Basic Survival Needs: The 5 Things You Need To Stay Alive

Basic Survival Needs: The 5 Things You Need To Stay Alive
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Basic Survival NeedsLet’s Do A Quick Basic Survival Needs Thought Experiment.

If we strip away all the BS…what does a human being really need to survive?

  • Not taking into account what makes us comfortable
  • Not discussing how to avoid injury or disease
  • Not figuring out what it takes to thrive

At the end of the day, what are the basic human needs for survival to avoid a premature death?

Oxygen, water, food, shelter (warmth) plus self-defense...that’s it.

If you plan for and meet these 5 survival needs, you have a reasonable chance of surviving any scenario.

It may not be pretty, life might not be “worth” living, you might have psychological issues, but your immediate physical needs will be met, and you are able to survive.

The reason this thought exercise is worth doing is because sometimes getting prepared can become overwhelming…especially for those new to prepping.

When you research all the survival products and information available, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and confused on where to begin.

Unfortunately…for many, this equates to throwing in the towel and giving up. Finding it easier to convincing themselves “SHTF will never happen”, instead of putting forth the effort to be ready “just in case IT does”.

So if you are considering survival options…where should you start?

What should your human survival needs be? Let’s start with the basics…

Survival Priority 1 – Oxygen

The good news is there’s not a lot you need to do to prepare for this one.

Even in a TEOTWAWKI survival scenario, there will likely still be abundant oxygen and if not…we are all screwed anyway.

The two big exceptions being nuclear fallout and highly contagious airborne diseases, where the air is deadly to breathe. So for these scenarios get a gas mask, stay indoors, and avoid unnecessary interactions with others.

First basic survival need, done.

Survival Priority 2 – Water

Ok, this one is really important.

We need a lot of water every day and a constant procurement of more for the long haul. But let’s try to keep things simple…you have two basic choices for water acquisition.

Ideally, you want to plan for both, but to start, pick one and make sure you do it right.

So decide which option is best for you (factoring in location, family size, etc.) and then take meaningful action to plan a procurement strategy.

Humans need about a gallon of water per person per day to avoid the onset of dehydration. You need to have a water plan assuming the taps go completely dry.

You also should consider adding a rainwater collection system if you plan to store water. That way you can continuously replenish your water stock every time it rains. Just pray it rains often enough offset your usage over time.

Without putting a solid water procurement plan together before SHTF, you’re putting your survival in the hands of hope, fate and dumb luck…not smart.

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Basics Survival Need 3 – Food

Sure…you can go quite awhile without food, but at some point, you need to replace the calories you expend to avoid starvation. You can even go severely calorie negative for weeks (or even months), but eventually, math wins (calories in vs calories out) and you’ll need to find a balance.

Let’s attempt to keep this one simple as well…the way I see it, you have 2 basic choices.

To be honest, you should do both of these.

Stockpile food supplies won’t last forever without systematic replenishment and without a decent sized initial food stock you’ll have a difficult time between growth seasons and lean times.

Having a food plan is critical before SHTF…I cannot imagine someone surviving very long improvising after SHTF on food procurement, and handouts will not be likely.

Survival Priority 4 – Shelter

Even if it gets really cold, you can survive the elements if you have a decent shelter to keep wind and rain off of you.

You also want to have some basic fuel stockpiled (firewood), and ration it smartly, then you can stay warm even on the most frigid nights.

So any basic (non-leaky) shelter will do that job. A home, cabin, RV, tent or even a cave can suffice. Ensuring you have a main shelter and a backup survival shelter is about all you can do for this need.

Worst case, you might be able to find abandoned shelters if you have to leave your primary one.

If you reside somewhere where trees are abundant (and the population density is not extremely high), you can chop them down as needed. If not, then you might want to start building your firewood stockpile or bug out to a location where trees are abundant.

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I CAN imagine someone improvising their shelter plans. At least more so than food and water.

I’m not suggesting you should improvise your shelter plans; just that I can envision surviving with some pretty basic shelter setups for a very long time if push comes to shove.

Survival Priority 5 – Self-Defense

When humans are desperate, we will default to a dog eat dog mentality.

If you have no defense weapons, gear or skills, you will be at the mercy of those who have a killer instinct. So you need a self-defense plan.

You have many choices in this realm of survival and in my opinion you can never have too many self-defense skills. To keep things simple…I suggest starting with firearms and ammo. Get a survival gun and store ammo for it.

Oh…and make time to learn how to use it.

Your Basic Survival Needs

So that’s how you start. With the basic survival needs of the body first.

  1. Invest in good civilian a gas mask
  2. Figure out your best water procurement option and implement
  3. Invest in your food stockpiling plan and implement
  4. Ensure you have a decent shelter (preferably with firewood available)
  5. Get a gun and stock ammo for it

Congratulations…you are probably more prepared than 99% of your fellow Americans.

By the way, I’m not against advanced survival skills such as survival radio communications, off-grid power generation techniques, caching supplies, survival bunkers, etc.

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They are all worth learning in due time, but they are the “thrive” part of survival needs, which you should only start working on after you accomplish the “survive” part of your basic survival needs.

So would you survive? Here’s some additional information to help you focus on your 5 basic survival needs.

Doomsday: Would You Survive?

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  1. messenger says

    Excellent article, great advice. If everyone would read and take this article to heart we would have much more intelligent prepping and a lot less gadget buying. thanks

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Thanks for the comment.
      I hope my article can find its way to all new preppers and help them take the first steps to meaningful action.

  2. says

    Great article!

    I would like to ask one question when it comes to sheltering and keeping warm. Would you recommend using coal instead of firewood? Or storing both?

    I think coal is a better option because it doesn’t necessarily have excessive amounts of smoke during the burning but this depends on the type of coal. And Coal is easier to dry because it is very dense and most of the water would not penetrate deeper than an inch in the coal.

    Besides coal can provide with much much more energy, so please tell me am I missing something here? If there is a reason why you skipped coal in the article please let me know.

    And if it was me in this scenario which will hopefully never happen, I would try and hide my shelter as much as possible. I dont think that the old RV will do the trick unless I drag it deep within some cave or bury it deep underground while providing some way to enter inside which only I know about.

    Think about it, if you are stockpiling in a world as you describe it, there would be only a matter of time before someone would try and take it away from you.. And in today’s world where society has laws and what not, still attacks happen and even armed people get hurt.

    Which brings me back to the point with firewood or coal. I think the coal which exhausts as less smoke as possible is the best option because no one would be able to spot it.

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Valid points George.

      To be honest, I’ve had a wood stove installed for years and just haven’t given coal much thought. So I did a bit of research and coal is a valid option. Here’s a good article giving some pros and cons to coal vs wood:

      The biggest downside to coal would be availability in a SHTF type scenario. Yes, the USA has a lot of coal but only in specific areas of the US and only if miners are making money to mine it. If people stop mining coal, then it may become difficult to get your hands on more coal once you run out.

      So maybe the ideal situation is to install a coal stove that can also burn wood and then to stockpile ample amounts of both.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

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