8 Essential Skills that Set Advanced Survivalists Apart

8 Essential Skills that Set Advanced Survivalists Apart

8 Skillsets that Separate Novice Preppers from Advanced Survivalists


When it comes to survival and prepping, there is a wide range of skillsets that can make the difference between being a novice prepper and an advanced survivalist. While it’s important for everyone to have some level of preparedness, those who are truly dedicated to survival have honed their skills and knowledge to a whole new level. In this article, we will explore the eight skillsets that set advanced survivalists apart from beginners.

1. Wilderness Navigation

Advanced survivalists excel in wilderness navigation. They possess the ability to navigate through unfamiliar terrain using various tools such as maps, compasses, GPS devices, and even natural signs like stars and moss growth on trees. They know how to avoid getting lost and can find their way back to safety, even in the most challenging environments.

Tips for improving wilderness navigation skills:

– Practice using different types of navigational tools
– Learn how to read topographic maps
– Take part in orienteering or geocaching activities to enhance your skills

2. Shelter Construction

While novice preppers may rely on ready-made shelters or basic tents, advanced survivalists have mastered the art of shelter construction. They can build efficient and sturdy shelters using natural resources found in their surroundings. From lean-tos to debris huts, they understand the principles of insulation, ventilation, and protection from the elements.

Tips for improving shelter construction skills:

– Learn different types of shelter designs and their pros and cons
– Practice building shelters with natural materials in various weather conditions
– Modify and improve existing shelter designs to suit your specific needs

3. Fire Starting

Starting a fire is a fundamental survival skill, but advanced survivalists take it to the next level. They can start a fire using various techniques, including friction-based methods like bow drills and hand drills. They understand the importance of fire for warmth, cooking, purifying water, and signaling for help.

Tips for improving fire starting skills:

– Experiment with different fire starting techniques, such as using flint and steel or a magnifying glass
– Master the art of finding and preparing tinder and kindling in different environments
– Learn how to create a sustainable fire that can last for hours

4. Water Sourcing and Purification

While both novice preppers and advanced survivalists recognize the importance of water, the latter excel in water sourcing and purification. They know how to find water sources in the wilderness, such as rivers, streams, and natural springs. They are also skilled in various water purification methods, including boiling, filtering, and chemical treatments.

Tips for improving water sourcing and purification skills:

– Study different methods of water purification and their effectiveness
– Learn about the signs of water contamination and how to identify safe water sources
– Practice different water collection techniques, such as building improvised rainwater catchment systems

5. First Aid and Medical Skills

Advanced survivalists possess extensive knowledge of first aid and medical skills. They can handle basic medical emergencies and provide initial care for injuries and illnesses in a survival situation. They understand the importance of building a first aid kit and know how to improvise medical supplies in the absence of traditional tools.

Tips for improving first aid and medical skills:

– Take a first aid and CPR course to learn basic life-saving techniques
– Familiarize yourself with common medical emergencies and how to address them in a survival setting
– Create a comprehensive first aid kit tailored to your specific needs

6. Food Foraging and Hunting

Novice preppers may rely heavily on stockpiled food, but advanced survivalists have honed their skills in food foraging and hunting. They know how to identify edible plants, mushrooms, and insects in their environment. They also possess the knowledge and skills required for hunting and trapping game efficiently and ethically.

Tips for improving food foraging and hunting skills:

– Study local flora and fauna to identify edible plants and animals in your region
– Learn how to set up traps and snares for small game
– Practice ethical hunting and understand local laws and regulations

7. Self-Defense

While self-defense is important for everyone, advanced survivalists take it a step further. They undergo training in various self-defense techniques and know how to protect themselves and their loved ones in high-stress situations. They understand the importance of situational awareness and can effectively assess potential threats.

Tips for improving self-defense skills:

– Take self-defense classes to learn practical techniques for personal protection
– Train regularly to improve your physical fitness and endurance
– Familiarize yourself with different tools and weapons for self-defense, such as pepper spray or stun guns

8. Mental Resilience

Perhaps one of the most crucial skillsets that separate advanced survivalists from novices is mental resilience. Advanced survivalists have developed the mental fortitude to overcome challenges and persevere in extreme conditions. They understand the importance of staying positive, maintaining focus, and adapting to ever-changing situations.

Tips for building mental resilience:

– Practice mindfulness and meditation to build inner strength and focus
– Challenge yourself by participating in outdoor activities that push your limits
– Embrace failure as a learning opportunity and use it to improve your skills


While everyone should strive to be prepared for emergencies, advanced survivalists have taken their readiness to a whole new level. By honing their skills in wilderness navigation, shelter construction, fire starting, water sourcing and purification, first aid and medical skills, food foraging and hunting, self-defense, and mental resilience, they have positioned themselves as experts in the field of survival. By following their lead and incorporating these skillsets into our own preparedness efforts, we can all become more capable and confident in the face of adversity.

My 2 Cents

The journey from being a novice prepper to becoming an advanced survivalist requires dedication, practice, and a thirst for knowledge. It’s crucial to constantly improve and expand your skillset in order to be better prepared for any situation. Remember, learning these skills can not only save your life but also enhance your overall outdoor experience. So, don’t hesitate to embark on this exciting journey of self-improvement and survival knowledge!