22 Self Reliance Skills to Learn in 2022

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The past two years have served as a wake up call for Americans everywhere. We’ve detailed this in our prior post on what were the top 10 posts of TOP for 2021. It’s blatantly obvious that Americans are becoming preppers, and are actively seeking the self reliance skills which will keep them alive.

But we’re not out of the woods yet.

Anybody who’s been paying attention to current events at all of late understands this as well as the need for proper self-sufficiency. Nobody is coming to save you. Should you lose power, should there be an EMP strike against the US, should you be deemed a non-essential worker, should your utilities be shut off because you refuse to listen to draconian and unconstitutional human rights mandates, you are on your own.

What are 22 self reliance skills to brush up on for 2022?

Take a look at the following 22 self-reliance skills for 2022 to see where you may stand. This by no means is a complete list to independence, but it sure as heck won’t hurt.

  1. Do you know how to can?

Sure, you may know a thing or two about growing a garden, but do you know how to can the produce you’re harvesting? Do you know how to keep the summer’s harvest good into the winter? Do you have the mason jars, lids, and other canning gear necessary to keep your family well-stocked in canned goods?

If not, you may want to check out our free QUICKSTART GUIDE on canning or Daisy’s book, The Prepper’s Canning Guide.

  1. Can you plant and raise a garden?

This can be much more challenging than it looks, and unless you can grow your own food, you’re not going to be self-sufficient. Do you have the tools you need? Do you have the seed? Do you understand companion planting, how to build a trellis, and which plants like full sun?

      3.  Can you walk or run a mile?

Yes, I totally understand there are medical conditions which preclude this. But if those aren’t a problem for you, can you do either of these? Why build a bug-out bag if you can’t walk any respectable distance to bug-out?

If you have the ability to run, but don’t, train. If you are limited to walking, but don’t, train. Here’s a guide just for preppers to help you get fit for bugging out.

  1. Can you keep electronics running without power?

We just posted a piece about the I-95 disaster in Virginia, where passengers were stranded for 20 hours or so overnight on the interstate in freezing temperatures. What happens when your phone dies and you need to call 911? Can you keep your essential electronics still running when A) the power goes out, or B) there is no power available nearby?

All this takes is pre-planning. Portable solar panels, crank generators, battery banks – have you prepped these? Here’s Daisy’s review on a solar generator she uses for her apartment.

  1. Can you collect rainwater?

Really, we could expand this to the larger “can you collect water?” Let’s focus on rainwater though. Should there be a drought, your utilities be cut off, or whatever, you’re going to need water, and rain is free. Do you have the knowledge of how to set up a rain barrel? Have you prepped this?

If not, why are you waiting?

  1. Can you make money without depending upon somebody else?

This is perhaps one of the trickiest skills to master on this list, but I believe it’s tied in with self-sufficiency. If your boss is your only hope of making money, they can lead you by the nose. They very much so have a large degree of power over your life, and may use that power to dictate how you live.

Do you know how to make money of your own accord? Do you have the skills, tools, and/or material needed to do so? Figure out a way to make alternative income for your family. At some point in the near future, you may need it.

  1. Can you apply a tourniquet?

Do you know how to do this? Do you prep the equipment needed to do this? Do you carry a tourniquet with you regularly? Would you have time to run back to your car for your trauma kit if you’re in the middle of a mall when an active shooter event unfolds?

There are great courses out there to learn how to handle all this, and you may want to check out this recent study on Celox as well.

  1. Can you eat for a month without going to a grocery store?

Let’s consider this a minimum. Should there be a job loss, lockdown, supply chain problem, famine, or EMP, can you keep your family fed for a minimum of a month? This will allow you some level of breathing room as you formulate a better strategy moving forward.

Here’s a free guide to building a 3-layer pantry to see you through all sorts of emergencies.

  1. Can you go a week without spending money?

I don’t mean on bills, gasoline, propane, or food. Can you go a week without spending money on what’s not absolutely vital? The less money you spend, the more independent you are. Or perhaps, the less your debt is, the more independent you are. Debt makes you a slave, remember that.

The more independent you are, the better self-reliance skills you have. And if you can’t go a week without buying a fancy latte, concert tickets, or whatever, are you really independent?

Not that these are bad things, but could you go without them for a week if needed?

  1. Can you call for backup without a phone?

There is safety in numbers. But how do you get those numbers to where they need to be if you don’t have cell service, your phone is dead, your phone service has been shut off, there’s been an EMP, etc? Can you get men to where they need to be right now?

  1. Do you have a fireplace, wood stove, or gas logs?

This is huge. If you’re dependent on your local electrical company for heat, you’re not independent. All it takes is a click of a mouse for you to freeze. Do you have plenty of spare wood? How are your propane tank levels? Do you have plenty of blankets? How are you going to keep your pipes from freezing?

