Since the dawn of time there have always been rites of passage for men. In ancient times it may have been to hunt your first animal, or survive in the wilderness on your own. Generally they all meant the same thing: to be a man meant you are now able to provide and care for yourself. To acquire your own food, shelter, and handle your own problems. Nowadays this rite is often the moment your parents decide they can leave you at home by yourself without you burning the house down. And our first hunt for food by picking up a phone and ordering pizza.

Why Survivalism Is Needed

Now that we’re adults and have jobs and can just buy our food, we don’t see the need for learning the ancient arts of surviving in the wild. But to be a man you must be able to always fend for yourself and your family even during a disaster or national emergency. To be a man you can’t rely on the government or anyone else to come save you when a large-scale disaster strikes. And they don’t have the best track record when it comes to responding to large disasters.

How You Can Benefit

Survivalism isn’t all about living like the world is going to end any day, like a lot of mainstream media would have you believe. It’s the ability to bend nature to your will and make it work for you. It can be a very healthy lifestyle for modern men. Most men have, and still do, go camping. But next time you go, consider backpacking—putting everything you need for camping in one back pack and hike with it to your campsite. It’s a more fun workout than going to the gym, and you’ll have to plan out everything you’ll need on your trip. It also teaches you to be resourceful and innovative. If you backpack ten miles from your vehicle and then realize you left your fork and spoon in the car, you’ll have to improvise.

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Also, learning how to prioritize essentials is a skill that is useful in all aspects of our life. Taking only what is essential and not carrying any dead weight. The extreme backpackers even shave down their toothbrushes to 3 inches to save on weight and space in their pack. If everything you need for camping fits into one backpack it would save a lot of space in your garage, too.

There’s a sense of security in knowing that if you travel into the wilderness, far away from any other human being, you can survive on your own. Of course becoming a modern caveman doesn’t happen overnight. And Hollywood is full of examples of when it goes wrong (127 Hours, Into The Wild). Learning the basics of fire starting, water sanitizing, first aid, and trip planning are a must.

Survivalists prepare for dozens of different scenarios ranging from zombies to asteroids to if the Cubs lost the World Series and Chicago descended into anarchy—I know several people who canceled business trips or bunkered down during the series to avoid that scenario. And I don’t advocate for preparing for the end of the world or zombies. I advocate that men should know how to provide for themselves in the case of a devastating disaster. Near where I live a city the size of 160,000 people was hit by more than 3 inches of freezing rain one winter, knocking down power lines and trees and making roads dangerous. They didn’t descend into anarchy but they were without power for a week or more. Power was restored to the stores and you could buy necessities, for twice the price they were the week before. But power to most of the houses was off for a week or more.

A man should be able to know what to do when the water doesn’t flow out of the tap or the power doesn’t come back on for a week. How do you sterilize water if there’s a blackout during a boil order? And society is not as strong as we think. We all live in a trucking distribution economy. If the trucks stop moving the cities don’t have food. The trucking industry has been falling on hard times. If an oil crisis or economic crisis occurs and the trucks stop moving then the cities go without food. It’s been said that all cities are 3 days from bread lines and 7 days from cannibalism. Just look to the mess Venezuela is currently in. The people there resorted to eating feral dogs and pigeons.

Where You Can Start

Don’t go turning your Man Cave in to a prepper bunker by any means. I can’t understand why people buy a year’s worth of baked beans and hide them in their spare bedroom. Any situation involving a complete collapse of society necessitating you to rely on a years worth of baked beans means you have more serious problems to deal with than finding food. Who puts out the fires if society collapses? And how are you going to carry a pallet of baked beans? Keeping a week of extra food and supplies is all you need for most disasters and emergencies. And some basic camping gear. But most of all, learning skills and practicing them is required. Once you learn skills you never have to worry about leaving them in the car that’s at the bottom of the mountain you just climbed.

Food for thought

A lot of us living in the cities don’t have a lot of spare room in our apartments. To start being more prepared you don’t need much. A week of extra food, an independent cooker for food and sterilizing water (a barbecue grill works), extra hygiene products, and a few supplies. A food stash doesn’t have to be complex or exotic. A good rule would be ten cans each of vegetables, fruits, and meat, as well as carbs such as crackers and rice.

You can find a small water filter for backpackers that is smaller and cheaper than a flashlight for your drinking needs. And having extra toiletries such as toothpaste and soap also saves you from late night drives to the store for one item. Extra batteries for flashlights, radios, or other gadgets can be a lifesaver in an emergency as well as good bartering items.

By the way, the first items that are bartered for in an emergency are toilet paper, toothpaste and batteries. So if you don’t have something you can trade for it. Duct tape, a roll of gauze, and a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol can get you through basic medical needs, but you really need to know what you’re doing for the more advanced medical stuff. And lastly, you will need the skill and the will to defend your stash if the need arises. Remember you are prepping for yourself and not the looters.

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So as responsible adults, aka Men, we should take an interest in the survivalist movement and learn the skills of survival. With the way society is headed they may become useful.

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