After writing a pretty long article about all the survival skills you could possibly learn, I decided to make a similar one just for urban scenarios. I’m doing this for several reasons, the biggest one being that city dweller generally don’t concern themselves with bushcraft techniques or living off the grid.
To be completely honest, you should learn about living in the wilderness even if you’re an urban prepper. Who knows what national disaster may come that will turn cities into death traps and force you to retreat in the wilderness.
But OK, I get it, you’re not concerned with such scenarios just yet. Let’s see the full list of all the urban survival skills you need know and practice starting today with your loved ones.
Escaping a Riot
The larger the city, the bigger the odds of a riot. Sometimes you’re not aware of what’s happening until it’s too late (even the peaceful protest can take a turn for the worst). Sometimes there could be a social unrest that sprouts up between you and your home.
How do you escape one? First, you have to move with it, not against it. Better yet, move at an angle until you get the chance to get out and disappear in one of the streets. Second, don’t respond to challenges. Don’t run, don’t shout, and if someone wants your gun or money, it’s best to comply.
Finding Food Around Town
Assuming the classic scenario of empty store shelves, finding food in a crisis is going to be tough. The most likely places you can find food are going to be the various body of waters such as lakes and ponds. There may be fish, there may be ducks, and you will need to know how to catch, kill and then cook them.
Next, let’s not forget pigeons. They may not come in plastic wraps ready to be put in the micro-oven, but when you are starving to death, you may not have a choice but to consider them. Pigeons are abundant in cities and hunting them isn’t that hard as long as you have an alternative survival weapon such as a slingshot or an airsoft rifle. Of course, a bird trap will always be the most effective.
If you’re looking for cooked food, you’re are probably going to have to search all the trash cans and dumpsters you can find. Keep in mind that everyone else without skills to hunt is going to do that as well.
Once you hear news of a disaster hitting you, provided that you can bug in, the first thing you should do is turn on all the faucets to collect as much water as you can. But then what?
Look no further than the previous tip. Lakes, city fountains, ponds, and any other body of water will do to quench your thirst. Of course, you should always purify it to ensure you don’t catch any disease. Which leads us to our next skill…
Next, don’t forget the rain. You may have to find ways of collecting it directly from your balcony but you do have to purify it. Same thing with snow.
Filtering and Purifying Water
There are a number of ways in which you can filter and purify water, from boiling to using bleach, purifying tablets, and distillation. Of course, the easiest way in short-term emergencies is to have a filtration system and even a personal water filter such as the LifeStraw.
Living without power, cars, electronics or running water may seem like a nightmare scenario but to pioneers it was just the way life was. Having the skills to survive without modern conveniences is not only smart in case SHTF, it’s also great for the environment. Keep in mind that the key to a successful homestead does not only lie on being able to grow your own food but on other skills as well. LEARNING THESE SKILLS WILL take time, patience and perseverance, and not all of these skills are applicable to certain situations. Hopefully, though, you managed to pick up some great ideas that will inspire you and get you started! Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available.It comes as a STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ACCOMPANIED BY PICTURES AND TEACHES YOU HOW TO USE BASIC INGREDIENTS TO MAKE SUPER-FOOD FOR YOUR LOVED ONES.
The more people in your vicinity, the more likely you are to be attacked in one way or another. My Simple Self-Defense Report will tell you how to use unconventional weapons to escape an attacker. This is a must-read for any urban prepper because you need to know about all the everyday items you can use to defend yourself such as your car keys, your high-heel shoe, or even your scarf. You also need to know the body parts to strike for maximum damage.
Shooting a Handgun
Handguns are the best choice for urban survival but effectively shooting (moving) targets is a skill that needs to be practiced. Read my free Gun Factor Report to find out which handgun is best for you (please ignore the first part about rifles and shotguns, these are more appropriate for suburban and wilderness survival).
