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Everyday Lessons from Prepping and Homesteading

By Holly Nov 4, 2015 4:37:37 PM

After our Kickstarter campaign, we had loads of emails from communities all over the world who loved the Frontier Plus and were really excited about using it. A lot of these communities were of the prepping (preparedness), homesteading and survival variety, especially ones based in the US.

There are lots of valuable lessons that can be used in everyday life, whether you're a prepper or not. Even if the worst case scenario never happens, these tips will help you to be better prepared, more self-sufficient and reduce your carbon footprint!

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There's a well-developed preparedness community here in the UK, but the US especially has a real emphasis on homesteading, perhaps because of its history. The American pioneers, settlers who migrated to areas untouched by Western influence in the early 17th century, form an important part of American folklore. In the 1930s and 1940s, US president Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed 'subsistence homesteading' in urban areas as a way to provide families with the means to sustain themselves in the fallout of the Great Depression.

Grow your own food

Growing your own food is awesome for a whole host of reasons: you'll lessen your carbon footprint, eat healthier, spend less, and feel more connected to the land. It can be easy to forget that food comes from the ground when you're in a big brightly-lit supermarket surrounded by shiny vegetables in reams of packaging, so sometimes it's nice to get your hands dirty! Having your own food supply means that if the supply chain were ever to collapse (one of the main concerns of the preparedness community), you'd still be able to sustain yourself.

Know where there's a clean, non-mains water supply

If a Doomsday-type scenario ever kicks off, knowing where there's a clean water supply not connected to the mains could be a lifesaver: if it doesn't, this is still good information to have on hand in case of an especially cold winter, when mains water supply can often freeze. If there's nowhere near your home, sound out your friends and relatives and find out if there's one near them. This may come in handy if your water gets cut off over winter as you can pay them a visit for some much-needed showering and clothes-washing! If you've got access to water and your friends don't, have them all round to yours for a big holiday gathering. One particularly glacial winter in Scotland a few years ago, the pipes froze and lots of our friends in the surrounding area had no water. The water at our house came from a nearby stream, so we had everyone round to stay for a few days while the problem was sorted; it was loads of fun with everybody piled into the house and we got to help out our friends. Plus, in an emergency situation, it's good to have people on your side!

Get used to living with less

Most of the potential emergency scenarios that preppers envisage and plan for result in the surviving population having to get by on much, much less that we're used to. No more internet, electricity, TV, central heating or trips to the supermarket. While this kind of emergency may never happen, they do on a smaller scale all the time: powercuts, getting snowed in, water pipes freezing... Familiarising yourself with what it's like to live without the luxuries means that you're better prepared when unplanned emergencies do crop up, whether they're big or little ones. Getting by with just the basics, on a wild camping trip into the woods, or a weekend playing 'off-grid', also makes you appreciate everything you usually take for granted, and usually makes you feel pretty good knowing you can survive in tough conditions.

Learn useful skills

Skills like woodcarving, gardening, and first aid are all useful skills that would be great in an emergency situation. You don't need to be a total jack of all trades, but knowing a little about lots of practical things make you self-reliant and mean you can be confident you'd survive in a crisis. They're handy in everyday life too, from being able to help when someone slices their hand at work to knowing how to make your own spoons! Try a weekend bushcraft course, a night class or asking someone knowledgeable to help you expand your skill set.

Know how to light a good fire!

It's always a good idea to know how to light a proper fire, whether you're camping, in an emergency or living in the woods at the end of days. Fire provides a few of the basic human needs: warmth, protection and food. Check out our blog posts on 10 steps to lighting the perfect fire, a whole new way to do it, and how to make a Swedish fire torch.

Don't rely too much on technology

This is a good one, even if the worst case scenario never happens! We spend so much time with technology that it's hard not to let it run our lives, so taking a step back and spending some real time outdoors is a good way to help you get a little perspective. The health benefits of spending time in nature are uncountable (less stress, better sleep, boosts creativity), so swap time in front of the TV for a walk in the woods and you'll notice the difference in no time. Being a good storyteller would be a valuable commodity in an emergency situation, as there'd be lots of sitting around with no smartphones to keep us busy, so next time you go camping take it in turns telling stories with your family and friends and you'll unknowingly be preparing for the worst!

Are you a survivalist, prepper or homesteader? What do you think are the best everyday lessons you could pass on to non-preppers? Let us know in the comments below!

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Topics: firelighting, homesteading, How To, Outdoor Life, permaculture, preppers, prepping, survival, survivalist