When you watch a western, it certainly seems like our pioneer and cowboy predecessors had the off grid living thing down. They were truly roughing it at times, and definitely knew how to make do in the most severe of conditions. Here are some off grid living tips straight from the wild, wild West.
Learn to Cook Over a Fire
Campfire cooking was one thing our cowboy and pioneer ancestors had to know how to do from an early age. There weren’t stoves or microwaves to cook meals. Many times it was done over an open flame. You can practice this today by grilling, cooking over a campfire using a dutch oven, or even roasting meat on a stick. If you ever found yourself without electricity for cooking, you would already be prepared since you would have experience cooking with fire.
Be Prepared for Cold Weather
Cowboys often had to be out in the elements with nothing but the clothes on their backs. While we have the modern luxuries of tents and sleeping bags that block the cold, they weren’t always so lucky. As you are prepping and stocking your emergency kits, one thing to surely include is cold weather gear. This would include gloves, scarves, toboggans, and other items you could use to layer that will shield you from the cold. Try sleeping outdoors in extreme temperatures to test your layering and shelter techniques and see how they work. If you are in survival mode during the winter, you’ll have to do homestead chores and possibly be on foot in very cold temps, so you need to be prepared for them.
Know How to Shoot
If there’s one thing folks living in the Wild West knew how to do, it was shoot. It was how the law was kept, how meat was brought to the table, and how all sorts of issues were solved (not the best method, but it got used a lot!). You can take a nod from them and learn how to shoot, and shoot well. You just never know when you may need to hunt for food, or defend your home and family. If you aren’t familiar with firing a gun, go through a gun safety course. Spend some time practicing at the shooting range. The only way you’ll get better is by practicing.
Go on Little Sleep
Pioneers and Cowboys often had to go on little to no sleep. They often slept in shifts, depending on the situation. I’m not saying to make it a practice to stay up all night, but being able to do it when needed is definitely a survival bonus. You may find yourself at some time taking shifts to keep watch at night over your home, or over a sick child. You may have to stay up all night to evacuate ahead of a disaster. Find out what helps you to stay up and utilize those techniques.
Can and Preserve Food
Our cowboy ancestors didn’t have freezers or refrigerators to help keep food fresh longer. They had to use the tried and true tricks like canning, drying, and pickling to help make food last. If you learn and use these skills you will be well on your way to greatly expanding what you can keep in your food stockpile. You will double the amount of produce you can keep by doing these, which will add variety back into your survival diet.
We can all learn several lessons from the cowboys, and these are just a handful of them. What other survival lessons can you learn from the Wild West?