Are your self-reliance skills really up to par if you can’t even keep yourself from freezing to death without outside help? Here’s a guide to handling a winter power outage.

  1. Can you defend your home or neighborhood?

It’s often been said if you can’t defend it, you don’t own it. Do you have some base level of self-defense skills? Do you EDC a pistol? Can you reliably and safely use that pistol to hit your target? Can you field strip your weapons? Do you have adequate ammo stores? Do you have appropriate weaponry? Do you have plenty of mags, mag pouches, cleaning kits, rifle slings, holsters, and other weapon accessories?

And do you have the proper training to know how to use all of this?

  1. Can you sight a rifle?

I consider this a separate skill from just defending your home. If you can’t sight a rifle, you can’t ensure your rifle will hit what you need it to. Let’s say you’re banned from buying groceries in the near future for some inexplicable reason. Can you sight a rifle in so that you can put venison on the table?

  1. Can you skin and butcher a squirrel, rabbit, and deer?

I think these are the big three of wild game. If you know how to skin and butcher these, you can skin and butcher just about anything as these are liable to be the most common forms of wild game you’ll come across post-disaster.

It can be a bit of a mystifying experience until you try it a couple of times as well.

  1. Can you predict if and when it’s going to rain or snow?

If you can do this, you have a very actionable piece of intelligence to work from. This tells you when you can plant, when you can harvest, and when to start hunkering down. There are absolutely preps which can help you to do this – and you should look into them – but can you do this with nothing other than your nose and eyeballs as well?

Go here to learn more about weather preparedness.

  1. Can you navigate with a map, compass, and map protractor?

Forget the GPS. You may not have that available to you in the near future. If that is so, do you know how to get from Point A to Point B with your map and map tools? Let’s say an EMP happens and you need to get your daughter back to your home. Do you have the navigation skills to do so?

  1. Can you preserve meat with salt?

If you have no electricity, you likely have no refrigeration (root cellars excluded). If this is the case, do you know how to preserve meat with salt? This has been a functional skill of being a man for thousands of years. Can you still do this today?

  1. Can you make jerky?

Another important form of meat preservation that many are unaware of how to do. If you shoot a deer, do you know how to make your own jerky that will last you well after raw meat would have spoiled? Do you have the gear that makes this process much more enjoyable?

  1. Do you have a network?

Again, there’s strength in numbers. Part of self-sufficiency is knowing who to turn to for help. One simply can’t become a master of everything. Do you have a network of farmers, plumbers, veterinarians, electricians, nurses, doctors, teachers, and others who you can turn to for help with problems that you can’t fix of your own accord?

  1. Do you have a basic supply of tools available?

Things break. Do you have a basic toolset that will allow you to handle the great majority of things that come your way? Do you have the basic know-how of how to use those tools as well?

  1. Can you filet a fish?

Country folk will have no problem here. We grew up fishing. But for everybody else, do you know what it takes to filet that fish you just caught? Do you know how to descale, what meat to keep, how to gut the slimy thing, and so on?

  1. Can you treat common maladies?

The illnesses and ailments that are treated with OTC medications: do you know how to treat them, and do you have the equipment and medicine available to treat those situations without having to run out to the store at the moment?

Where do you stand with your self-reliance skills?

There are undoubtedly several other aspects of self-reliance that can be used to improve your independence, but what about the above 22? They could easily be considered something of a “starter set” of skills for those who are new to prepping, or even as a source of inspiration for what you should brush up on if you’re a seasoned prepper. Check out the Self Reliance Manifesto for more skills and links to learn them.

What are your thoughts? Are there any of these you need to brush up on? Are there any you have mastered? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

About Aden

Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com, TheFrugalite.com, PewPewTactical.comSurvivalBlog.comSHTFBlog.comApartmentPrepper.comHomesteadAndPrepper.com, and PrepperPress.com. Along with being a freelance writer, he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

22 Self Reliance Skills to Learn in 2022
Aden Tate

Aden Tate

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  • “Can you go a week without spending money?”

    a prepper retreat isn’t ready until you can go an entire year without spending a single dollar.

  • “Can you skin and butcher a squirrel, rabbit, and deer?”

    everyone in range is going to attempt to do that. within a week there won’t be much wildlife left.

  • “Can you treat common maladies?”

    pre-modern, one of the biggest causes of death was simple infections. just having isopropyl alcohol and iodine providone and applying it to any cut will reduce that by .9.

  • These suggestions are great, because if after a shtf event you need to bug out to where ever, no “group” would be willing to take you in, unless you have some skills. And yes these are all good skills to learn. Because if you have nothing to bring to a survival group, why would they want another burden to feed you and maybe take care of your medical needs. You better be able to bring something to the table. My husband and I try to learn a new skill once a month, than use it the rest of the month. We have learned a lot of basic skills and than some! Great article Daisy!

