Survival mode in Skyrim is a new addition who is part of the Creation Club. Similar to fishing, it’s included as part of the Anniversary Edition free patch, though there are some useful mods like camping and adventurer backpacks. These must be purchased separately if you haven’t picked up the Anniversary Edition upgrade yet.
In any case, our Skyrim Survival Mode Guide has several Tips and Tricks to help you stay alive
How to activate 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 like hunger, fatigue and temperature.
After you escape Helgen you will see a notification letting you know about survival mode. It can be switched on or off at any time in the gameplay settings.
Survival mode mechanics
hunger – Over time, your character will get hungry. This will decrease your overall stamina. To alleviate this, you need to eat cooked food. Eating only raw vegetables is not enough and can even lead to disease. Consider building something like the fish hatchery to create a solid source of food.
fatigue – The Dragonborn simply cannot have one adventure after another. You actually need to rest in survival mode. If not, fatigue will decrease your overall magicka. Ideally you want sleep in beds found inside (i.e. inns, sanctuaries, or homes that you buy). Just sleeping outside doesn’t make you well rested.
Cold vs. heat – Climate and weather are probably the two most important factors to consider once you have survival mode enabled in Skyrim. Explore in cold will Decrease your overall health, and swimming in cold water will increase this effect. At some point your character will just die.
To counter this, you have to Find heat sources in survival mode. Examples of this include building a campfire in the wilderness (more on this below), eating hot soup, and wearing different types of clothing that increase heat.
Other key factors – Here are a few other things to keep in mind while playing Skyrim’s Survival Mode:
- Fast trip – Direct teleportation by clicking on a location on the world map does not work. However, it is still possible to drive carriages or fly on a kite.
- Level up – To ascend you have 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.
Backpack creations for camping, fishing and adventurers
Activating these Creation Club mods is very useful in survival mode.
- fishing – Fishing becomes a great source of food for you to cook. In addition, you can build a fish hatchery to have a constant supply of fish.
- camping – With this mod you can make camping supplies (everyone needs 1x leather and 3x firewood). To the firewood, you can easily use a lumberjack ax to chop logs. You can find some logs just outside Belethor’s shop in Whiterun. When you’re out in the wilderness in survival mode and need a source of heat or a place to sleep, Camping Supplies can help you create a campsite automatically.
- Adventurer’s Backpack – These backpacks can be made, some of which add weight to carry.
Skyrim Survival Mode or other mods
What if you don’t want to try the default survival mode in Skyrim? Well, that’s entirely up to you. You don’t need to activate it. If you want other options, you can try the following mods instead:
- Chesko Frostfall – The mod is similar to Survival mode, but there are many options that you can tweak for the entire function as opposed to a single on / off switch. We consider this to be one of the best mods for Skyrim.
- Campfire at Chesko – Similar to the mod above, this mod is also great if you want the extra immersion and challenge. It provides support for multiple trailers, including the ability to collect wood and construct items. Backpacks are included. There is even a separate skill tree that is used to strengthen your camping and survival skills.
- Fur armor set from Keung – This survival mode type mod adds several sets of armor with different themes. They are considered “Frostfall Aware” which means that they add warmth to your character.
And these are the most important things you need to know about survival mode in Skyrim. It adds a bit of a challenge to the overall experience, and there are plenty of other mods out there that serve a similar or even better role whether you own the Anniversary Edition or not. For more Skyrim help, including walkthroughs, builds, and other tips, see our main page for the game.