The Long Dark – Guide to Notetaking

To some, this may come out as very meaningless advice (since it may be a bit troublesome to write), but to many – taking notes during a journey can have a very impactful feeling in the long run.

This guide has been made for those that dismiss notetaking as very plain and boring, and for those that may be curious as to why such a guide has been made in the first place. It is to show, teach and demonstrate how fun, useful and funny it is to take notes after a major event in your road to 500 Days in Survival.

Why Notetaking?

Let’s say you’ve figured out that The Long Dark is an awesome game. And to really do it justice, you decide to take on the challenge of surviving as many days as you can.

You try and fail, learn and apply yourself to really figure out what to do in this silent apocalypse and you set your sight towards that 500 Days Survived achievement. Heck, you even become overconfident and try to do it in Interloper difficulty, but I am pretty sure you get told by the game itself that this is an entirely different ballpark of a game when Interloper is involved.

Well, after you’ve gone through your friends’ advice, some guides, or simply learned from trial and error, you could also read this guide on how to make your experience a lot more interesting.

Let’s get one thing straight here:

  • The road towards Day 500 is a tough one to take. Not by difficulty alone, but by also discipline.

Surviving 500 Days in The Long Dark can easily take you as long as a Month in real life, and we’re talking if you’re gridning all day and all night for that.

What I’m getting at is: you might take some breaks in between reaching those 500 days. There is no shame or weakness in that, no, but what if you’ve taken a 3 month’s worth of a break?

Life happens, so you come back to The Long Dark right after you’ve seen how the Devs have dropped an awesome Quality of Life Update and you get excited to sit down and continue your Survival and whoops – you left off at a random cave in the middle of Hushed River Valley. Oh and would you look at that – no map has been revealed, so you have no idea where you are. Your supplies are running dangerously low and you haven’t got the slightest bit of memory where your main storage is. Then again, why are you so low on health – was it a wolf, was it a bear, were you chasing after a rabbit and fell off of a cliff?

Inconvenient, huh.

Well, fret not, as the Devs for this game have made it almost impossible to lose track of your progress (with a little bit of your own effort of course) – they have developed a Notes Section for every day. Every. Single. Day.

Time to make the most of it!

How Many Types of Notes and How to Access Them

First thing’s first, you would need to know where you can make your notes:

Go to your Inventory and on the top pane above, select the open book, journal thingy. That’s your Journal, where you can access your Skills, Collections, Rock Caches, Logs, Stats, and General Notes.

Second, there are two types of Notes that you can take. There are:

  • Daily Notes (These can be taken for each day, individually).
  • Note: In order to make a note for a specific day, you must select the number from your Journal and then select the Notes pane above it, right next to Daily Log:
  • General Notes (These speak for themselves – they stay at one spot, for good)

Advice On How to Use Both Types of Notes

Daily Notes

Daily Notes are a great way to journal an important event during your Survival walkthrough.

Let’s say you’ve had a couple of boring days – foraging, cooking deer, crafting, and you’ve decided to explore outside to hunt more Deer because you’re out of meat. You’re walking around, and suddenly a Bear appears. Instead of popping an emergency stim and begin racing it to the nearest building, you draw your Bow and you shoot it, right between the eyes, killing it instantly. It’s a possible, but very risky feat, but I’m sure you would be proud with your Marksmanship there.

Well, why not take out your notebook and mark it inside? All bears in my Save file are named Fat Mike, so let’s say something like:

“Was out searching for Deer and all of a sudden, Fat Mike starting wanting an autograph. I don’t like nutty fans, so Fat Mike would need to ask for another photograph at another time, in another life. Don’t need any Deer meat now, though!”

Or, you have been exploring a very challenging area like Ash Canyon. After completely exploring it, you can simply leave a note of your impressions about it.

All in all, here are some ideas on when you could take some Daily notes:

  • Journaling a dangerous experience
  • Marking an area with an “X” and writing down what it stands for
  • Keeping track of your inventory
  • Writing down future plans for moving to another area, step by step
  • Your impressions on the current area – what it lacks, what it has surplus of – is it a good base
  • Writing out your angry thoughts about bears and wolves

I might sound like your art teacher, but honestly, you can write whatever the hell you want.

General Notes

General Notes are quite useful to write down important information, which will be easy to find at any given time.

You found a second rifle? Great! Why bring it over to your base while you already have 50 KG of load on you? Write it down and whenever you feel bored, you got yourself an adventure planned out!

You figured out something on your own, which you didn’t know before? Write it down! I myself had 420 Hours in The Long Dark until I figured out that you can eat Cooked, yet Ruined, foods.

Again, some ideas for you as to how you can take your General Notes:

  • Important information regarding useful items (A spare Rile, Mountain Rope etc.) and their locations
  • Useful tips that you have learned during your adventures
  • The total number of curing/cured skins and pelts you have
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13616 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.


  1. Am I the only one that’s glad that I’m not the only one that keeps a running – sweary, very sweary – commentary in my head, directed at Mack? Actually it’s kinda like Gordon Ramsey – Mack is the idiot sandwich aka the chef who should know better, and Astrid is the well-meaning, precocious child aka ‘Oh dear. It’ll be okay’ and so on.

    Basically I swear at Mack, but am way more reassuring and positive with Astrid.

  2. This is a great guide that highlights a crucial feature of the game that’s easy to miss. I always make sure to write the IRL date when making notes since I’m on of those people who takes breaks for months. Its so useful and cathartic to note down all the shit that goes down!

  3. Appreciate you taking the time to write out this guide! Lot of points i never would of thought about playing on my own! Anymore I tend to forget more than I remember so i’ll try this out next time i play.

  4. Thanks for this guide, a different perspective on using the notes. I did not find taking notes within the game to be practical, as it’s helpful for me to be able to see my surroundings when writing, especially when logging inventory in a specific location. I use an external source (my ipad) for notetaking and logging.

  5. I started writing a book series as if I was Mackenzie. Really adds to the game and immerses you fully into believing you’re there.

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