  • I would add a few more skills to that list.

    Can you hunt with a Bow/Crossbow? There will be times when discharging a Firearm may not be wise. Having a Bow/Crossbow in your supplies and being able to silently hunt, not only helps keep your presence in an area quiet, it will help conserve your stores of Ammunition.

    Can you Reload your Ammunition? I’ve been a Reloader for over 40 years, and can’t remember the last time I bought a box of cartridges. My Press and all the gear needed for reloading fits in a surplus PA120mm Mortar Can. My stock of powders, primers and bullets fit in a second can. While this doesn’t give an unlimited amount of ammo, it does extend my ammo out.

    Do you know both the Edible and Medicinal uses for plants in your region? Knowing the Flora in your region will enable you to extend your food supplies. Knowing those that have Medicinal value and how to prepare them, extends your OTC Medicine supplies.

    Do you know or can you distill water/alcohol? Knowing how to and what equipment you need to distill water could save your life. Being able to distill alcohol from a mash will be a useful skill, not only for its medical/cleaning uses, but as a potential barter item.

    How to trap/snare game? Recognizing small game trails and setting up traps and snare game. Another silent and passive hunting option.

    Along with butchering/processing game, learning how to tan their hide would be a valuable skill. Making buttons from bones and antlers another skill.

    Improvising Perimeter Alarms/Warnings? You may not be alone in an area. There will be those that would take from us rather than gather their own supplies. Some, will be willing to kill for your supplies. Being able to set up silent or audible alarms that warn you of “visitors.”

    Can you build a rudimentary shelter with materials you gather? Can you build a shelter out of the materials you have on hand. A Lean To, Sod Shelter, an Igloo? Knowing how to construct these and other shelters could save your life.

    Do you know Morse Code? HAM radio is one of the ways we may be forced to communicate through. Voice to voice transmission require a lot of power. Keyed Morse, on the other hand, requires the least amount of power to transmit/receive a signal. Knowing Morse also gives you a bit of encryption, as only another Morse fluent individual will understand your transmission.

    Aden has got us started on this, so I look forward to hearing from others, what valuable skills you all consider essential.

  • Check mark for most of the above and I’ll add…
    Do you have and know how to file, sharpen and maintain a crosscut saw when the chainsaws go down or gas is not available?
    Do you have the handles, wedges (felling, splitting, hanging), teeth setting tools, files and axes to go along with your crosscut saw?
    Do you have a vehicle without a computer, that you can maintain and the spare parts to keep it running.?
    Have you stored materials such as plywood, boards, nails, screws, barbed wire, posts, tarps, roofing etc. and manual hand tools that DON’t require batteries or electricity?

    Great thread with great comments to make you think.

    • Something we’ve been working on is cast iron cooking. Also restoring cast iron, we’re having a lot of fun with it. The other would be bee keeping in my opinion. Take care!!

  • Food for pretty much a full year on hand, Garden seed, 2 Pressure canners and 4 water bath canners, a few dozen more empty jars plus dozens of jar lids. Years of archery with 2 nice bows and assorted arrows plus and 80 lb c Ross biw with 48 bolts, first aid certified plus books, experienced foreager medicinal and edibles plus regional books, supported family with baking bread and pies, can design and sew clothing and bags, both electric and antique treadle sewing machines and a heavy duty leather machine. Can not run at 75 but can easily walk a few miles every day. On 0 medications. Know shelter construction and have a stack of tarps and rope always available. Wood heat and cooking capable. No emp proof vehicle. Yes have solar capabilities. I have new work boots and walking shoes put back as well as daily wear items. I have several re al different radios and walkie talkie sets available. I have rabbits here. Yes I can snare small game and birds. Have been butchering and fileting for years. Have plenty of firepower but good with archery. Usually have chickens and ducks but lost them this year. Will start replacing in Spring. Have a small dog and wanting a large dog. BOB, sm tent, camp cooking items, bedding, ect all close to the front door. Could easily live in a vehicle but could pull a wagon or luggage carrier to take more than just a BOB if on foot. Recently widowed so supplies will go much further. Groceries and meds in home might go 2 years for one individual. Do have close family here I can reach with a whistle. It is easily heard anywhere on the property. Also nearby friends. We would any of us back each other. I have phone storage batteries and solar chargers that also charge a lantern and very bright flashlight.. crank powered lanters and radio also available.

  • The wood stove for heat (I have one) requires a lot of related skills! I’ve built a fire and left a bed of coals for my wife to keep the fire going while I went to the office for a few hours. When I got home, the fire was almost out and the house was smoky from opening the door without a proper draft. Apparently, just keeping a fire GOING in a woodstove is a skill that takes time to learn, since that happened more than once. Not to mention recognizing decent wood, processing it and cutting, using an axe safely, and so much more.

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive
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