One thing that most people of the survival, bushcraft, bug out community love to collect is gear. I feel that it comes with the territory. New gear, better gear, or modding gear its just something that we buy and do. I myself love gear and spend many hours researching what gear would fit my needs the best. I encourage everyone to do the same but what I should also make time for is testing and practicing my skills. T.A.P your Skills is what I like to call it. The problem with gear besides it possibly breaking, getting lost, etc. is that it can start to add up in weight. Skills on the other hand weigh nothing.
There are many techniques to making fire, setting traps, identifying wild edibles etc. but one needs to test out these different techniques to see which best fits them. Take for example making fire. There are many ways to make fire from friction to matches. Which best fits your needs? Then start testing what tinder materials work best with that technique from homemade tinder to natural tinder found out in the wild. Don’t stop there though. Now with your preferred technique and tinder options begin practicing in different weather conditions to see what must be done to stack the deck in your favor of successfully making fire. I myself began testing and practicing with multiple different techniques of making fire because for me more options means a better chance at success.
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This obviously is going to take some time but it need not be a chore. I take my plant identification book with me on hikes. I re-familiarize myself with the plants that I have learned and try to find a new one. Sometimes I can’t find anything new but I am keeping the knowledge fresh in my mind. While you are out on that hike you might find something you think could be good for making fire or cordage. Bring it home. Experiment in your backyard where you have more control and time to enjoy it. I can still remember my shock when I opened a cattail. Not only was I stunned at how many seeds and fiber there was compressed in it but how easily it took a spark. Enjoy the process.
Like I said earlier gear can get heavy and that doesn’t exclude books. I would rather hike once a week with a book or two and learn leisurely than carry those same two books in my bug out bag. So next time you find yourself reading reviews on some new gear or shopping at your favorite survival store remember to take some time and T.A.P. your Skills. Your body will thank you later because skills weigh nothing.
Video: TAP Your Skills
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