49 Hobbies Useful for Survival and Prepping

by Tommy Grant

Prepping, and survival by extension, are very broad topics. There are many skills and resources that make survival easier, or even possible at all. Learning these skills and gathering these resources give you a leg up in survival situations, and picking up a few related prepping hobbies can help.

I’ve previously written about hobbies in a guest post on another large prepping site but had my attribution removed. Luckily, I participate in a wide range of survival-related hobbies myself and have come up with an even larger and more comprehensive list of survival and prepping-relevant hobbies. Pick up any number of these and be more prepared for it.

How to Pick a New Survival Hobby

When I pick up a new hobby, I often consider whether it is shoring up a prepping weakness I have.

This way, if I’m not looking too promising with my bartering skills, starting a stand at a flea market or farmer’s market could help me tackle that weakness head-on.

Plenty of people have the other outlook too- play to strength. If you’re an avid shooter, hunting may make sense- especially if you need to improve your food sustainability.

Consider where you are currently at on the broad spectrum of preparedness, and use you use your next hobby to strengthen your skills and resources.

Survival Fitness Hobbies

Fitness can often be overlooked when it comes to prepping and survival. We have a whole article talking about why being fit is important for preppers, so I won’t belabor the point. Here are some great fitness-focused hobbies to get into:

  • Team Sports – these aren’t just for high school. Get back on the field and work on your leadership and teamwork skills at the same time.
  • Hiking – getting outside surrounded by nature has a whole slew of benefits.
  • Orienteering– brush up on your navigation skills with a compass and map while you hike.
  • Geocaching – assuming you hike between geocaches, this can be a good way to practice navigating and situational awareness.
  • Backpacking – basically the same as bugging out, backpacking is a great way to ‘dry run’ your bug-out plan.
  • Martial Arts – learning self-defense while staying fit can improve your confidence, along with many other benefits.
  • Paintball/Airsoft – Running around and having fun is a great way to stay fit. This fits better in the fitness category than the shooting hobby because of all the running around you do (usually).

Weapon Hobbies

Getting used to the weapons you have is just part of being a responsible owner. Whether it’s rifles or slingshots- know what you’re doing in order to be safe and effective, especially if your life may rely on it.

  • Range Shooting – Taking your guns out to the range and keeping your trigger finger trained is something you should be doing anyways as a responsible gun owner.
  • Skeet/Trap – Adding some movement to your targets increases the challenge when you’re using a shotgun.
  • Pellet Guns – One of the cheapest ways to work on your marksman skills, an air rifle can be fun and rewarding. One of our writers detailed how he got into the air rifle hobby a while back.
  • Hunting – Whether you’re hunting white-tails or ducks, or anything in between- hunting has long been an effective hobby for survival.
  • Archery – Archery as a hobby exploded when Hunger Games came out, and there are still a lot of clubs and locations to practice this sport.
  • Axe Throwing – Whether you are throwing axes or ‘hawks, there is some connection to survival if you have good enough aim.
  • Knife Throwing – Just like axe throwing, this may not be the most versatile hobby, but it can help you with survival if you get good enough.
  • Slingshots – Slingshots are really versatile in getting lines up over high tree limbs or for taking out small animals. Here is one of our favorite survival YouTubers, Fowler sharing his love for the slingshot:

Food Hobbies

Food is the way to the heart. But it’s also the way to survival! You won’t last long without food, so you might as well get cooking with a food-related hobby! There is a huge range of hobbies that can help put food on your plate in an emergency:

  • Canning – You can put anything into a can. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Make stuff for your friends or for your food storage stockpile.
  • Dehydrating – Pick up a cheap dehydrator and get started! Make jerky and plenty of other dehydrated snacks, then scale that into some food storage with a really long shelf life.
  • Freeze Drying – Freeze dryers aren’t cheap but they are the best of the best when it comes to food preservation. Freeze-drying food yourself can save you a lot of money if you are stocking up and eating freeze-dried food anyways.
  • Foraging – Foraging used to be a survival skill many people needed to rely on to survive. Now people can’t tell what’s what in their own yards. Luckily, it’s the type of knowledge that is easy to pick back up with a few hand guides and some practice in the woods.
  • Trapping – You’ll need to check with your local rules and regulations, but trapping is another older survival skill that can put food on the table. Whether you’re using snares for small animals or conibears, it can help in a survival situation.
  • Gardening – Getting your survival garden layout just right can be tricky, but it is worth it in the long run. Gardening is one of the most sustainable and effective hobbies you can have for preparedness.
  • Cooking – Everyone should know how to cook, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a hobby. Acquiring a passion for exploring food and taste can make both you and the people around you happy and well-fed- plus it’ll keep the pantry stocked.
  • Beekeeping – Honey is one of those wonderful things that doesn’t expire if you store it correctly, but having bees on hand to produce it is even better. Plus, they can pollinate gardens and help save the world.
  • Entomology – Learning about bugs can help, especially if you can stomach the thought of eating them. Knowing which ones are best to eat is a niche survival skill making it a unique prepping hobby.
  • Fishing – Fishing is fun, relaxing, and can put some really good food on the table.
  • Keep Chickens – It’s not as easy as it sounds, but raising chickens can be rewarding.
  • Keep Rabbits – Rabbits propagate like crazy, so some preppers focus solely on rabbit farms as a sustainable protein source.
  • Keep Goats – Goats can be useful around the homestead, and you can always get goat milk.
  • Breadmaking – With almost unlimited types of bread out there to make, you can focus on the several types of survival bread with long shelf life too.
  • Brewing – Beer and wine used to be mandatory for survival before water treatment became widespread. Learning to brew batches of beer is very fun, and you can learn a lot of skills while you are at it.

