The Best Urban Survival Tips

Here is some advice on how to survive in an urban environment.


Don’t think that you can wait out everything hidden in the basement of your house with a large supply of food and water. If there are no police forces looking for you, there are still criminal gangs and hungry neighbors who will cross your plans. It’s better to be flexible and mobile than to stay in only one place.

If you decide to stay at home you should prepare a hideout inside your place (under the roof or in the basement) in case somebody is raiding your house. An Albanian girl once told me how she kept hidden in a closet while the Serbian police looted her flat.

If things get really rough you might want to go underground: the sewage system of your city might be the solution.


You will travel light. You can’t take a lot of food and water with you, but you can carry money, cigarettes which you can swap with food.

Take a big screwdriver with you. It will serve you as a weapon and it’s also a good burglary tool to pry open window frames and some doors. You might have to steal your food.

The best time to move is the early morning. Most people still sleep, but there are enough people on the streets so you don’t raise suspicion.

Before you enter or cross a street, stop, listen and watch! Stay away from gatherings of people, don’t enter blind alleys and always plan ahead.


Use every opportunity to drink and don’t be squeamish!

Even without water supply, there is often some drinkable water left in a toilet reservoir.

Water is for drinking only. Forget your good looks and smells in a survival situation.


Eat whenever you can and don’t waste energy. The hungrier you get the lower your inhibitions regarding what is edible and what is not. 


You have to blend in. Wear what other people are wearing. Take a warm jacket with you, even when it’s hot outside: you won’t always have a nice bed with blankets to sleep on. And always sleep with your clothes on!

Gun or no gun?

Although guns were easy to obtain, none of the people I talked to had a firearm. The problem with a firefight is that you have to win it every time; you lose only once and you’re dead. I think it's better to try to run away from a dangerous situation or to get mugged and beaten up than to start shooting around. Still, in some situations a firearm might save your life.


Take a small radio receiver with you to stay updated. If the alkaline batteries are down, put them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, this will give them some extra power.


Like in the wilderness, urban survival demands a strong will and a certain attitude. You will have to break the law, drink toilet water or fish for something to eat in dumpsters. The sooner you adapt, the higher the chance to make it out alive.


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