Proven Survival Needs that will save your life

I am aware that there are many needs the ‘modern man’ requires in order to feel happy and appreciated, such as love, self-esteem, clothing and social belonging. However, I want to draw your attention to what you cannot do without in order to overcome an unfortunate situation and simply stay alive. And for this purpose we will discount the need for breathable air, as without it there is no chance of survival.


The main elements required for survival are:


Their order of importance will depend on where you happen to be.

Sand-dunes under a hot, baking sun



In the desert, WATER will be first on the list.





How to get Water from the hot desert soil

  1.  Dig a few curved holes (the more the better) about two feet deep so that the moist subsoil is clearly visible.
  2. Place an open coffee can, mug, cup or canteen in the center of each hole.
  3. If you have a length of plastic tubing, you can run it from the bottom of the coffee can out the edge of the hole.
  4. Lay a taut piece of clear plastic wrap across the top of the hole. To create a seal, pour sand in a circle around the hole along the outside of the plastic wrap. Pour the sand an inch or two from the edge of the plastic wrap. Ensure that the tubing runs underneath the plastic, and that there are no gaps not sealed by the sand.
  5. Place a small to medium sized rock in the center of the plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap dips to a point above the can.
  6. Sit back and wait for the sun to evaporate water out of the moist soil. The water will condense on the plastic wrap because it cannot escape the hole and will drip into the can. Given the right soil moisture, this technique can generate an abundance of water!
  7. You can use the tubing to suck the water from the can without dismantling the ‘still until the hole is depleted.
  8. Once the sun dries the subsoil in that hole, start the process all over by digging another hole.


Getting water from the hot sand


  • In the hole you can add a small amount of vegetation (if you can find it), so that more evaporation will occur.
  • Do not dig the hole in the shade. The process needs direct sunlight to work correctly.
  • This technique can also be used to purify dirty water. Simply replace the hole with a larger container and do everything else the same. Fill the bowl with the muddy/nasty water and seal it over with plastic wrap and weight the sheeting over your cup. Ensure the sun shines on it and wait. Once the water evaporates, it will be free of contaminants and clean, safe(so long as there are no microbes that might still be hanging around).



  • The plastic wrap must seal the hole shut; if it is punctured the water will not condense.
  • Keep the plastic wrap from touching the can or else the water will not drip into the can.

Water is something that most people in the modern world take for granted. They are so used to turning on a tap that until an extreme drought causes water rationing they scarcely think about it. Yet the survivor at sea, or after a flood, though surrounded by water, may be desperate for drinkable water – and there are many places where, unless it rains, no obvious water is available. The other survival necessities are dealt with later, but water is universally important.


Frozen winter sea ice and cliffs

Lean-to Shelter and Fire



In polar regions, SHELTER and FIRE will be the main concerns.




Ordering your priorities is one of the first steps to survival.

If it is cold or evening is approaching, your first priority is to build a shelter to protect yourself from exposure to the elements such as wind and rain and snow.

Here are a few shelters you can improvise and create quickly…..











It takes a healthy person quite a long time to die of starvation, for the body can use up its stored resources, but exposure to wind, rain and cold can be fatal even in temperate climates and death comes in only minutes in the icy waters of the poles. FOOD is rarely the first priority. Even in those places where it is difficult to find there are usually other problems to face first. Shelter will often be the prime necessity in extremes of climate or temperature – not just in frozen polar regions or the baking hot deserts, but for walkers trapped by mist on a hillside. The need for fire is closely linked.


How to build a Winter Shelter

You’ve probably heard of an A-frame shelter before, this is a winter variant. Build a framework as shown from tree branches or sticks, then cover with a parachute, tarp, or thermal blanket (if you have one). Cover the floor with tree boughs or other soft plant material, which will insulate your body from the cold ground.

Top off the structure with more tree boughs, preferably stacked in layers from the bottom up (with the branch up and leaves down), in a similar manner to roofing shingles. This layered pattern will help strengthen the structure, and prevent pinhole leaks from forming in the next layer. Cover the tree boughs with packed snow, watching for holes and gaps. Finish it off with a door plug to seal out the wind, and don’t forget to add an air vent if you plan to build a fire inside. I would recommend building the fire outside.

It is important for those who want to survive the colder climates to prepare for outdoor survival. If you end up stuck outside in the elements, you’ll need to think fast and prepare a shelter before the icy wind drains your precious body heat. Some general tips include:

  • Cold climates require enclosed, insulated shelter.
  • Snow is the most abundant insulating material in these climates. Although it is cold to the touch, it’s also very effective at containing heat in an enclosed space. So, incorporate it into your shelter.
  • Insulate your body from the snow and the cold ground by putting down a layer of pine boughs or other foliage. This slows the loss of body heat.
  • An air vent is required to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning when using an open flame inside an enclosed space. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you before you even realise there’s a problem, so don’t forget this step.
  • As a general rule, unless you can see your breath, your snow shelter is too warm, and should be cooled down to prevent the snow from melting and dripping.


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