Getting Home When SHTF
This is a big problem for most urban preppers. How on earth are you going to go home if you’re stuck on the other side of the city and all the main roads are flooded? Well, you have to do your due diligence beforehand and know a way to get home from just about any other point in the city. You do that by actually walking or driving through those roads so you familiarize yourself with them.
Escape and Evasion
Bugging out of from city where chaos has descended is tough. The roads could be blocked due to any number of reasons: floods, heavy snow, riots, people trying to get out of the city, and so on. The trick is to know all the secondary routes that could get you out of there and try them. Do family drills to make sure that even your kids know how to bug out.
With no plumbers to call, you’re gonna have to do everything yourself.
With no electricians to call… you get the gist.
Very few preppers see this as a skill but when you’re stuck in the streets, you need to be a great driver. You should know how to move even though the smallest places, to spot opportunities to advance with your car, do NOT drive in a way that attracts attention, and, overall, to be able to get your loved ones out of there and to safety.
Don’t be one of those people who are afraid of traffic. If your car is your designated bug-out vehicle, master it. Get a job as a cab driver, I don’t care. Just make sure you won’t panic when you’re behind the wheel and you see your city descend into chaos.
You’d be surprised at all the things you can do to become just a little bit more self-sufficient in a tiny apartment. From growing your own food using the miracle of vertical gardening to collecting your own rainwater to harvesting your own energy.
No, you won’t have to find a fallen tree and start gathering branches for your shelter… nor will you have to build a quinzee. Finding shelter in an urban area is all about thinking like a homeless person. Abandoned buildings, vehicles, covered alleys, and dumpsters, these are all good ideas you may want to remember. Heck, you can even make a shelter of cardboard if you can find any.
In fact, why not start looking for them the next time you wander around your town or city? You already know all the primary and secondary routes of getting out of the city, why not take things to the next level?
Learning to Adapt
Adaptability is a somewhat vague skill to have, right? How can one adapt to an SHTF scenario? Well, by putting oneself in uncomfortable situations during peacetime. Quit your job for something different. Take live survival classes to put yourself in the middle of mother nature. Join the military. Give almost all your cash to your wife and learn to live off pennies for a couple of days just to see your reaction.
The way you become the kind of person that can adapt to anything is by:
#1. Having the right mindset
and #2. Putting yourself in adverse situations to get yourself out of that comfort zone.
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If it’s impossible to use a car or you don’t have a bike, bugging out on foot may be the only choice. But you have to be able to move quickly and keep in mind you’ll have a bug-out bag on your back. Practice long-distance running and even do some weight lifting to make sure your body can cope with a combination of walking and running with 20 pounds on your back.
Reading a Topographic Map
If you don’t yet have maps of your city and all the exits, I suggest you get them. If you can find topographic maps that will give you extra-information, even better but make sure you know how to read them.
Escaping a Building
The approach you have when escaping a building depends on why you want to do that. Is there a terrorist attack going on? Unless they spotted you, you should probably run for your life as fast as you can. Is there an earthquake? You should probably stay because the stairs are going to be the first ones to break down. Is there a fire? Make a habit of noticing and remembering all the exit points of a building when you walk into it (whether it’s a mall, a hotel etc.).
This goes without saying, you need to know what to do if you get shot, if you get tear gas in your eyes, if you break something or if someone else has any of these problems and you need to help.
With so many people around you, you must develop an instinct for anyone that looks suspicious. Get to know your neighbors, get a feeling of what they are like, on whether they’re troublemakers, figure out if they have something to hide.
Knowing where to park in a city is something not many people talk about. I wonder why. For example, you should never park next to a big tree unless you don’t have a choice. If there’s a strong storm, a heavy branch could fall on your car.
Make sure the chosen parking spot is well lit. This will minimize the chances of thieves trying to break in.
Never park in the exact same place every day of the week, whether it’s at home or at work. This will make it easier for local thieves to recognize the car and license place, to observe your pattern (e.g. the time you arrive and leave every day) and plan accordingly.
