Are You Trying To Survive Or Be Self-Sufficient?

If you ask a group people what survival in the bush means to them, most of them will describe a situation where they are living off the land, have built themselves a log cabin and roughing it like Grizzly Adams while others might say it is something along the lines of what Bear Grylls does.

Whilst the Grizzly Adams example is surviving it is more about being self sufficient, and what Bear Grylls does is sensationalism. Whereas an actual survival situation would be more along the lines of being involved in a vehicle accident/plane crash in some remote location, becoming stranded/housebound due to a natural disaster or any one of a number of short term scenarios.

Whilst it is possible to be prepared for both a survival situation and to be self-sufficient they are different to a certain degree.

Self Sufficiency

As mentioned previously, being self sufficient is about preparing for long term survival. This may be months, years or even the rest of your life.

To do this, you will to ensure that you have adequate supplies in the short term until you are able to develop alternatives to replenish those items that you go through quickly.

  • This would include things like having enough drinkable (potable) water on hand until you can either find a potable source or construct an alternative method to purify the water that is available.
  • Having enough staple ingredients to eat for food to sustain you until you are able to plant and harvest your own.
  • Temporary shelter/accommodation until you are able to construct a more permanent dwelling. If you plan to move around alot, then something that is portable yet easily erected is advisable.
  • If you plan on moving around, something to transport those items that you can’t or don’t want to leave behind. If it is a mechanical transport, you will also need to be able to repair it if it breaks.


In a survival scenario, the aim is to survive for as long as it takes for you to be rescued. This either means making use of what you have available or scrounging for items to sustain you until then. Depending on the situation, your rescue could be anywhere from a few hours to a few days or weeks away.

Survival preparedness is different for each situation you are in, though the basics are the same. You will need to make sure you have enough food, water and shelter until your rescue comes. How you prioritise your food, water and shelter requirements depends on how long you think it will be before you get rescued.

The easiest thing to do is to remember on average survival is based on the Rule of Threes

3 Minutes without Air
3 Hours without Shelter in adverse/extreme conditions
3 Days without Water
3 Weeks without Food

Some have gone further to add:
3 Months without Hope (Depending on what version you read, some say it is 3 Seconds)
3 Years without Purpose

Regardless of what the scenario is, you need to be prepared for it, and I will go into what you should do in the next post.

What are your thoughts?