The road south of the Concordia apartments on Streets of Tarkov
Image via Battlestate Games

Top 10 Best Ways to Survive More in Escape From Tarkov

Surviving is essential to progressing in Escape from Tarkov, and there are plenty of ways to increase your chances.

If you aren’t surviving in Escape from Tarkov, you aren’t going to progress anything. Not most quests, not as much personal skill, and definitely not in your bank account. That’s why following these 10 tips will help you survive more in EFT.

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How to Survive More in Tarkov

Surviving is essential in Escape from Tarkov, and while even the best players die, they also follow a few tried and true strategies for staying alive and making it out with their loot. Some tricks come down to improving your shooting or learning the maps, but there are other, more specific strategies you can use to increase your survival rate.

Learn the Maps

The main road in Streets of Tarkov
Image via Battlestate Games

Knowledge is the most important thing you can have in Escape from Tarkov, and knowing the maps is near the top of a very long list of subjects you need to master. This lets you steer clear of high-traffic areas, pinpoint where shots are likely coming from, locate good loot outside the most valuable spots, and much more. With so many complex, tough maps, the process of understanding what happens where at any given time is a long one. However, getting familiar with at least one map gives you a baseline for looting, PvP, and any other skills you want to develop.

Stay Away from High-Traffic Areas

Every map in Escape from Tarkov has at least a few spots where players will naturally congregate and fights will start. If survival is your main goal, avoiding these hotspots is essential. Sticking to the outskirts of a map where few players tend to travel will help you make it out more often. There’s also plenty to loot in lower-traffic areas, and while it might not be as plentiful, there’s enough to make a tidy profit.

Play Nighttime Raids

The raid location selection screen in Escape from Tarkov
Screenshot by GameSkinny

While there’s no guarantee you’ll have the run of the raid at night, in my and almost every other Tarkov player’s experience, activity during nighttime raids is reduced. I’ve had the incredible misfortune of running into whole squads at night. That said, in most cases, I was at the Shoreline health resort for a quest, not following my own advice. Playing at night (between 20:00 and 5:00) will usually net you a fairly open field of play. If you’re in the transition period between night and day, go with the raid that’s closer to nighttime. Players tend to prioritize having more light as a match goes on, not less.

Focus on Looting Over Questing

Quests, also known as Tasks, will often take you to the most dangerous parts of a map. See my experience on Shoreline. However, because our goal here is survival, you’ll want to prioritize looting as you go from spawn to extract. You’ll need to be mindful of how heavy you make your character, as louder footsteps make you infinitely easier to detect by players with good headphones.

Play Slow

Don’t let the W-key chads you see online dissuade you from slow-playing whenever you hear combat nearby. Everyone in Tarkov relies on their eyes and ears to know if there’s a fight on the horizon. Running loudly away is more likely to get you killed than leaving slowly and carefully. If a fight is inevitable, playing slow can — emphasis on can — give you an edge, as it lets you listen for your opponents and denies them the same audio cues.

Use Your Scav to Gear Up

Scav selection menu in Escape from Tarkov
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Playing your Scav is the best way to earn money, learn maps, and generally practice Tarkov gameplay. If you’re not concerned about looting and would rather use it to push fights to get better, you can have crazy come-ups of free PMC gear you can use immediately or save for a special occasion.

Don’t Be Afraid to Wait

Much of the action in a Tarkov raid happens in the first 15-20 minutes. The PMCs find what they need and get out or die trying. Player Scavs start popping in in droves, but if you stay out of the main areas, they’re not as big of a threat unless they’re wandering in large groups. If you spawn into a raid and find a quiet spot to hole up for a few minutes, you have a better chance of getting out safely and with at least a few worthwhile bits of loot.

Come in With Your Best Gear

The SIG Spear Rifle in Escape from Tarkov
Screenshot by GameSkinny

I never said surviving was cheap. For the absolutely best chance at making it out of a raid alive, you don’t want to be poorly equipped. Get good armor with good plates of at least Tier 4, including on the sides. Plus, a good weapon that can hang with the current meta will help you win more fights. Granted, you should be avoiding fights to begin with, but sometimes you just need to get shooting, and having a solid kit helps with that immensely.

Don’t Take the Risk and Play Smart

Someone, please drill this piece of advice into my head as well. If you’re in a situation where you know zigging is stupid, and you should definitely zag, then zag, dammit. I can’t count the number of times I’ve known the thing that got me killed would, well, get me killed, and then did it anyway. Maybe it’s a personal problem. If you think taking even a calculated risk is worth it, do yourself a favor and don’t. You’ll survive more raids that way.

Just Shoot Better, Bro

Is it the most actionable advice in the world? No, but the better your shot, the more fights you can win, whether you want to take them or not. Here’s how to improve your aim:

  • Play the game and fail until you succeed. Just playing Escape from Tarkov will help you figure out how the guns feel, which ones you enjoy using, whether to point fire or aim in a fight, and many other nuances.
  • Use the in-game shooting range in the Hideout. Even at level one, the shooting range is a great, safe, controlled space to test your latest gun builds. At level three, it has a full suite of moving and interactable targets to practice basic tracking and recoil control. You’ll need to spend a lot of money and resources to get to Shooting Range level three, but it’s worth it.
  • Use third-party programs to practice and learn. Software like AimLabs and KovaaK’s are some of the most well-known aim trainers available. Aimlabs is free to use, making it an immediately more palatable option. However, there’s a premium subscription for more content. Spending just a few minutes every day in a practice range has proven effective for many players.

You don’t need the most expensive, feature-rich gaming mouse to have great aim. Even a standard HP or Dell mouse will suffice in a pinch, but I’ve never used a $100+ mouse in my life, and I can hang with some pretty strong players on a good day. My main hangups in Tarkov are my poor eyesight, impatience, and stubbornness, none of which I can fix by learning to aim better. I don’t think, anyway.

Those are our 10 tips for surviving more in Escape From Tarkov. You don’t need to follow them all of the time, but make use of as many as you can to improve your survival rate. For more on EFT, check out our guides hub. We’ve covered the best ways to level up, make money fast, and much more right here at GameSkinny.

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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.