Although empty shelves are going to make it harder for you to scavenge for food, a big city will have lots of hidden gems where you can find food, water and anything else you need.
I admit you have to become a little creative when it comes to post-SHTF scavenging. Trash cans, the city dump, restaurants (knives, spices, canned food) – basically any place that’s not yours and you can get into may have something you need. Offices, gyms, fast food joints, malls, dollar stores, abandoned houses, drug stores, vending machines (you might need a pry bar for this), pet stores, supply depots and even airports!
Being Prepped When Travelling
Living in a city also means you’re going to have to travel to other cities every now and then. You need to develop the skill of rapidly adapting to a new town. For example, when you land in an airport, do you instinctively look to see all the exits? Then you take a cab, do you look to get a feeling of the road connecting the airport to your hotel? Do you notice the landmarks or are you just minding your own business, unaware like the rest of the people?
Do you have a small BOB in your car or even your luggage? Do you take the time to read the evacuation plans that are usually hung on a wall in your hotel room? These are all things to think about.
If money becomes worthless, bartering might be the only way for you to keep yourself and your family alive. I wrote an article about it right here:
Bartering is going to be one of those skills that will almost guarantee that you and your family will not only survive but thrive in a post-apocalyptic world. One of the most dreaded things post-disaster, following the initial death-toll, after subsequent deaths due to lack of food, water, and various pandemics will be the uselessness of money. The banking system is going to be seriously crippled. Cash in hand is going to be pretty much useless too (at least at first) because no one will want it.
Everyone will want the physical items that will help them survive even if it’s just for a couple more days.
Gold and silver are good, even money might be worth something eventually, but having food, water, guns, ammo, and the ability to fix things (and people!) is going to open more doors than any gold bar.
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What is Bartering? A Quick Definition
In short, bartering is the exchange of goods and services without the use of a currency such as money, bitcoin, or precious metals. The premise is that both parties need the physical goods or services directly, as opposed to accepting a currency which then must be traded off in a subsequent transaction.
Why Aren’t We Using Bartering Right Now?
We used to barter exclusively, a long-long time ago. But bartering proved very inefficient, hence the need for a currency. Let’s say for example, that you need a basket of tomatoes from someone and that person needs beef. You have a cow. If you give him the entire cow, that’s going to be worth a lot more than the tomatoes. IF he gives you enough tomatoes to compensate for the cow, you’re going to have much more than you need and most of the tomatoes will spoil unless you barter them for something else. That means, of course, that you’re going to have to find someone who wants your extra tomatoes.
Problems, problems, problems. The need for currency was born. But good currency can’t be just anything. A good currency has to be finite and divisible.
Gold and silver are finite and somewhat scarce, that’s why it made good currency. In addition, the fact that it doesn’t spoil made it great for jewelry (and an increase in social status for those who wore it).
Gold coins were also divisible. That meant that instead of giving a whole coin for a cow, you could cut a piece of the coin and give only a part of it.
One of the coins that gained a lot of traction in the 16 and 17 centuries throughout Europe was the Spanish real. It was also called the “piece of eight” or “silver dollars”. Since one such coin was worth 8 reals, it was often cut into 8 pieces that looked similar to these:
What to Stockpile
Here’s a quick list of items with a long shelf-life that you may want to stockpile even though you won’t be using them yourself. If you have enough storage space and you can get them cheaper than anyone else, then why not? It’s going to be fantastic to have leverage, in the form of bartering potential, on the rest of your community post-SHTF.
- alcoholic beverages such as whiskey and wine
- toilet paper
- sewing kits
- duct tape
- honey (indefinite shelf life)
- motor oil
- livestock (for breeding purposes)
- baby diapers
- zip lock bags
- gas cans
- anything that works on solar power (calculators, phone chargers etc.)
- clocks and watches repair
- nail clippers
- paper, pencils and pencil sharpeners
- water purification kits
- firestarter kits
- razor blades
- pepper spray
- … and much more!
