Shared by Tatanko on June 9, 2015
The goal of this survival guide is to teach travelers of Chernarus how to survive off the land rather than allowing themselves to become dependent on finding loot in urban areas. As the game progresses in its development, this skill will become more and more necessary. Whether or not surviving on scavenged items is possible, being independent of that need is an advantage over your competition and ensures that your success will be far less reliant on having good luck.

Please read this guide with the understanding that although it is possible to survive entirely in the wilderness, there are still some positives to incorporating urban scavenging into your routine. Some useful items simply cannot be found in the wilderness (i.e. metal wire) and may be useful to you when camping in a remote location. Because crafting is such an integral part to making the most of your survival, you will eventually need some items which are not possible to find in nature.

Whether you’re looking to become a hermit or simply want establish a solid backup plan for yourself, this guide should contain information that is useful to you.

There are many positives to utilizing the wilderness:

1. Less waste.
No spilled food from cans, and plants & animals have multiple useful byproducts. Even better, most of what you gather or produce will be in pristine condition.

2. Less risk.
If you don’t need to leave the wilderness to gather supplies, you can more easily avoid running into other people — who may be hostile. Just as important, you’re more easily able to create a supply cache that makes getting back up and running after a tragic incident that much easier.

3. Ready availability.
Everything you could ever want from the wilderness is generally available close by and in sufficient quantities. Need food? Find an apple tree or a Canina bush. Broken leg? Grab some twigs and tear up that shirt you’re wearing to make a splint.

  • a. Everything is close by because the wilderness is all around you.
  • b. Supplies are unlimited. You will never be able to pick every apple, chop down every tree, kill every animal, or drink all the water.
  • c. Variety is tremendous. As of 0.57, you have: three fruits, four vegetables, ten kinds of meat, five different animal byproducts, and five raw wood materials at your disposal. The number of items that can be crafted or converted from these materials is extensive.

Foraging

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Perhaps the most useful skill of all is the ability to pick up what is around you and make something you need out of it. Living off the land has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is foraging. Even if you have grand plans of hunting animals and establishing a camp, you’ll need to gather supplies and and work up the energy first.

In this case, foraging doesn’t only apply to plants. Gathering small stones is possible in any area where the ground is bare dirt, pebbles, or sand. Once you’ve gathered a small stone, a knife can be crafted from it which you’ll need to cut resources from plants or animals. This should be priority number one when you are just getting started.

If you find yourself desperate for nutrition or a clean source of hydration, picking fruit is a quick and easy way of getting by. As of now, only fresh apples and red berries are safe to consume straight from the plant, with blue berries being poisonous. It would be wise to learn how to identify each type of plant to avoid harvesting and consuming something that may be harmful to you. Knowing where to look for these plants may also be the difference between life and death: apple trees are located mostly around towns and farms, whereas berry bushes are seemingly everywhere.

Picking fruit is just the start, however. Plants and the ground beneath your feet yield a number of other very helpful resources. The most versatile of these resources is the wooden stick; with it you have the beginnings of a fireplace, a backpack, a splint, or even a trap for catching small game. The larger variant (“long wooden stick”) is equally if not more useful, with cooking, fishing, and hunting counted among its uses. Smaller wooden sticks can be gathered from the forest floor or cut from nearly any bush you see, and the longer version can be cut from any tree using a knife of some sort.

Certain trees (oak and birch) will produce chips of bark when cut with a knife for you to use as fire starting material, which you’ll need in combination with the smaller sticks to get a fire started. Trees also yield some amount firewood when chopped down, which varies by the size and type of tree. Firewood is not necessary for starting or maintaining a fire, but it will burn much longer than sticks and thus your fire will not need replenished as often to continue burning.

Hunting & Trapping

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At its most basic, hunting would involve you chasing a chicken with a stone knife in your hands. That strategy won’t likely work against most other animals however, so you’ll need something more capable like a bow. In a later section, I’ll detail how to craft one using what is around you, along with the arrows to shoot from it.

