Let me clarify some things.
I believe anyone with knowledge of primitive skills who is practicing them has a leg-up during the collapse. I believe that whoever has these skills, once living in their landbase will develop an understanding of that land... or they'll die. The metaphor here is that some people can find their way without navigational skills, and some may not. To me though, the navigational skills seem much harder to learn than the physical skills. Obviously a balance of these skills would be the most beneficial. That's what I'm trying to say, that I don't think they should be separated. I also don't think an easy transition from civ to hunting and gathering is possible, which is why I'm also investing energy in learning Perma-culture.
There seem to be so many myths floating around about how 'hunter-gatherers' used to be and how good they had it, but the more I learn and experience, the more I temtem (feel/think in chinuk wawa) that some hunter-gatherers had it pretty rough,
Read Limited Wants Unlimited Means, which outlines with well researched evidence, exactly why hunter-gatherer cultures had a better system. To say a generic statement like, "some hunter-gatherers had it pretty rough" is probably true. Though how do you define "rough?" What evidence do you have to show for that statement? The evidence that agriculturalists had it VERY rough is everywhere. Look out your window.
In general, as evidence has shown, they did have a better system. They had it no differently than a lion has it. I'm sure lions have rough days.
actually, and that a line between hunter-gatherer and 'agriculturalist' is pretty nonexistent.
The lines between hunter-gatherer agriculturalist are VERY existent. The lines between hunter-gatherer and horticulturalist can seem blurry.
There is a gulfing difference between Agriculture and Horticulture. For a great article on the differences between these two practices see:
Yes, people make mistakes, even hunter-gatherers. That doesn't change all the evidence that points to them having a better life... and even if we ignore all of the evidence, we can still see that at the very least, they didn't cause a world wide ecological dieoff. That act alone should be enough for anyone to see that they had a better system of subsistence. Despite the NW coast small-scale heirarchy, they still improved the environment over all. The columbia river natives lived there for over 8,000 years without destroying it. After 10,000 years civilization has destroyed this planet. Looking at that simple fact alone I can safely say that despite "war" and "slavery" the NW coast indians still had a better system than civilization. No one is infalable, but the hunter-gatherer system is better than civilization overall. Unless you think deforestation as a way of life is better.
fleas and parasites for chronic diseases and cancers, harder work in the fields to keep more children alive during tough times.
That's not the case. Agriculture makes things worse during tough times because it creates an artificially inflated population above the natural carrying capacity of the land. When a drought occurs, so does famine. Famines are extremely rare among hunter-gatherers. Also, the life-span of agriculturalists drop dramatically from that of hunter-gatherers, who if they make it past infancy will live generally long lives.
At that point, your garden, Crash, will suddenly be very popular with rewilders.
They already are. Again, there is a very big difference between horticulture and agriculture. One method grows biodiverse forests, the other clear-cuts them into deserts.
If we want a life that works after the collapse, than we need to study why civilization does not work, and what ways do work. To ignore the very defined lines between agriculture and hunting and gathering destroys any kind of understanding of why one system works and another does not.