In fact, if you think about it, a lot of the items that we take for granted today are going to have huge bartering value. Another way of putting this is that you should hoard anything you can within the limits of your available space. Don’t go to the extreme of becoming an actual “hoarder”.
Think Outside the Box
A lot of people argue that you should only stockpile items with a long shelf life. And I’ve given you quite a list of such items. But why not take things further?
For example, I have a feeling eggs are going to have a lot of value post-SHTF. But you can’t start stockpiling them now, can you? They are fragile and unless stored carefully, they have a pretty short shelf-life. You could raise chickens so that you have a steady supply of fresh eggs available for bartering post-SHTF.
The point I’m trying to make is that everything can be used for bartering purposes: fruit, veggies, energy, labor, various skills. In a word: EVERYTHING. If you can store it properly or figure out how to have a steady supply when it’s needed.
Stockpile Items That Have Multiple Uses
It makes sense, doesn’t it? The more uses an item has, the higher likelihood of someone needing it. Here’s a quick list of things that have dozens of uses in a survival situation:
- duct tape (making a spear, starting a fire, fixing broken pipes, etc.)
- dental floss (can be used as a fishing line, shoelace, tripwire, etc.)
- baking soda (to make toothpaste, for cleaning)
- paracord (to build shelters, tie animals, etc.)
- condoms (for birth control, to hold water, etc.)
- bandanas (to protect mouth and nose, filter water, as a splint, etc.)
- … and on and on.
Keep These in Mind
Bartering is nothing without the crucial skill of negotiation. If you don’t know how to negotiate, you will easily get double-crossed or, worse, even killed! Think about it, what if the ammo you get is full of duds? What if the food is poisoned?
You need to be able to tell if you’re falling into a trap because post-SHTF bartering is not at all like what takes place at flea markets or even between companies. Right now there are laws to protect us but after Doomsday, there might not be.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always trade what you don’t need. Things are going to be tough. Everyone is going to look for food, water, antibiotics, and so on, which is why you can’t afford to trade those. Taking food from your child’s mouth to help someone else might put that child in danger. Always trade your surplus items and items you know you won’t need.
- Bring a gun with you
- Bring someone to assist you
- Make sure you don’t get followed on your way back home
- Always do business with people you know or who have a good reputation
- Always barter in a public location
- Don’t let anyone know you have valuable things at home
- Be aware of your body language. If you’re desperate, the last thing you want to do is to show it to them.
Well, the best thing you could do is to learn and practice negotiation tactics. Remember, it’s all about getting what you want and not getting screwed over in the process.
Negotiation is an art and there are quite a few strategies to get what you want, including:
- talking in a pessimistic matter (I can’t afford it, I’m not sure it will work for me etc.)
- using ultimatums (You either take it or leave it!)
- and making future promises
Go to a modern-day flea market and negotiate everything. Schedule a meeting with your boss and negotiate a raise. Use every argument you can to prove to him you deserve it, even if you’re not sure you do! The more you practice, the better you’ll become at negotiating and the easier it will be for you when the brown stuff hits the fan.
One More Thing…
Remember that you can also barter your skills. Plumbing, carpentry, fixing appliances, even dog-walking or taking care of babies can help you secure free food and water. All you have to give away is your time, which you’ll have plenty of post-collapse.
Since your food stockpile is limited by the size of your apartment, you’re gonna have to procure your own food. Most people have no idea that cities are full of delicious, healthy plants that are going to make very good salads. Heck, if you want, you can just pick them, wash, and eat them! Green dandelion, asparagus, Malva, ground ivy, and clovers are just a few examples of edible plants you can find in and around cities.
Becoming a “Grey Man”
Cities are very dense. There are eyes watching you at every street corner. It’s critical that you know how to blend in if you want to avoid getting mugged, beaten to death, or worse, but becoming the so-called grey man isn’t trivial.
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