43 Survival Tips For When SHTF – A Prepper’s Guide

43 Survival Tips

In This Report, we will be outlining 43 Survival Tips that will help you in virtually any survival situation, especially when SHTF. It’s important to remember that, more than anything, these ideas are about stimulating your imagination so that you can think on your feet. Survival is about staying calm while immediately implementing skills. If you feel you have something to contribute, by all means, tell us in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you or review and publish your content. Enjoy, and remember to ALWAYS Prepare To Live.

Zippo Lighter Hack

If your Zippo lighter runs out of fuel, don’t worry about it. You can still light a fire with it. Take out the cotton from inside the lighter and use the Flint to light the cotton with a spark.

zippo lighter survival hack

Aluminum Foil

TOP SURVIVAL TIPS: Carry aluminum foil in your bug-out bag. It provides a dry platform to build a fire on a damp day.

Aluminum Foil For Fire

Carry Masking Tape

Placing some masking tape over your flashlight or torch reduces your profile. You will be less visible to enemies and predators but you’ll still have plenty of light to work with.

masking tape flashlight

Finding North With A Watch

If you carry an analog wrist watch you can use it as a makeshift compass. You can use it to find your North and South Line. Hold your watch horizontal and aim your hour hand towards the Sun. Bisect the angle between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock Mark to get the north-south line. North will be the direction farthest from the Sun.

How To Find North With a Watch

Credit ScoutSociety.org for Photo

How To Find The North Star At Night

Navigating at night without a compass is simple. The Stars themselves will guide you. If you are in the northern hemisphere the North Star, aka Polaris, will guide you to true North. If you have a basic understanding of Stellar constellations, then it is very easy to find.
First, find the Big Dipper. It’s also known as Ursa Major. Follow The Line as outlined in the image below. It will always Point directly to the North Star.

how to find north star at night

Ultimate Bug Out Bag – The Guitar Case

TOP SURVIVAL TIPS: Having a guitar case as a bug out bag is unconventional but very useful. You can pack tons of gear without sticking out like a sore thumb. Nobody’s going to pester you and bother you for supplies if they think you’re just some guy walking around with a guitar. It also allows you to discreetly carry firearms bigger than a pistol.

Video Courtesy of Michael Bell’s YouTube Channel

Homemade Armor – Ballistic Protection

If you can’t afford a stab-resistant vest or a Sapi plate, homemade ballistic protection can be made from carbon steel saws. Several saws duct taped together can create stab, arrow and fragment proof protection. It also has demonstrated that it can sometimes stop a bullet from a 22 long rifle.

Homemade Armor Protection

How To Purify Water With Bleach

TOP SURVIVAL TIPS: Approximately 2 drops of bleach Should purify 1 liter of water. See the table below:

how to purify water with bleach

Credit Image From ModernSurvivalBlog.com

Toothpaste – Survival Tips

Toothpaste can be used to treat bug bites and insect stings. It will also help you stay minty-fresh if you meet the man or woman of your dreams while on the trail.

Toothpaste For Bug Bits & Stings

A Makeshift Grill With Tent Pegs

Just lay the tent pegs over a couple of logs and you have yourself a suitable grill for boiling water, brewing survival tea, and cooking meat.

Makeshift grill with tent pegs

How To Make a Fishing Hook: Hobo Fishing Kit

TOP SURVIVAL TIPS: Get yourself a tin can, a thorn, and some string (preferably from your 550 paracord) and you got a fighting chance to catch a fish. See the video below for instructions on how to make a fishing hook with a can tab and a multipurpose survival tool:

Video by CommonSenseOutdoors Youtube Channel

How To Find Tinder In Wet Conditions

In wet conditions tender can be easily gathered by shaving off strips of the inner bark of twigs and logs.


Boiling Water With Hot Rocks

Large rocks around a campfire will absorb heat. After the fire dies down they will radiate heat for hours to help keep you warm. You can also place the rocks in water to boil and purify. Be careful not to burn yourself!

How To Filter Water With Charcoal

If you are purifying water, say from a swamp, and it smells terrible add some activated charcoal to it to help purify the water. Quite often it will also remove the unpleasant smell and improve the taste.

Paracord Uses

The inner strands of 550 paracord are quite strong. You can use them for fishing, tying equipment to your bag, and lots of other things. The idea is to conserve the amount of paracord you use in a survival situation. The video by SensiblePrepper should really help get your imagination going:

Mylar Blankets + Duct Tape = Super Shelter

Mylar or aluminum duct taped to the inside of a tarp shelter will drastically increase the amount of heat retention in your shelter. These are called super shelters. Every survivalist should know how to prepare one.

Super Shelter

Glow Stick

Glow sticks should always be in your backpack or bug-out bag. Tie the glow stick to about 3 or 4 feet of paracord and spin it around creating a 6-foot circle of light. It will be much easier for Rescuers to spot you in a survival situation.

