You need certain skills to survive in a disaster situation. That’s a given. But reading a massive list of recommended skills can be overwhelming — it’s not like you can master 50 skills simultaneously. We asked a bunch of survival experts and website owners one thing…

What are the three most important survival skills to master?

Here are their responses. Start with these.

Robert Richardson from

The three most important skills, when it comes to surviving in a wilderness setting, are knowing how to find foodwater and shelter. These three things are the fundamental building blocks to learning how to survive in the wilderness. If you take any one of these skills out of the equation, you put yourself at immediate risk and severely lessen your chances of survival.

Shaun Marrin from

Here are the three skills I would suggest for every prepper.

The first skill I’d pick would be first aid, there are 5 basic first aid skills every prepper should know, they are cleaning and dressing a wound, making a makeshift splint or sling, CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and treating someone that is in shock.

The second skill would be the preservation and storage of food. Things like field dressing a fresh kill, smoking meat, preserving the harvest of a garden using dehydration and canning techniques, as well as pressure canning meat and vegetables.

The third skill I would suggest is defense. There are seven rules of self defense that everyone should learn. They are self defense has no rules, don’t put yourself in bad situations, confidence, stay aware, control the situation, hurt them first and get away as soon as possible.

Jim Cobb rom

With regards to wilderness survival, the three most important skills to master would be:

Fire building — knowing how to reliably get a fire going in virtually all conditions is crucial. Fire helps you moderate your core temperature to prevent hypothermia. It boils water so as to make it potable. Fire can also serve as a signal for help. Plus, it has a strong psychological benefit.

Navigation — being able to figure out where you and what direction to head to find help is critical. Entirely too many people today rely upon technology to do this for them. Know how to read a map, determine compass direction, and plan a route. While it is wise to stay put and wait for help to find you, if you have the skills and experience in navigation, you can self-rescue.

Panic prevention — keeping a cool head under pressure is very important. It is quite alright to be a little frightened if you get lost. But, don’t lose your head over it. Keep calm and let your rational mind take over. Make sound decisions based on the information available, rather than jumping to irrational conclusions.

Roy Huntington from

Medical skills going beyond just the obvious. How to suture, medicate (often using antibiotics/etc. available at the farm supply store). Even minor surgery if needed.

«combat» mindset so you don’t become a volunteer victim, including how to control your own emotions and anger so it doesn’t cloud your ability to think clearly and objectively about situations.

General tool skills of every kind, including small engine mechanics, welding, fabricating, how to drive tractors, bull-dozers, fork-lifts, back-hoe, etc.

But that’s just what I think. I think I’d assume one had good defensive gun skills. In all honesty, that’s part of No.2 and while most people focus on guns and ammo, how many guns can you really carry and how much ammo can you really move and manage?

Dan Buglio from

Simply put — survival goes in 3’s.

Shelter is most important. Without adequate shelter, exposure to extreme cold or heat can kill you in 3 hours.

Water is Next. Without the ability to locate, collect and purify water, 3 days and you will be in BIG trouble.

Lastly is Food. A human can survive for up to 3 weeks without food as long as they have shelter and water. After three weeks, starvation really kicks in and you are at severe risk.

So there it is. Surviving in the wild requires skills in the area of Shelter, finding and purifying water and the ability to find food.

Johnnie L. Mock PSP

My three survival priorities are based on worst case SHTF scenarios.

  1. Weaponcraft skills and equipment: You can have the best survival equipment and skills available, but if you cannot protect yourself and family you end up being a supply room for someone else, and a meal for the vultures.
  2. Medical Skills and equipment: 911 is going to be a memory, so you need to handle all medical emergencies on your own. Your skills should approach EMT level.
  3. Fire making: Anyone can throw a poncho over a limb to get out of the sun or rain, but if you cannot build a fire in extreme conditions, your time is limited

And there you have it — real advice from real experts on skills to start learning right this second. You should master more than three skills, but if you’re looking to equip yourself with the essentials right away, pick three from the list and go to town. In a survival situation, they’re the ones that you’ll need the most.

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