Survival Q&A – Where to Start?

Q: One of our readers asks……. I like all the info you provide. What would you recommend for someone who has no experience whatsoever in survival? & doesn’t even know where to begin? Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff about being prepared and it’s making me nervous that I’m not prepared. Where & how do I begin?

A. Start with the Basics. You need Water, Shelter and Food to survive, so I would first start with these three basics.


  • Make sure you have plenty of water stockpiled at home. I recommend 1 Gallon of water per day, per person. You should have no less than a two weeks supply of bottled water on hand at all times
  • Invest in a good Quality Water Filter. Without water, you’re as good as dead,; if you do find a source of water, without the proper filtration you still may be in big trouble. We recommend the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter. It’s one of the best filters on the market, and can help purify even the most disgusting water.
  • Make a list of all the places where you can find water during an emergency. Check out our article on Emergency Water sources in an Urban environment.


Make sure you have the essentials

  • Clothing. In a survival situation, the clothes on your back will become your primary source of shelter and protection. Clothing is your first line of defense against the elements, and is something that should never be overlooked. This is the first place you need to start.
  • Emergency Shelter I also recommend having some sort of portable shelter system. Tents, tarps, a bugout vehicle, etc…
  • The Knowledge to build a wilderness Shelter
  • Warmth – Study the art of starting a fire. A shelter is great, but a warm shelter is a hell of a lot better.


And one last thing, Study and Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!!!

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    You can start building up food preps by just adding a little bit to the grocery list each week

    Water preps can be started by buying bottled water, a water bob, water filtration system, whatever your budget allows.

    Shelter: get a couple different ways to start fire, some sort of protection from the elements (emergency blankets are great and pack-able) and learn different ways to use them.

    Read > Study > practice

    There are so many books, blogs, forums, websites, ebooks, and you tube videos that you can get the basics covered very quickly. That’s nice, but unless you go out and PRACTICE these techniques, you haven’t truly learned anything.

  2. Another good way to not be overwhelmed is to begin your prepping in stages.

    Thank of it as a pyramid.

    Start with a small project that you can complete and feel good about, like car bag, or household emergency kit, and some etxtra food and water around the house. This would be the top of the pyramid.

    Then move on to a full blown bug out bag, and more at home preps to sustain for a longer period of time.

    Then you can steadily go on to bigger and better preps and before you know it you will have a basement full of food, water, and gear.

  3. The basics :”Survival” means staying alive: which really means maintaing your core temperature at 98 degrees.the priorites can be devined by the”rule of threes”:
    1) You can go 3econds without: thinking.
    2) You can go go 3minutes without breathing,
    3) you can go 3hours in the worst climate conditions without succumbing to exposrure.
    4) you can go 3 days without water
    5) you can go3 weeks without food.
    So there you go, if you were to do a bear gryyls and find yourself in the wilderness,as long as you can breath,your first priority is to protect yourself from exposure, (find shelter and or build a fire).Next you have to find a source of water, lastly worry about food.

    • you do know bear grylls is a phony right he was caught in a hotel durning one of his “survial” situations right do NOT listen to him all he does is eat gross shit and sleep in a tent with his camera crew thats it listen to you know man women wild or les stroud or cody lundin and dave canterbury these guys know what there talking about especially lundin he lives it 24 7

  4. As someone who has taken and taught winter wilderness survival I would tell anyone not familiar with being/living in the northern bush in the fall and winter NOT TO DO IT!
    It is a cold (very, very cold) place and it does not tolerate those with little knowledge well and be a very cruel environment.
    Take a week and try it in the summer bringing only the things that you believe are essential and if things go wrong you can always get back in your vehicle and head back to the city. If you enjoy it and do well you should then plan to come back in the late fall and do another week.
    Take baby steps before you consider taking anything resembling a full time plunge.

