The Long Dark – Survival Mode Guide

A guide on the survival mode in The Long Dark.


  • Pilgrim – Allows 5 active feats and the supply rate is higher and more forgiving. Animals don’t attack on site.
  • Voyageur – Allows 4 active feats and the wildlife will seek you out. Less resources but still not a huge challenge.
  • Stalker – For veteran players, allows 3 active feats and wildlife will be quite agro. Conditions are really harsh.
  • Interloper – Starts with tiny resources and the world evolves to be harsher the longer alive. Only 2 active feats and is for the top tier players.
  • Custom – You can change spawn rates with no feats progression due to this.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


You can choose a map at the starting menu for your survival adventure but for this i’m choosing random. It displays all the possible areas you can adventure into by pressing M on your keyboard.

Note: You gotta find updated maps to gain more information in each area.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

First Night

Depending on your chosen difficulty you’ll spawn in the middle of no where with a certain amount of items. What should you be doing on your first night?

  • Walk around and look for shelter.
  • Pick up anything you can burn.
  • Look for a lamp.
  • Look for food.
  • Look for any research books.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide



Check all houses and buildings. All types of items can be found inside from papers to tools that you will use later on. Buildings also hold things like beds and fire pits for cooking and resting if you need them.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


Make sure to check the inside of cars and the visor/glove box thing. The player can find food and all types of small things inside these parts. One would assume we’re looking for the keys to drive the car.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


Tools range from hunting knives used on deers and some boxes to the likes of lanterns for light in dark places. Note the hunting knife is not classed as a weapon which had me a new player really confused when I picked it up thinking it was in the weapon slot.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

In the snow

Check in the snow as you’re progressing through areas.

Back packs and med kits are legit just laying in the snow some times and can give great stuff. Loot dead bodies and animal skins.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


You progress feats in the menu when starting the survival match by researching books you find in the wild while surviving. It consumes time and lowers your stats by reading them so be careful you don’t die while reading.

These can be unlocked and used for bonuses to help you if you would like.

Like less calorie consumption.


You can write yourself notes in the menu by going into the journal menu and clicking on a day and switching to the notes tab.

  • Write places.
  • To do lists.
  • Goals.

Just a little tip.

Day & Night

You can tell what time it is roughly by pressing tab and observing the diagram in the top right corner of the players screen.

Note: From this diagram I can tell it’s roughly early morning.

Important for knowing when the next day is and when you’ll need to get light.



Stats control the likely hood of your survival during The long dark. If your hunger and food is down or your resting is fading, you’re gonna have a hard time surviving.

  • Warmth – How much temp the player is exposed to. The temp will lower if you’re below 0°C and will climb if you’re above 1°C. Staying indoors and resting in a bed is great way to raise but walking around in the elements without good clothing or a light source like a torch will lower it fast. If your bar reaches 0%, the player will suffer from hypothermia and die in 3 hours.
  • Energy – How tired or how much energy the player has left. Using a stim pack will make the player gain full energy for like 2 mins but will crash towards 0% after they come down from the high. You must sleep or drink cups of coffee to raise it, you can no longer run if it’s at 0% and you can only hold 15kg worth of stuff.
  • Thirst – How much liquid or water the player has in their system. Takes two days to die from 100% water gauge but doesn’t need to be fixed straight away. Cook/boil water at a fire pit to raise it.
  • Hunger – How many calories or simply how much food the player has in their system. Takes 4 days to die from hunger. Eat food found in the game or cook canned food by the fire to raise it.

Health bar

Also known is a condition but when less than 10% health the screen blurs out like you just took a shot of LSD. Blood loss can cause a drain on the players health that you will need to heal with a bandage. You can raise your health a tiny bit with staying well fed. Sleeping is the best way of healing your health just like in real life.



You’ll find research books laying around areas in the long dark, you must open these and read them for a max of 5 hours for the point increases.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

Note: 5 hours will drain abit of resources. You cann’t read in the dark btw.

Skill tree

As you can see reading these books goes towards a skill tree you can find in the menu while you survive. Leveling these up will help alot during your journey.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


In death we are greeted with a bunch of the stats that we have generated during our play through.


  • Days survived.
  • Distance travelled.
  • Places explored.
  • Resources used.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

Use this to further future play throughs and adapt.


You’ll find papers laying around buildings in the long dark. These are written by the backers of the game when it was in need of funding. These have random messages on them, one for example is the recipe for bread.

