15 Best Minecraft Survival Mods (All Free)

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We all love Minecraft. But have you ever wondered how you might be able to make survival in the Overworld just that little bit better?

You know, a few more animals here, a better chest there, and everything would be perfect.

Luckily Minecraft is one of those wonderful games that’s pretty easy to mod. So if there’s something you want to see in the game, there’s a good chance someone else does too.

And they might have already solved the problem for you!

So if you’re looking to spruce up your survival gameplay this list is here to help.

15. Extended Caves

Extended Caves Minecraft mod

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If there’s one thing that you’ve got to love, it’s an interesting cave.

Yet a common complaint in Minecraft seems to be that the existing underground formations are just a touch… dull. Well, that’s about to change!

Extended Caves is, unsurprisingly, and extension of the pre-existing cave models in-game.

Think colourful, versatile, edible mushrooms, pebble bearing stalactites and treasure-pots full of goodies… all underground.

With occasional lava and monsters… Not just your average cave, this is Minecraft you know.

14. Dynamic Lights

Dynamic Lights mod for Minecraft

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Being able to see what you’re doing is helpful when trying to survive.

Unfortunately, Minecraft’s vanilla approach to lighting is not perfect.

Meaning that things can get dark when you really don’t want them to.

After all, dark is where the dangers are.

Dynamic Lights revamps the shining items in Minecraft, making them cast light on their surroundings when equipped, on the ground after being dropped, or even with other players.

Needless to say, the world is a much brighter place with this mod installed!

13. Minecraft Comes Alive

Minecraft Comes Alive mod

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Bringing a bit of that good old RPG feel to the Overworld, MCA completely overhauls the behaviour of villagers.

It gives them unique looks, allows you to talk to them, lets you hire them and even marry them!

Once you’re happily married you can go ahead and have children, who can do chores for you.

If you ever wanted Minecraft to get a bit more realistic, this is the mod for you.

You can survive skeletons and zombies, but can you survive married life?

12. BiblioCraft

BiblioCraft Minecraft mod

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Here’s one for you organizers out there.

BiblioCraft adds new block types to the game that you can use to store a variety of items.

From bookshelves to desks, you’ll be up to your ears in furniture. Like you were that time you went to IKEA and bought that funky chair you still haven’t built.

As the name suggests, books are involved here. But you’ll also get somewhere to put your potions, armor, weapons and everything else!

Your home is going to look so neat and well ordered. Your mum would approve.

11. Chisel

Chisel Minecraft mod

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Survival doesn’t mean things can’t look nice!

Minecraft is the ultimate game for builders and creators, and this is an absolutely essential mod for experienced and new players alike.

Chisel adds a massive number of decorative blocks to the game, allowing for an almost limitless number of possible building options. Just build yourself a chisel and then get to work making all your dream structures come to life.

There’s even an extra tool to make sure that any designs going over multiple blocks don’t ruin your plans by shifting things around till it looks just how you want. So get building!

I’m expecting to see a perfect 1/10th scale of the Empire State Building stat.

10. Pam’s HarvestCraft

Pam’s HarvestCraft mod for Minecraft

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To survive, you need to eat.

This extensive farming-oriented mod is a great addition to any load order.

With over 1400 new items and new foods, you can rest assure this mod will most certainly add to your gaming experience.

This ever-growing mod even includes tofu as a vegan/vegetarian option, so all the bases are well and truly covered.

With Pam’s HarvestCraft installed nobody should be going hungry. You’ll be a fully-fledged farmer in no time.

9. Rope-Bridge

Rope Bridge Minecraft game screenshot

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No prizes for guessing what this mod does. Here you can traverse any gap and scale any wall with the ability to build rope bridges and rope ladders, all with a simple point at shoot system.

What are you shooting? A grappling gun, of course!

This customizable mod allows players to configure their game just as they want, complete with building animations and custom achievements so you can be rightfully recognized for your bridge building triumphs.

Plus the mod automatically detects obstacles in the way of your potential builds, and alerts you accordingly. So that you don’t end up firing a rope bridge straight into a tree.

8. Here’s What You’re looking At

Here’s What You’re looking At Minecraft mod

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Information is power, especially for survival.

And that old chestnut holds true even in the world of Minecraft.

This mod, abbreviated to HWYLA, allows players to get detailed information about items just by looking at them.

