Step 1: What skills would I need

Posted: December 16, 2010 in brainstorm, experiment, plan, thoughts
Tags: , , , , , ,

Below is a list of the skills one should have to survive after the Apocalypse. My goal for 2011 is to learn as much as I can in one year (2012 it all ends, right?) while holding down my day job. I don’t expect to learn every skill below. However, I thought I should first brainstorm all the skills I should learn and from there pick the most important and most likely ones I would be able to acquire in one year.

Two notes about the list below:

  • First, the lists is loosely organized around Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, starting with the most fundamental.  Within each sub-category skills needed for the short-term (or immediate survival) are listed before skills needed for more long-term survival.
  • Second, while I wrote the original version of this list on Dec, 16, 2010 the list is being constantly added to and edited. I add items as I think of them, and also build links into particular subjects as I find links that I particularly like for specific subjects.

Physiological Needs


How to purify water

Get water out of a cactus

How to gather rain

How to dig a well


How to start a fire without a match

How to pick a survival knife

How to skin an animal

How to hunt an animal

How to shoot an arrow

How to make a bow and arrow

How to use a gun

How to pick a gun

How to clean and maintain a gun

How to make a bullet

How to trap an animal

How to track an animal

How to make beef jerky

How to gather food

How to raise an animal

How to grow corn, beans, squash and other southwestern foods

How to can foods

How to dry beans

How to dehydrate food

How to read the weather


How to build a shelter

How to use a leatherman

Basic construction knowledge

Basic electrical knowledge

How to raid a home depot store


How to sew a button

How to repair shirt/pants

Safety Needs

Personal Security

How to use a gas mask

How to swing a golf club as a weapon

Same weapon skills needed for hunting listed above

How to build/repair a fence

How to build a perimeter

How to make a cannon

Basic chemistry

Financial Security

How to raid a pharmacy

Bargaining skills

How to siphon gas

How to start an abandoned car

How to build a solar power system

How to build a wind system

Health and well-being

How to fix a wound

Basic medical care for the short and long term

Basic psychology or counseling skills

How to swamp cool the natural way

Love and belonging needs

How to build a commune

How to make a plan

How to communicate long distance without power

How to play the harmonica

How to navigate using the stars

  1. mikel weisser says:

    First off the vastr majority of city folk, i predict, will never make it out of the prisons those acres of cages will become once the arteries to leave become impassable. Using Katrina as a model, we can see that in the case of a truly castastrophic disaster, infrastructure will actually imprison the citydwellers rather than free them.

  2. How to get out quickly, should then be added?

  3. CC says:

    I can get you in contact with a pro at harmonica playin’. Let me know when you have time. He taught me in 3 mins a basic song.

    • I would say definitely learning the immediate geography of your city an surrounding area, especially for metropolitans woul be essential and then how to survey and evaluate land based on its resources an defensibility is a must. While a straight up zombie-apocalypse is unlikely Cormac McCarthy’s vision of post-disaster barbarity is probably in a reasonably expectable range. Pacifists like me will either have to be prepared to sacrifice ourselves as meat or accept the real meaning behind the phrase survival by any means necessary.

  4. […] Maybe I should add ”Learn Spanish” to my list of tasks for the apocalypse. […]

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