6 Unusual Prepping Skills You Should Master (before SHTF)

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 03/09/2024

Today I’m going to share the top 7 overlooked prepping skills & abilities.

And my goal is to surprise you.

To share a few skills and abilities you’ve never considered.

OR ones you know about but haven’t taken seriously.

These are the prepper skills people SHOULD be focusing MORE time on.

But for various reasons, haven’t…yet.

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↓ 7 Overlooked & Under-Appreciated Prepping Skills


1. Mental Resiliency (Stoic Practices)

When we focus on becoming more prepared, we tend to focus most of our time, attention, and energy on gear, supplies, and obvious barter skills.

And while those are a big part of being resilient, it’s only focusing on the physical and missing the mental part of being resilient.

Mental toughness is a skill just like any other.

With dedication and practice, you CAN get better at it.

The problem is in our luxury-first and comfort-at-all-costs culture, our mental resiliency (as a culture) is beginning to atrophy.

In general, we’re rarely put into positions of real discomfort.

For example:

  • We ride around nearly everywhere, sitting in a comfy recliner on wheels.
  • We have indoor plumbing (for cooking, cleaning, and waste flushing) AND machines that wash dishes and clothes for us!
  • Foam mattresses (some with heating and cooler abilities) hug our bodies and align our spines for perfect sleep conditions.
  • Easy food refrigeration, light switches, books, video games, computers, and simple long-distance communication.

And that’s just a tiny fraction of the insane amenities most of us take for granted.

But is easier living always better?

I don’t think so.

For anything gained, something is lost, and I think we’re now in a state of “use it or lose it.”

When life is so easy, we’re rarely challenged; we get soft.

So instead, if YOU want to be mentally tough, you need to forgo these obnoxious luxuries occasionally.

I’m talking about cold showers, sleeping on a hard floor, riding a bike, washing dishes by hand, etc.

By doing this, you’ll accomplish several important mental resilience goals.

1. You Become A More Grateful Person

First off, you’ll appreciate these amenities MORE.

For example, by washing dishes for a week by hand, you’ll be way more grateful for that dishwasher – instead of taking it for granted.

And being truly grateful for all the blessings in our lives, including luxuries, is the best way to become a happier, more satisfied person.

That’s right, by doing things the hard way occasionally, you’ll be a HAPPIER person.

Because I believe the key to happiness is NOT more comfort and luxury.

That is called a hedonic treadmill, and it doesn’t create fulfilling happiness in our souls.

But gratefulness does. I think gratefulness is the secret sauce to happiness!

And I’m not the only one who believes this.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. – Melody Beattie

Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire in your soul. – Amy Collette

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent to all others. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. – Willie Nelson

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy. – Ralph H. Blum

Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is true prosperity. – Eckhart Tolle

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. – Doris Day

Enough said.

2. Become More Mentally Tough

Forgoing luxuries and comfort also helps you mentally prepare for a future where you’re forced to live without them.

You’ll likely discover that while it’s NOT ideal, it’s not as bad as you imagined.

You realize that you CAN live without them, and it won’t kill you.

So, you’ll be more prepared for a cold shower when hot water is no longer available.

Or a cold bath. OR days and weeks on end without any shower or bath at all…

↓ Take A Cold Shower – Mental Resiliency Challenge ↓

You should occasionally force yourself to go without to be more mentally resilient should the day come when you have no choice.

2. Medical Knowledge – First Aid – Basic Suturing

This one is not as BIG of a “surprise” as the first one, but I included it because I don’t think it gets nearly enough attention.

Medical supplies and skills have always been and always will be in high demand; this doubles during a crisis.

Confidently administering basic first aid up to and including suturing wounds is a critical prepper skill.

Just because a prepper skill is in high demand does not mean it’s risk-free.

Those on the front lines of caring for rare diseases and infections are at a higher risk.

They could contract those same illnesses by the nature of the work.

That’s why doctors and nurses are true heroes during pandemics.

But if you spend time and energy TODAY honing your basic medical knowledge – I can promise you, in a prolonged major crisis, you’ll be worth having and keeping around.

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Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

3. Engineering – Problem-Solving – Maintenance – Builder/Maker

When new societal problems arise, who are the folks who figure out how to build or fix things?

Engineers, mechanics, electricians, that’s who.

Folks who design, build, and make things for a living are extremely under-appreciated, in my opinion.

And if we ever experience an SHTF-type world disruption, those folks will be in high demand.

For example:

If the nation’s power grid and transformers were hacked for months, their folks could cobble together a neighborhood solar panel system to provide SOME much-needed energy.

During emergencies, these folks are the ones who create ingenious solutions to problems on the fly.

