Post Collapse Skills – What Do You Bring To The Table?In the event of an economic collapse or any event that causes us to be off the grid for an extended period of time, we will have to go back to our roots, I don’t mean back when we were younger, I mean back to our grandfathers roots. In the worst case scenario we will need to rebuild society from the ground up. As it has always been throughout history we will need different individuals with many different skill sets to create a functioning and thriving society. So you need to ask yourself In a post collapse scenario, what do you bring to the table?

Bartering will become the new currency post collapse, and having a skill like carpentry could be a good bartering tool to have. Today we trade time for money, post collapse we will trade work for food, clothing, or anything else our family needs.

For the most part, we will not have to go back to the dark ages and live by oil lamps and ox’s pulling plows, we have the technology in place to rebuild as long as we have the right people who can find a way to make this technology work. If I am able to put together a good system to harness solar power I am going to do that rather than live by candle light. We have the tools and technology we need to make our lives easier, we just need the right people to make it work.

One thing to consider about post collapse life will be lawlessness, the “entitleists”  will always want to take what you have because it is easier, and will always be looking for a way to make a quick profit no matter how they have to do it. We will need to be able to protect the things we have stockpiled, and if we have created a stable living situation and have a sustainable food source, someone will always feel “entitled” and want to take it from you. Being able to protect what you have is just as important as having it in the first place.

Here is a list of some of the valuable skills that a society will need to have in order to rebuild and grow into a lasting, thriving community. Some skills will be more sought after than others, but having some sort of skill that enables you to bring value to a community will help you out. Someone has to clean the outhouse right?

1. Farmers

For obvious reasons a community is going to need farmers, someone knowledgeable about how to maintain a food source for an entire community. Most people will probably have their own gardens but having a large food supply would be needed if your crops did not yield enough to feed your family.

2. Construction Workers

Most of us can build something that resembles a house with 4 walls and a door, but if you want to have a solid homestead you will need a good home. While over time we can learn this skill we might need to barter for a carpenters service.

3. Doctors / Medical Experience

This could be one of the most valuable skills to have, sometimes we can diagnose a problem, but sometimes it goes beyond our skill level and we need to ask advice from someone more knowledgeable than us. There could also be some sort of outbreak and we will need someone with the skill to diagnose it.

4. Architects

Architects might not be very important in the early stages of post collapse life, but their skills will become more valuable as the community grows and expands. When it comes to protecting your preps and your family you will want to have your home as fortified as possible…just ask the architect.

5. Gunsmiths

Just like the wild wild west guns and ammo are going to be in great demand. A blacksmith will be good for not only making new guns, but fixing existing guns and reloading ammo. Ammo could even be a good bartering tool, but I don’t think I would want to give someone something they could possibly kill me with, and ammo could be a precious commodity.

6. Alcohol Production / Beer

Believe it or not there are some good uses for alcohol other than drinking, such as using it as an disinfectant and/or pain reliever. Knowing how to make beer and knowing how to make alcohol would be a valuable bartering skill to have. Used in moderation Alcohol, wine and beer are great for unwinding and moral, but there are some that will exploit this on the black market.

7. Black Market

People will always have their vises, and someone will always be looking to take advantage of those vises. Anyone having alcohol or drugs will open a black market. Although anyone that is willing to trade food, water or ammo for a bottle of booze will not last long anyway. Prostitution and bootlegging will also be a big part of the black market, making these valuable “skills” as well. I hesitate to put alcohol in this category because there are some good uses for alcohol, but I think this will get exploited in a post collapse situation.

8. Self Defense / Trainers

Protecting what you have will be just as important as having it in the first place, learning how to defend yourself might make someone looking to loot you look in another direction.

9. Wildlife Experts

Anyone can grab a rifle and go out in the woods and hunt, but the trick is to actually come back with something. Having a skilled woodsman or two will help train the community about trapping, hunting, tracking and all around survival skills. A wildlife expert would also be able to barter with fur and meat from a kill.

10. Electricians

Just because the grid will be down does not mean we need to go back to the stone ages. we have technology in place and an electrician would be able to find a way to harness solar power, and fix some of the basic items like short wave radios, cars, lights etc.

11. Teachers

Again, in the beginning teachers would not have much to offer, but as the community grows you will need to create an environment that lets kids be kids and educate them to become leaders and to insure the future growth of the community.

12. Ranchers

There might not be a McDonald’s around anymore, but that doesn’t mean we need to go without a good steak. ranchers and farmers are a cornerstone of a thriving society.

13. Military / Police

Some sort of police force will be necessary to maintain the peace. Crime and violence will be at its peak in the beginning, so some form of law will be needed. These people will also be needed for the bootleggers, black markets or anyone who has the means to hire them to protect their goods.

14. All Around Handy Man

A handy man might not have the expertise that the blacksmith or the architect does, but a handy man could do odd jobs for a lower price than it would take to hire a more skilled person.

15. Cobbler / Shoe Maker

A cobbler or shoe maker is not talked about a whole lot, but believe me, Nike will not be around and eventually your combat boots are going to wear out.

16. Veterinarian

A veterinarian could be a ranchers best friend. keeping livestock, chickens and other animals healthy will be a necessity when a chicken becomes more valuable than gold…and while i’m talking about gold, don’t barter your gold, it will regain it’s value and you could be sitting pretty in the future.

17. Politician

I hate to put this one in here, but the truth is we are going to need some sort of government for a society to grow. A public speaker would also fall into this category because of their ability to rally people together.

18. Blacksmith

The blacksmithing skill will be very valuable post collapse. most people don’t even know what type of metal a certain job requires. Blacksmiths could also fashion weapons, knives and farming tools.

