Top 10 Skills You Need to Have to Survive in a Bunker

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
Living in a bunker would be much harder than you think. For this list, we'll be looking at the essential knowledge and expertise needed to live underground. Our countdown includes Mental Health & Coping Skills, Basic Grooming & Hygiene, First Aid, and more!

Top 10 Skills You Need to Have to Survive in a Bunker

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Skills You Need to Have to Survive in a Bunker.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the essential knowledge and expertise needed to live underground.

Could you survive in a bunker? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Mental Health & Coping Skills

To say that the apocalypse is stressful would be an understatement. It’s always important to prioritize your mental health but even more so in this situation. Once you’re safe, make sure to check in with your group and yourself. When you’re settled in a bunker, try to replicate some version of your life before. Encourage everyone to socialize, maybe play some games — anything to feel relaxed. You’ll need to adopt a survival mentality and you can’t do that unless your head is clear. Not only will you improve your overall mood and physical health, it’s also necessary to keep your sanity, especially in an end of the world situation.

#9: Surveillance & Security

The entrances/exits to your bunker need to be secure and obscured from the outside. Knowing how to install alarms and cameras around the property will help identify potential intruders before they can get inside. Some bunkers have a control room where someone can monitor the footage from the cameras and alert others. Having communication systems in place will also aid in keeping your location secure. Use an AM/FM receiver, shortwave radio, ham radio, and/or walkie-talkies to relay information to and from the outside world. And when you need to be rescued, you should know how to signal for help using fire, smoke, flares, flags, and/or lights. Gathering materials to spell out messages like S.O.S. is a classic technique as well.

#8: Crafting & Building

Being able to throw something together is an underrated skill. You need to be a MacGyver of sorts, because you never know when you’ll have to create a makeshift, well, anything. It could be a device, a weapon, or even an apocalypse-proof baby crib. At some point, you will find yourself without supplies and you’ll need to experiment with DIY. Any type of woodworking, sewing, knitting, engineering, or building skills will come in handy when you’re living in a bunker. And knowing how to make and repair clothing is a valuable skill. Clothing needs to be appropriate for the current weather, and in some instances, should keep your body protected from any potential radioactive or toxic pollutants in the air.

#7: Basic Grooming & Hygiene

Grooming may not seem important in a survival situation, but it’s a vital aspect of our health. Poor hygiene can result in illness and infection, which can have fatal consequences. Bacteria and parasites can get on your clothes and skin, or in your hair. Know how to identify these to avoid contaminating your supplies and spreading them to others in your bunker. Always have a way to clean yourself, your clothes, and your surroundings. You will likely need to conserve water, so it’s a good idea to stock up on wet wipes and sanitizer. And don’t forget about your teeth! Having a toothache or infection would be a hellish experience in survival situations. Toothpaste may be scarce, and you’ll have to know alternative cleaning methods.

#6: Repairs & Maintenance

Building and setting up a bunker requires a lot of features, and you’ll have to make sure you know how to maintain them. (Remember those cameras?) Things like plumbing, air ventilation, electricity, and water supply all need tended to. These are life-saving skills. For example, you could prevent a flood by fixing a pipe. There are also basic repairs and improvements needed like fixing a shelf, reinforcing a door, or patching holes. A multitool is a valuable item to have with you especially if you don’t have access to other tools.

#5: Protection & Self-Defense

Being able to protect yourself and others is imperative. It’s not necessary to own a gun but you need to have some form of weapon. Have multiple items to use as weapons like knives, flares, or any kind of blunt object. And using weapons, especially firearms and crossbows, requires proper training. When you leave the bunker for supplies, always be on alert for whatever dangers await outside. At times hand to hand combat may be the only option. Basic self defense tactics are important as well, since you’ll always need to be prepared when you least expect it. But it’s not brawn over brains. Get creative in your defenses, too!

#4: First Aid

When all hell breaks loose, chances are you’ll get some bumps and bruises along the way, or much worse. Knowing how to do basic first aid is imperative. CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, sterilizing, bandaging, cauterizing wounds and stitching of any kind are skills that can save a life. Emergency kits are available to buy or you can assemble your own. It’s helpful to know how to use what you have around you, or alternative methods like herbal remedies. Stock up on as many medical supplies as possible including medications like antibiotics and pain relievers. Hopefully, you won’t have to deliver a baby during the apocalypse, but maybe read up on it just in case.

#3: Start & Extinguish a Fire

Building a fire is crucial for survival whether you’re out in the wilderness or underground. You need to be able to start a fire without matches, lighters, or flammable substances. It should be easy enough to find sticks or rocks outside to rub together. Just make sure you know how to keep a fire going. It’s a source of warmth, light, cooking, and signaling for help when needed. But you’ll also need to know the safest ways to put out a fire. While a fire extinguisher is the ideal method, they’re not always available. Flames can spread quickly and you might only have seconds to act.

#2: Gathering, Growing, Preserving & Preparing Food

We all know that we need food to live. And when it comes to hunkering down for an unconfirmed amount of time, it’s a top priority. Stock your bunker with non-perishable foods that are canned, dried, and don’t need to be refrigerated. Depending on your setup you might be able to cook your meals. But knowing how to prepare food in a variety of ways is essential. Besides hunting and fishing, knowing what to look for in terms of edible plant life (and even insects) will come in handy. If you have the space and resources, an indoor garden is a great food source. Gardening can also be fun and therapeutic, and you’ll definitely need both of those things.

#1: Finding & Purifying Water

We cannot survive without water, plain and simple. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, finding a reliable water source is one of the first things you need to do in a survival situation. You can always stock up on bottled water, but that will run out in no time. Learning how to gather rainwater is a valuable skill. But finding a lake or stream is your best bet. It’s an absolute must to purify the water before drinking it, as it’s likely contaminated with several bacteria. Purification tablets, drops, and straws are the easiest way to do this. Of course, these may not be options. In that case, you’ll need to learn how to filter and boil the water until it’s potable.