuse as to not knowing how! Now for the importance of fire making there is an endless list of reasons why you will need this skill in any prepper/survivalist situation.

The first and foremost being water purification. Since you can not go any longer than a few days without water there's no sense in investing time into food gathering if you will die long before you get past the first week. So there's one reason.

Also your ability to stay warm is a key factor, especially since the survival challenge in one nights temperature change could wipe you out completely, you'll want to make sure your fire making skills are up to snuff before you learn the hard way and have to chip off a few fingers and toes.

COST- Free (with our pdf) or you can invest in a flint and steel striker to be almost guaranteed of having fire at all times.

2. Water Purification

If you can't see the value in water purification skills then there's truly no hope for you in a real survival situation. You can maybe survive one week without food, and if you're truly a strong willed person then you might survive 4 days without water as we stated before. So to say this skill is a bit critical would be a dramatic understatement!

In order to make sure you get the best information possible I did the research for you, and the best source on this that I've found is over at wildwoodsurvival, and these guys are the real deal and have a fantastic article on water purification. They have our full endorsement and hopefully we will be able to collaborate on a few projects in the future.

COST- Wildwoodsurvival method is completely free with a little practice, or you can get a water purification straw to be safe and have as a backup.

3. Familiarization With Directional Skills

If you told the majority of the population how to get back home using cardinal directions (North South East and West), odds are that you would have a very puzzled person staring at you waiting to see if you're serious. The sad truth is that most young people are inept when it comes to using cardinal directions, which will be a major hinderance when the ish hits the fan.

To familiarize yourself with this skill you will want to keep your road map handy, and plenty of patients on hand as well. Note first of all that the sun will always set in the west and rise in the east, so there's two easy ones if you happen to need to know where to go in the morning or afternoon. But what happens after a day of walking and you need to get your bearings without siri? Well I can spend forever and a day telling you or I can give you the resource to get the exact information, and I choose the later.

COST- Free with some patience and time

4. Do Your Research

When it comes to wilderness survival essentials, the most valuable resource you have at your disposal to avoid ever being thrust into a survival situation is to know where you're going before you get there! It wouldn't be very smart to have a bee allergy and plan your family vacation to North West Louisiana where there is an abundance of bee strains and wasps. So take the time to know before you go.

This can be applied to those of you who are preppers as well. This kind of comes with the territory of being a prepper, but it can stand to be repeated. You need to know how to respond to a disaster of any kind to ensure that your family will be properly protected at all times.

It's not enough to stockpile space blankets and whale fat in your basement in preparation for the second ice age, if global economy collapse happens. Unless whale fat is the new gold and can stop bullets then you might be in trouble! All of this to say that you should be prepared for ANYTHING, not just what you think might happen.

COST- Free with some patients

5. Survival Kit/Bug Out Bag

Let's start with the survival kit for an outdoorsman. This kit does not need to be any bigger than your wife's makeup bag (unless your wife's makeup bag is a small duffel bag, doesn't need to be that big), you want something that will not weigh you down and still have all the necessary tools for survival. In this bag you will want to have a fire starter of some kind, a water purifier, a vacuum sealed blanket, a multi-purpose knife and a compass. THAT'S IT!

If you need to use this thing you don't want it to be a hindrance to your survival, you want to be able to pick it up and go if you need to run for any reason. This survival kit can save your life and shouldn't be taken lightly, or most of all forgotten! If you take the time to put it together then make sure it's ALWAYS with you somewhere.

Now the bug out bag is a different story all together. Some people like to prep for a month in one bag, which sounds like a lot but with MREs you can make that happen with very little space. And with a bug out bag you will want tools that will help you to get along in most situations, but again you don't want to make a 50 lb. bag.

It's a bug out bag, not a crawl out bag. So with this in mind you can take time to put yours together with certain scenarios in mind, or you can purchase a generic "ready-made" bag. Either way is fine and you're not a slacker for buying a ready-made bag, the custom bags are for those who have very specific plans in mind.

