19 “Old World” Primitive Survival Skills You’ll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Feature | Three metal tools | Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Get to know these primitive survival skills that are tried and time-tested if you wanted to increase your survival odds in emergency situations!

In this article:

  1. Importance of Primitive Survival Skills
    1. Make Simple Tools from Flint
    2. Find Your Own Food and Water
    3. Trap for Your Life
    4. How to Prepare a Rabbit for Eating
    5. Find the Perfect Skinning Knife
    6. Make Your Own Knives
    7. Make a Knife from an Old Wrench
    8. Forging Your Own Weapons and Tools
    9. Make Your Own Pack Basket
    10. Make Your Own Bow
    11. Archery for Beginners
    12. Archery Sighting Exercises
    13. Bow Shooting in Detail
    14. Archery from a Female Perspective
    15. Hone Your Fishing Skills
    16. Identifying Animal Tracks
    17. Staying on Course Without a Map or a Compass
    18. Fortify Your Emergency Shelter
    19. Going Ballistic Old School Style

Primitive Survival Skills Everyone Should Know

Importance of Primitive Survival Skills

As survivalists, most of us are constantly honing our craft and figuring out new ways to put our skills to the test. We do this to keep our minds sharp and to make sure we have the primitive survival skills necessary to survive in whatever situation might come our way.

And sometimes, we find the best survival techniques by looking back… WAY back. Surviving in an urban environment in the backdrop of modern technology requires very specific survival skills.

That’s why survivalists like us should always stay on our toes and keep abreast of what’s going on in the world — so that our skills can evolve and change with the times. Some skills, though, are evergreen, and that’s why they’re passed down from generation to generation.

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These primitive survival skills, combined with the right survival gear, might just save your ass in an emergency situation someday. Here is a list of survival skills from our ancestors you can apply to your survivalist life.

What are Primitive Skills? These are a set of skills perfected by our ancestors which helped them survive over thousands of years without the tools we have today.

1. Make Simple Tools from Flint

Flint tools for a survival situation | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Making Simple Tools From Flint Photo by Survival Life

This is where ancient survival skills can be your best friend. Long before the industrial age, humans had to survive by making their own tools from natural materials.

While it’s no longer mainstream, with practice anyone can learn to make their own tools without modern equipment. These tools are always going to be useful, and need nothing more than wood, rock, twine, and know-how made perfect over time.

The featured video in this article shows how you can make simple tools from flint.

2. Find Your Own Food and Water

Bird in the tree | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

How to Find Edible Plants in the Wild Photo by Survival Life

You may not think about this now that you have plenty of food stored up. In an SHTF scenario though, your supplies will run out, eventually.

You will need to know how to find alternate sources of food. Fortunately, the earth is brimming with edible plants and other food sources if you know where to look.

Plants and fungi that are safe for human consumption include morels, chanterelles, puffballs, polypores, Japanese knotweed, and dandelions. Knowing to tell fungi and plants apart is an indispensable survival skill.

3. Trap for Your Life

Squirrel in the forest | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

The Squirrel Snare: Trap For Your Life Photo by Survival Life

Foraging isn’t your only option for getting food in the wilderness. Learning how to build simple traps out of materials available around you could be a truly lifesaving skill.

Learn how to make one of our favorite primitive traps, the squirrel snare, here. Squirrel stew anyone?

4. How to Prepare a Rabbit for Eating

Rabbit on the wild | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

How to Butcher a Rabbit: A Vital Skill for Homesteaders Photo by Survival Life

Whether you raise, hunt, or capture rabbits using a primitive trap, you need butchering skills to prepare them for eating. This article will teach you how to prep, kill, and butcher a rabbit — an essential primitive survival skill.

5. Find the Perfect Skinning Knife

 Survival knife and compass | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

This is a survival skill that’s been around since primitive times. Every hunter worth his salt should know this.


If you’re gonna skin your fresh kill, you can’t just use any old knife because they’re not all created equal. A skinning knife needs to be thin and curved so it cuts through the epidermis quite easily without damaging the meat.

