If the world as we know were to cease to exist right now, and modern comforts were no longer available, would you be able to survive it? Our ancestors relied solely on themselves for survival, acquiring the necessary skills to be able to forge through the day-to-day. They had the ability to feed themselves, build shelter, and protect themselves if needed. Many of these skills could be seen as basic, but there are a few on this list that many of us wouldn’t be able to do today if asked to. From preparing an animal for dinner to building a house, let’s take a deep dive into survival skills of the past that have all but been lost as the years have passed.

Tanning Hides

You wouldn’t think so but it actually isn’t that difficult to tan a hide, still it’s a skill that not many people in today’s era have. Those who have mastered this particular skill are able to scrape all the fat off of the hide without causing a single tear. In the old days these hides were used for blankets, clothing, and even as floor coverings inside of a shelter.

Source: Flickr/Catherine

In today’s day and age many people would find this barbaric, and less practical. But during the frontier days tanning hides was an essential skill for one’s survival.

Gunsmithing To Hunt And Protect Yourself

In a stark contrast from past generations, many people today actually support abolishing firearms. There was a time not that far back where almost all households owned at least one for protection, hunting and survival needs.

Source: Pinterest

Gunsmiths repair, design, modify, and build weapons. They used to be essential members of society who made sure a person’s firearms were in proper working order. This was crucial during times of war and for those who fed their families meat from game.

Knowing How To Start A Fire

This honestly is a life skill that everyone should have knowledge in. Generations before us relied solely on their ability to create and maintain a fire for survival. Obviously they used it to heat their homes, but also to cook their food.

Source: Unsplash/Sebastian Pociecha

Sadly most of us do not have this primitive skill under our belts, when we really should. Perhaps it’s now our responsibility to make sure younger generations have this skill set.

Sewing Clothing

Sewing used to be taught as a part of normal school curriculum, most girls and many boys were taught how to at the very least mend clothes. These days everything is so easily accessed, if you tear it well you just go buy a new one. Unfortunately this means they have done away with these teachings in the classroom.

Source: Pinterest

Sadly not many people know the lost art of sewing, but being able to sew a torn seam or a button on a shirt is actually an extremely useful skill.

Butchering Animals For Sustenance

If you make a chicken casserole for your family this evening, there is a pretty solid chance that you acquired that chicken at the grocery store. But in years past people had to butcher their own meat before preparing their meals.

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Our ancestors had to slaughter and prepare the animal before they could eat. They knew how to properly butcher and prepare the animal in a manner that avoided contamination, while it wasn’t the best job ever it was definitely a necessary one.

Knitting Clothing For Warmth

Nowadays when we think of knitting we typically picture our grandmother sitting on the couch with two large knitting needles, but once upon a time it was a very important skill to have. Long before Targets and Walmart’s, women of all ages knitted a wide variety of clothing, like mittens, scarfs and hats.

Source: Fox Photos

This skill was obviously extremely important for people that lived in colder climates. The consequences of not knowing how to knit in colder weather could be catestrophic.

Candle Making For Light

All you have to do nowadays is walk into a room and flip a switch if you want to light your way. But electric light bulbs weren’t a thing until the1800s, so what did people do? Well simply enough they lit candles to illuminate their homes. Obviously someone had to make these candles first before they could be used.

Source: Aleksej Sarifulin

Our ancestors relied on their skills of candle making to provide the necessary lighting they needed, and since candles then didn’t last as long as the ones we have today, candle making was a much needed skill to have.

Making Soap For Your Health

It’s a widely known fact that people didn’t bathe nearly as much centuries ago as they do today, nonetheless soap making was a much needed skill back then. It wasn’t just for keeping your body clean, it was a necessity for keeping your clothing clean and keeping up with sanitation.

Source: Pinterest

In other words the dirtier you are the more likely it is that you could contract or spread illness or disease. For generations people knew how to make soap so they could keep themselves and their families healthy.

Using Horses For Travel And Maintenance 

Before the invention of cars, there were horses. Horses were used as a mode of transportation, for both leisurely travel and for work. Horses are definitely not ridden for the same reasons as they once were, today if you are going for a ride it’s most likely for relaxation.