6. In A SHTF Situation, Have a Safe Point

This one is geared more towards the preppers, but it wouldn't hurt for everyone to take head from this information to protect your families. In a situation where all hell breaks lose and there's mass chaos everywhere, you want to make sure your family knows to head to a specific location where they can meet up with you and the rest of the family to prepare for what's next and make sure everyone's ok.

This can be a cabin in the woods, or as extensive as an underground bunker, which sounds crazy but here at the Survive The Wild HQ it's not something we aren't considering for our families. The main point is to sit down with your family and establish that should something happen (earthquake, tornado, mass riots etc.) that the family knows to meet at a specific location to re-group.

COST- Will only cost a little family time, but for the underground bunker $39,000-$2 mil.

The rising bunker company is our most trusted name in this area.

7. Make Sure You're In Shape

It's no surprise that if your greatest test of fitness is how many cheetos you can fitn'ess face, then you might be in trouble in a real survival situation, or if your prepper defense fails and you're forced to flee on foot. Everyone needs to be able to at least spend one whole day walking around with minimal breaks.

Because if you're on a ski trip on the summit of a mountain with very thin air, then your only hope is to move as quickly down the mountain as possible. And when your survival is limited by your fitness is when you're in deep trouble.

So please take steps to improve your health in a few areas, if only once per week, to ensure you'll be able to sustain activity for a long period of time if needed.

COST- Free, unless you want some new shoes

8. Study Botany

If I could recommend one course to be added to schools across America it would be Botany! This tremendous skill is beyond measure. Once you take a little while to learn what's good and bad for you in nature, you'll never have to worry about going hungry again! We are literally surrounded by food constantly, whether it's the bark on some trees or the roots of plants, we will never go hungry if we take up this skill.

9. Invest in Quality

We all know the importance of not sacrificing in certain areas for quality. Whether it's choosing to pay a little more at the farmers market for meats and eggs than at the grocery store, or buying a 2 million dollar underground bunker. Ok maybe not that extreme, but you get what I'm saying right?

Just know that all of the suggestions on this page have been vetted by survivalist and we would not recommend anything to you that we would recommend to our own families. The things we recommend may not be the cheapest or the most "underground style" but they're proven to be functional in all situations for all users.

COST- Common Sense

10. Food Preparation

No preparation in life would be complete with this element along with water. We've stated earlier that you'll only be able to survive one week without food. Which at first sounds like a pretty long time, but if you're the normal American who complains about hunger pangs within an hour of missing their meal then you can understand why it's important to make sure this is covered.

To do this when outdoors it's as simple as a few MREs in your pack, however if you're a prepper then you'll want to look at a little more intense means of food preparation. For the preppers the food preparation will probably cover months to years instead of a few days, and this will take some time and money. But again it's up to you and what your goals are for your life.

COST- MREs, bulk options are available as well.

11. Water

If you're that person that doesn't go hiking with more than one water bottle, LISTEN UP! If your survival in even a controlled environment is important to you, then you need to make sure you have at LEAST a whole days worth of water with you at all times on the trails.

Now this won't always be an option if you're in a plane that went down, and that's where the water purification straw comes in handy with your survival kit. This should be abundantly clear as to why this is an important aspect of your survival journey and preparation.

Now for more extreme measures to create a surplus of water in your house as you do food you can invest in water containers to be filled at least once per month. Now transporting these home filled stores outside the home isn't recommended or practical so only invest in this if your strategy is to bug in in a survival situation.

12. Shelter

Shelter is the element that could separate you from a nice night in the woods listening to the drip drop of rain, and the painfully long and dark night drenched under a tree. It's up to you. Knowing how to build a shelter is paramount to your mental health when in a survival situation in the wild. Thankfully it's not that hard to find out how to make a rudimentary shelter to get you through a stormy night.

survivallife does a fantastic job of putting together different shelters that can be constructed quickly by beginners. And they even have a selection of more detailed structures for a longer stay in the woods that are more weather resistant. Just imagine laying in your shelter of sticks and leaves with no fire and just in your underwear while it snows outside and you're perfectly comfortable. That's the efficiency and quality they bring to the table!

