June 29, 2017

The Five Basic Human Needs

There is a lot of talk about “preparing for economic downfall” or “getting ready for an EMP or solar flare” or “societal meltdown”. The problem with preparing for specific events is that the events you’re preparing for might never happen, or if it does, it could happen differently than you expect.

It doesn’t matter what part of the world you live in, how old you are or even how much money you make, there are five basic things that every human needs to live, let alone survive. If you prepare for meeting these five basic needs, you will have a higher level of overall preparedness and ability to face a variety of situations.

Whether you’re preparing for your entire family or just making a new BOB (Bug Out Bag) or car kit, you should work toward meeting these five basic needs first. Once they’re met, if you want to add in specialty preparations for a specific type of event, more power to you.


I covered The Storage, Filtration And Purification Of Water pretty thoroughly in that article. Here I will just say that people need one gallon a day to drink, more if you want to bathe. Water is so much more important than food. The Rule of Three’s says we can last three weeks without food, but only three days without water. Having some stored is great, but I highly recommend you find a way to purify water that works for you. Boiling will kill any bacteria but will not remove chemicals such as arsenic or chlorine. For that you need a water purifier. I own and reviewed a Big Berkey. The Storage, Filtration And Purification Of Water lists many other ways to purify and filter water.


There are many ways to approach food, from using Copy Canning to build your pantry with the “eat what you store, store what you eat” foods that your family eats most often, to storing staple foods with a 25+ year shelf life or planning long term with gardening and Permaculture and many things in between.

Water might be the most important, but food is the insurance policy that ensures your self-reliance and independence. In a survival situation the more food you have stored, or available in your land, the less of a drain you are on the system and the longer you can go without taking a handout.

I have covered food storage in depth in the articles linked below:

Food Storage Part One: Why Store Food And The Rules For It.
Food Storage Part Two: The Kind Of Foods That You Can Store
Food Storage Part Three: Shelf Life of Staples.
Food Storage Part Four: The Process and Enemies of Food Storage.
Food Storage Part Five: How much food should you store and where should you put it all?
Food Storage Part Six: Tips On Stocking Up and Affording it all.
Food Storage Part Seven: Food Boredom to Survival Cooking .


The importance of shelter depends on your situation. Of course, if you’re lost in the wilderness and it’s raining, it takes on more importance. For most of us however, our shelter is our home. There are things you can do now to protect your home, such as general fire safety, or to harden your home with a safe room.

When you’re in your car, it is effectively your shelter. Having a car kit and AAA are ways to make sure your car can be an effective shelter should the need arise.


This is an area that doesn’t get as much attention as the others, I think mostly because we are so used to always having power, that we take it for granted. You can ensure you can meet your energy needs with a portable generators. A low end unit can cost just a couple hundred bucks. I covered off grid fuels. You can find backup ways to heat and cook for relatively cheap.

If you have no power, it is still possible to keep food cold without electricity. Make note of it now and have a plan just in case.

Energy and shelter often go hand in hand. If your car does become your shelter, or you do get lost in the woods, do you know how to make fire? Do you have a car kit? Do you have a mini kit? I’ll cover fire starting in another article, but knowing how to make fire can be a lifesaving skill; to make heat and a signal for others to see.


I want to start by pointing to an article I wrote on whether or not Christians should practice self-defense for those of you have reservations on the subject. My personal stance is that I pray for my enemy now, but if he attempts to do me or mine harm, I will be a danger to my enemy and will use as much force as is necessary to stop the threat.

The first part of self-defense is situational awareness, Proverbs 27:12 tells us:

“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

Because the danger cannot always be avoided, using the Cooper Color Code we can be ready for a possible threat ahead of time. I suggest everyone one of us decides now what we’re willing to do to protect ourselves and those we love, because you will not have time to make a plan in the midst of violence.

Find a means of protection you are comfortable with and get training in it. If that means carrying pepper spray or training in real world self-defense, fine.

If that means using a current handgun, or getting a new handgun and getting your conceal and carry permit, or just being armed at home, then get training and go for it.

