4 Survival Priorities To Be Better Prepared


Lets get back to survival basics for a minute. It is sometimes helpful to re-group, to take a step back, and look at the big picture. You may be surprised in that sometimes you’ll get a new idea or perspective which will help you become better prepared than you already were…


Basic Survival Priorities

Other than the air you breathe (certainly a priority),
Basic survival priorities include Water, Food, Fire, and Shelter.



On average, you will probably die soon after 3 to 5 days without consuming any H2O (from drinking water directly or contained within food and/or other liquid drink) depending on the specific conditions and environment that you are in. Yes, it’s true. Look it up.

Human beings are made up of about 60% water. We sweat out about 2 cups water per day. We lose 1 cup per day from exhaling and we eliminate about 6 cups of it. Your life depends on daily replenishment of water.

Depending on your weight, physical activity, and your environment, the human body needs nearly 1 gallon of water per day.

From a survival and preparedness standpoint, think of your water supply for the short term and for the long term. Short term storage is easily obtainable, and a stored supply of water can be managed for short term needs in containers or barrels of various sizes. When you start to think long term however, then the real solution is having a plentiful source available to you (other than storage). A nearby river, stream, spring, lake, a well (with appropriate means to pump). A means to purify the water. A filter, boiling, etc.

Remember… water is heavy. About 8 pounds per gallon. Consider how you are going to haul it from one place to another. A wagon. Anything with wheels…

Can you imagine a long term outage whereby the municipal water pressure drops to zero? Especially in a city or densely populated area?



There are many factors that determine how long a human can survive without food. In general, the human body cannot survive for long beyond about 30 days without food, assuming that you have water to drink. You will be desperate well before that time though (within a day?!) and once your body weakens, it will become very difficult to procure it.

It is NOT difficult to build up at least a 30 day supply of food storage. Simply buy a few more items of the foods that you normally eat, each time you visit the grocery store. I recommend at least a 30 day minimum (because it’s an easy goal to accomplish), but encourage you to store much more than that afterwards.

Keep food storage in your home, your vehicle, your place of work, and your BOL (bug out location). As they say, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, so it’s best not to store everything that you have all in one place (or all in the same pantry).

General rule: Store what you eat and eat what you store. This will facilitate more effective food rotation.

Food storage is a short term solution. This is your first goal. But to take it to the next level, if your storage runs out, you will need the ability to get more. Grow your own. Know how to do that. Practice now. Learn other ways to get food including foraging for wild food which may be right under your nose. Hunting, fishing, trapping, etc. Plan now.



The world changed when we ‘discovered’ fire. It will provide heat, light, cooking, and boiling of water. All three of these are crucial aspects to your survival.

Have plenty of means to make fire. Store matches, lighters, magnesium fire-starters, etc. Keep these things in your home, vehicle, or any other kit and location.

Practice fire building. Know how to make a fire when it’s wet outside. Learn about kindling, tinder, methods of making fire. Do you have the tools to cook over a fire? To boil water for safe drinking? Could you do it with what you have in your vehicle kit? Your bugout bag?



The human needs shelter from the elements. The cold, the heat, the sun, the wind, the rain, etc.

While I presume that everyone reading this has a shelter (your home or apartment), consider the ramifications if you lost it. A fire, severe weather event, eviction? What would you do and where would you go? Have a plan ahead of time.

Always keep some form of make-shift shelter in your kits, your vehicle, etc. Even a Mylar emergency blanket will serve as a temporary shelter. A tarp, a tent, even a blanket. It might be helpful to know how to build a few styles of shelter if caught out of doors. Keep rope, cord or paracord to help with lashing something together.


This has been a simple reminder of some of the basics for survival. Think about each one of them, and think of them in the context of various scenarios. This will help you come up with solutions for better preparedness.

Similar Posts


  1. Good article Ken, can I add my medical bag? Without proper care of minor cuts or something serious an infection can set in and be very deadly in a very short time. I think of my medical bag as my best friend next to my Scout Bag, I wont leave home without it.

    1. No you can’t add your medical bag.

      Just kidding of course… These four categories are meant to get you thinking back to basics and having another look (and thought) about your preps and your ability to procure these in the long term, should you ever need to.

  2. I would like to point out something about food storage. If this country was ever under martial law due to a devastation, and soldiers came to your home…they would seize ALL of your food supply stating that food will be rationed and must all be taken by the gov’t in order to help feed the masses. Store some food in your pantry, and the rest HIDDEN. That way they can’t get everything. When they want to know where your food is, point to your pantry. Meanwhile, 99% of your larder is hidden in another part of your house.

    1. I completely agree with your opinion. Diversify your storage. It’s not too difficult to hide lots of food too. Even though lots of it would probably be found in a major ransacking, depending how clever you have been, they might not find it all… Same goes for other ‘valuables’. Leave some out in typical places, but hide the real bounty.

      If someone is looking for something, and they think they’ve found all you have (such as food in the pantry – the most likely place), and if you “act” the part, it will convince most people.

  3. Although these 4 categories weren’t listed in a particular order of priority, I did receive an email from a Reader who was concerned about the priority. I’m posting it here for your reference…

    “It just seems to me that everyone lists water first, as if it is the most important priority. My opinion is that it is not the most important. It is my belief that that the first and most important priority is shelter. Shelter has 3 levels of priority: clothing to protect the body, shelter from weather, and shelter for security (which should actually be called shelter to minimize risk, there is no such thing as security.)”

    I do agree with the quote above, in that in some situations and environments, “shelter” would be your highest priority for survival.

    1. The reason EVERYBODY says water is your first priority is because you cannot live without water for more than three days. I can live in a hollow log for as long as it takes as long as I have a water source. You put your stock in a shelter than can be built in a day…. I will put my stock in a water supply.

      1. @wildbill, I had said “…in some situations and environments, “shelter” would be your highest priority for survival.”

        You’ve got to read the words… “some”

        You WILL die first without adequate shelter in a freezing environment, BEFORE you will die from lack of water.

        I could list other examples, but this should get the idea across…

        Your hollow log IS shelter, so you’ve taken stock in shelter before water.

  4. Wondering how many folks in San Francisco are just this moment they had done more/better prepping..

    just turned the computer on to news, and this headline greeted me..

    “Wildfire Causes State of Emergency in San Francisco, as Power and Water Supplies Threatened.”

    as you have often stated…one never knows what will happen…Bet there are mighty worried folks there.

  5. Just wanted to weigh in on the subject…having been in the preparedness field for 25 years and having served in the military and having had the argument presented about 1000 times to me, this is what we have come up with…
    1. Water is not the most important
    2. Shelter is not the most important
    3. Food is not the most important
    4. Medical is not the most important.

    If someone is chasing you down the street with a machete, with the intent of taking your shadow, you will NOT stop to find water, you will not stop to build a shelter, and you will NOT stop to cook a meal or tend to a cut on your leg…PROTECTION From and Safety to FIND or PROCURE…are the MOST IMPORTANT elements OF THE PYRAMID OF SURVIVAL.

Leave a Reply

>>USE OPEN FORUM for Off-Topic conversation

Name* use an alias