Learning some simple survival techniques could make the difference between life and death if civilized society fails you. The best will be old-time skills that you can learn as a series of weekend courses with friends, or skills you teach yourself using a book or the Internet. You'll also need to make sure that you invest in the necessary equipment and resources that will keep you self-sufficient in the end.
Basic first aid and medical knowledge should be one of the first survival techniques you should learn. This will be beyond simple first aid measures such as bandages and applying lotion to sores. You should find a course that will teach you how to set broken bones with splints, or to stitch wounds. Study herbal medicine and plant identification, so you know which plants to use for any number of ailments currently treated with over-the-counter medicine. Learn more about first aid and medical skills at Survival Medicine.
Growing your own food will make self-sufficiency easy, and you can find plants and vegetables that will grow in different seasons. You'll need to make sure you have the yard space necessary and have the garden started early if you can. You will want to learn how to save seeds to plant the following season. Learn more about gardening at Backyard Farming.
If you don't have your own yard, or you don't like the idea of hunting, then foraging will be one of the most important survival techniques to have. You will need to go out into your local environment to see what fruits, nuts and mushrooms grow nearby. You'll also need to learn what is poisonous and how to prepare your foraged goods. Learn more about these foraging for wild edibles at SHTF Survival.
Canning is a skill to be learned ahead of time as it is quite resource intensive. It is a great way of preserving fresh fruit and vegetables from your garden, as well as creating a set of ready meals that you can take with you if you need to travel, and part of survival cooking skills.
Another great way of preserving fruit is to use a dehydrator to create lightweight, nutritious meals. Not only can you dehydrate your fresh garden produce, thus cutting down on the number of canning jars and lids you will need to stock, but you can dehydrate entire meals and make fruit leathers and high calorie cereal bars.
Once your supply of tinned food has run
out, you'll need to find a way to generate your own food. Learning to
shoot accurately and identifying the critical spot to shoot and kill
your prey are all skills required to be a successful hunter. You need to
learn how to move through the environment without giving your position
away, and how to use weapons other than guns such as a bow and arrow,
crossbow and even wrist rocket (slingshot). Learn more about these skills at SHTF Survival.
Hunting may not be for everyone, so learning how to set traps and snares is another good way of getting fresh meat. Make sure you stock up on snare wire, rope and even wire mesh ahead of time, so you'll find it easy to rig up a trap that will capture small game. You can also use natural vines and sticks to create traps for fish. Learn more about these skills at SHTF Survival.
Once you've caught your animal, you'll want to use all of the parts, not just the meat. Hide tanning can be one of the best survival techniques, as hides can be used for many different purposes. Both tanned leather and rawhide will have multiple uses, including garments, shelter, and even to make a travois to carry heavy loads.
Animal husbandry is one of the more sustainable survival techniques. By raising fresh meat, you won't have to rely on the vagaries of hunting, and if you plan carefully, when disaster strikes you'll hardly notice. Get your animals, and don't forget you need at least one breeding pair, two being optimal. Some of the easiest meat animals to raise will be small livestock that reproduce quickly and hopefully provide something besides just meat: chickens and eggs, rabbits and hides, goats and milk. Then you'll have to either stock up on feed or grow your own.
These are just a few of the survival techniques and skills that could come in handy in a long-term survival situation. A few others might include sewing, dentistry, blacksmithing, midwifery, teaching, childcare, soap making, candle making, machining and any other number of skills that will make life a bit easier. Learn more about these skills at Backyard Farming.