 My Take

No matter where you are or what situation you are in, these needs do not change. Preparing ahead of time and building redundancy for these five needs will help to mitigate many situations.



  1. Step 2–Food the MOST vital part of this is store what you eat…then THINK before you store it.

    One of the things I hear when talking to people is … if they are hungry enough they will eat it. So, I ask…what is a food that you hate..positively hate…then offer to make it. If you as the adult/head cook in family know that your hubby/Significant other and/or children, other family that will be with you hate oatmeal…then by all meals stock up! Then when you make those wonderful pots of oatmeal that you don’t like…they hate…you will wonder why you wasted storage space.

    No, they won’t eat it if they hate it…they will wait and soon when you find your stores mangled and mashed because the members of the house when to find something they can eat…you can eat the oatmeal.

    Sound harsh…I don’t want to break bones but maybe dent the armour to find the tender heart underneath. I can’t have mushrooms (hosptial–die allergy) and was told well if that’s all there is…nooo even then. My goal is to get thru when the stuff hits the fan…survive with strong, well adjusted children and grandchildren. Not to live in misery until it’s straightened out.

    I am an old fashioned cook..soup, stews, spaghetti, etc. But knowing my family hates oatmeal (unless it’s cookies and only occasionally cause they honestly dont care for them either)…I am not stocking up…I will have a bit for stretching meals but will not subject them to food they hate.

    This is a bit long…but after talking to family this weekend I made index cards…Rick ‘hates’ this food on front…loves this. Angie ‘hates’ this food…etc. One card for each…then compiled a list that actually expanded my storage! Found that 4 out of 5 kids actually like broccoli (smothered in cheese) and carrots…makes a mom heart sing doesn’t it

  2. Good Stuff Chris! I’m very interested in the fact that you add energy into the equation. Many I’ve read has included Community into the equation also, and for me, some community is necessary for long term sanity.

    Great idea Nancy! Do you know the benefits of bone broth? (I felt led to ask) You may want to research if you don’t.

    In regards to water; I believe everyone needs a Berkey, I love mine but also feel confident in StoveTec two door rocket stove with the StoveTec Water Pasteurizer with WAPI. I also have Solar Pasteurizer with WAPI also. I like having plenty of options for something as critical as water. I have plans for the community I live in, just in case others need it, for building a Slow Sand Filter, one thing I think we all should know about. Along with that the knowledge and stuff needed to build a Zeer pot for cooling certain foods and meds without electricity. Think about it, if you have neighbors less prepared than yourself. You could provide simple solutions for water and other necessities in exchange for say, protection. I highly recommend the book; The Barefoot Architect, along with the Hesperian publication, A Community Guide to Environmental Health. Just sharing, I keep telling myself, I have to have these publications in non-digital form to be really prepared.

    Be Blessed!

  3. Thanks Chris, I enjoyed this article.

  4. A wee bit late to the conversation but I think they should make some type of curriculum for survival needs and have it be a mandatory class for school students. We’ve been so spoiled with all of our electronics and luxuries to make our lives easier that the basic knowledge of survival has become lost. I hesitantly agree with Jim and community. Human nature comes along with community and that’s is one uncontrollable fact. I say that with all due respect but sadly, I feel when the day comes, the person/people with the biggest guns and most ammo will be the ones dictating who survives.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I think a class like that would be great.

      Take the violence out of it, and the people with the most guns and ammo dictate how you live your life to some extent now. How much taxes you pay, what you build on your land, how fast you drive and on and on.

  5. what about oxygen????

    • Chris Ray says:

      Obviously goes without saying, but this fits more in the rule of 3’s. The average human can go 3 minutes without it.

  6. I enjoyed the article thank’s. I really like that you tied relevant scripture in to back up your point. It is nice to see thing’s based on Godly principals. I will spend some time checking out the rest of the site. I hope to see a little more on surviving the wild I feel it is important to be able to make the most out of whatever situation you find yourself in. It is disturbing to me how many people don’t have the preparedness to survive at home without outside help, let alone in the wild.

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