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Escape from Tarkov: Best Hideout Upgrades to Do First

Don't underestimate Hideouts in Escape from Tarkov. Here are the best upgrades to do first.

A raid might be your main source of loot but never ignore the Hideout as a supplemental source of benefits. You’ll need to invest a lot to get the most out of it, so here are the best Hideout upgrades to do first in Escape from Tarkov.

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Five Best Hideout Upgrades to Do First in Escape from Tarkov

While upgrading your Hideout is the third most important task in Escape from Tarkov after leveling up your character and increasing your Trader level, don’t neglect it. However, the Hideout helps immensely with both. Its various stations can create many of the items required for Trader tasks, which lets you complete more tasks more quickly and level up faster.

Not all Hideout upgrades are created equal. There are several you should prioritize no matter where you are in progression, especially if your account is at a lower level or you haven’t put much time into your Hideout yet. They are:

Generator

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Without a Generator, 90% of your Hideout doesn’t function. You’ll need to also upgrade your Security to Level 1 to build your Generator, and a Level 1 Gen only has two slots for fuel, but that’s still 44 hours of running almost every other station in the Hideout. You’ll also want to make Generator 2 a priority, as it unlocks a lot of the other higher upgrade levels on other stations and, when fully loaded with four Metal Fuel Cans, provides 88 hours of power, allowing you to easily craft enough supplies for dozens of raids, or to repay the cost of those cans several times over.

Medstation

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The Medstation is perhaps the most important Hideout upgrade in Escape from Tarkov after the Generator and Stash, as you’ll always need what it has to offer, and early on, you won’t always have easy access to the items it can create. Specifically, Medstation Level 1 lets you craft Salewa first aid kits, which you’ll need for the early-game Therapist quest Shortage. I would also prioritize getting Medstation to Level 2 as soon as your character reaches Level 13 and can get Therapist to Loyalty 2. That opens up the Defibrillator and CMS craft. Both items are required for the Ambulance quest from Jaeger, and while you can technically find them in a raid, Defibrillators are a tougher ask but relatively cheap to craft.

You will also need a Toolset, two Magnets, three Bundles of Wires, four Capacitores, and one Portable Powerbank to craft the defibrilator, but almost all of those are either craftable elsewhere in the hideout or found in a raid. Having an easy source of CMS kits is also nice.

Intelligence Center

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Upgrading the Intelligence Center to Level 1 is a straight quality-of-life improvement for the other side of the Tarkov gameplay loop: the Scav. Adding Intel Center 2 to your Hideout reduces your Scav cooldown by 15%, improves quest monetary rewards by 5%, and unlocks Scav Tasks from Fence. Scavs are a separate character that loads into a raid 10-15 minutes after main PMC characters do, and spawn with random, lower-quality equipment. The benefit is you lose nothing if your Scav dies, and you only benefit from their extraction.

Playing your Scav is one of the best ways to learn maps and make money in Escape from Tarkov, but no matter how a Scav leaves a raid — by either extract or death — they’ll need to wait a set amount of time to go back in. Lowering that cooldown is a no-strings-attached buff to the money you can make and knowledge you can gain.

Lavatory

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The items you can craft from the Lavatory — armors, fabrics, cleaning supplies, magazines, and others — all fall into a sort of catch-all set of categories. However, the Lavatory is one of the only Hideout stations that doesn’t require power to function, and almost everything you can make there has immediate value. Sure, you’re not going to suddenly make millions off of it, but the profits on things like Ox Bleach, Cordura fabric, Filters, and so on are more than worth the investment. That it unlocks the ability to repair your armor via armor repair kits is an added bonus.

The only other stations that don’t require a Generator — the Gym, Heating, the Rest Area, the Intelligence Center, and the Stash — all provide passive benefits to your character. There’s no immediate monetary or supply reward from any of them. The one exception is the Scav Case, which can award some very rare endgame-tier items. Problem is, the Scav Case is all RNG, and you need to put in an expensive item like an Intelligence Folder or Moonshine to have a better shot at good rewards.

The Workbench

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Unless you like running default guns (and in Tarkov, you really shouldn’t), you’ll need to place a Workbench in your Hideout as soon as possible. You can’t modify or edit weapon presets without Workbench Level 1. You’ll also want to upgrade your Workbench whenever you reach a new level of Mechanic loyalty, as the higher your rep with that Trader, the more and better ammo you can craft. As more time passes, more players have better access to armor that stops the weaker ammo types, and you’ll need at least some help from this station to even the gear gap. Increasing your Trader loyalty is a mix of leveling your characters and doing specific Tasks for them. It’s a laborious process but well worth the time invested.

Those are our picks for the five most important Hideout upgrades you can make in Escape from Tarkov. Getting to max level on all of them will take you a lot of time and even more money, but the supplemental income and supply support can come in very handy no matter where you are in progression.

For more content on Escape from Tarkov, check out our guides hub.


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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.