Primitive skills – So Easy a Caveman Can Do It

You might have heard this before but it bears repeating “the most valuable tool is the one on your shoulders” and this is exactly why learning primitive skills is so important. What would you do if you had nothing? What would you do if you had to leave everything you own and start from scratch?

The good news is that we have made some advancements in the last million years (give or take a million) and we don’t have to live like a cave man. We have other materials available to us other than rock and bone.

Regardless of the materials used the principals remain the same, you need a spark or friction to start a fire, you need sharp accurate weapons for hunting and defense and you need a way to carry all your supplies.

In a post collapse or post-apocalyptic situation we might have to revert back to a time when we couldn’t just flip a switch and the lights came on. And we might find ourselves having to go out and hunt or fish for our own food, because we won’t be able to just hop in the car and get that pre processed meat in the pretty package from the store.

If we don’t know how to start a fire without a bic lighter or we don’t know how to forage for food what are we going to do if everything we have is gone?

This is a reality that some people ignore, but if everything goes downhill everyone will be looking for food, water and shelter. And everyone who is unprepared will by any means necessary try to get what they need, even if that means stealing from you, and leaving you with nothing.

I’ll say it one more time just to be clear, everything we have could be taken away, leaving us with nothing but the tools in our head. This could be from marauders, starving people and even our own government.

Critical Thinking

Like I said earlier we have more materials to work with other than wood, bone and rocks. If we just open our eyes and use our critical thinking skills we can make weapons, start a fire and build a shelter using the resources around us.

If you are in an urban area during or after a SHTF event the odds are that everything will be in ruins. Buildings and roadways could be collapsed, homes could be abandoned and there could literally be junk everywhere.

Critical Thinking Survival Skills

When I think about a situation like this, I don’t see junk, I see opportunity. With a little bit of critical thinking and ingenuity we can use these materials to make shelter, weapons and tools. But if we don’t understand the principals of primitive tools and skills we might end up throwing a rock at a squirrel hoping for dinner.

I will be doing a free live workshop in the next few weeks about the 7 Pillars of Primitive Skills where I will go into much more detail about what skills you need and how they are useful regardless of your situation. You can sign up for that free workshop here.

Think like a Caveman

Today when we try to make a fire using a bow drill it’s easy to get frustrated and quit because we can pull out our lighter and start a fire.

Back even just a few hundred years ago this was not an option, if you didn’t have the skills to start a fire, build a shelter or hunt for food your chances of survival were very slim…It was not a choice for these people, it was a necessity.

We don’t need to be an expert outdoors man or woman like Les Stroud or Dave Canterbury, but every piece of information we can put in our head will give us better odds when life as we know it changes.

Most of the primitive skills listed below can be practiced while you are camping or even in your backyard. These are also a great way to get children involved and making the outdoors more enjoyable for them.

Think of these skills like playing guitar or something you have gotten good at over time. When you first start out all you can do is pluck a few strings, but after a while, you start to actually play music.

Making Fire (the hard way)

Have you ever tried to use a bow drill or hand drill to start a fire? It’s not as easy as some of these videos make it out to be. I try to do it every time I go camping, more often than not, I fail. There are a lot of variables that go into starting a fire from friction like the wood you use, the construction of the drill and your strength and stamina.

This is one of those things that defiantly takes practice, so practice now while you have that lighter in your pocket.

Filtering Water

Many things can happen leaving us without a way to filter water and make it safe to drink. Learning skills like how to make a field expedient water filter or how to boil water in a bowl you made out of wood with hot rocks.

Water is dangerous because it can look clean but you can’t see all of the microorganisms like cryptosporidium or giardia.

Building Shelter

There are quite a few ways to build a wilderness shelter like the lean to, a snow cave or a debris hut. These for the most part are for wilderness survival, but once you learn these techniques you can apply these to a rural setting as well.

In the recent bugging out webinar I did I mentioned thinking like the homeless. These people live in the city and use some of these survival techniques (to some extent) on a daily basis.

Land Navigation

Land navigation applies to wilderness setting as well as urban settings. In the wilderness you won’t have any street signs or as many navigation features to choose from, but it is just as easy to lose your direction in a city especially if you are trying to avoid dangerous areas or hot spots.

One of the courses at the Survivalist Prepper Academy goes through how to use a topographic map and compass for urban and rural navigation. Understanding direction and navigation could be the difference between getting somewhere alive and finding yourself in a situation you didn’t want to be in.

Hunting and Foraging

Learning how to make snares, traps and primitive weapons will give you better odds of finding dinner than just throwing a rock at something and crossing your fingers.

Even in urban areas there are still opportunity’s to catch small game. There are lakes, parks and other areas with wild animals. I wouldn’t suggest practicing these skills in the city though…you might get in some trouble with the local authorities.

There are also wild edible around you no matter where you live. Doing a little research about what is in your area and what time of year these wild edibles are available is knowledge you can keep in your head and save for later.

Primitive tools and Weapons

I said it before, but I’ll say it again, you might find yourself with nothing and then what? What would you do if you needed a hammer to build a shelter? What would you do if you found a great water source but you didn’t have a container to put it in?

Using your critical thinking skills and knowing how to utilize the resources available to you given your situation could turn out to be invaluable.

Knowing how to make a bowl out of the resources around you or knowing how to make a spear for fishing are just a couple of primitive skills you should be working on just in case of a disaster.

7 Pillars of Primitive Skills Workshop

sevenpillars primitive skills

As I said earlier I will be doing a workshop in the next couple of weeks that will go into more detail about primitive skills and why they are so important. To sign up for the workshop just click here.

I haven’t figured out all the details yet about what I will be giving away at the end of this workshop, but I will send out an email here in the near future with more details.

If you have something you think I should cover in the workshop please let me know, I want to make it as valuable to you as I possibly can.

The Navigation Course

NAvigation Webinar

Navigation involves more than just the wilderness, these skills will also be useful in a bugging in or bugging out situation. Click here to find about this course.




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

    3 replies to "Primitive Skills – So Easy a Caveman Can Do It"

    • Todd Walker

      Great resource, Dale!

      Fire by friction, as you mentioned, has so many nuances that require a lot of practice and proper resources. After the starting a friction fire, one has to always prepare for the next fire.

      Keep Doing the Stuff,


      • Dale

        Thanks Todd, and I completely forgot to add your article about rubbing sticks together, it’s in there now though. I’ll link to it here too just incase anyone else whats to read it, Great article with a ton of detail! The Art of Rubbing Sticks Together

        • MaryLee

          I found my way 🙂 Going back to read all this “good” stuff you wrote Dale.

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