Learning Primitive Skills

I want to be able to thrive regardless of the situation I am in or what gear I have with me. For that reason I have been learning primitive skills. My region of the U.S. is said to be due for a large scale earthquake similar to the recent quakes in Haiti and Japan. If it happens, I would like to be ready. I want to have as many skills as possible so I can be an asset to my community.

craig with knife and bow

Me with the knife I made in blacksmithing class and the primitive bow I carved from native wood. The string was made with a synthetic sinew.

For me part of learning to live sustainably is understanding how to survive without all of the luxuries we have in American society. I don’t really see a different between basic survivalism, sustainability, and preparedness. However you categorize yourself, I think we can all agree that nobody has ever said “I wish I hadn’t prepared so much for this situation.”

Hand forged knife

A survival knife I forged in a blacksmithing class.

It has been very fun to put into action techniques I’d read about in anthropology courses back in school combined with things I’d seen on survival shows.


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arrow heads cordage and bowl 2

Arrow heads knapped from glass bottles, cordage from bark, and a burn bowl made by using coals to burn away the inside of a stump.

I think the key here is to practice these skills prior to being in a situation where your life depends on them. Just because you have seen someone do something on tv or on Youtube does not mean you can do it. Understanding theory, and practical application are two very different things.

bow drill in action

Attempting to make a fire with a bow drill.

So where do you start?

I’d recommend finding some friends, watching some YouTube videos and then going outside to practice. I also took several classes at Trackers PDX in Portland, OR to include blacksmithing, knife-making, bow-making, and fiber spinning. They offer some naturalist and survival training as well. http://trackerspdx.com/  I’d also recommend courses through The Human Path in San Antonio, TX which were even better. http://www.thehumanpath.com

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About SustainableCraig

I am a military veteran, urban farmer, and financial coach whose goal is to spread knowledge of financial literacy and sustainability throughout the Pacific Northwest. I enjoy spending time outdoors where I frequently test my wilderness survival skills.
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