19. Auto Mechanic

If a biologist could figure out a way to create a combustible fuel automobiles and farm equipment could make life much easier post collapse, but you need a mechanic to make sure these machines continue to run.

20. Biologists / Scientists

We are going to need someone who will take on the role of mad scientist, and since necessity is the mother of invention, there is no better time than the present. Scientists could help doctors, blacksmiths,gunsmiths and farmers find new ways to make life a little easier.

21. Engineers

An engineer could have any sort of background such as, electrical, mechanical, manufacturing to fabrication. an engineer could help the construction worker or the architect become more valuable.

22. Priest / Pastor

We never want to forget where we came from, and whether you are a believer or not it never hurts to have a man of god with you.

23. Dentist

If you have ever had a tooth ache you know it can be one of the most annoying things in the world. aside from the annoyance it causes a rotting tooth can also cause sickness and even death.

24. Grunt / Serf / Peasant

Someone will need to do the dirty work, as the society grows the ones who have prepared themselves for a post collapse society (you and I) will “hopefully” do pretty well and be able to help other “not so prepared” people by giving them work, while at the same time making our lives easier. Today we go through our younger years learning a skill to support our family’s, so i guess we can think of our prepping as going to the “Apocalypse Community College”

So What Do You Bring To The Table?

As history has shown us, it takes all different sorts of skill sets to create a thriving society. from everyone from the leader of the community to the person digging trenches or cleaning the out houses, it take everyone working together to make a society function regardless of the skill you bring with you.

My suggestion would be that if you don’t already have a few of these skills you might want to learn about some of them…unless you want to clean the toilets? I don’t!








Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    12 replies to "Post Collapse Skills – What Do You Bring To The Table?"

    • Rocky Rawlins

      You might be interested in the Free Survival Library on our site. It’s got over 4000 books in it arranged in over 50 categories. They are almost all books from the 1800s and early 1900s on various technologies and skills. We have a couple dozen more categories and several thousand more books being cataloged to be added and are constantly adding more to the collection.

      They’ not “survival” books in the sense of how to build a fire with a piece of chewing gun and a paperclip except possibly the collection of vintage boy scout manuals. They are, however, books on how to farm, to build, to trap and hunt, to make soap and paint, how to build machines and recreate basic industrial technology. In essence, how to survive in the long term after a collapse without needing to rely on advanced technology.

      The Library is completely free to everyone.

      • Dean

        What is your websites name?

        • Dale Goodwin

          Hello Dean, Just click on Rocky Rawlins name and it will take you there.

    • Ecomum

      I’m surprised that you didn’t mention being able to sew, mend, etc. Old skills, taught to me by my mother, include being able to turn a worn collar on a shirt, darn socks, patch clothes and linens, and many other simple skills. Being able to knit or crochet a pair of slippers will mean that shoes will last longer.
      Also, many women know how to preserve food and how to eke out scarce ingredients such as meat whilst still providing a palatable meal. In fact, an all round handy woman would be extremely useful.

      • Dale Goodwin

        Very good point! I will have to add that to the list. Thanks

      • Dace

        Yes, i knit, sew, crochet, but need to learn how to spin and weave

    • Medea

      “Wise Woman skills”. Midwifery for safe deliveries and healthy babies, as well as herbal contraception and -morning after(!) measures if need be, as people will be people even in SHTF. We are not talking backyard alley quackery. This is no place for self experiments and half knowledge that may kill a woman who has other children to look after, what a tragedy that would be (including by childbirth gone wrong!). For example, traditional tribal cultures in the Amazon have safely used very specific herbal knowledge for millenia for this purpose, sometimes preventing/delaying fertility by years (also to give young married couples time to enjoy their togetherness without fear of immediate pregnancy). Find the knowledge again…. Eve’s herbs.

    • Lisa Goodwin

      Hello Ecomum and Medea Thanks for commenting! These are very good points and very needed skills to have post collapse, Just like your shoes are going to wear out, so is clothing.
      “Wise Woman Skills” is great! I might have to “proof read” articles like these before Dale Publishes them 🙂 or add my two cents.

      Thanks again for the great comments.

    • Pete

      Can you spell Methane Generator? Poop in a Humanure toilet. Probably we’ll have to anyway. Have engines ready for propane conversion and run them on Methane. It is done all over India for cooking lighting and running generators and farm equipment. See old Mother Earth news or Backwoodsman Mag. for plans. Simple to build in various sizes. Been around for nearly 100 years.

      • Dale Goodwin

        Ahh yes, I forgot about poop!
        I think I’m going to elaborate on this post in my next podcast and make sure and mention all of these comments.

        Thanks everyone for the great comments!

    • Lester

      Compost… Preparing our gardens with lots of compost will make our vegetables grow better.
      Golf courses graveyards, and neighbors throw-away tons of leaves and grass clippings… take advantage of this and build a compost pile. Leaves by themselves do not build-up heat as they compost. Adding some grass clippings will speed-up the process (but may increase heat. A-little is fine, just don’t burn-down the neighborhood. If you see heat waves rising from your compost heap, add some water). Adding some manure from cattle or other herbivore animals will improve the compost.
      Adding a little homemade compost to the current pile will speed-up the process.

    • "Student" Seamstress

      Dale, you forgot one skill that I am working on. Seamstress/tailor. Along with combat boots, people will need clothes to wear, especially when the weather gets chilly. True, we have an excess of clothes for now, but when people can no longer replace everything at Walmart, they will need their old clothes mended. Eventually they will need new clothes. Along with sewing, fiber crafts like spinning wool or cotton, weaving, knitting, and crocheting will come in handy. Peter Schiff mentions this skill in a book he wrote on the coming economic collapse.

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