Any skill you have can not be lost or stolen but you can use them to barter and trade.
Going through life, one acquires experience. Typically from this experience, one gains certain skills. Often, depending on the surroundings and people you are influenced by the skills can be very different. There are so many types of skills that can be learned I couldn’t even begin to list them all.
For the sake of this topic, I am going to discuss Outdoor Survival Skills. I have been what I consider lucky to have been raised in the country. I remember as a kid, what I thought was out exploring and having a good time was just a lot of fun. I didn’t realize through being exposed to the wilderness and figuring out how to track and trap animals in the wild or building a fort out of sticks to camp in would help me gain skills that could actually save a life.
I am going to focus my next few blogs on explaining some of those skills and some that I have researched and practiced intentionally to help others possibly learn these skills too.
Primitive Survival Skills
If you think about this for a minute, it really makes sense. In the event something did happen where we had to revert to living without modern commodities like running water and electricity, what would life be like? Really think about this, it would be a lot like the pioneers back in the day.
The surroundings would be different because of everything we have established and build in the history of evolution but if you took away the conveniences of running water and power, we would have to turn back at least a hundred years. Honestly, I am the type of guy that would actually enjoy that.
Could you imagine having to start a fire by hand to heat up whatever it was that you had to eat or boil the water you were trying to now store for drinking? Things would most definitely be different. Again, if you really think about this, that is what people had to do in regular day to day life back in the day. This is the root of primitive survival skills.
All of what I am trying to help people with is understanding how to survive when disaster strikes. It is not just about having the biggest arsenal or a massive stockpile of goods. One could have all of these things and if not able to utilize them will not stand a chance against ole mother nature.
I am going to spend a lot of time in the near future going through some of the things I have picked up on from my life experience and some things I have intentionally learned and practiced to help others acquire skills that no one can take away from them.
If you sign up for the free guide, I will have your name and email and you will have a free guide to help you get ready to be ready before you have to. As I complete these articles, I will be sharing them with anyone who signs up for the guide, posting them on PrepB4.com, and PrepB4 Facebook page. I hope this will reach as many people as it can and improve overall emergency preparedness.
Before I start with the first skill, I am going to fill you in on how I plan to lay this out. Getting the free guide or buying my eBooks will help you understand the process. There is a theme to all of this. You will notice through practice and research there is a certain order you should consider things.
It starts with after disaster sanitization. Then water, food, shelter, hygiene, and first aid. This is the thought process when preparing. Once prepared, there is so much more one can know when it comes to actually use the items they have to survive. That is where these lessons, tutorials, and examples will come in handy.
It seems strange the placement of first aid. In a disaster, it is highly possible someone is injured. You would think first aid would rank a bit higher. Let me explain my thoughts on why this is the way I have it laid out. You can have the greatest first aid kit in the world. Would it do you any good to treat a wound if it was not properly cleaned? An infection has a higher chance of causing death than the wound itself. There are ways to use things around you to treat a wound if it is clean. That is the difference between necessities and skills.
Having that said, the first skill I will be sharing is how to make soap. It can be made before you need it for practice and stored. It is true with any skill, the more you practice the better you get. If you end up with too much soap, you can sell it, trade it, or even give it away. If things are really bad it will be something most people won’t have and will want. You will have the skill to make it
Simple Tutorial To Make Soap
Making soap has been a skill that was developed a long time ago. It is the beginning of people becoming civilized. Being clean is a real necessity. The way it is done without commercial products is a little different than what I will explain but the purpose is to learn the skill. If you have to do this in a survival situation, you will also have to have the skills to hunt and gather natural fatty oils, herbs, caustic materials.
Before I start, a few words for safety. When using commercial products to make your own soap, there is a product that is required to make the chemical reaction called saponification. You must have a caustic to react with the oils to turn to soap. This can be purchased as Lye (Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide). Make sure you get the food-grade kind. Sodium Hydroxide is my preference. These chemicals in raw form can cause burns. You should use caution, gloves, old clothes, and eye protection when handling. It can be neutralized with distilled vinegar.
I know this sounds a bit scary but don’t shy away. It is quite safe if handled properly. Only the raw product and the green/uncured soap is harmful. Once the saponification process is complete it is no longer caustic when mixed properly.
There are 12 steps to making soap. You will need some specific tools and ingredients. I will list those in reverse order now.
- 2 Cups of Green Tea
- 2/3 cup of Lye
- 4 Cups Oil, (Coconut, Vegetable, Hemp)
- 2 oz Essential Oil (Lavender, TeaTree, Peppermint)
Tools and Utensils:
Container for mixing ingredients, non-metallic. Preferably glass or plastic. Need to be able to mix a half-gallon without splashing.
Mold, something to form your soap. Also non-metallic. A square pan or bowl that will hold about a half-gallon and be an inch deep. 10″ x 13″ glass pan is perfect.
Measuring Cups. Glass or plastic.
Stirring Spoons. Wood or Plastic. If you are practicing your skills you can use an insertion blender to make this chore easier.
Extra Hands. It is always more fun to practice and teach others how to do this. It also helps when pouring to steady the mold.
I have mentioned a few times to not use metal. With the lye being caustic it will discolor and even corrode some metals. High-grade stainless steel will work but never, never, never use aluminum! It will react with the caustic materials.