It will show you what’s in your storage blocks, how far along your furnace progress is, and even whether something is a liquid or not (liquids appear in buckets on your HUD).

And that’s just the beginning.

Basically, if you want to know more about what’s going on in-game, this is a must have mod. Who doesn’t want to be all-knowing?

7. Infernal Mobs

Infernal Mobs Minecraft gameplay

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Survival is no easy feat at the best of times.

But if you find yourself gliding through life without a care in the world, then Infernal Mobs is the challenge you’re looking for.

This randomly imbues various in-game enemies with various abilities and buffs, making them considerably harder to kill.

From teleporting to throwing fireballs, you’ll find that your fights are suddenly not as one sided as they used to be.

Why on earth would I want to do this to myself, I hear you cry? Because victory results in much more XP and some pretty sweet items.

Is it worth it? That’s up to you.

6. Inventory Tweaks

Inventory Tweaks Minecraft mod screenshot

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Like any game, Minecraft can be a bit fiddly at times.

Trying to keep your inventory tidy and your storage system in order can become a big task. So why not get a mod to help you out?
Inventory Tweaks is exactly the fit here. Not only will it sort out the contents of your inventory and storage chests with one click, but it will also replace broken tools as you work through them.

Along with customizable settings and a whole load of useful shortcuts, this is just an unspeakably useful mod.

Unfortunately, the most up-to-date version of this mod is for Minecraft 1.13, so beyond that you may need an alternative.

Although the creators are encouraging other designers to port Inventory Tweaks over, so fingers crossed!

5. Iron Chests

Iron Chests Minecraft game mod

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This is a nice simple mod that makes it easy to keep yourself organized.

Simply put, Iron Chests allows you to create chests with greater and greater storage capacity, depending on the substance you use to make the chest. Diamond, crystal (transparent) and obsidian (blast resistant) chests all have a whopping 108 storage slots!

Chests can be upgraded from one level to the next, and there’s even a chest designed specifically for carrying dirt: DirtChest 900!

4. Biomes O’Plenty

Biomes O’Plenty Minecraft gameplay screenshot

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There are few things more beautiful than nature.

And while the vanilla overworld looks great, don’t you sometimes think it could do with a bit of a change?

Biomes O’Plenty delivers a great overhaul of the base-game, bringing a whole host of unique Biomes to both the Overworld and the Nether!

Add in the new plants, trees, blocks and more, and you’ve got yourself a must have mod.

3. LotsOMobs

LotsOMobs mod for Minecraft

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Who doesn’t love animals?

If you like the idea of Minecraft becoming a veritable zoo, then this is most definitely the mod for your play style.

LotsOMobs introduces more than 25 mobs to the game including birds, fish, lions, penguins, dinosaurs, and so much more.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get some brand-new biomes for the animals to roam around in and two new human NPC types.

If you want to add a bit of variety to your gameplay then really do not skip over this one. It’s a lot of fun to mess with.

2. Just Enough Items

Just Enough Items Minecraft mod screenshot

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Now this mod will make your gameplay so much easier, shortening the time spent trawling through pages to find recipe information and quickly finding the items you need.

Basically with just a few easyl-to-learn shortcuts, Just Enough Items will let you find out what you can do with an item and what recipes they feature in.

As well as providing you with a search function to take you straight to the item you need, no fuss.

This is a sleek and simple mod that will add so much to your gaming experience by just making things easier. It’s something you’ll never want to remove once you add it in.

1. JourneyMap

JourneyMap Minecraft mod

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If you’ve found your way to this ranking then you’ve probably at least heard of JourneyMap.

The most downloaded mod on CurseForge is near the top of almost everybody’s “greatest hits” list, and with good reason.

After all, who doesn’t like to know where they’re going?

JourneyMap creates a map of your Minecraft world as you explore, making it much easier to find your way around later on.

You still have to do that initial exploration though, so wannabe Marco Polos needn’t panic.

The map can be viewed in a web browser, as a Minimap, or even full-screen if you’re really lost.

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Sean Bennett

Writer, traveller, and avid gamer. Board games, card games and, above all, video games have taken up more hours of my life that I care to think about… A committed PC gamer (sorry to all you console people out there), I tend towards RPG games, but have also enjoyed many hours of Builders, FPS’s and MMO’s over the years.