They use their knowledge and experience in solving problems to determine how to use whatever resources are available.

That’s a resilient skill worth focusing on, leading us to the next overlooked prepper skill.

4. Adaptability & Flexibility – Prepare ADAPT & Overcome

I have no interest in trying to predict what the next major worldwide crisis will be… perhaps it’s WWIII, a supervolcanic explosion, or a massive solar flare EMP.

More likely it’ll likely be something few predicted.

But just because we can’t predict future turmoil doesn’t mean we should be fragile.

You see, you CAN and SHOULD become more resilient to all future turmoil and emergencies.

You can’t predict, but you can measure your resilience OR fragility.

One overlooked skill that creates resiliency is adaptability—changing plans quickly when the need arises.

Being prepared is all about gathering supplies and skills BEFORE a crisis.

But the nature of the crisis may mean pivoting quickly.

For example:

Perhaps your home has many prepper supplies ready, but what happens if the threat is a wildfire?

You’ll have to adapt, grab your bug-out bag, and leave it all behind.

Yes, that sucks.

But if you can’t adapt, you may perish in the blaze – that’s fragile!

You can’t get married too tightly to one type of emergency event.

You must plan for ALL events, and even then, you must allow your plans to remain somewhat flexible.

To make the BEST choices as the nature of the crisis unfolds.

I end most of my articles and videos with the manicure – Prepare, Adapt & Overcome.

Preparation is primary.

You need to have the supplies in skills in the first place to have backups and options.

But right after that is ADAPT.

Because as they say,

No plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

 5. Musical Talent with Acoustic Instruments

Here’s one that I hope pleasantly surprises many of you – music.

If life as we know it is forever changed, and modern amenities are a thing of the past – well, for those who survive, music will matter.

Playing a musical instrument to move people to dance or cry is special.

Humans need those releases to feel and connect through the art of music.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love music.

Some folks can’t hold a beat to save their lives, but they still have songs they cling to in times of distress or joy.

I can’t think of a more stressful time than a worldwide emergency.

And what happened during the initial wave of the pandemic lockdown?

Those who could play an instrument well shared their talents by marching in the streets with trombones or playing and singing their guitar from a front porch.

This is indeed an important prepper skill that nearly everyone overlooks.

If times are tough and you know how to play, you’ll be a cherished member of nearly any survival coalition.

6. Scouting, Lockpicking & Scavenging

If you faint at the sight of blood and hate math, then medical and engineering skills are out.

And if you can’t play a note to save your life, music is also out.

So, you’ll be left with fewer options, but perhaps this one will be a natural fit for YOU – scouting and scavenging.

Now, unlike the medical and engineering talents, this one has limited uses in normal times but becomes more necessary in a true, how will the world end situation.

Medical and engineering skills are always useful, even more so during societal chaos.

With that said, if modern society were to collapse, scavenging supplies would be a skill in very high demand.

Being able to sneak into an area, collect some food and supplies and sneak back out will be a necessary evil.

Lock picking will be an extremely valuable skill to master; it’s a sneaky quiet way to enter a building.

Now I put scavenging and scouting together because these skills are necessary for success.

You must be able to scout and sneak around, evading whatever is the “danger or enemy.”

Most likely, it’s other people…

And scavenging knows the best places to look, the best items to take, and the best ways to haul the stuff back.

Scouting and sneaking skills are used in normal times by hunters.

Dumpster divers use scavenging skills.

Put the two together, and your survival coalition will appreciate what you bring.

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

7. Home Schooling / Child Care

Finally, I want to say raising kiddos is mentally exhausting work.

I have two young children who need my attention and intensity daily.

And that’s with both kids being in school full time.

Honestly, I don’t have the temperament to watch kids all day.

I’ve done it, and it’s a real grind.

Seriously, I can only play candy land two or three times before I’m wiped out with extreme boredom.

But I know folk who are great at watching, playing, and engaging with kids for long periods.

If public schools shut down and daycares close due to a crisis, neighborhood caretaking will become a REAL VALUABLE skillset.

Teaching a group of kids all day, fostering their social skills and fundamental education is a very underappreciated and overlooked prepping skill.

For example, during the pandemic lockdowns, my wife and I hired our neighbor to watch our kids for several hours daily.

And man, getting some free adult time was worth every penny.

Otherwise, it was hanging out with a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old full-time.

My kids are awesome and so fun but man…those were LONG days.

Final Thoughts

It’s wise to focus on improving ALL your prepper skills.

But if you want to be a valuable member of any survival coalition, add a few of these OVERLOOKED and UNDERAPPRECIATED skills.

That way, you’ll never wonder if you are worth keeping around if times get tough.

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