A veteran "Rust" degenerate with 4.5k hours, a rock, and a dream.
Hunger & Hydration in Rust
You start in Rust naked on the beach on the brink of starvation and dehydration. While hunger will feel like a thing of the past later in the game, finding food and water can be a real challenge at the start.
If you run low on hunger, you start taking damage. If you run out of hydration, you will be unable to sprint. While both are survivable, that's not an ideal way to try to make progress, and it certainly puts you at a disadvantage in a fight. Knowing where and how to find sustenance is a key component to doing well.
Food raises your hunger level, but it also gives you some healing over time or even some instant healing. Getting your hands on food is always useful, but in the early game it can be incredibly useful. You can find food from:
- Food crates found in or around monuments. Most notably, places like the supermarket and the gas station (that have no radiation) have food shelves with multiple food spawns.
- Food growing in the ground. Most notably in forest areas where you can find potatoes, mushrooms, and berries on the ground. In the desert you can even harvest a cactus with a wood chopping tool to eat the cactus flesh.
- Killing and harvesting animals. Boars, wolves, bears, chicken, and deer all give you meat if you harvest them with a tool that has flesh gathering. Most often this would be using a stone tool until you get enough bones to make a bone knife. Of course, you'll need to cook the meat at a campfire or barbecue to avoid poison. You can also harvest and cook human meat, though it will dehydrate you, so generally it's not a great option unless you have no food but access to water.
- Consider using planters to grow food from seeds, or even make a base specifically for growing plants. Though this is not an immediately available option and requires blueprints and resources.
Water is generally a little bit easier to deal with than food, but it doesn't heal you the way food does. However, it will heal you a small amount if your health is below 40. Your options for finding water include:
- Drinking directly from fresh water sources such as rivers, lakes, and swamps. The water off the coast as well as the water in Bandit Camp are unfortunately salt water. You can also fill a container such as a water jug by holding it and pressing R while you aim at the water. A water jug can hold up to 5000ml of water so filling up a handful for your base can last quite a while. They are easy to find, but when in a pinch you can buy one from Bandit Camp.
- Most food has some amount of hydration, but notably pumpkins, cactus, corn, and apples are decent.
- You can also use water catchers to accumulate fresh water. They will accumulate water regardless of the weather. They actually have a fairly decent rate and are a good option if you don't live near a fresh water source.
- Finding a water pump randomly around the map to pump and drink from. This is often not commonly seen nor is it a particularly great option even if one is near you as you can't get nearly as much water as just filling a jug at a river.
Drinking From a Water Catcher
While you're mostly just trying to avoid the negative effects of starvation and dehydration in the early game, food acts as a meaningful source of healing throughout the entire wipe. You can save on medical supplies by healing with food, especially if you use comfort while healing. You can even increase your chance of standing back up after getting wounded with higher hunger and hydration so getting fed and staying fed is always a worthwhile objective.