10 Best The Survivalists Tips and Tricks For Beginners

The Survivalists Guide

Learn all the best tips and tricks for getting the hang of The Survivalists so you have your own monkey army in no time. Certain things aren’t quite obvious and that’s why I’m here to help make your life a little easier. I first played The Survivalists during the Steam Game Festival in June and thoroughly enjoyed my experience.

Table of Contents

Tip 1 – How to Save
Tip 2 – How to Train Monkeys in The Survivalists
Tip 3 – How to Unlock Recipes
Tip 4 – How to Get More Monkeys
Tip 5 – Learning How to Make a Bow
Tip 6 – Using the Mysterious Chest
Tip 7 – Looting Vaults For Gear
Tip 8 – How to Get Food
Tip 9 – Where to Find Iron
Tip 10 – The Wrong Tools Work Too

Tip 1 – How to Save

The Survivalists - How to Save

Learning how to save in The Survivalists is probably the most important thing to understand before you get in too deep. This is especially useful because you’ll likely want to save when exploring other islands on your adventures. First, you’ll need to enter the blueprints menu by pressing “R” on PC. Afterward, click the small picture of a Flimsy Bed and click somewhere on the ground you’d like to place it. This will place a blueprint that you’ll need to bring the required resources to.

Fortunately, you don’t need anything too crazy, but you may have to do a little running around depending on where you’re setting up. Now you’ll need to enter the crafting menu by pressing “C” on PC. Then, create both one Comfy Padding and one Makeshift Bed Sheet. You’ll need 5 Palm Leaves, 1 Straw Bundle, and 1 Rope, in total to make both. After bringing everything to the blueprint, you can save and sleep at your new bed.

Tip 2 – How to Train Monkeys in The Survivalists

The Survivalists - How to Train Monkeys

A huge part of The Survivalists is training monkeys through a system that relies on them mimicking your actions. This means if they see you chopping a tree, they can learn how to do that and start doing it. Before you can teach a monkey to do something, you need to put them in a certain mode where they’ll wait to be taught.

On PC, hold Q to gather any nearby monkeys to you. Without letting go of Q, left-click a monkey (or left-click and drag for multiple), and then click the left button that says Teach, with a monkey wearing a graduation cap.

For console players, Xbox controllers seem to use the left trigger to access the monkey menu. I’d assume the same may be the case for PlayStation controllers, but if not, feel free to let me know in the comments. Once you’ve pressed the Teach button, your character will throw them a banana and that monkey will wait to be taught something. The table below explains how to train a monkey for each task.

A useful tip for training monkeys is to have an army of monkeys to back you up in combat and have one that carries a chest. This works well for expanded storage while adventuring.

Task How to Train
Gathering Teach a monkey to gather by picking an item up and dropping it somewhere you want them to bring items to.
Combat Teach a monkey to fight by attacking an enemy and then giving them a weapon.
Mining/Chopping/Cutting Teach a monkey to mine/chop/cut by harvesting what you want them to harvest. For example, chopping a tree, cutting grass, mining rocks.
Crafting Teach a monkey to work on recipes ready to craft by using a multitool on an item at a workbench.
Building Teach a monkey to complete buildings by using a multitool on a building.
Transferring Teach a monkey to transfer items to recipes by bringing an item to a recipe.

Tip 3 – How to Unlock Recipes

The Survivalists - How to Unlock Recipes

Unlocking recipes in The Survivalists isn’t anything too complicated, fortunately. You just need to continue making items and recipes along the recipe tree to unlock new ones. As shown in the screenshot above, there are little white lines connecting each recipe box.

Making the recipe before an unknown one will reveal the next recipe. To continue expanding past the ones in the crafting menu, you’ll need to make crafting tables like a Crafting Bench or Campfire. These can be placed using the blueprints menu (R on PC).

Tip 4 – How to Get More Monkeys

The Survivalists - How to Get More Monkeys

Early on into your adventure, you’ll likely run into a monkey trapped in a cage. Breaking the cage of any trapped monkey will immediately recruit them into your group. As you explore your island and even other ones too, you’ll come across plenty of vaults that have one caged monkey inside.

However, you’ll also run into roaming monkeys that simply want something to join you. The most common item monkeys often want is a Monkey Meal created at a campfire. On the bright side, Monkey Meal ingredients are extremely common. The recipe for a Monkey Meal is below.

