Modern Families Learning Primitive Survival Skills

skillsFamilies are opting to bask in the glow of a campfire as opposed to that of a TV, computer screen, smartphone or tablet. With the internet providing everything from recipes for spinach-artichoke dip to the latest design fashions, it’s difficult to believe that we as humans still rely heavily on the Earth.

Despite being fully immersed in the digital age of convenience, some families are choosing to learn primitive survival skills and practices. Recently, a group of nearly 100 students and teachers came together in Corinth, Vermont to learn wilderness survival skills such as hide tanning, animal tracking, and fire building.

These arts, referred to as primitive or wilderness living skills, means adopting the mind-set of those who lived off the land without the aid of modern technology or medicine, or materials such as plastic, glass, or metal. Though many people view these skills as irrelevant in today’s modern world, several popular reality shows depict a different perspective.

National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero” and History Channel’s “Mountain Men” depict a subsistence hunter lifestyle that takes viewers back to the time before settlers arrived in North America. Following the success and popularity of these shows, several other channels have also created similar series. In fact, the lifestyle depicted in these reality shows has inspired many views to go back to basics, and live a life closer to nature.

The seventh Annual Roots Rendezvous drew people from across New England, New York, and even Canada, all interested in learning survival and homesteading skills and adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. Workshops similar to the Roots Rendezvous have been creeping up across the country and the popularity of nature-based lifestyles increases.

In addition to learning sustainable practices and skills, activities including tomahawk ax throwing and ax making, proper knife use and safety, and bow and arrow making. Early hunters and gatherers used these tools in order to survive. Though often considered as weapons, modern tactical tomahawks and knives are multipurpose utility tools. Survivalists use the best tactical folding knives and tomahawks to set up their camps and for a variety of other homesteading tasks.

“One of the key things that makes a tomahawk superior to a knife for survival is the versatility. Being able to stay mobile is essential to survival: If you get hurt and you need to make a crutch, a tomahawk is a great tool to have on hand. In urban situations, a tomahawk can act as a cutting tool or a pry bar. Tomahawks were used 300 years ago as an everyday tool for preparing meals, dressing game, preparing shelters, and chopping wood,”says Richard Carmack, COO of RMJ Tactical.

Harvesting natural resources, including animals, requires a great deal of thoughtfulness and appreciation for nature’s bounty. By developing a closer, more intimate relationship with the source of food and other necessities, these workshops aim to not only empower participants, but to educate them as the importance of sustainable living.

Many “doomsday preppers” and conspiracy theorists believe we are on the verge of an apocalypse which will destroy modern society as we know is. AMC’s hugely popular hit TV series “The Walking Dead” depicts a zombie apocalypse that forced survivors to learn primitive skills to survive and defend themselves. While the likelihood of zombies taking over the Earth is rare, many feel that nuclear war or a viral outbreak could lead to an apocalypse of sorts, leaving in its wake a lawless society in which people have to live off the land.

Whether this is likely or not, there is shift towards becoming more self-reliant, and developing a closer relationship with the land and all that it provides. After all, there’s no app for that.


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