26 Skills to Learn to Become Self-Sufficient Off-Grid

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

In an emergency situation, you'll have to rely on your own skills. There may not be a doctor nearby or even an accessible grocery store. With no survival skills, this could mean no food, no soap and no way to get these essentials. Sure, one could scavenge for these things in stores, but how dangerous might that be?

Here are 25 essential skills and links to tutorials:

1. Making Lye

Without lye, you can't make soap. Lye can be made by draining water through ashes from a fire, but there's a specific process that should be followed.

2. Soap Making

After learning to make your own lye, soap making comes next. Soap making is difficult to get the hang of, but a valuable skillset to have!

3. Primitive Weapon Making

To avoid buying ammo from the store, you'll need to learn primitive weapon making. Arrows, bows and even bladesmithing. Reloading bullets is a valuable skillset.

4. Smoking Meat for Preservation

Without visiting the store, there will eventually be a need for preserving food in other ways. This was a method of food preservation for hundreds of years before canning. Hides can be used to make clothes, shoes, blankets, rugs or even tents.

6. Distilling Homemade Alcohol

This is now illegal in many areas, but in a survival situation, this could be a great bartering skill. Alcohol will always be a need.

7. Cabinet Staples

Flour, sweeteners, condiments and even butter are valuable skillsets.

8. Drying Spices

Chili powder and dried herbs are going to be more important than ever, especially since salt is hard to come by outside of the store, unless you live by the ocean, of course.

9. Raising Livestock

Without livestock, this means no meat. No steaks, no roasted chicken and worst of all, no bacon!

10. Butchering Meat

Raising livestock is one thing, but learning to slaughter them and cut the meat is another, especially with larger animals. This skill goes hand-in-hand with #4.

11. Foraging

I love mushrooms. They can be grown, but they can also be foraged, along with other wild berries and plants. Foraging can add diversity to a meal, or even make for a sweet treat should you stumble across some blackberries.

12. Dehydrating Food (without electricity)

It's easy to throw some jerky in the dehydrator and push a button, but a solar-powered dehydrator could be a replacement. This links to a video on how to build one.

13. Solar Power Systems

Speaking of solar power, it's good to have knowledge of solar systems, how they work and how to properly fix them with basic or salvaged parts should you need to.

14. Rainwater Collection

A 900sq' roof can collect quite a bit of fresh water! Collecting this water could bring in a clean, free, renewable source of water!

15. How to Properly Sanitize Water

There's various methods of how to do this, so I included several tutorials. Drinking dirty water can lead to illness and even death. Water should always be sanitized properly before drinking!

16. Gardening

Gardening is kind of a given, but I wanted to include it anyway because it is one of the most important steps in becoming self sufficient. To avoid visiting the grocery store, one will need to grow their own grocery store!

17. Making Butter (without a mixer!)

A mixer takes the majority of the work out of making butter, but what if you didn't have a mixer? There's a better way to make butter without churning your arms off!

18. Making Cheese

This one is next on my list! I've learned how to make cheese without rennet, but not cheddar, yet. Rennet may be hard to come by, but it can be made from foraged plants.

19. Vinegar

I use vinegar all of the time for cleaning. It also has many other uses, like in making cheese.

20. Yeast

Unless you want flat, hard bread, learning to make yeast is an essential skill! It's actually simpler than it seems!

21. Grinding Flour

Learning how to grow, harvest and grind grains can provide you with flour for breads and biscuits.

22. Basic First Aid

Consider taking a class to learn basic first aid. In a collapse, basic doctor care can be difficult, if not impossible to find. Learning the basics about wound care, burns and CPR could save someone's life one day.

23. Farrier Care

It's a common misconception that all working horses need horseshoes. This is not true. Horses, mules and donkeys often do just fine with a regular, proper hoof trimming. Other animals that may need hoof care are goats, sheep and even cows.

24. Leather Working

If you're completely self-sufficient, you may not use fuels. This may mean that you've reverted back to the "old" way of farming with mules or horses. These animals will eventually need their harnesses, bridles and saddles repaired.

25. Weaving Fabric

Clothes eventually wear out. In the event that stores are no longer accessible, the fabric section will no longer be available, either. Weaving fabric will come in handy for making summer clothes. Hides can be used for winter clothes, but those will be incredibly hot in the summertime.

26. Using a Compass/Finding Direction

It's easy to get lost, but if you know how to find your bearings, with or without a compass, it's easier to get yourself where you need to go.

YouTube is full of tutorials and other resources to at least become familiar with these skills. That's my go-to when I'm wanting to learn something new! Do you have any skills you'd like to share? Comment them below!

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