Practice makes perfect with outdoor survival activities

We all hope there will never be a disaster that will cause us to hunker down in our homes. But it could happen and that’s why we prepare. Same with a crisis that would cause us to bug out. That’s why we have bug-out bags and plans for that scenario.

But if you’re like me, if you don’t do something for a long time, you either forget how to do it or it takes a lot longer than it should. It’s a great idea to take a weekend at least twice a year to practice the type of survival activities you may have to use someday if a disaster causes you to bug out. Fortunately, many of us have yards where we can do this.

Here are five activities you and your family members should rehearse in the backyard to make sure you’re ready to do them for real when the time comes:

  • Building a Shelter. You don’t need to construct anything elaborate here. Just work on setting up your tent as quickly as you can. Or practice building temporary shelters with your tarps and ponchos, or even a teepee. Keep in mind that while there is no sense of urgency now, there may be later when you need shelter from the elements in a hurry.
  • Starting a Fire. Hopefully you’ll have a lighter when the times come to start a fire for real. But if not, it’s good to know how to start one with a Ferro rod or a magnesium stick, using cotton balls soaked in alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Practice starting fires with other materials as well, including petroleum jelly, dry tinder, char cloth, flint and steel.
  • Foraging for Food. Most people try to rid their lawns of dandelions, but if you were hungry in the wild, you might wish there were some around. There are many common weeds and flowers that are edible in a crunch, so practice identifying them. Among others are miner’s lettuce, stinging nettles, cattails, daylilies, and primrose.
  • Cooking Outdoors. If you can make a campfire in your backyard, go for it. Practice cooking foods over an open flame. Practice making cooking grates out of green saplings, or use flat heated rocks as the cooking surface. It will be tempting to choose a nice sunny day for practice, but that’s not something you’ll be able to count on in an emergency.
  • Archery and Spear Hunting. Your car trunk should include a longbow, a slingshot and materials that you could use to form a spear. Exercise extreme caution when utilizing these items for practice in your backyard. If you haven’t shot an arrow for a while, you may be surprised at how off you are. Same with throwing a spear. Muscle memory only comes from practice.

Which other activities have you practiced in your yard that will help when it comes time to survive in the wild? Our readers would love to know.


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