For any person to survive it can be simply stated what is needed or essential.  It doesn’t
matter where, when, or how, the 6 things below are absolute.  Absence of any one of them for
a certain period of time will result, most certainly, in death.

  1. Shelter (includes clothing)
  2. Fire
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Medical Care or body maintenance
  6. Social connections (for long term)

The above list is in a general order. However, due to conditions, a lower item may take
priority. For example, #5 (Medical) may take position #1 if an injury has immediate threat to
life. Most survival situations in or near the civilized world are of very short term; the majority
may be 1-3 days, next may extend to a week and finally two or more weeks. Depending on
area conditions a day or two may be excruciating, while in milder circumstances a couple
weeks may be quite tolerable.

In light of what we know from the above information it is possible to divide our physical
preparation into several categories or levels. Dividing things up is the way we humans
organize ourselves, our gear, available resources, and all else into manageable portions. This
makes it easier to get started, and to maintain our critical assets.

What follows is a logical division of necessaries into easy to understand levels of preparation.
It should be noted that we also talk in another section about these same levels only tied to
our level of knowledge and skill development. You will note below that we name the levels
and tag them with an appropriate symbol. We provide a short definition, and some examples
representative of what belongs to that level.

Survival LevelsCore Survival Level

Core Survival Level

Efficiency Survival Level

Efficiency Survival Level

Comfort Survival Level

Comfort Survival Level


As you can see from the description and examples shown for the levels, it is plain what
belongs in each and what they are for.

The Core being what is generally needed to get through a tough night or a few days till
rescue; it may not be pleasant but should be endurable, being just enough to make it. This
should be the minimum a person would carry with them wherever they go, especially while
traveling or being away from civilization.

The Efficiency level does not take anything away from the core, but rather builds upon it.
In other words, when you build an Efficiency level of gear you don’t leave the Core home; the
core is part of both the Efficiency level and the Comfort level. As these levels are built you will
see that most items have several uses or purposes or can be used in assistance to another

The Efficiency items are very critical, particularly if the time out is extended or if conditions
are brutal. One of the purposes of this level is to conserve energy, which lessens the
quantities of food needed. Every action the body performs causes muscles and organs to
burn calories, which of course are obtained from food or energy storage in the body itself. If
you have a saw you are able to cut firewood or build shelter while burning much less energy.
A byproduct of this conservation is avoidance of exhaustion. A person may build a personal
shelter of raw materials in 3 or 4 hours, expending perhaps 1000 calories, or a Personal
Survival Tarp may provide the same shelter in 15 minutes burning 100 calories.

The Comfort level is not to the extent of sleeping in a five star hotel, the comfort we talk
of here is a relative term, it is comfort compared to what might be experienced at the Core
Level. Instead of boiling all water and waiting for it to cool, it is simply filtered. A fire is not
always burning for cooking or water purification. In the cold a fire is great, but in the heat,
having a fire just adds to the discomfort. A stove is very effective at cooking and is quick
start to finish. Additional first aid items such as gauze, slings, pain killers, antibiotics, itch
relievers, and such bring about an easing of stress and pain. Some may look on the Comfort
level as unnecessary and indeed it may be in the short term or mild conditions, but the point
is that we are not generally able to choose what conditions we may face. If you are not
prepared to this level, you are in effect taking a chance, a gamble on what you may face if
things turn sour. You also guarantee a tougher experience and perhaps a deadlier one as
well. The Comfort level brings to you a bit of relief, a better sleep, a healthier body, a less
strenuous effort, and the consolation of knowing you are well prepared.

Check out our Circles of Priority training

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