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Survivability vs Sustainability

Survivability vs sustainability; so what’s the difference? When you are making plans for survival situations, it is important to plan for both survivability and sustainability. While survivability and sustainability are closely related, they are distinct from one another, and understanding that distinction can help you better prepare for survival situations,; including what survival gear you choose and how you prepare your survival kit.


What’s the difference?


Survivability defines your ability to survive in a short-term situation. It is often said that a survival situation typically lasts no more than 72 hours. Survivability refers to a natural disaster, or getting lost or injured out in the woods. Survivability refers to a situation where you need to survive for a short time on your own. These short-term situations are where survivability especially applies.

When it comes to survivability, you want to focus on the five C’s of survival gear:

•    Cutting tool
•    Container
•    Combustion
•    Cover
•    Cordage

When preparing for survivability, you can put together a survival kit of survival gear that covers these five basics and you will probably be able to manage for a short time period without assistance.


Sustainability refers to situations that require you to stay alive over an extended period of time. When you are looking at staying alive for a period of a week, a month or even longer, you have to take more into consideration. The five Cs of survival probably won’t be enough for sustainability.

Sustainability comes far more into play over longer time periods, when you are worried about feeding yourself and dealing with the elements. Things like the durability or your clothing and its appropriateness to the weather of your region, as well as your footwear, must be considered. Perhaps most importantly, with sustainabilitym you have the proper survival gear to be able to kill or capture the game necessary to provide your body with protein and fat.


Even the most skilled practitioner of bushcraft can only get by for so long on foraged fruits and vegetables. When preparing for sustainability, you must have several ways of killing or capturing game. Redundancy in your survival gear is always recommended, but it becomes especially important in sustainability situations.

While you may be able to get by with a single survival knife in a basic survival kit, you should have at least three survival knives or cutting tools for sustainability within your survival gear supply. With several survival knives of different sizes, you will have an appropriate tool for almost any situation.

This is also true for your survival gear to kill or capture game. Some sort of firearm, a slingshot and several snares or small traps could be appropriate for a survival kit intended for sustainability. If your firearm fails to function, you still have your slingshot. And you have yet another way of capturing game with high quality cable snares and small mechanical traps.


Any survival kit, whether for simple survivability or for longer term sustainability, must be as light as possible. Fortunately, modern technology and manufacturing methods allow for some extremely strong and light-weight survival gear. It is possible to build a survival kit that fulfills all of these needs and is still light enough to carry for long periods of time.

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