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Why do you have Lockpicking gear on a survival equipment website?

A customer today asked why we have lock picking equipment next to tinned food and survival shelters so I thought this a reasonable question to answer:

In a post-apocalyptic world with abandoned cities and shortages being able to quietly access locked buildings will probably be a useful, possibly lifesaving talent, that could move you up the food chain.  Of course you could just drive a truck through a wall and I am sure a crowbar will be a valuable tool in that scenario but what if it has to happen quietly,  unnoticed.  That is particularly likely in the period immediately following the disaster when things are more desperate and the new infrastructure of small communites is not in place.  I do not have a crystal ball but I would guess that a skilled locksmith would have a very good trade in that future.

Simple Lock Picking Kit


In considering a list of useful trades I came across some ideas from

Monil Kothari, whose claimed profession is: 1x failed entrepreneur now jewelry trainee.

Monil suggests the following 10 trades and does not include a locksmith:

  1. The Doctor - When a rabid dog bites you, you'll need the doctor to patch you up.
  2. The Soldier - Who else will defend you against pack of mutant hillbillies?
  3. The Farmer - Goodbye McDonald's, hello Old Macdonald.
  4. The Blacksmith - Cause weapons and tools don't grow on trees
  5. The Scientist - Miss electricity? The science generalist may be the only one who can give it back.
  6. The Park Ranger - Had trouble navigating the concrete jungle? Good luck in the real jungle with out Ranger Smith.
  7. Ethicist - In all the post apocalyptic chaos, you'll need someone to remind you of what constituted good ethics before.
  8. Elementary School teacher - So we don't forget how to read signs like "landmines"
  9. Monkey - Ok this is not an occupation persay, but you'll definitely need a monkey. All monkeys are generalists. They're quite nifty at taking things, running recon, and in a pinch can double as entertainment when you're sitting around the campfire eating Spam and Devil Dogs.
  10.  Fortune 500 CEO - We need someone to lead this motley crew of heroes, and when you've survived an annual stock holders meeting, you can just about survive anything.

These are the professions Monil predicts will not be needed!
Good Riddance to:

  1.  Politicians - Entertaining at best (we have a monkey already) lethally disruptive at worst.
  2. Philosophizers - Thinking really hard won't get you out of dysentery.
  3. Actors - We already have a monkey
  4. SEO "Gurus" - Our woodputer's will not need search engine optimization. Plus our only form of social media will be playing Tic Tac Toe on a stone wall.
  5. Models - Your good looks will just distract us during skirmishes with mutant troll people. (on the plus side, you caloric intake will be so low that you'll net out your con)
  6. Investment Bankers - There won't be any LIBOR to manipulate in the new world order. (LIBOR is the inter bank lending rate: The London Inter-bank Offered Rate)
  7. General famous people - Does anyone actually know why the Kardashians or the Hiltons became famous?
  8. Customer Service Reps -
  9. Brogrammers -
  10. Salespeople -

If farmer includes fisherman and hunter I agree generally with Monil and don't want to nit-pick.  I still think the Locksmith will find the really hard to get to stuff.  I think it's worth thinking about what skills you have and what skills you can learn that are good in the immediate world but will really help in a post disaster world.

  • First Aid - Nursing skills rather than surgeon skills.
  • Farming, Fishing, Hunting. - Needless to say.
  • Water knowledge. Finding, Filtering
  • Self defense
  • Fire Starting - Fire is going to keep you alive if you can start it in a snowstorm.
  • Navigation - or sense of direction, using maps, compass or just the sun and stars.
  • Engineering - not with cranes and poured cement.  Think wood and paracord.
  • Carpentry - Think whittling with a knife as opposed to a lathe. 

When you think it through these skills are for 1st phase of the post-apocalyptic world;  the initial survival and the period directly following the disaster.  Humans are social animals and in no time groups, communities, villages will form and I look at this as the 2nd phase or the community building phase.  Safety in numbers and pooling and exchanging skills increases the chance of survival for all. So whilst the above skills are obvious I would also add a few more ideas for the 2nd phase:

  • Entertaining
  • Organizing
  • Cooking
  • Grooming
  • Animal knowledge and training (I might want a vet in my community)
  • Dentist
  • Blacksmith

Still no salesman, telemarketers or Customer service reps yet!  But I suppose the cycle begins again and soon we'll need lawyers and politicians. Let's hope we learn from the mistakes of the past!