  • Petals from flowers and bushes.
  • Berries from berry bushes or randomly found on the ground.
  • A Makeshift Bowl that can be crafted from two palm leaves once you’ve discovered it after making rope.

Tip 5 – Learning How to Make a Bow

The Survivalists - How to Make a Bow

Bows are extremely useful in The Survivalists because of how powerful they are. You can use a bow to hit multiple enemies, to deal high damage, to knock them back, etc. It works so well that you can potentially prevent enemies from even reaching you to hit you. The reason for this tip on explaining how to make a bow is because it’s a little confusing when you get a bow and arrows to combine.

You’re more likely to find two items when hunting down enemies, a bow, and arrows. Before you can use them as a weapon, you’ll need to combine the two to create a bow and arrow weapon. First, make sure you have both items in your hotkey bar. Then, simply select the arrows and use whatever your attack button is (left-click on PC), to start combining them. This will craft the weapon and you’ll have a buttload of arrows to use. The strength of a bow depends on the quality of the arrows being used.

Also, when using a bow, make sure you hold down the attack button to charge it up. Otherwise, your shots will be wildly inaccurate. And if you want to undo an arrow, you can dodge roll to stop it. For those looking for the bow recipe, here’s how to make it at a Crafting Bench.

  • 1 Wooden Rod
  • 2 Rope
  • 2 Mud

Tip 6 – Using the Mysterious Chest

The Survivalists - Storage Chest

The hot air balloon shop that visits various islands seems to start on your island when you first begin playing. This shopkeeper has a Mysterious Chest for 30 gold that has 36 spots of space for whatever you want. Also, you can bring whatever items in this chest to another server to keep some of your own storage too. However, it’s truly worth taking advantage of this chest by having a monkey follow you around while holding it. If you’re worried about losing it, you can use any other storage chest too.

Tip 7 – Looting Vaults For Gear

The Survivalists - Looting Vaults

Vaults are an extremely great source of tools and weapons once you’ve got a decent handle on the game. You can get all sorts of useful items from the chests near the end of a vault. There seems to always be one gold chest and two normal ones. I’ve gotten bows, arrows, spears, blue tools, and more. Plus, if you’re not near your base, you can use the braziers inside the vault to cook food too.

Tip 8 – How to Get Food

The Survivalists - How to Fish

You might not be playing Don’t Starve, but it’s still important to know how to get food so you don’t starve in The Survivalists. Fortunately, there’s a buttload of different ways to get food once you learn how. Take a look at our list below for all the different tricks, including how to fish. And don’t forget, eating food is a great way to get your health back up, especially if it’s cooked.

  • Eating berries found on berry bushes or the floor.
  • Chopping palm trees down for coconuts.
  • Hunting bats for their wings and meat scraps.
  • Hunting deer for meat.
  • Hunting rabbits with a bow and arrow for meat and fur clumps.
  • Fishing using a bow and arrow to shoot fish in the water. And even a more dangerous aquatic animal too.

There are a few other methods to get food too, but these are the best ways when you’re starting out. Focus first on berries and coconuts until you understand how to play. Then, start hunting to get a ton of food from their meat. And be sure to cook it to learn new recipes and get more nutritious food too.

Tip 9 – Where to Find Iron/Metal

The Survivalists - How to Find Iron

If you’re wondering how to get iron or metal chunks for new recipes, you’ll likely need to visit a new island. This requires making a raft blueprint and completing it with a Makeshift Sail from the Crafting Bench. The plus side of making a raft is that you’ll find all sorts of new materials on new islands. This includes iron rocks, gold rocks, fruit, new animals, and more. If you’re not sure what an iron rock looks like, take a look at the screenshot above.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to get a few metal chunks from the hot air balloon merchant when first starting.

Tip 10 – The Wrong Tools Work Too

The Survivalists - Tools Guide

My last tip for those of you beginners playing The Survivalists is that most tools will get the job done. If you don’t have a pickaxe for breaking a rock you really need, don’t worry, your axe or even weapon will work too. Unfortunately, they will be much less efficient and take a beating. But, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

There’s a neat trick with axes regardless of what you’re using them for. The charged-up version of an axe does a spin that hits multiple times. For the purpose of chopping trees or hitting rocks, this takes the same amount of durability loss as only one hit.

I hope this beginner’s guide full of tips and tricks helps you get your bearings in The Survivalists. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


The Survivalists released on October 9, 2020, for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC via Steam, and Nintendo Switch.

The Survivalists was provided by the developer via a Steam code.

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