  5. Ok, if I may add my 2cents worth. At least y’all are in the states where products for survival are readily obtained. I live in Italy, am a woman trying to Prep and am running into problems upon problems. So for the readers that are starting to prep, I see only male opinions, I am not Grizzly Adams and can’t find female points of views on how to prep.If u need to prep food storage, write out what you had to eat each day. At the end of the week, buy doubles of that weeks food menu, if low cost multiply by 4 and you have a mos worth of food. considering that it wasn’t fast food. If you need some ideas on wholesome cheap cooking let me know. As far as self defense, firearms are illegal here, so the best that I can do is to whack them with a caste iron frying pan. :-D Good Luck because there is always someone worse off!!

  6. get your mind set to the sitiuation feeling sorry for yourself will get you nowhere.i mean just thinking its a nigthmare and you’ll wake up any second is bad .you need to be menetaly stable.

    • I know I need to do something. I am overwhelmed. Have been trying to find someone that I can talk to, about the different groups, etc. But as quick as I can I am out of the city. Please I really dont have a clew

  7. I have recently learned of the trouble we are facing and have so many questions . what do I do where do I go ? need help !!!

  8. This is interesting. No responses since mid 2012? Well, I will.

    It is true that the majority of information on “survival” web sites is male oriented. Though I have seen more and more inquiries from females. Specifically those with offspring. The majority of the information is quite generic in content, but most females do have a bit of a difficult time with the “guy stuff” issues. i.e., Shelter building, fire making, tools, etc. So, here’s my two-cents worth:

    -Females have “different” priorities, especially in the personal area. Search the internet for “Naturally Cozy”.
    -Shelter. Look for “tarp tents”. Get at least a 10×12 ft. tarp, three 100 ft. hanks of “550 cord”. STOP! DO NOT waste your money on any “550 cord” that is not internally 7-strand. There is ONE authorized manufacturer of MIL Spec 550 cord in this country. All the rest is junk. Sleeping bags, or equivalent. Canteens. Think camping.
    -Water. IMHO,don’t waste your money on ceramic water filters. They do not last long. They break very easily. Replacement filters are expensive. They filter a limited amount of water. There is at least one vendor that guarantees 1,000,000 gallons. And is not a ceramic filter.
    -Food. Look around for recipes on making backpack meals. Acquire dry ingredients: Beans, rice, flour, salt, sugar, coffee, all the stuff needed to make a meal. Be cautious on canned stuff. Large numbers of canned food is heavy and does not handle extreme temperatures very well. Learn how to make what’s in the cans.
    -Tools. Screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, nail-bar,assorted hand-tools. Check the numerous web sites for lists. Print/write down the lists. Remove duplicates. Go to a local hardware store, show an employee, specifically an “older” employee, your list and have them show you the best $$$ deal. I say “older” employee because it is doubtful that you will find an under 30 y.o. employee that has a clue about most tools. At least I haven’t found one. Learn how to use these tools. Get a multi-tool, but don’t spend more than $30. Look for DeWalt. They are just as good as the $100+ ones, if not better.
    -Plan a route. Get maps of your area. Find a place go to. Find at least three routes to get there. Make notes of gas stations, places to get water, places to camp if the trip will take more than one day. Laminate the maps.
    -Mobility. Has your vehicle had a tune up lately? Do it. How many people in your group? Two? Get rid of extra seats. Makes for more storage. Have a trailer? Get a 8×10 ft. trailer, a spare tire for it, learn how to drive with it, back it up, etc. Get one with sides. Get a tarp big enough to cover all the stuff you put in the trailer. Get at least two gas cans, two water cans, both 5 or 6 gallon, and keep in the trailer. Siphon hose, learn how to use it.Do not leave anything in the trailer. IT WILL disappear.
    -Buckets. Food Grade Only. Go to restaurants, bakeries, cafeterias, grocery stores and ask if they will give or sell any. Wash them out, clean them up, store your food stuff in them. Don’t forget to get the lids.
    -Packing. Get a bunch of black yard waste bags. Wrap all the stuff in the trailer in them. Duct tape them closed.
    -First aid kit.
    -Shoes, boots

    Make a list of all these things. Look around the internet, find other lists. Compare items. Add/remove as necessary.

    Last, but not least. Look for sales. I, personally, seldom ever buy anything that is not on sale. If the sale is a good price, buy two…..or three.


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