This section is not intended to be a thorough guide to hunting, it is merely here to detail what it is you can gain from it. Needless to say, hunting involves some patience and the willingness to roam around a bit. Animals are easiest to spot towards the middle of the map, away from the coast and below the northern highway.

Each kind of animal will yield a particular list (and amount) of resources, but all animals provide at least two pieces of raw meat, some bones, a pile of guts, and a pelt. The exception to this rule is the chicken, which provides feathers instead of a pelt. All of the larger animals provide animal lard in addition to the other items.

Trapping is a bit different from hunting in that it is more passive and can be done almost anywhere. Currently, trapping will only work for rabbits (on land) and sardines (saltwater). You’ll need metal wire to craft a rabbit snare, which can then be placed in an open field or in the woods. A small fish trap can be created from a plastic bottle, and once baited with earthworms it can be placed in the sea to catch sardines. Both types of trap must be left alone for a while in order to be successful.

Fishing

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“Regular” fishing with a pole is an excellent way of supplementing your diet in the event that hunting and trapping are either not possible or too dangerous for your liking. You’ll need to create a fishing rod from a long wooden stick and some rope (or guts) in combination with a fishing hook (or bone hook) baited with earthworms. Some patience is required for fishing to be successful, but you can undertake this peaceful activity anywhere there is a body of water other than the sea.

Any animal you shoot, trap, or catch will need various amounts of preparation in order to use its individual resources. This can be done with any knife, including a stone one. Skinning an animal will produce everything it has to offer, including meat, pelt, and other items. These resources may need additional preparation of their own before they can be used to craft something or be cooked into ready-to-eat food.

Gardening

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Hardly the most exciting activity in the game, gardening is nonetheless one of the best ways to maintain your health and serves as the cornerstone of any well-established camp for a number of reasons. While a farming hoe or shovel will need to be scavenged from somewhere first (along with some seeds), once you’ve obtained the proper tool you can dig yourself a garden plot and begin growing.

As of now, your choice in what to grow will be mostly dependent on what is available to you. Players are able to grow peppers, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini; but to grow any of those things you must first find a packet of seeds or an example of that fruit/vegetable that you can obtain seeds from using a knife. In the case of potatoes, you would need to find a whole potato to use as a “seed” for growing the corresponding plant. The larger the fruit or vegetable, the more valuable it tends to be in terms of nutrition.

Most every plant produces some sort of byproduct in the form of the vaguely-named “plant material.” This plant material can be used to create fertilizer for new plants or, when combined with other materials in a barrel, be used to dye clothing. Plants grown in a garden can also be cut open with a knife to obtain more seeds that will allow you to continue growing new plants.

Crafting

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Once you’ve gathered all of the many resources available to you, the next step is crafting tools, clothing, and other equipment to make surviving easier.

Let’s begin with tools. The most basic of these, as I mentioned earlier, is the stone knife. Simply search for a small stone on a patch of dirt or sand, and once you’ve obtained one it can be crafted into a knife by looking at the same ground where you found the stone. This knife can be used for any job normally done by a manufactured knife: harvest plants and animals, cut items into smaller pieces, etc.

Hunting, fishing, and trapping require tools as well obviously. For hunting, a bow can be crafted using a long wooden stick and either rope or guts as the string; arrows require you to sharpen some smaller wooden sticks with a knife and add chicken feathers collected from either an actual chicken or a chicken coop. Arrows can be made more deadly by attaching a bone to create an arrowhead. A fishing rod for use in ponds and lakes can similarly be crafted with a long wooden stick and rope or guts; a fishing hook can be obtained through scavenging homes or alternatively crafted from bones collected when hunting.

Snare traps for catching a rabbit are a combination of wooden sticks and metal wire, the latter of which must be obtained through scavenging. Two types of fish trap exist: the smaller of the two is simply a plastic bottle that has been modified using a knife and can be used to catch sardines while the larger trap is constructed using netting and wire and is used to catch larger fish. Fishing, either with a pole or a trap, will require you to bait with earthworms which can be obtained by digging at the ground with your stone knife.