6. Make Your Own Knives

DIY Survival Knives | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Knife Making Tutorials for Survivalists Photo by Survival Life

In an SHTF situation, you can’t always just walk into a store and buy a weapon. You need to know how to make your own.

People have been making weapons since the beginning of time. These tutorials will increase your knowledge in making knives from stuff you use every day.

These 5 tips will also help you learn how to sharpen your knife effectively.

7. Make a Knife from an Old Wrench

Wrench knife | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Knifemaking: Make A Knife From An Old Wrench Photo by Survival Life

Being resourceful will help you survive. As shops close and sources for personal defense weapons grow scarce, you may find yourself having to improvise.

Weaponry will be a major concern during a survival situation, so resourcefulness is key. This video will teach you how to turn common everyday items, like a wrench, into a knife.

8. Forging Your Own Weapons and Tools

Basic of blacksmithing | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Blacksmithing: Useful Hobby and Survival Skill Photo by Survival Life

Blacksmithing is a very important primitive survival skill. Not only can it help you make your own tools for your own survival, but it can also give you an edge to trade for other items you might need.

This at-home knife making furnace burner is perfect for any amateur blacksmith, grab it here.

9. Make Your Own Pack Basket

Wooden Basket | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Make a Pack Basket for Camping Photo by Survival Life

A pack basket is undeniably useful for quick transport. If bags are unavailable for you, you might need to make your own packs. The one in this tutorial is great for carrying camping supplies and other gear.

Wicker baskets like these are sturdy, self-standing, easy to pack, versatile, and durable. This article will teach you how to make them yourself.

RELATED: 29 YouTube Survival Skills Videos You Can Learn At Home

10. Make Your Own Bow

Make Your Own Bow | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Bow Making Course | How to Make Your Own Bows Photo by Survival Life

Making your own bow is essential for your survival. There’s a reason why bows are still in use around the world today.

It is the most basic ranged weapon you can have and will put you in better situations when SHTF. Besides being a self-defense weapon, it is also a great hunting tool.

It is silent, light, and versatile. While it’s not easy to master, you’ll have a lot of time to get acquainted with it. Your bow will help you hunt your own food, and you can also use it as a weapon for self-defense.

11. Archery for Beginners

Woman archery | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Bow Shooting Tips for Beginners Photo by Survival Life

This article is perfect for beginners in learning the fundamentals of archery. Plus, it also shows the different kinds of bows you can use. This is one primitive survival skill you need to know.

12. Archery Sighting Exercises

Archery silhouette | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

How to Practice for Bow Hunting Photo by Survival Life

Hunting with a bow and arrow takes hours of practice. By doing these exercises, you will be shooting with great accuracy in no time.

You don’t need to have top-of-the-line bow hunting accessories to hunt well using just a compound bow. Keep in mind though, that constant practice is the only thing that will make you really accurate with this weapon.

Take the time to know your weapon and understand its strengths and weaknesses.

13. Bow Shooting in Detail

Archer focus on a target | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Bow Shooting Tactics Photo by Survival Life

For those who learn better visually, this infographic will show you how to shoot a bow and arrow in detail.

14. Archery from a Female Perspective

Woman practice archery | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Archery Tips for Women Photo by Survival Life

Archery is a little different for women due to differences in weight distribution and upper body strength. This video shows how women can best use the bow and arrow.

It teaches the stance and release, as well as the follow-through techniques. While being a lone wolf is appealing, you will inevitably hook up with a group to survive.

So, you should learn how to teach the fairer sex about properly defending themselves to increase your chances of survival.

15. Hone Your Fishing Skills

Man fishing | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Fish Like A Redneck Wacky Fishing Tips Photo by Survival Life

When SHTF, it’s all about going back to your roots, and this means capturing fish for food. But even if you’ve never been fishing, don’t you worry.

Being a great fisherman is a skill that takes practice and precision… and a little redneck ingenuity. This article will teach you how to combine all three.

