Skyrim Survival Mode Tips & Tricks: How to Survive


Survival Mode in Skyrim is a new addition that’s part of the Creation Club. Similar to fishing, it’s included as part of the free Anniversary Edition patch, though there are some mods that are beneficial to have, like Camping and Adventurer’s Backpacks. These must be purchased separately if you haven’t yet picked up the Anniversary Edition upgrade.

In any case, our Skyrim Survival Mode guide has several tips and tricks to help you stay alive.  

How to Enable and Start Survival Mode in Skyrim

Survival Mode can be activated as soon as you leave the tutorial area in Helgen. It makes the game more challenging by adding new elements and mechanics such as hunger, fatigue, and temperature.

After you escape Helgen, you’ll see a notification telling you about Survival Mode. This can be toggled on or off anytime in the Gameplay Settings panel.

Survival Mode Mechanics

Hunger  Over time, your character will grow hungry. This will decrease your total stamina. To alleviate this, you’ll need to eat cooked food. Simply eating raw food won’t be enough, and doing so can actually lead to diseases. Consider building something like the Fish Hatchery to create a steady source of food.

Fatigue  The Dragonborn just can’t keep going on one adventure after another. You’ll actually need to rest in Survival Mode. If not, fatigue will decrease your total magicka. Ideally, you’ll want to sleep in beds found indoors (i.e., inns, sanctuaries, or houses that you buy). Simply sleeping outside won’t make you well-rested.

Cold vs. Warmth  Climates and weather are probably the two most important factors to consider if you have Survival Mode enabled in Skyrim. Exploring out in the cold will decrease your total health, and swimming in frigid waters will exacerbate this effect. Eventually, your character will simply die.

To counter this, you’ll need to find sources of heat in Survival Mode. Examples include building a campfire in the wilderness (more on this below), eating hot soup, and wearing different types of clothing that increase warmth.

Other Key Factors  Here are a few other things to take note of if you’re playing Skyrim‘s Survival Mode:

  • Fast Travel  Direct teleportation by clicking on a location on the world map won’t work. However, it’s still possible to ride carriages or fly on a dragon.
  • Leveling Up  To level up, you need to sleep in a bed.
  • No Health Regeneration  Health doesn’t regenerate over time, so you’ll need to cast Restoration spells, drink potions, or eat food.

Camping, Fishing, and Adventurer’s Backpack Creations

Have these Creation Club mods enabled is very useful in Survival Mode.

  • Fishing  Fishing becomes a great source of food that you can cook. Moreover, you can build a Fish Hatchery to have a steady supply of fish.
  • Camping  This mod allows you to craft Camping Supplies (each one requires 1x Leather and 3x Firewood). For Firewood, you can easily use a Woodcutter’s Axe to chop logs. You can find some logs just outside of Belethor’s store in Whiterun. When you’re out in the wilderness in Survival Mode and you need a source of heat or a place to sleep, you can use Camping Supplies to automatically create a campsite.
  • Adventurer’s Backpack  These backpacks can be crafted, some of which increase carry weight.

Skyrim Survival Mode or Other Mods

What if you don’t want to try the default Survival Mode experience in Skyrim? Well, that’s totally up to you. You don’t need to enable it. If you do want other options, you can try the following mods instead:

  • Frostfall by Chesko  The mod is akin to Survival Mode, but there are plenty of options that you can tweak as opposed to a single on/off toggle for the entire feature. We consider this as one of the best mods for Skyrim.
  • Campfire by Chesko  Similar to the above mod, this mod is also ideal if you want the added immersion and challenge. It includes support for multiple followers, including the ability to gather wood and construct items. Backpacks are included herein. There’s even a separate skill tree that’s used to bolster your camping and survival abilities.
  • Fur Armor Set by Keung  This Survival Mode type mod adds several armor sets with varying themes. They are considered “Frostfall aware,” which means they add warmth for your character.

And those are the main things you need to know about Survival Mode in Skyrim. It adds a bit of challenge to the overall experience, and there are plenty of other mods that fulfill a similar or even better role whether you own the Anniversary Edition or not. For more Skyrim help, including walkthroughs, builds, and other tips, consider heading over to our main guide page for the game.

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