Survival Buzz: Are You As Fit as You Need To Be?

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 2, 2019

Are you as fit as you need to be to perform the tasks and chores required given a disruptive event?  I know that is a loaded question mostly because there are so many types of disruptive events that can turn your life upside down at a moment’s notice.

For example, hunkering down during a pandemic requires a different physical response than living for weeks or months with no power and no water.  Bugging out and possibly living outdoors or away from the comforts of home adds another dimension to the physical prowess needed to survive.  It makes my head hurt to even think about it.

Are You As Fit as You Need To Be | Backdoor Survival

Last August, prepper fitness was addressed in the article What is the Baseline of Prepper Fitness?  There were many comments to that article but perhaps the one that summarized it best was this one from “S”:

I think my answer would have to be “As fit as they have to be.”

Ideally a prepper should have some kind of plan for how they are going to ride out a SHTF scenario. If their plan is to bug out 30 miles with their bug out bag fully loaded, they should be able to walk 30 miles with a fully loaded bug out bag.

If their plan is to stay in place they should be prepared to fight off any potential threats.

If they have a homestead they should be able to maintain the homestead, to tend their garden and livestock, and perform maintenance on their home and equipment.

Ideally people should be able to walk at least 15 miles a day fully loaded; this is the average for Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers, these are people who are dedicated to walking a lot while carrying what they need.

On a good day with less elevation changes than the AT or PCT you can bump that up to maybe 20-30 miles, but fully-loaded for any group, that’s a stretch. If you have young children one of you will have to be able to make that trek carrying young children at least part of the time in addition to gear. Again, it’s all situational.

How far should a prepper be able to swim? Well, they should be able to swim in adverse conditions, first of all. It’s not always possible to find a safe crossing for a body of water, sometimes you have to cross water.

Knowing how to swim with a current while weighed with gear is very important. I would say swimming a mile would be enough for anyone, but it’s always good to keep in practice. People who live on or near the ocean or large bodies of water should expand this and be able to stay afloat longer, preferably holding the weight of another person.

How long should they be able to carry 30 pounds of dead weight in each hand?   Again, as long as they have to. At least a couple of miles for this, as difficult as it is it may be necessary.

With a fireman’s carry I find I, a very small person, can carry a 150 pound man about a mile. We’ve practiced. Ideally a person should be able to carry any member of their family or group away from a potential danger such as a fire or disaster zone, in the event that this person is unconscious.

This could be as much as a mile or more in the case of large-scale attacks.

It’s also important to have medical training and equipment to revive this person if necessary and treat any wounds that may make them unable to walk, but ideally any prepper should be able to carry any member of their family over a mile. Most men can do this if their wife is small, but women should learn the fireman’s carry as it is an easier way to carry a larger person.

However, if you are a man who weighs 400 pounds, you should slim down or risk being left behind in a disaster. No one who wants to survive is going to lug around a morbidly obese person over a mile, no matter how much they loved them before SHTF.

A person should be able to lift at least their body weight over their head, preferably the body weight of anyone in their group for boosting people over obstacles. This one is difficult, but every person should strive to train as much as they can so they can lift as much as possible over their head without injury.

I would add to this list the ability to sprint enough to escape potential danger, be able to defend against a human or animal attack, and be able to do any tasks that are part of your survival plan, such as walking a huge distance, or chopping wood for your woods stove, hauling water, etc.

Everything should be tailored to your survival plan, and, if you have to deviate from this, you should be in good enough shape to do what needs to be done.

The level of fitness described above is way beyond my own level of physical strength and stamina, and I don’t even know how to swim.  That said, it does give me pause to think about what I can do, such as hike 20 miles in adverse weather with a 20 pound pack on my back.

I recognize that I need to reassess my survival plan for the events that have the greatest likelihood to occur near my home.  Do I have sufficient endurance to meet the demands of those plans?  The challenge for you is to ask yourself that same question.

Answer honestly and take action, even if that action is no more than getting out your pack and walking around the neighborhood for thirty minutes.  As preppers we need to remember that it is not all about the water, food, and stuff.

Prepper fitness, both physical and mental, is important too.

For those of you that wish to learn the basics of a Fireman’s Carry, there are a number of resources on the Internet including this brief article that includes a basic chart showing the steps involved as you move weight” into position.