Video From PeakSurvival Youtube Channel

Disposable Raincoat

Disposable raincoat is a great piece of Survival equipment. First of all it is light. Second of all it obviously it makes a great raincoat. But it can do much more than that. It can be used to collect rainwater, It can be manipulated into a makeshift shelter, and it can be used as a solar still to collect and purify sea water. It’s a smart idea to make room for this in your bug-out bag.

disposable raincoat

Water Purification Tablets

Don’t rely on boiling water alone as your method of purifying water. It’s not always easy to start a fire in the wild so always pack water purification tablets. They’re cheap and easy to store so there’s no excuse for not having them.


Credit SurvivalMastery.com for image

Barbed Wire Fishing Hooks

Barbed wire could be turned into makeshift fishing hooks. If you have wire cutters in your kit, just snip off the barbed wire and fashion it into a hook and use a strand from your 550 paracord as the fishing line. Here’s how it’s done (from Trails.com):

Things You’ll Need:

  • Barbed wire Wire cutters Work gloves Needle nose pliers Red waterproof spray paint (optional)
  • Barbed wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Work gloves
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Red waterproof spray paint (optional)

How To Make The Fish Hooks:

  • Step 1  – Hold the barbed wire in one hand and use your wire cutters to cut the wire at the base of a barb. Make another cut 1 inch down from the barb.
  • Step 2  – Bend the barb to serve as the hook’s curve using needle nose pliers.
  • Step 3  – Bend the top of the hook back over itself, making a hole to thread fishing line through. The hole should be fully closed. For a more reliable hook, put under a flame for 10 to 15 seconds and pinch the metal with needle nose pliers for a melded fit.
  • Step 4  – Spray the hook in red paint, if optional. Red is an attractive color to fish and can trick them into thinking your bait or lure is bleeding. However, the hook will work just fine if you choose not to do this.
  • Step 5  – Let cool and dry before using.

Cleaning Wounds

Under no circumstances should you use untreated water to clean wounds. It’s common sense but I’ve seen many people wash their wounds in a river. You leave yourself susceptible to harmful bacteria and parasites. You shouldn’t even rinse your hands with small cuts in untreated water.

Never Treat Wounds With Untreated Water

Waste Not Want Not

Animal entrails that you would usually throw away should be kept for fishing bait, traps and snares. Always process your game far away from your Camp as you don’t want bears and other Predators sniffing around your living area.

Home Remedies For Mosquito Bites

If you’re in an area with ton’s of mosquitoes, you can help relieve mosquito bites with a simple home remedy – baking soda. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply it to the bug bite for ten minutes before washing away. This will usually provide sufficient relief.

baking soda for mosquito bites -mosquito bite treatment

Emergency Firewood – Save Time And Energy

Don’t waste valuable time and energy by chopping up Logs with an ax, machete or hand saw. Leave small to medium sized pieces of wood against a tree or log and give them a swift kick. if it’s not easily broken don’t risk injury by spending too much time doing this. In that case you will want to use a hand saw, machete or an axe.

emergency firewood

First Aid Kit

Sometimes we feel Invincible but we are all susceptible to accidents and mistakes. When you are in a survival situation it doesn’t take much for a wound to get irritated or infected. Always carry a first-aid kit with you.

Important Documents Checklist

Always include important documents in your bug-out bag. Keep copies of Insurance details, medical records, Proper identification, etc. And remember to keep a modest amount of cash with you. Even when shit hits the fan, McDonald’s will probably be open.

At home, you’ll want to keep your documentation well organized in one safe place. You don’t want to be scrambling to find pertinent information for you and your loved ones. It is an essential step in proper preparedness. Below is a general Important Document Checklist PDF:


Keep Off The Ground

When you set up a new shelter make sure you keep off of the ground. Laying on the ground will suck all of the heat out of you and you may experience hypothermia. It will also leave you susceptible to bugs and critters.

Generally lying on the ground sheet or Poncho is not enough. You need to make an effort to elevate yourself off of the ground. You can make yourself a pad out of your collected firewood or create an elevated bed out of leaves. Just try to keep yourself at least several inches off the ground.


Image Credit to Education For The Soul

You can save yourself a lot of trouble by keeping a lightweight hammock in your bug-out bag.

Packing A Survival Backpack

When packing your backpack put the light stuff on the bottom and the heavier stuff on top to maintain a good center of gravity. Also set the pack up so it’s as high up on your back as possible.

how to pack a survival pack

Avoid Sweating When It’s Cold

If you are moving a lot, keep your clothing light. At least layer yourself in easily removable layers so as to reduce the amount of perspiration on your trek. If you stay in continuous motion and keep your head hands and feet dry and warm you will be ok. Remember, when it’s cold outside perspiration is an enemy. Your clothing will lose its insulating qualities and it can’t accelerate hypothermia.