Very strange but non the less cool.

Cooking & Boiling

Food and water

Use the fire pits that you can make yourself or the ones inside to cook and boil items found in the wild. It’s common sense you can’t drink dirty water so you gotta find a can or cup and place it on the fire pit and boil it for around 15 mins.

Can opener

Use the can opener tool to open cans of soup and such to cook and consume. These grant both food and water for the player when consumed and cooked.

Spoiled food

Don’t eat raw food or get the spoiled status effect.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


Use the crowbar on locked lockers for some generally better items. This requires a crowbar and the patience to open one of these. You can score items like ammo and new rarity clothes for use.


These are just awful, you cannot light torches or make camp fires.

You’ll start to freeze very rapidly and you must find shelter.

Very easy to die in these conditions.


Out in the wilderness, clothing is like armour against the elements. Wear layers to stay warm. And remember, wind is your enemy! Clothing offers different protection from cold and windchill. Your clothes can get wet from blowing snow or if you fall into water, which makes them ineffective and increases your risk of hypothermia or even frostbite. Keep your clothes as dry as you can! Finally, clothing can protect you from physical injuries as from falling or tangling with wildlife. Balance all these factors against the weight and mobility cost of your combined clothing.

Clothing stats

  • Warmth.
  • Wind.
  • Water.
  • Armour.
  • Mobility.

Just like it suggests you can choose what clothing build you want to wear depending on what you think you will struggle against the most. I pretty just use warmth builds because I hate the temp.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

Note: Tells your clothing build stats in the bottom left.


What do you think of this right?

Can you see, I don’t think so.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

How do I fix?

So the player should use torches which can be made from fire pits or find items like:

  • Lanterns.
  • Torches.
  • Flash lights.

The simple act of picking up tools for later use will help new and current players.

The tools will need supplies like oil and batteries but those can be found while searching through the game.

  • Can openers.
  • Tool bars.
  • Hatchets.
  • Hunting knife.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


  • Warming up – Consume hot drinks, increased temp by 4.
  • Improved rest – Herbal tea makes sleeping gain better.
  • Fatigue reduced – Drank coffee/energy drink. Increased energy by 10% and lowers consumption.
  • Well fed – Don’t stay hungry for 72 hours. Carry extra 5kg and 5% more health.
  • Energy boost – Drink energy drink, Fatigue and stamina are fully healed and lasts 30 mins.


  • Blood loss – Caused by falling and will reduce health by 30% an hour.
  • Bruising – Falling from high places and struggling. Makes things worse than normal.
  • Burns – Reduces ability to heal and is caused by touching fire.
  • Frostbite – Lowers health by 10% while being touched by ice cold conditions.
  • Laceration – Wolf struggle and leaves blood trails in the snow.
  • Sprained ankle – Can’t run and caused by falling.
  • Sprained wrist – Can’t use guns, stones or bows. Falling from high places and struggles.
  • Pain – Falling and struggles, gives blurred vision and distorted sounds.


  • Cabin fever – Spend 6 hours in a house, can’t rest indoors for 24 hours.
  • Dysentery – Drinking bad water. Thirst empties really quickly.
  • Food poisoning – Eat spoiled food.
  • Hypothermia – freeze, tired twice as fast.
  • Infection – Long blood loss. Fatigue is twice as fast.
  • Parasites – Consume wold/bear meat. 2% increased fatigue a day.
  • Headache – Drinking energy drinks gives shots of pain.


  • Rabbits.
  • Wolves.
  • Deers.
  • Owls.
  • Bears.
  • Fish.
  • Birds.


Breaking the ice

The player can find fishing holes in the sheds located on ice, you must use a tool like a knife or a crowbar to break it open. Then you can use the likes of a fishing line made from a line and a hook to start fishing.

Note: Takes 1-infinite hours to fish depending on your choice.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


The long dark isn’t a game about weapons, it’s just a small feature in this survival game so if you find one it’s very rare.

  • Rocks.
  • Rifles.
  • Made knife.
  • Magnum / revolver.



You’ll need to have flares or use the basic matches that go out every 20 seconds.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide


A cave will be basic shelter to sleep in if you really need it.

Use a sleeping bag. Can also cook and boil inside.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

Ice sheds

Can find sheds on the ice used for fishing.

  • Farms.
  • Plane crashes.

The Long Dark - Survival Mode Guide

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13543 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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