I grew up hunting, fishing, and camping. I took up hiking in the mountains and snowshoeing when living in Montana. Being out of doors, being at least a couple of hours, if not a week or more away from an electrical outlet or running water is something I am familiar with.
It occurs to me that this is not the case for many people. I know people who I believe would be totally and completely lost and helpless without running water or electricity. Who actually might have a chance of dieing if they were dropped off in the woods a couple of miles from the nearest road or home. And I think that the ability to safely get from one place to another with as little dependence on modern conveniences is a useful skill in a societal breakdown. And when the zombies come, then God help us if the places we are going are not somewhere away from a city or town.
If you are not used to being out in nature, then that hill that you have decided to walk over instead of around might well be a LOT bigger, harder to get over, and even more dangerous than you thought it would be. That landmark you are walking toward might be 20 miles away when you think it is only 5. There are many more examples but I will leave it at that. There is no other way to learn stuff like that than to get out and experience it.
And then there is the planning. Planning on what you are gonna need when you will be dependent on what you have packed to be comfortable, or even to live. No, an overnight camping trip isn’t the same as days traveling on foot fighting zombies on your way to a safe place, but the basic thought patterns are the. In fact, the basic thought patters are the same even for a 2 hour hike into the mountains, a quick stop for refreshment then walking back to the trail head.
I have seen people pack so much water and food for a 2 hour hike that the ended up just throwing it away an hour in because it was just too heavy, and they could never have eaten or drank all of it in 2 hours even if they had tried! I have also seen people leave for a day in the woods with only a 16 oz container of bottled water and no food. I have seen people find out real quick that the shoes they had on were just not suitable for walking in grass, or that the socks they chose started to rub blisters and make them miserable as soon as they got wet. Once saw that happen to a guy about halfway through a hike of about 8 miles in the Bitterroot mountains. Guy had run a marathon but ended up not being able to complete an 8 mile hike.
Then there is the idea of risk. Is it the same thing to badly sprain your ankle when you are at a basketball game, medical crew standing ready, hospital close by in case anything is torn or broken, as it is when you are up in the mountains, 10 miles from the trail head with no cell phone service? No, it most certainly is not. In the first scenario, you will likely have an inconvenient evening, and might even walk on crutches for a few days. In the second situation, if it’s bad enough, if you can’t walk and especially if it’s cold, you might die. So do you really want to jump over that creek without thinking and looking at the footing on the other side? Maybe you should think a bit before you act.
I dont know of any way to develop the right mindset to best handle a situation where help, and modern conveniences are not available other than putting yourself in that situation. And hiking is a great way to do that.
Plus, its great fun, great exercise, and will make you a better person in general. I promise.