Urban Survival Tips

By on May 10, 2014

The vast majority of articles on survival tips you see seem to be geared toward wilderness survival, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Wilderness survival skills are hugely important, and will help you in any setting. However, having said that, there are some skills that are only applicable in an urban setting, and these seldom get a mention articles dealing with wilderness survival (you’ll see why in just a moment). The fact is though, that right now, in the United States, nearly 80% of our population lives in urban centers. That means if and when disaster should strike, four fifths of the US population could benefit from survival tips with an urban flair.

That said, here are the top three things you can do to make your life easier in an urban setting:

1) Get the Lights Back On Electricity is life.

It is, in large part, what makes the modern city possible. That said, when disaster strikes, the moment all of the immediate needs are attended to, the moment you are no longer in dire physical danger, the very next concern should be getting the lights back on, even if only in rudimentary fashion. There are a number of ways to do that, and your preparation kit needs to have several different means of providing power. Depending on the nature of the crisis, waiting for “the system” to respond and turn the lights on for you could range anywhere from a fool’s errand to a lethal mistake, and you don’t have to.


The technology exists today that makes it possible for you to at least have limited power with few, if any interruptions, no matter what the crisis. Your options here range from having a few solar panels and a small battery array handy, to keeping a diesel powered generator in your shed (not gas, specifically diesel, because you can make diesel fuel yourself, or even run the generator on waste vegetable oil in a pinch), to a small hand crank generator capable of powering small tools and appliances. It doesn’t take much to collect the full set! Additionally, you can buy off-grid electrical appliances like Stirling Engines that can help you provide electricity for the duration of the crisis. Remember, you don’t need to power everything…forget the TV, Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, etc. What you’re really going for in cases like these are the tools that can get you back on your feet. How much difference do you think it would make if you had sufficient power to recharge a full set of 20v battery powered tools (everything from a skill saw, sawzal, drill, and pneumatic nail gun)? With that and a couple days, do you think you could improve your situation? You absolutely could!

2) Create a Digital Survival Library.

Don’t rely on “the cloud,” because when disaster strikes, you may or may not be able to access it. Instead, keep digital copies of important blog articles and eBooks on survival topics on three different flash drives, each stored in separate locations. Update your collection at least twice a year. A 16gig flash drive will cost you almost nothing, and can store literally thousands of survival books. Assuming you’ve followed the advice in the first tip (and if you’re serious about putting the urban survival tips you know into practice, you better have!), you’ll have the power to run the computer and be able to access every cunning survival tip known to man, provided you’ve made collecting them a part of your disaster planning. See, you don’t have to know everything under the sun…you just have to be able to access the data. Make sure you can!


Added refinement: If you want to protect your digital investment from nuclear or other electromagnetic interference, keep an older laptop and your flash drives in a small, homemade Faraday cage in a small bit of closet space. Easy to build and cheap insurance that guarantees you’ll have technology, no matter what the situation). The bottom line is, human beings are genetically hard wired to be tool users. Technology is our thing. It’s our leg up, and making smart use of technology is first among all survival tips (and has been for our entire history). You need to be certain that as much as possible, you preserve your ability to access and make use of technology when disaster strikes. He who has the best toys will be miles ahead.

3) Seed Banks and Grow Towers

Seeds kept in the freezer will last up to five years, and if you’re living in an urban area, you’re not going to be able to pop down to the local grocery post emergency to pick up something to eat. Keep a seed stock, and start growing some of your own food now. Replace and renew the seed stock every five years. Even if you live in an apartment and have no yard, you can grow significant amounts of food in grow towers fashioned from recycled 2-liter soda bottles. Add in some window boxes and you can grow a shocking amount of your own food. By itself, grow towers and window boxes won’t be enough, but if you have even a small amount of yard space, you can set up a small greenhouse and be all but self sufficient, and even if you don’t, you’re still miles ahead of those who haven’t taken this step. This is good practice for anyone and just makes sense, even if you’re not prepping for disaster.

There are literally hundreds of survival tips that are only really applicable in an urban setting, but these are three of the bigger ones, and if you do nothing but these three, you’ll be well situated should disaster strike, and you find yourself having to survive in a post emergency urban setting.

About essentialadam