Crafting goes well beyond tools, though. Additional equipment that can be fabricated includes a splint for your injured limb (stick+rag), a torch to light the night (stick+rag), improvised rope for crafting other items (6+6 rags), a hand drill kit to light fires (stick+bark), and the fireplace itself to keep you warm (stick+bark/rags/paper). Torches can be enhanced by adding resin from a tree, too, and fireplaces are as complicated as you’re willing to make them — such as adding eight stones to create a stone oven on which you can cook with a cooking pot or frying pan.

Clothing can be created from leather, but to obtain leather you must first tan an animal pelt into usable leather. At this time, this is done using garden lime. Leather clothing can be crafted using scraps of this tanned leather in combination with either a leather sewing kit or a bone hook that’s been fashioned from an animal bone. The list of available items includes a jacket, pants, vest, hat, boots, and even a pouch that can be used to carry water, all of which will help greatly expand your inventory space from where you begin with only four inventory slots.

Similar to clothing, backpacks can be created from natural resources. A simple courier bag can be created using either a burlap sack or animal pelt in combination with rope, and then that courier bag can be upgraded to a “full” backpack by adding wooden sticks. Alternatively, a leather sack can be created using several pieces of tanned leather and some method of sewing as outlined in the paragraph about clothing.

For a semi-complete list of craftable items, please visit this page: http://dayz.gamepedia.com/Crafting

Cooking

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Though we may not have any advanced recipes for creating complex food just yet, cooking is still a crucial element to surviving in the wild. Nearly anything that you can cook in this game is also able to be eaten raw, but there are usually benefits associated with taking the time to prepare the food first. The biggest benefit, of course, is eliminating the high chance that you’ll get sick from eating uncooked food (which mainly applies to meat).

Though more methods are on the way, we are currently limited to two cooking techniques: boiling in a cooking pot or roasting over a fire on a stick. The easier and less involved of the two is the stick. Simply cut a long wooden stick from a tree and place whatever you’d like to cook on the end of the stick, then hold it over the fire. This can be done with any kind of meat, fruit, or vegetable. Roasting in this way will make meat safe to eat and put fruits & vegetables in a state where they will last longer and be easier to obtain seeds from.

The use of a cooking pot to boil food is more difficult, but makes it easier to prepare large amounts of food in a short period of time. A cooking pot can be used either with a cooking tripod or on top of a stone oven. In order to prepare food properly and not burn it, either water or animal lard must be added to the pot. This method enables you to cook four items at a time and at a much faster pace than roasting, making it ideal to prepare food for a group of people or to preserve food so that it is ready to eat on your travels.

Scavenging

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A good survivor recognizes that not everything can be had in the wilderness. While everything that you absolutely need can be obtained through smart utilization of nature, there are a few items that are worth the trouble to collect from towns and farms that will allow you to stay in the wilderness for longer periods of time or make your life a little easier.

The following is a short list of items (in no particular order) that you should be on the lookout for in the event that you decide to scavenge a town:
1. Matches
2. Rags
3. Books
4. Rope
5. Ax/Hatchet
6. Metal wire
7. Burlap sack
8. Compass
9. Gun (& ammo)
10. Netting
11. Garden lime
12. Seed packets
13. Farming hoe / Shovel
14. Sewing kit / Leather sewing kit
15. Medicine (morphine, epinephrine, alcohol, water purification tabs, charcoal tabs, antibiotics)
16. Tent

Cannibalism

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Whether or not you think you’re willing to eat another player, any survivor worth their salt will admit that it’s a valid tactic for self-preservation. Consuming human flesh is not without its consequences however, and as such it should always be your last resort. The next time you kill another player, ask yourself: “Should I take the meat with me?”

In the event that you’re hunting down another player to feast upon, it’s likely that you’re either desperate enough to need the nutrition or you’re… “curious.” Either way, make your kill swift so you don’t waste any additional resources tracking your prey. Once you’ve killed them, you can skin them like you would any animal. The result will be four human steaks and a small pile of five bones to use as you see fit.

This guide is just the beginning and is only current as of 0.57. I will continue to update this guide as there are new options and capabilities for survival, including: cooking recipes, medicine, and shelter. Thanks for reading!

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