COST- Some discomfort when testing them at home

13. Have a Plan

We never plan to fail, but all to often we fail to plan. And that's when we get into trouble! If we always knew when we would be thrust into a survival situation then we would make sure to have our MREs ready, our water purification straws and the willingness to eat whatever to survive. But life is never that forthcoming with such information, so it's up to us to be constantly ready for anything.

This doesn't mean that you'll be walking around in a paranoid frenzy, rather just take the time to see things in the wild as tools instead of just pieces of nature. When you look at a resort on tv ask yourself if you could survive in that environment without the resort? If the answer is no then it's time to brush up on your survival skills in that situation! You want to be ready for anything at any time. This article should illuminate the importance of having a plan in place.

COST- Your time and internet access

14. Know Who You Trust

This could not be any more important when you're hiking in unfamiliar territory. You need to know who's got your back at all times, and not just trust someone to hold a rope as you repel down a cliff face with blind trust.

You need to know before you go if this person is at or above your skill level and is prepared to handle the things you will encounter when outdoors. Otherwise this is the perfect recipe to allow yourself to be stranded in the wild because you put faith in the person who's only outdoor adventure before was watching camp cartoons....

And as a prepper your inventory of friends could be one of your greatest assets to prevent any sort of catastrophe from ruining your plans. As a lone wolf in a situation you might have the benefit of not worrying about others when making decisions, but there will be times when there are strength in numbers and a community is needed to persevere. So please take time to assemble a small group of close friends who are like-minded and willing to help, and build that community now before it's too late!

COST-FREE, just get out there and get to know some people

15. Learn to be Resourceful

The best has certainly been saved for last, and I will try not to beat a dead horse when discussing this topic. The necessity of learning to be resourceful is an invaluable tool that can serve you before and during any sort of survival situation! When you take time to look at something as simple as a shirt please don't think of this as just a one use item, your shirt can be a water filter, strings for a bow, used as for a fire bow, chord to make a shelter and many other things.

You hopefully can tell the importance of not just looking at one item as a single purpose tool, but instead view it as a resourceful survivalist who can make something out of anything, because you can! The only limitations you have are the ones you set up and accept in your own mind.

And as a prepper I have no doubt that you fully understand the importance of being resourceful. With every new prepper I meet I am encouraged that the spirit of ingenuity is still alive and well! Preppers have an unspoken requirement of needing to be resourceful somehow in every way, whether it's learning a new skill of canning food or how to defend yourself with what you already have, preppers have the highest need of being resourceful in a given situation!

COST-Free. Or a little brain power


I hope we've underscored the important steps you can implement now to make sure that you're prepared for whatever situation life throws at you! And remember that this was not meant to throw you into a panic make you paranoid about the outside world, rather it's meant to inform and help prepare you to be ready.

We can't make you take action on these steps, but we can encourage you to take these words to heart and apply them how you see fit. Thank you so much for your time!

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2 thoughts on “15 Survival Skills Your Life Depends On – Budget Overview Included”

  1. The articles I found on Wildwoodsurvival.com about water purification using a solar still is bad information, yea sit will work, but you will only get about a cup full a day from it and you will probably sweat out more than that digging the hole. In very wet conditions you might get twice that much, in a desert probably less and you need at least three to four times that much just to survive for a day. This method has been promoted for years, and in theory is sounds great, but is not a practical method in the real world.
    Also remember that having the knowledge without the practice is not good, you don’t want to try something first during a real survival situation, see above example, also see if you can start a fire if one of your hands or arms is injured or disabled, if you can’t then you really aren’t prepared for a survival situation where you might be injured.

    • Thank you for your insight, Gale! I can tell you’re very knowledgable in this area and would love to know your recommendation for a revision to this suggestion. From what I gathered in your comment, you’re saying the best way to go about water purification in a survival situation would be to make a fire to then boil and purify the water? If this is found to be the most helpful in most situations we will revise the post. Thank you again for your diligence and helpful advice, Gale! Also is there a site you would recommend to get more quality information for our readers?


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