1. Once you have all of your ingredients and tools gathered and ready you will start with making the tea. This is the liquid you will use to activate the lye. You are making tea for color and scent. When I make this, I will actually go out and get some sassafrass root and make sassafrass tea. It smells wonderful. Once your tea starts to boil, remove it from the heat and let it cool while steeping. This will be about 200 degrees F when removed.
2. Next you will measure and heat your oils. The ideal temperature is 140 degrees F. Do not go above 170 degrees F, it is oil and could spontaneously combust. Control the heat until oil is evenly melted if using a whipped oil like coconut then remove from heat.
3. Let liquids cool. The goal here is to get all of your liquid to cool to about 100 degrees F at once.
4. In your container for mixing pour in 1-1/4 cups of tea. This will leave enough for you to enjoy a cup of hot tea while making your soap.
5. Carefully add the 2/3 cup of Lye to the tea. This is an important order. Always add lye to liquid! Never add liquid to Lye! It will react violently and possibly spray everywhere. This is where the stirring starts. Make sure you stir until all of the granules are dissolved. You do not want solid particles of lye in your soap. Might clean a little too well!
6. Get mold ready. You can even line with parchment paper to make it easier to remove later. It will also allow you to keep your hands out of any excess liquids when pulling from mold later.
7. Your tea and lye should be mixed well and completely dissolved. Everything should be colled to about 100 degrees F by now. carefully add oils to the tea and lye mixture trying not to splash. At this point, the lye is activated and in liquid form. If it gets on skin or eyes it will burn. Keep vinegar close by. If you do get splashed just rub a bit of the vinegar on it and it will stop burning.
8. Stir your tea/lye and oils together constantly. You can use an insertion mixer to make this easier but the goal is to practice survival skills here, you probably won’t have one of those. Continue to stir until it turns to a pudding-like consistency. This is what they call Trace. Now that the consistency has changed, if you want to add any herbs or essential oils for fragrance do it now while mixing. If you would like to have an exfoliating soap, you can add a 1/4 cup of coffee grounds here too.
9. Once your Trace is smooth and well mixed, your mold is prepared, and your help is there. pour the Trace into the mold. Make sure you are careful with not getting any on you. The green soap is still caustic. You have to clean everything up at this point too. Mild soap and water will work. Just make sure you get all of your utensils cleaned of all leftover product.
10. Put some kind of cover or lid on your mold and let sit for 24-48 hours. This is where the chemical reaction between the lye and the oils called saponification happens. Once this is complete all of the caustic materials are used up and it will safer to handle.
11. You now have soap. It is still not ready to use yet. If you used parchment paper this step will be easier. Cut the soap into the desired size squares and use the parchment paper to pull from the mold. Pay attention to any excess liquid in the bottom of the mold. If it is like water it is most likely tea but could still be a touch caustic. If it is oily it most likely is caustic to an extent. I would take precautions to keep from contacting the skin. Use a throwaway rag and wipe off any excess liquid from the soap and wrap it in parchment paper for storage.
12. Last and longest step. Your soap has to age for a minimum of two weeks. The ideal time is one month before use. This allows time for any internal caustic to complete saponification and be safe to use. This is the hardest part. It will smell wonderful and you will want to try it out after all your efforts.
Let’s Make Some Soap
Now that you have the list of ingredients, the tools, and the steps to take for making soap it is time to learn your new skill. If this is completely new to this I recommend using commercial products to practice the process. They are easier to gather, they have consistent ingredients, and mix the same every time. This will help you learn to adjust each step and measurements to get exactly what you are looking for.
Once you feel comfortable with the process and feel like you are ready to explore a bit you can try different things like the types of oils, herbs, or other additives to get different varieties. You can even try learning what plants can be useful to harvest and add for holistic reasons.
Back To Primitive
This little project is fun and useful. Remember we are learning a survival skill by doing this. It will give you the ability to keep things clean, and healthy by killing bacteria, and viruses when you are forced to live with fewer commodities. It is a kill you will always have once you have learned it.
Granted, we have started with the commercial products to learn the skill, now you must learn how to use the skill without those products. If you were stranded in the middle of the woods and had to survive for a long time, where would you get these ingredients you need? It is time to research how the pioneers did this. It really is quite simple.
The one product that would be perplexing to most is the lye. Where does one get Sodium Hydroxide in the wilderness? If you were living in the woods you would probably already be collecting what you need and don’t know it. Ashes from hardwood fires are a great source for lye. There are many ways to harvest lye from the ash. No matter which process you use they are quite simple. I will be covering those skills in another post to reference here soon.
The oils are a bit cruder than what you would purchase from the store. If you are living in the wild this will require some hunting or trapping skills because the food you catch and prepare is where you would harvest the oils. You will keep all fat you can find when skinning and butchering your game for your food. This will be heated and drawn to make the oils you will need to make your trace from scratch.
I Should Draw To An End
There is so much I wish to talk about. This stuff really excites me and it brings me great pleasure to help others to understand some of these skills that could possibly save a life. I must draw to an end. If you need any additional guidance or just have questions, please feel free to leave comments below. I will be glad to respond and help however I can.
I promise to continue with writing these articles to help others learn many more essential survival skills that cannot be taken away from them. Please sign up for the free guide, I will then have an email to keep you updated when I have new materials available for you to find and use.
I hope this helps you get ready before you have to be.