Being prepared isn't just about watching endless re-runs of Doomsday Preppers, or spending all of your time searching for potential signs of conspiracies in the news. It's also much more than having a pantry full of beans and a garden stocked with produce. You may even be living off-grid already, and with all of your ponds full of fish, solar panels and hand-pumped wells and think you're ready for whatever comes.
But are you really?
Having every supply imaginable does not mean you will survive. The true test of your mettle comes down to your survival endurance. Here at APE Survival like to tell ourselves that "no matter what comes, we're ready to deal with it." Think about this for a second. What happens if you're supplies are taken away by someone stronger than you, or chance has sent them floating downstream in a flood? Now what? What really matters is your mindset, and your mental toughness. That's what you really need to survive.
So how do you know if you have this kind of mindset already? What happens if an earthquake were to hit right now, and later tonight riots begin to break out on the streets. Would you be able to cope? What if you need to evacuate your home, are you physically fit enough to make it to your bug out location? Today we're going to cover the four areas of endurance you need to develop so you can survive whatever comes.
Switch off the power
Living without electricity is not something many of us do on a regular basis, and for this reason we often greatly underestimate what it will be like in a crisis. Because so many of us cannot even remember the last time the power went out, one of the biggest hurdles we can overcome is getting used to life without electricity. To train for this, simply see how well you would fare during a weekend without power. On Friday night, trip the breaker when you get home from work, and toss everything with a battery, like your phone, laptop, tablets and any other electronic devices in a drawer. If you want to take it up a notch, turn your mains water supply off as well, and you'll get a very quick lesson on how much we currently take for granted, and any major flaws in your survival plans. This step is a real eye opener for those who have yet to break free of the planning stage, and regularly testing yourself like this is key to building your endurance to survive.
Run through your evacuation
It sounds like a dream. When society collapses, you'll grab your bug-out-bag and casually stroll into the wilderness and live life "off-the-land." The more likely event is that you're simply not prepared for what it takes, and will suffer painfully as a result. To train for this, take your bug out bag hiking and see how your "72-hour-kit" lasts for three days in the woods. Going backpacking is perfect training to see what is really necessary to bug out effectively, and you'll quickly determine what is useful away from all of the internet forums and BOB packing lists. When I first did this with my family, I realized there was about 15 pounds of unnecessary equipment in my kit that I could cut down, making me faster and more agile should I ever need to evacuate with my kit.
Once you're comfortable spending a few nights in the wild, it's time to step your training up a notch. Try this. Set a timer on your phone to go off in two minutes. In this time you have to grab everything you need, and be out the front door before the alarm sounds. Did you manage to get everything you need for the next 72 hours? I hope so. Start driving to your bug out location, but stop the car once you get halfway and hike the remaining distance. This practice is vital should you ever need to escape your location for real, as you'll build first-hand experience using all of the tools in your kit, before you need to use them in a life or death situation.
Getting your mind in order
Simply believing you will make it through a crisis is often enough to overcome the challenges you face during a disaster. The tough part is this belief doesn't always come naturally, so you need to test your limits at every chance. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find out how much you can suffer through without doing any lasting damage to your body - so you find out what your limits really are. In a disaster, nothing is going to be comfortable, and if you already know what you can survive through, your attitude is going to be far more positive. Don't eat for a day and you'll realize that despite being hungry and a little sluggish, you're still ok. Spend the night under the stars (not in below freezing temperatures please) and you'll find that even if you believed you could do it beforehand, actually going through with each challenge reinforces what you know you're capable of, making you more confident to overcome whatever comes your way.
Turning your body into a weapon
Surviving is not easy. You're going to go hungry, thirsty, probably spend many nights missing a decent sleep and find you're burning more calories each day just staying alive than you ever thought possible. To ensure you've got the best possible chance of surviving, your body needs to be in peak physical condition. You don't need to look like a fitness model on the cover of a magazine, but you do need to be all-round fit and healthy. Be honest with yourself now. Could you hike from sunrise to sunset? How about if you were carrying your bug out bag? Of course getting in shape takes considerable effort, but if you're not healthy now, staying alive once the SHTF is going to be that much tougher. Start a beginners fitness program if you're out of shape, doing something simple like going for a walk around the blog every evening. Once you're feeling fitter, try jogging or even a light run.
The reality is that bugging out in a disaster will require you to be in shape. Keep up your training until you can confidently run 2-3 miles with your bug out bag on your back. Personally, I like to build fitness into my daily life. Instead of using a ride-on lawnmower, I bought a hand powered push mower. The wood that needs splitting behind the shed, I take to it with an axe instead of using a chainsaw, just like my grandfather did. Even going to the grocery store I walk there and carry everything home in my backpack instead of taking the car. This helps me to train my body, without spending hours in the gym or on the treadmill.
Building your survival endurance takes time. Mastering your mind and body is not something that comes easy to most people, but the simplest way to start making progress is to just start practicing. As your confidence builds, so too will your ability to survive.
Are you ready to endure whatever comes?