How To

Basic Needs

There are a hand full of things humans need to stay alive. We are not talking about smart phones, pizza, cold beer or air conditioning although those can all make life more enjoyable they are not required for survival. In order for people to maintain life there are a handful of things that are truly needed. Of course the Mindset of an individual is the starting point. We will discuss the Survival Mindset in detail in a future article. We like to keep things simple and break those requirements down as personnel protection, sustenance and health. Each of those requirements have different components which we will discuss further. Realize that we are only talking about the need to maintain life at this point. There are other needs such as travel, signaling and recovery, security, to name just a few,which will be covered at a later time. Understanding the basic needs is critical in order to stay alive in emergency or survival situations.

As we all know for a person to survive they need to maintain their body core temperature as close as possible to 98.6. Any prolonged time below or above that magic number will start presenting a threat to further survival. The human body is fairly fragile and only capable of protecting itself from the environment to a certain degree so personnel protection is paramount. The first component of personnel protection is clothing. Proper clothing is the first line of defense against the various elements people might find themselves in. Some environments are so harsh however that clothing alone will not be enough. The second component of personnel protection is a suitable shelter. A shelter can provide a place to get out of the elements, provide for needed rest and a place to repair equipment or cook. A good shelter provides protection from the environment and is big enough for you and your essential equipment. The third element needed for personnel protection is fire. Fire has a wide variety of uses from cooking, purifying water, ability to make tools, provide for warmth and of course moral. There’s nothing quite like a nice fire at the end of a long, cold, wet day to lift your spirits. There are other elements that we will, Grey Tactical Outfitters, include in personal protection that we will cover during other articles.

Personnel protection alone won’t keep you alive unfortunately without sustenance. To maintain normal body functions and to provide energy to take care of all the things that need to get done in a survival situation you need sustenance. Sustenance consist of food and water with water being more critical than food. Anybody hoping to stay alive must be able to find, procure, purify and store water for long term survival. Even at the very early stages of dehydration the effects can be detrimental. The widely accepted rule is that a person can survive about three days without water. There are a lot of factors that come into play however when considering the need for water such as the level of activity, physical condition and environmental factors to name a few. From personnel experience a person heavily exerting themselves in a hot environment can start seeing effects of dehydration in a matter of hours. Although water is absolutely critical it doesn’t provide the nutrients and fuel found in food. A person without food can however survive much longer then a person without water. For long term survival a person will need food and without access to a 24/7 drive thru or grocery store that can pose a challenge. Being able to procure food from the environment may be your best or only option and will probably require a survivor overcome some food aversions.

The next part of maintaining life will be related to health. Health includes both your physical and your mental wellbeing. In a survival situation a person will have to be their own doctor, nurse and phycologist. Preventing any medical issues becomes crucial as it is much easier to prevent an injury than to treat and deal with an injury, even minor ones, in a challenging environment. Prevent measures cannot be over emphasized. Despite a person’s best intentions things happen that are out of our control so survivors will need a certain level of knowledge to provide self-aid and care. Finally there are psychological issues that will need to be addressed. Being in a survival situation will expose an individual to a wide range of emotions, some of which could be extremely detrimental to survival. A person has to be able to maintain a positive mental attitude to be able to successfully face the challenges they will have to endure. An old saying goes; a person can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, 30 days without food but has no hope of survival without the right attitude.

Having an understanding of the basic needs for human survival is the foundation for success. Whether you are going hiking, putting together a survival kit or preparing for long term survival after a catastrophic event this knowledge can help you in guiding your actions, training and preparation. In future articles we will delve deeper into each area and examine how different conditions will impact these basic needs. A person will have to adapt how they go about taking care of these needs based on the survivors,environmental and socio-political conditions they are dealing with.


Grey Tactical Outfitters LLC is a trusted provider of integrated ground solutions that offers consulting and training services to organizations and personnel as well as one-on-one training upon request. Grey Tactical’s staff has experts with over 80 years of combined combat experience to meet your security, foreign travel, and survival needs. We leverage new technology and innovative ideas to develop customer-tailored capabilities within a challenging global environment. Grey Tactical’s training philosophy is simple and direct: “There is no Substitute for Skill”. You can have all the equipment in the world, but without the know-how, it is just equipment. Education and Training is the only way to hone skills needed in life threatening situations.

Grey Tactical employs two (2) retired USAF Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Specialist with over 40 years’ experience surviving and teaching in some of the harshest environments across the globe. In addition, we also have a USN Corpsman on staff full time, still in the USN Reserves, and USA

Special Forces Medics and weapons specialists.

Grey Tactical Outfitters also has a retail store to meet all of your Survival / Preparedness,

Medical, Tactical, and Firearms needs, to include Class III items. Course schedule and contact

information can be found below.



Phone: 850.424.6462

Previous post

19 Must Have and Need to Try Lifehacks for Winter Survival.

Next post

First Look: Vulture Equipment 'Cholera' Knife


Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Sorry. No data so far.

Previous post

19 Must Have and Need to Try Lifehacks for Winter Survival.

Next post

First Look: Vulture Equipment 'Cholera' Knife