Prepper Survival Scenarios | Pick Your Tools

by Tommy Grant

This is an updated look at hypothetical survival scenarios, from our original post in 2017. We’ve added more scenarios to consider and will continue to update in the future to keep things fresh. Let us know any specific scenarios you might want to see.

Survival scenarios are a great way to test your problem-solving skills. Just talking with other preppers about the many ways to solve problems is a healthy way to keep your mind sharp and focused. Full-fledged hypothetical survival scenarios are often used at emergency management agencies and the military to conduct preparedness exercises, do SERE testing, or to just teach people.

Everyone can bring a different perspective to solving a problem or confronting a situation. We’ve made several hypothetical survival scenarios to test yourself, others, or to just get people talking.


Hypothetical Survival Scenarios

While they aren’t practical for planning, hypothetical survival scenarios with limited equipment choices are great for discussions, icebreakers, or just pondering. It’s always interesting to see what people prioritize differently for survival.

We have the survival rule of threes (which is just a rule of thumb), but there is no technically ‘right’ answer to any of these scenarios.


Rusty’s Deserted Island Choices

I am not amazing at wilderness survival or bushcraft, but I would like to think that I am resourceful enough to survive with these resources. I think my choices reflect how I prefer multi-purpose tools to give me more opportunities in bad situations.

Item 1: Flare Gun

It looks like we get the gun here and four flares. I would bank on using two of the flares to start fires and try to save the last two to signal nearby ships for help.

I don’t have much experience starting fires using primitive skills, so having a tool that starts fires and signals for help is a great addition.

Item 2: Pot

A pretty hefty cast iron pot would be a pain to move around, but it can do so much for your survival. The main use would be to boil any freshwater I can find on the island. I would cook with it and use it as a container if I had to.

Item 3: Packable Kayak

Deserted islands are usually pretty small. Small islands don’t have a ton of resources. I would plan on using the kayak to get out of dodge, if necessary.

If I’m not going anywhere, I’m using the kayak to collect water or as a shelter. It’s a versatile pick and the only reasonable way you’re getting out- so it’s well worth the two picks it counts for.


FJ’s Deserted Island Choices

It will be interesting to see how many items we all have in common! I bet it depends on who watches the TV series “Alone”. On that show, they are allowed 10 items plus a photo! The items I chose specifically address what I believe to be the most fundamental needs of shelter, water, and food. Here are my four items:

Item 1: Saw

My priority for castaway survival is shelter. The TV show “Naked and Afraid” shows people on deserted islands getting burned badly by the sun. A shelter would keep you from getting wet, too hot, or too cold. With a saw, you could build the shelter you need. You also need the saw to cut down small trees for many other purposes.

Some examples are a pallet to sleep on, benches, and shelves. You need the saw to cut wood for a fire. Also, to create a spear or arrows for hunting and self-defense. Finally, when you get bored, bend it and whack it with a rock to use it as an interesting musical instrument.

Item 2: Matches

You won’t last long without fresh clean water, so a water filter will keep you alive. But with a fire, you could boil water and make it drinkable. You can also use fire to stay warm, cook something you catch, and burnish sticks to shape them. The only item on the list to make fire is matches, so you need to build a fire and keep it running all the time (even in the rain). To do that, you need to know how to create and store embers that you use to restart the fire. A quick Google will present you with many ways to do it.

Item 3: Rope

A rope will be your lifeline (pun intended) for so many reasons. You can use it to tie a shelter together, build traps, and drag heavy logs. Also, note that the rope is multi-stranded. Just like the many fibers on the inside of the paracord, you can take some of the rope apart to make threads or fishing lines. Then you don’t need the fishing rod which will get clogged with sand quickly and stop working. Make a hook out of a shell or barbed bush limb and you have a reasonable fishing rig.

Item 4: Pot

How can you boil water without a pot?! I almost forgot this important item! It can be used to gather water and cook the food you catch. The pot and the matches are your water survival kit that will keep you alive longer. Also, note that it has a handle and a lid. Both can be used as tools. The handle could be shaped into a barb or gig. The lid could be used as a frying surface. The point is to use every part!

My four items won’t guarantee survival but will give you a fighting chance to acquire the basic necessities of shelter, water, and food.


The Final Word

There are a few differences in our choices, but the same school of thought for the basic necessities. What four items would be your choice?

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Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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