What exactly are the 5 things we need to survive? Modern-day humans are not so dissimilar from the humans that walked the earth 10,000 years ago. Of course we now have skyscrapers, bitcoin and deep sea submersibles to name just some recent technological advancements. But on the level of basic human needs there are really only 5 things we need to survive.

These are oxygen/clean air, water, food, shelter/warmth and self-defense. Everything else is a luxury.

These 5 things that we need to survive are irreplaceable when developing a successful survival strategy. You should begin any thought experiment by attempting to meet these survival needs if you are to have any reasonable chance of survival no matter the catastrophe.

If you are new to the prepper community and attempting to plan for disaster may seem overwhelming. This article is our attempt to give the reader a sense of priority when beginning to prep.

1. Oxygen/Clean Air

The average human body can only survive for around 3 minutes without access to oxygen. This is a very short time window in which to react to a disaster.

There are a few possible disasters that could result in a loss of oxygen/clean air and these include but are not limited to the following.

1. Atmospheric pollution
Biological Hazard
3. Chemical explosion
4. Environmental pollution
6. Forest/grassland fire
7. Nuclear or thermonuclear event
8. Sand/dust storm

There are two possible solutions to this type of disaster. The first is to build in advance an underground bunker with a off grid air filtration systems. The second is the buy a gas mask. The first option is prohibitively expensive so unless you have a few million $ to blow then invest in the mask.

2. Water

Clean, safe drinking water is high on the list for any smart prepper. An adult human can’t last for longer than a three days without it.

In the human body water serves a number of critical functions. It cools the body down when it is too hot, it aids in the digestion of food, and it helps to keep vital organs hydrated and operating. The average adult male drinks 3.7 litres of water a day.

There are two good strategies to adopt to ensure safe, clean and reliable water. The first is to base yourself near a large on source of natural freshwater, and the second is to stockpile water in safe and secure location with easy access.

In truth adopting a combination of both strategies would mitigate your risk. Access to clean drinking water is essential and there is really no excuse for not planning in advance.

3. Food

The human body can survive without food for up to three weeks. But given the choice we don’t advise it. You fatigue very easily, you are unable to think logically and you can’t defend yourself.

We recommend anything in excess of 2000 calories per day. Be it prepackaged food, food from hunting and foraging or other prepping supplies. If you plan to survive for a long period of time then you are going to have put together a decent collection of the best prepper food.

As well as the actual food, it will be useful to have the necessary tools to prepare and cook. But be smart with the weight as these tools can soon weigh you down if you are on the move.

There are two options to source food after a disaster. The possibility of each option will depend on the scope of the disaster on the natural environment and the level of preparation you put in before the disaster.

The first option is to stockpile food with long shelf lives including canned meats and vegetables along with bulk dry goods like rice and pasta. The second option is to grow, raise or hunt your own food. This later option depends on the conditions outside and is more of a long term strategy.

4. Shelter

Humans naturally seek shelter during and after a disaster. We need somewhere to regroup and to protect ourselves from the extremes of temperature and weather.

A secure shelter can also be used to store our water, food and other basics for survival.

In a worst case scenario you could improvise and use whatever you have around you be it a tent, a car, or a nearby cave. However ideally you want somewhere with four walls that is reasonably sealed from the elements and has a steady supply of firewood nearby.

The best type of strategy includes multiple potential locations which can be chosen depending on the events on the ground.

5. Self-Defense

In a crisis people can turn on each other quickly. If water is in short supply and food is becoming scarce then it pays to be prepared to defend yourself.

If you don’t have the means to defend yourself then you are at the mercy of others. This is of course not an ideal situation to find yourself in. So you need a self-defense plan for you and your family.

If you are based in the USA then your first option is firearms and the necessary ammo. If on the other hand you are based elsewhere then a bow and arrow or useful hand-to-hand weapons will come in useful.

That being said, these tools are useless if you don’t know how to use them. You need to practice using them a long time before the disaster hit.

Final Thoughts on the 5 Things We Need to Survive

So that is it. A simple but hopefully useful summary of the 5 things we need to survive. You now need to put in the time, money and effort required to realize your plans.

This is by no means everything I would like to have with me during a disaster. I have written more detailed guides on bug out bags previously. Rather, this is the bare minimum you need to be thinking about. Each person can tailor their prepper gear and supplies to their specific needs. So enjoy!