Cross Train for Preparedness
You have your knife. You have your tent. You have your way that you like to do things, and I get that.
To be truly prepared, we need to go outside of our comfort zone and work with other gear, unfamiliar equipment and different techniques than we normally use.
Why do we need to mess with the unknown? Because we need to be ready to tackle the unknown if situations change. The best way to face these challenges is to have experience with different gear and techniques.
Use a Variety of Gear
Let’s say you work with the same knife, or the same type of knife for all your bushcrafting or camping needs. What happens when the world has gone crazy and you lose that knife. A knife is a knife, right? Normally I’d agree, but depending on the shape of the blade, the grind and the handle materials, it could be awkward and unfamiliar for you.
Maybe you always shoot the same type of rifle. You spend hundreds of hours with a AR15, but suddenly in a situation you find yourself with a HK G3 or an AK-47 in your hands, are you comfortable and competent enough to pick it up and put it into action right now? Sure you could figure it out, you’re a smart cookie; but what if you don’t have time to figure it out? What if the time you need it is as soon as you grab it?
Drive an car with an automatic transmission? Learn to drive a manual. Are you awesome on a motorcycle? Take some laps on a moped.
If you use an awesome modern ham radio transceiver, find someone with an old school radio and try your communication skills on that.
Fish with worms. Fish with lures. Fish with insects. Fish using bobbers. Tight-line fish. Trot-line fish. If you can use it to fish, try to fish with it. Then make your own fishing pole and fishing gear out of whatever you can find and fish with it!
Be familiar with different tents, backpacks and even things like camp shovels. Use them in the day, use them in the night, use them in the rain and in total darkness. Figure out how they work, what makes them better or worse, and how to perform upkeep and maintenance on them. Be as broad as you can. Borrow, trade and lend gear if you must.
Use a Variety of Techniques
Don’t always start your fire with the same tools.
Don’t always build the same type of fire. You may be safe with a campfire one night, but the next time you may need to use a Dakota Fire Hole, or build a smokeless campfire.
Try different knots with various types of cordage, I think you’ll be amazed by what you’ll learn about how knots and friction can work between different styles and types of cordage.
Do things in the rain and the dark. You’ll be surprised by how different it is, but you’ll also be surprised with how quickly you’ll start to adapt.
Don’t limit yourself. Look at things that you use every day and swap them out for a different type of item. You may surprise yourself and realize that you were good with Item A, but you are a total bad-ass with Item B.
Your mind and muscle memory are your key tools, if you have experience across a broad array of gears and techniques, you’ll find your problem solving skills, adaptability and intuition much stronger and much faster. You don’t know what you’ll have when SHTF or how long things will last, so being ready to move forward quickly with whatever you have or can get your hands on will be essential.
Then, whatever you find in your surroundings, will be your tools! You got this!