Source: Unsplash/Randy Fath

But if you were to travel back in time 100 years you would find that most people knew how to ride a horse, and did it well. They also had the skills to properly tend to their animals, so they lived much longer, making things much easier for them.

Preparing Food From Scratch

You won’t find many people these days that are capable of cooking food from scratch. Today people rely heavily on non-perishable foods in case there is some kind of disaster that hits. Our ancestors however could turn flour into bread with ease.

Source: Unsplash/Nadya Spetnitskaya

Their diets weren’t complicated, and didn’t contain all the preservatives and junk that we find in our food today. They also didn’t have the convenience of supermarkets or microwaves, they had to turn to their home cooking skills, cooking meals from scratch with whole nutrition foods.

Shoe Making Practically

Who do you know in today’s day and age that makes their own shoes? I’m going to say probably no one. It’s far less complicated to just go buy a pair, not to mention is more cost effective. However, there was once a time when people made their own shoes, when they wore through one pair they had to make a new pair.

Source: Unsplash/Dmitrij Paskevic

People just had a different set of skills back then, they knew how to effectively cut, sew soles,and manipulate leather in a way that effectively covered their feet. As you can imagine this was an essential skill to have, without it you were rendered barefoot, and that wasn’t an option for people who lived in colder climates.

Food Preservation For Stockpiling

Preserving food now is easy, we simply throw it in the refrigerator or the freezer. In some cases we are able to save food for months in our freezers, but in the olden days this just wasn’t an option. Our ancestors had to deal with the inconvience of not being able to preserve their food efficiently or easily, and sometimes they just had to deal with the fact that food would spoil quickly if it wasn’t consumed.

Source: Unsplash/Ray Shrewsberry

Back then people had to use methods of drying, smoking, or salting their foods in an effort to preserve them for longer. A Skill that most people today just don’t have.

Building A Home

I’m willing to bet that most of us (myself included) couldn’t build a home if our lives depended on it. But generations before us were well equipped with the skills necessary to build a home from the ground up.

Source: woodcraft

Today it is a specific skill that people acquire for their careers, less of a necessity for survival and more for lining their pockets.

Gardening For Food

People today enjoy gardening for an array of reasons, relaxations, being with nature, but not many do it as a way to provide sustanence. Only specific people these days have the knowledge of how to plow or till a field, how to get rid of pesky intruders and diseases, and understand the right times to harvest their gardens.

Source: Unsplash/Kamala Bright

You won’t find many people nowadays that use gardening as their primary form of food supply. Our ancestors on the other hand had the special skill sets to grow and harvest their crops in bulk!

Making Furniture

Making furniture is a true work of art, it requires a very special set of skills to make practical pieces such as chairs, beds, shelves and cabinets.

Source: AP Photo

You had to have some sort of woodworking skills in the past if you wanted your home to be comfortable. And because most people didn’t have the financial means to hire other people to do the work for them, they had to acquire the skills to do it themselves.

Raising Animals For Cooking

If you are a professional farmer then you have the knowledge on how to properly raise and take care of animals, but outside of this most people do not know what it takes. There are specific skills to milking a cow and feeding your livestock. You also have to have an understanding of recognizing and diagnosing diseases in your animals, and be able to address it promptly.

Source: Unsplash/Mihail Macri

Our ancestors had the necessary skills to properly keep, tend, and raise their livestock. These skills were absolutely vital for keeping their bellies full.

Blacksmithing To Forge Iron And Steel

You aren’t going to find many blacksmiths running around these days.

Source: Unsplash/Albert Stoynov

That’s because they were replaced by large manufacturing companies and machines a long time ago. But there was once a time where having this skill was non negotiable for one’s survival.

Herbal Medicines When You Got Sick

If you get sick today you are off to see your doctors or visit your local ER. Our ancestors didn’t have that luxury, they relied on plant medicine to give them relief or cure their ailments.

Source: Unsplash/Katherine Hanlon

Knowing what plants to forge and how to prepare them for what illness was a very special skill set. A skill set that you just don’t see very often anymore. Maybe it’s time to brush up on some of these necessary life skills, what do you think?