The Long Dark Guide - Essential Items to Survive, Wolf Attacks, Hunger, Thirst, Tips

The Long Dark Guide - Essential Items to Survive, Wolf Attacks, Hunger, Thirst, Tips

This The Long Dark Guide will tell you all you need to know to survive in The Long Dark, including gathering food and resources, staying safe and warm.

This The Long Dark Guide will tell you the essential info you need to start your epic survival adventure and make it more than a few nights in the wilderness. In this The Long Dark guide you’ll find info on your essential stats, a set of Long Dark Tips, how to survive a wolf attack in The Long Dark, and an overview of essential items in The Long Dark.

The Long Dark Guide - Essential Tips Before you Start Playing

The Long Dark is a game about survival. In fact it has a sandbox survival mode dedicated to just that, with the player being thrown into the map of their choosing and left to get on with things. Before you start it’s worth taking note of our essential tips so you sort of know what you’re doing. Don’t worry if it all goes wrong. There’s a lot to learn in The Long Dark.

Hope you don't run into one of these for a while!
  • Craft a torch - As soon as you can, open your inventory and head to the crafting tab. Craft a torch so you’ve got one handy. It’ll come in useful, so if you’re out and about have it in your hand so it can be lit in an instant.
  • Wolves are bad news - See our section below on wolves, but essentially you want to avoid these where possible.
  • Don’t stay still - When you’re not doing anything useful you’re wasting resources. Don’t waste time trying to eek all resources out of an area as there are likely more that are quicker to gather if you move on.
  • Try to find somewhere to set up home - You want to have a base of sorts, where you can set up fire and access resources. You will have to move on at some point as resources dry up and the area becomes difficult to live in due to wolves.
  • Repair clothes - Sewing kits let you fix up torn items of clothing, meaning they’ll retain heat better. That’s essential to stay healthy.
  • Don’t eat/drink things you wouldn’t eat - Uncooked meat and dirty water will make you ill. It takes time to boil water and cook food, but it’s better than being ill.
  • Don’t get Cabin Fever - Make sure you get out each day so you avoid getting Cabin Fever.

The Long Dark Guide - Understand Your Stats

In order to survive in The Long Dark you’re going to have to understand and keep an eye on your vital stats. We’ve broken down the key areas below.


Fatigue will affect numerous things in The Long Dark. The worse it gets the less you can carry and your aiming becomes worse. To avoid fatigue becoming a real problem, make sure you don’t run low on calories. Try and keep calories not much below 1400, and avoid running unless absolutely essential. Make sure you rest up by sleeping to be fully restored.


Cold is incredibly dangerous in The Long Dark. You can develop hypothermia in just a few hours. Make sure you wrap up warm and stay on top of clothes repairs. There is plenty of cloth in the game, so don’t get lazy. It should go without saying, but try not to be outside during a blizzard. This can damage your clothing quite rapidly and increase your chance of developing hypothermia. If you have to be outside for a long period, try to do so during the middle of the day and remember that any form of fire (even a lamp) will help delay hypothermia.

Hunger and Thirst

This one isn’t rocket science. You need to eat food to survive, but you don’t need to immediately feed yourself when you get hungry. As long as you consume calories before having a long rest you should be able to fully restore your stats. Drinking is also mostly just using common sense. If you head out exploring, be sure to take a few litres with you. When fully hydrated you can sleep for excess of 10 hours.

The Long Dark Guide - How to Survive a Wolf Attack

Wolves are a big danger in The Long Dark. When you are out exploring you are bound to come into contact with them, and if you end up coming face to face with a pack you’re in serious trouble.

The best way to deal with a wolf is to avoid it spotting you. If you see one, try to find shelter and wait for it to move on. If a wolf is eating it’ll likely leave you alone unless you get too close, so keep your distance. If you’re in an area with lots of loot, chances are this will be easier said than done as there appears to be a higher wolf population in those areas.

If you are spotted, light a torch and slowly move away from the wolf. Don’t move towards them as this will make them more aggressive. You can also try dropping meat as a way to distract them. If you can reach a building, get inside. The wolves will likely hang around outside, so try to look for another way out or wait them out - your current health with determine how long you want to stay put.

The Long Dark Guide to Essential Items

There are loads of items, weapons, and tools in The Long Dark. We’ve listed the most essential here and briefly given an overview of what they’re used for.

  • Storm Lantern - Lights your way and can be used to give slight warmth. Harvest lantern oil from scrap metal (and gain some from cooking fish). You’ll need to Jerry Can in your inventory to take the oil.
  • Flare - Provides light for a short period and and can scare wolves.
  • Hunting Rifle - As you might expect, used for taking down animals. The rifles condition decreases by a point after every shot. Keep maintained with rifle cleaning kits. A hunting rifle is the safest way to kill a wolf, so it pays to have one with you that’s well maintained. It’s not something you want to break.
  • Matches - Use them to start fires.
  • Firestriker - Use to create indoor/outdoor fires.
  • Magnifying Lens - Can be used to start fires when the sun is out.
  • Hatchet - Used to harvest wood and chop up frozen animals. It will degrade with use, so only use when you need to and keep it in a good condition so you’re not left without it when it’s needed.
  • Hunting Knife - Use to harvest meet and do it quicker than using a hatchet.
  • Can Opener - Can be used to open canned food (duhhh!). Yes, you can smash cans to get food, but you gain less from them than a can opened with this tool. Keep it well maintained and harvest any additional you find to get some useful scrap metal.
  • Pry Bar - Used to open locked lockers. Can easily break.
  • Sewing kit - Used to repair clothes.
  • Took Kit - Used for crafting items.

With these The Long Dark tips you should be able to make your way into the wilderness and survive for more than a coupe of days. Keep playing and learning and soon you'll be able to live in the extreme cold for months.

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Tom Orry

Audience Development Manager, Gamer Network

Tom started life on a circus in Australia before his family moved to the UK. His love of gaming started soon after, which essentially meant he bought every video game magazine available and worked numerous part-time jobs as a child in order to afford costly N64 games. He created UK site, of which he was the Editor for over a decade. He now doesn't like circuses.

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