Prepare Your Family for Survival: Tip #10

Here are this week’s prep tips from Linda Loosli’s recently published a book, Prepare Your Family For Survival.

Chapter 10 – Essential Documents: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

Tip: You definitely want a printed version of your emergency information and documents because you simply won’t know whether or not you’ll have access to power. Still, consider scanning insurance cards, birth certificates, photo IDs, and other essential items and downloading them along with the pages from your emergency binder.

For more about the book, visit the article 11 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Survival.

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaway

Just one for this week as I took a break from the Prepper Book Festival.

How to Use the Amazing Solo Stove + Giveaway

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway. 

Prepping Gear That I Love

I have been meaning to tell you about this great little pocket screwdriver I picked up a while back.  At the time, I was looking for a small screwdriver I could keep in my emergency kit for making minor repairs.  Of the 3 I tried, this was the only one that was at all useful.

Note that if you are looking for a portable screwdriver, look carefully at the configuration of the heads.  The two that ended up in the discard pile had heads that were totally useless for my needs.  Give me a basic flat head and Phillips in a couple of sizes and I am happy.

Here is what Shelly aka the Survival Husband had to say:

This compact Stanley screwdriver is the size of a pen with a shirt clip. The screw driver has two magnetic reversible bits.  These bits have two sizes each of standard slot and Phillips heads and they all tuck neatly into the housing.  I like that it can be clipped onto a pocket in my backpack and I find it handy to “fix” almost anything Gaye sends over to me.  She has a lot of loose screws!  Just kidding.

The Final Word

Last week during my Buzz Break I had a lovely day and didn’t do any writing and conducted no blog-related business. I plan on taking one such weekend a month. Maybe more. In the meantime, I am now back to my normal schedule; you can’t get rid of me that easily!  I do want to thank you for all of the wonderful comments.  I read them all and they meant a lot to me.

This week my preps included making some Elderberry tincture and Elderberry syrup.  It was so easy to do that I am ashamed of myself for not making some sooner.  Directions are coming soon.  I also gathered a lot of biomass and now feel better about my ability to cook and heat water using my rocket stoves here in the Arizona desert.

Mostly, though, this week my preps involved thinking about life and my own personal version of a survival plan.  My personal survival plan is long overdue for an update. This is serious stuff and for those of you that thought I had it all figured out?  What can I say.  Like you, I am evolving.

So what about you – what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Below you will find the materials I used to make DIY  Healing Lotion Bars.  If you have not tried “lotion in a bar” you are in for a treat.

Freshware 6-Cavity Daisy Flower Silicone Mold and Baking Pan:  I simply love my daisy mold!  Made of silicone, it can be used for forming lotion bars, soaps, cakes, anything.    My lotion bars simply popped out cleanly leaving no mess.  So inexpensive, too, that I also purchased the oval version.  Up next?  Hand crafted soap!

100% Pure Unrefined Raw Shea Butter:  This is the Shea butter I used and am happy that it was not gritty.  I don’t have experience with other brands so I don’t know if my success was due to technique or the Shea butter itself.

Coconut Oil:  Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil.  I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub.  Really, I did!  I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking.  Note that no refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees.  The Nutiva brand from Costco works well too.

Every Prepper Needs Coconut Oil in Their Pantry | Backdoor Survival

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  These are what you need for the healing lotion bars: Lavender essential oil,  Rosemary essential oil, and Peppermint essential oil. Enjoy a 10% discount on your Spark Naturals order with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

NOW Foods Essential Oils:  I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  For healing purposes, I feel they are superior.  On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price.  Here are a few to get you started:  NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil, and Now Foods Lavender Oil.

Stakich Pure BEESWAX Pellets:  This is my second order of beeswax pellets (also called pastilles) from this company.  They melt quickly and I am happy with them.

Deodorant Containers, New & Empty; Pack of 5:  These are 2.5 ounces each.  I prefer these mini-tubes purchased from Spark Naturals for just 95 cents each.


Are You Interested in Essential Oils?

OOTM is a great value and shipping is free!
Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club | Backdoor Survival


The Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club is the best value out there – all oils are 15ml bottles – shipped out to you once a month (on the same date you ordered the product). The price is $15.99 a month and includes shipping and tax. This is a great way to collect oils at a discounted price.

