I’ve heard the argument to this question many times over – which is, “What is priority #1 when it comes to survival – water, or shelter, or something else?”
Here’s what I think:
Answer: Water OR Shelter – depending on the environment.
It could be either one.
For someone to say that water is priority 1 – is wrong (sometimes).
For someone to say that shelter is priority 1 – is wrong (sometimes).
While maintaining a healthy body core temperature is critical for survival, if the environment that you’re in is not requiring any substantial shelter to maintain your core temperature – then water (hydration) becomes your #1 priority.
On the other hand, if you’re in an environment where hypothermia may become an issue for you, then shelter becomes your number-one priority. You can survive days without water, but hypothermia could take your life in hours.
I suppose you could say that because of hypothermia risk (or heat exhaustion) – that shelter (clothes, protection from elements, literal shelter) is priority #1. However if there is no present risk of body core temperature issues, then water (hydration) is certainly priority #1, right?
I could also throw a wrench into the works and say that security is priority #1 – because there could be a circumstance where your life is put in danger whereby priority #1 becomes evasion or defensive (or offensive) tactics.
The thing is, survival priority #1 depends on your present circumstance, and could easily change from one moment to the next. You need to be prepared and able to adapt.
Generally speaking – it’s best to consider WATER AND SHELTER together – as priority #1.
If you have them both covered, then you’re going to be prepared for either circumstance.
If I was forced to choose one or the other, I would have to say shelter – only because it is theoretically possible to lose your life quicker due to body core temperature than it would be from lack of hydration.
Either have water with you, or the ability to collect and purify water. It is important to take steps to purify water before you drink it. This can be done by boiling, filtration, or by chemical treatment. It is important to have a container in which to collect and purify your water.
Think of shelter as anything and everything that protects your body and skin from the elements. This includes your clothes, hat, gloves, rain gear, as well as traditional means of shelter such as building your own, or a tarp, etc. You may require shelter from cold – which means you need insulating properties and/or fire. You may be sheltering from the heat which means getting out of the sun – finding cooler ground, etc.
What’s your opinion?