Carry A Pack Of Cigarettes

Always carry a pack of cigarettes even if you don’t smoke. Offering someone a cigarette can help you make friends and it will help keep people calm sometimes. It’s easy to carry and cheap. No reason not to have a pack stuffed away somewhere.

pack of cigarettes

Smoke As An Insect Repellent

Smoke is a natural insect repellent. If you have a fire going wave your sleeping bag, trousers, jacket and so on around the fire. the material will absorb some of the smoke and help keep Critters off of you at night. Fire is also a natural repellent of predators.

campfire insect repellant

Spare Socks

Always pack at least 2 extra pair of spare socks. I prefer several more. Socks can be used to filter dirt out of water, store animal guts in a tree, and of course keep your feet feeling fresh, warm and free of blisters.

Emergency Blister Treatment

If you get a blister thread a needle with string or a strand from the inner workings of your 550 paracord. Drain the blister with a needle and put the thread through the blister. The thread should run straight through the two holes. The holes allow the blister to drain and the thread will absorb any excess moisture.

If you feel a blister coming on, take a piece of duct tape and slap it right over it. This will eliminate excess friction and stop the blister from progressing into something nasty.

duct tape for blisters


The chewing gum in your MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) contains Xylitol which has a mild laxative effect. Believe me you will need this after consuming one or more MREs. Do not discard your MRE Gum!

mre gum

Too Much Of Anything Is Bad

If you drink too much water on an empty stomach it could create an imbalance of electrolytes. If you find yourself injured this may cause you to more easily go into shock. To avoid this, make sure you eat enough food and salt over the course of your day. Basically, balance your intake because too much of either food or water is bad.

SOS Signal

It’s very important to know how to make the SOS signal. You should know how to make the signal both in sound and in light. It looks like this: “dot dot dot – dash dash dash – dot dot dot”

The dots signify quick signals whereas the dashes signifies slow signals. Practice with a whistle and a light. Some tactical flashlights come with the SOS functionality built in.

NOTE – In the Boy Scouts and the Military, SOS is spoken this way “dit dit dit – dah dah dah – dit dit dit” and you say the dit quick and the dah slow.

sos distress signal

Setting Up Camp Near a Body Of Water

It may seem like a good idea to set up camp near a body of water but it could be a terrible idea so be careful. If the water is stagnant it will likely be swarming with mosquitoes and other Critters that will eat you alive at night. Ideally you want to set up camp at Higher Ground at a moderate distance from water sources.


International Distress Signal

Moving both arms up and down in the Y position is the international distress signal. Imagine doing jumping jacks without jumping. If your signal fire has caught the attention of Rescuers make sure you use the signal. If you don’t you run the risk of Rescuers thinking you are just a camper hanging out by the fire.

distress signal

KM To Miles

TOP SURVIVAL TIPS: Depending on your Global position it can be confusing to translate kilometers into miles. Here’s a simple equation to help you. First divide the number of kilometers in half. Then add the first digit of the kilometer. This will give you a rough but close estimate as to how far you need to travel. For example:

KM to Miles

Tobacco and Its Effects On Your Body

Tobacco decreases the stamina by limiting blood and oxygen to the brain. It also interferes with healing and blood clotting by destroying platelets in your blood. Nicotine limits blood flow to your extremities which will increase your chance of frostbite and hypothermia. In a survival situation it’s just best not to do it. At least limited to a fraction of the amount you normally smoke.

Because Animals Can Drink Water Does Not Mean That You Can

If you see an animal drinking from a stream or a lake it does not mean that it is safe for human consumption. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this come out of people’s mouths and it drives me crazy. Most animals can eat and drink things that may be harmful to humans. Their digestive systems and immune systems are quite different than ours.

if animals drink water is it safe for humans

Coconut Milk

If you happen to be stranded in a tropical area or on a deserted island, only drink the milk of young tree ripened coconuts as opposed to older ripe coconuts. The milk from a mature coconut can contain an oil that acts as a laxative that, for some people, have extreme effects. Diarrhea is not something you want to deal with when you are in a survival situation or dehydrated. It can be fatal.


Tin Foil

Carry plenty of tin foil in your bug-out bag. If you lose your canteen or if you don’t have one, you can shape the tin foil into a bowl. You can lay it beside the fire to boil water, make teas and cook soups. Or you can drop some water purification tablets in it. Of course it wouldn’t hurt to do both.

emergency tin foil

Thanks for stopping by for our 43 survival tips when SHTF! Be sure to stay tuned for part 2, 50 More Survival Tips when SHTF. If you or someone you know might be interested in contributing to this blog please let us know. Also if you have any feedback please leave comments in the comment section below. Remember, always PREPARE TO LIVE.

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