Visit the Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club page for additional information.




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3 Responses to “Survival Buzz: Are You As Fit as You Need To Be?”

  1. This week we tested the designated “tornado shelter” as a storm blew a tornado through the area. Everything went smooth, no one tried to go back upstairs for a snack or a drink while the warning sirens blared.

    As I was there I was thinking, if this had been a nuclear event, could I stay there for a week or so? I think we could have.
    ‘Have buckets. Will live.’

    Something a bit reassuring I’ve been working on [if I had to spend a week or so there or was without power for awhile] a Roshco fondue set in a bucket. The stainless steel pot, not the steel painted ones with the chrome rim (under the chrome rim the steel is not painted and rust can form so that rust puddles out] these pots can cook just about anything indoors, and you can use either a Sterno can or alcohol as a fuel, depending upon what type of burner thingie you’ve got. I found a cheap used Sterno fuel cup which I added to the Rochco set. Or, maybe it was an alcohol fuel cup I added, I forget which.

    I tossed a few spoons, knives, forks, a P-38, matches, wooden stirring spoon, and a soup ladle I cut the handle down on so it would fit in the box the fondue set comes in, alongside some oven safe ceramic soup bowls to go along with the saucer sized plates the fondue set comes with. ‘Oven safe’ for no particular reason other than to be multi-useful. I thought about using steel cups, but they get hot, and I wanted to add a touch of a home feeling to the kit, too. I set the bottom half of a short X-mas cookie tin in the bottom of the box to set the whole thing on to keep heat off whatever surface I cook on.
    Also added a pair of pot holders and a small towel, and a few Sterno cans. It’s a kitchen in a box… er’ in a bucket. It’s a great, ‘Set it and forget it’ thing to have, imho. Put it right next to the ‘just in case’ flammable bottles of rum which can double as fuel.

    Oh, and I found a metal lid which fits the pot to speed up the cooking process. It has a fancy slide thingie on the handle to open up and let out steam, however; it doesn’t quite fit in the box, the lid won’t sit flat on the box, so I found a lid which does fit, it’s a glass lid from Kitchen Essentals by Calphalan, it’s the perfect fit of 6 and 10/16th inches across. I got it used by itself for 50 Cents. I just wish it had the tiny hole in it to let off steam instead of having to tilt the lid on the pot. But, maybe not having the hole is a better option, I don’t know.

    I got my fifty Dollar Roshco set in absolutely brand new condition from a thrift store for about eight Bucks. [I’m guessing somebody thought it was a terrible X-mas gift, little did they know.] The set that comes in a round box fits perfectly into a five gallon bucket but I use a shorter three and a half gallon bucket with enough room leftover for a wooden cutting board on top of the box. Put a lid on and stack it in a corner.

    I can’t believe an ocean girl doesn’t know how to swim. Still, even in my best lifeguard rated swimming days in the past, I don’t think I could have supported another person for hours without a float of some kind.

    When you say, ‘Knowing how to swim with a current while weighed with gear is very important’ I wondered how many other people pack their gear in waterproof bags inside their bags so the bag floats. ‘Cause, one thing I do know is, swimming while wearing clothes is difficult. Having a sinking bag can’t possibly be of help.

    Also, can you fit Sterno cans inside the Solo Stove? I imagine the small size Sterno cans would fit, but do the larger size Sterno cans fit?

  2. Am I as fit as I need to be? Probably not, but I do run 3 to 4 times per week and exercise at the gym with weights, so I am at least in decent shape.

  3. I’m not nearly as fit as I need to be. But truthfully, I still think I’d be okay. The thing about me is that I am a survivor. When I look back at my life, and all I’ve been through, sometimes I’m truly amazed I’m still alive.

    I am what is known as a good-in-a-crisis kind of person. When disaster strikes, I’m one to have on your team. Am I the most qualified, prepared, or fit? No…make that heck no. But somewhere deep inside me I find the resources to carry through, and I’m great at keeping a level head and making the tough decisions. Once the crisis passes is a different story, but as long as danger is in the air, I carry on.

    But even though I do think I’d be okay, you pose a very valid question. Maybe it’s time to break out the workout videos and start getting my muscles in order.

    (And by the way, don’t feel too bad at not being able to swim. Neither can I, and hey, we’ve made it this far in life, right?)


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