Financial Hobbies

Hobbies that pull in a little money on the side are always nice to have. These hobbies can sometimes be referred to as ‘side hustles’, and there are plenty of prepping and survival-related side hustles you can pick up.

  • Thrifting – Nothing quite like getting a great deal, and if you enjoy that thrill you may like making a hobby of it. Know your local thrift spots and find deals to shore up your prepping stockpile.
  • Bartering – Haggling, negotiating- whatever you want to call it, learning the art of the deal is a useful skill. People make entire hobbies and lifestyles out of ‘trading up’ stuff.
  • Bullion Coin Collecting – Coins, specifically bullion coins, can be a great alternative currency during survival situations. There are only a few situations where they would really shine, but it’s not just about being prepared. There is some satisfaction to collecting as well.
  • Stock/Options Trading – We’re not encouraging you to start day trading without any experience, but stock picking can be rewarding if you have some conviction in certain companies and want to put your money where your mouth is. Stock picking is not quite the same as investing, so you may want to make sure your prepping financial plan is in order before you start experimenting.
  • Blogging – Making a website can bring in some income and help you learn a lot about the subject you write about. Start a prepping or survival website to really learn everything in the niche. It’s brought me a lot of enjoyment, learning opportunities, and even some income!
  • Survival/Bushcraft Creator – Become a YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok creator with personal and engaging content. Creators have to make their content exciting and provocative to a degree to catch on, but once they do they can make a lot of extra income. Just check out Canadian Prepper from our Top Prepper YouTube Channels who just passed 1 million subscribers:

Make Stuff

Hobbies that involve making tangible goods with your hands are always popular and great for prepping. Many of these directly translate to survival skills and are useful regardless of what state society is in.

  • Candlemaking – Candles aren’t just for emergency lighting, there is a whole hobby community for making candles. Make candles in different shapes and whatever scent suits your fancy!
  • Carving – Carving is a long-time relevant hobby for survival with its various uses for bushcraft and carpentry. If you know how to pull shapes out of wood you can make pretty much anything.
  • Carpentry – Even with power tools, carpentry is a great survival hobby to have. The possibilities are endless for your prepping projects.
  • Knapping – Another bushcraft skill is a great hobby. One of our favorite survival YouTubers, Donny Dust is always flintknapping new tools.
  • Sewing – Whether you’re using an awe punch to sew heavy textiles and tarps together or just using an emergency sewing kit to patch up some clothes- knowing how to sew is a survival skill that can easily turn into a hobby.
  • Quilting – Quilting is an artistic hobby that can provide practical warmth. Blankets are always important to have on hand in emergencies, and quilters will always have plenty around.
  • Reloading – Recycling brass can save you a lot of money for a little investment in a press. If you are an avid shooter you may want to consider this hobby since it aligns so well with long-term survival as well.
  • Soap Making – Hygiene is always an underrated prep, and soap making will make sure you’re always clean. Soap making has grown as a niche hobby and knowing how to make soap from scratch can come in handy during extended survival situations.
  • Blacksmithing – Working metal with your hands will never be not cool, and it is a practical hobby for preppers and survivalists as well.
  • Welding – Welding equipment will be tough to power when the grid goes down, but a welding hobby opens up all sorts of possibilities as a prepper getting ready for a grid-down event.

Miscellaneous Hobbies

These hobbies don’t fit the descriptions of our main areas but shouldn’t be discounted. Many of these prepping hobbies are extremely useful for survival situations and can help you keep up with the times.

  • Lockpicking – Easy to pick up and learn with a lockpicking starter kit.
  • Knot Tying – Learning a few solid survival knots isn’t hard, but there are always more to get the hang of. Knots can be both practical and beautiful, making this an interesting survival hobby. Here are the top 10 knots you should know for survival.
  • Meteorology – Reading the weather- both with and without technology- can be pretty useful during disasters.
  • Astrology Navigation – Being able to tell stars, planets, and constellations is pretty cool- but being able to navigate with them is even cooler. Being able to navigate at night with little to no equipment is definitely a unique survival skill.
  • Reading – Always a good way to keep learning or you can just use a book to escape. It doesn’t have to be expensive either- there are plenty of free prepping books out there.
  • Off-Roading – If you have an off-road bug out vehicle– why not get it out every once in a while and put it to the test?
  • Amateur Radio (Ham) – Amateur radio is a whole subculture, but it’s also an excellent way to communicate in an emergency. You’ll need a license to join in the conversations, but you can start listening in for less than $20.
  • Play a Musical Instrument – It may not seem like a prepping or survival hobby, but being able to play a musical instrument can come in handy. Music is great for relaxation, passing the time, or spending time with a group- all of which happen often in disasters and emergencies.
  • Volunteering – Serial volunteering is always a noble pursuit. Get out and the community and make it better! Looking for specific volunteering opportunities that align well with prepping and survival skills? We got a list for that.
  • Drone Flying – Drones are pretty ridiculous these days. I had one recently deliver food to my house, but they also can have flamethrowers added. Unlimited possibilities and niches to explore when it comes to drones.

The Final Word

Hobbies that are in some way related to prepping, survival, or preparedness are always useful to try out. If you find something you like you can be all the more prepared for disasters and emergencies. If not, at least you tried something new and broadened your horizons.

Here are some other guides our subscribers have found helpful:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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49 Prepping and Survival Hobbies

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