Fishing will be a major food source for you during survival situations. Learning how to efficiently fish will ensure a steady food supply for years to come.

Soda Can Tab Fish Hook

So you forgot to pack a fishing hook in your survival kit? Put together this easy DIY Soda Can Tab Fish Hook!Check out these other handy soda can survival hacks –> http://survivallife.com/soda-can-survival-hacks/

Posted by Survival Life on Thursday, August 4, 2016

Another one of my favorite fishing hacks is this tiny but incredibly effective paracord fishing pod. You can get one for free HERE and it’a full of the items below — basically everything you need for some emergency/SHTF fishing.

16. Identifying Animal Tracks

Animal foot print | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Identifying Animal Tracks Photo by Survival Life

A lot of your time will be spent foraging and hunting for food. A skill you will need to learn when hunting is tracking.

This includes being able to tell which animals leave which tracks. Rabbits leave different prints than gophers and squirrels, for example.

This survival knowledge will help you catch your next meal in the shortest time possible. Plus, it can help you avoid dangerous animals as well.

17. Staying on Course Without a Map or a Compass

Night time looking at the stars | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

Primitive Navigation Without a Map or Compass Photo by Survival Life

Can you find your way without a GPS? There are a lot of tools available out there that can help you stay on course, even if you don’t have a compass or working phone.

Our ancestors used the stars to find their way, and so can you. Learning how to tell directions using only the sky is a primitive survival skill that will save your life in a pinch.

18. Fortify Your Emergency Shelter

Hands with cement | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

How To Make Homemade Survival Cement Photo by Survival Life

You can protect yourself from harsher elements in the wild by making DIY cement for your emergency shelter. While having a thatched hut may be enough for you, it’s not exactly a long-term solution.

Learn how to make a more resilient shelter and ensure long-term survival.

19. Going Ballistic Old School Style

Knife in a tree | "Old World" Primitive Survival Skills You'll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

While it’s true that you should never bring a knife to a gun fight, you’ve gotta keep in mind that a gun eventually runs out of ammo. Knives don’t.

If you run out of ammo, you can use your knife as an effective throwing tool to incapacitate or deliver a fatal blow to an animal or a hostile intruder.


Make your ancestors proud by learning how to make fire. Thanks to azfilmcompany for this video:

Modern day technology has made living so much easier but when all else fails and SHTF, these primitive survival skills will be absolutely vital. One can only prepare for an SHTF situation for so long, and things may fall through the cracks.

Learning how to do a lot of things without the help of modern tech will put you at an advantage in a society that’s become very enamored with its tech comforts. Remember, when everything collapses, you can only depend on yourself for survival.

We hope these survival tips and tricks can help you out in dire situations in the future. Keep going, survivalist!

Do you have any primitive survival skills or tips to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next: Lost In The Woods 101: What To Do When Lost In The Woods

For awesome survival gear, you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

Check out 7 Cost-Effective Uses For Shipping Containers Survivalists Should Know at https://survivallife.staging.wpengine.com/uses-for-shipping-containers/

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 11, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

49 Responses to :
19 “Old World” Primitive Survival Skills You’ll WISH You Knew Before SHTF

  1. Linda Hansen says:

    Looking at the picture above the shooting – from a woman’s perspective article, I wouldn’t have even clicked on the article because the technique shown in this picture is ALL WRONG. However, I looked at the article to see what advice was being given, and it’s all about modern shooting with a compound bow. Shooting with a compound is a totally different technique, skill, and set of equipment than longbow shooting (shown in the picture). Disappointed in the quality and accuracy of this whole article which references other articles rather than teaching anything here. You need to delete that picture with the woman bringing the bow to the front of her face. There are techniques you use as a woman with difference physical characteristics than men. But none of them involve what this picture shows. I have taught women longbow for years with great success, because I correct much of this kind of misinformation and show them the right way to shoot for a woman.

  2. Petuniacat99 says:

    Another good skill to have is making string or weaving your own fabric.

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