Type that phrase into your search engine; now type it into the search bar on YouTube. Wow. A lot of results isn’t it. I am going to save you a little time – okay a lot of time – several of these sites are going to prepare you to survive the zombie apocalypse. Several more will prepare you to survive the totalitarian police state and its martial law. Others will teach you off grid bush craft skills that will come in handy as you live your hermit like existence in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.  At least one promises to teach aboriginal living skills from a very aboriginal looking surfer dude in cut off shorts and pigtails.

There are some that offer reviews and training videos. Some of these lessons are taught in a garage on a workbench. Now if you are teaching me to use an auger or a rotary blade paper cutter, I can see the usefulness of the bench indoors teaching technique. The problem is that in a survival situation I am… well I am probably outside and possibly injured and in danger of exposure to the elements. There may be wind, rain, snow or other negative factors to starting a fire with a flint and stone from my leather pouch.

Now I am not mocking the need to be prepared for an emergency or a survival situation. Each car should have a first aid kit and some signaling device and protection from the elements. Road flares and a jacket or blanket is bare necessity. Also be sure to have a jack and a spare tire in the car. I know that sounds silly but are you sure there is one I your car? Beyond that some bottled water and food. A lot of this is dependent on where you drive of course, but you get the idea. Going for a day hike or bike ride? Have your phone with you at least.

What I am mocking is some of the pure silliness that is out there. The post a video of me setting up a tent on YouTube to be seen needs to be mocked. I have seen videos of persons trying to instill me with faith in their skills by failing to tie a knot or start a fire. And when not filmed in a garage or workshop, the videos are made in a bare spot in the backyard with 4×4 logs surrounding it.

I do believe that you need to learn how to use survival gear before you have to use it. Learn to use a Ferrocerium rod, magnesium bar or whatever you choose as an alternative to a zippo or bic. Collect some dryer lint, make some cardboard and candlewax fire starters, and soak some cotton balls in petroleum jelly. Build a fire with nothing but a knife to cut your tender and fuel for your fire. Take a basic first aid class from the Red Cross.

And OPEN those prepackaged kits and see what is truly in them. That 96 piece first aid kit may be 90 band aids, a pair of scissors and 5 alcohol wipes. That Altoid can survival kit may contain a book of matches, an aluminum foil signaling mirror and a bobbin of thread for cordage. I am not kidding you. Look for them this winter on the novelty rack beside the register.

Having said all that, I am thinking of posting a few reviews and posts here about skills and techniques. I admit now that my reviews will be opinion based. My skills and technique posts will be real world situation based. How do the magnesium slivers hold up to a breeze? Does that button compass have any purpose other than looking cute? Exactly how do you light a road flare?

Stay tuned…