In Subnautica, aerogel is a fairly advanced material that you’ll need to craft essential items, machines, and structures for your base. You’ll want to get your hands on these machines to make your exploration of Planet 4546B easier, meaning you’ll need to brace for an expedition into the depths.
Crafting Aerogel in Subnautica
To craft aerogel, you’ll need to obtain two materials – rubies and gel sacks. Both materials are found fairly deep, well away from the safest biomes, and bumping into unsavory deep-sea residents is a real risk. You’ll want to come prepared, with a few upgrades to your diving gear, a stasis rifle, and a juiced-up getaway Seamoth.
If you have a base a couple hundred meters below, you should consider building a scanner room for an easier time. That being said, there are a few safeish areas you can search. Without further ado, let’s dive into exactly how to find these materials.
Rubies should be the higher priority of the two materials. They can be used for a few different crafts, allowing you to make depth modules for Subnautica’s three vehicles, a power cell charger, and of course, aerogel.
Also Read: Best Places to Find Lithium Subnautica
Rubies can be found no shallower than 200m, though you’ll want to delve a little deeper for more reliable results. You should also be checking hotter areas, like the geothermal vents scattered around the map, provided they are sufficiently deep. This will lead you mostly to the Grand Reef, Lost River, and the Lava Zones. The Blood Kelp Zone is another great place, which I’ll talk about later on.
For a more precise excursion, there are a couple of locations that act more or less as a guarantee for rubies. One of the most reliable areas I found was located in the Sparse Reef, close to Lifepod 19. If you have that beacon active, you’ll easily be able to find the area. If not, simply follow a southwest heading starting from your Lifepod. Roughly 1,000 meters from your Lifepod will be a ridge pockmarked by huge crags, easily visible when near to the surface.
A little further from these crags is a large hole, with lots of debris surrounding its entrance. In this hole is a cave system, the walls of which are lined with rubies. There is some danger, however, as the cave is populated by Tiger Plants, which will shoot damaging barbs at you. A Reinforced Dive Suit will negate this damage. Here’s the entrance you should look out for:
An alternative location to find rubies is within the floating islands. These islands can be found following a slightly northwest heading, starting from your Lifepod in the Safe Shallows. It’s pretty deep and dark, but otherwise fairly safe. There are plenty of Bonesharks around, but at least there are no Reapers.
While a few of the floating islands have little cave systems, the main one you should look out for is a large island roughly below the wreckage being held by another two islands. It has a large cave system that can be accessed through several holes in the underside of the island. Inside is a trove of rubies.
The last reliable area I found for rubies is along the wall of the Grand Reef. You can reach it following a roughly southwest heading from the Safe Shallows, which will take you through the Kelp Forest. You’ll know when you’ve entered the Grand Reef, as the ocean floor drops suddenly, well into the murky depths. The area is also dimly lit by blue orbs. Simply scour that wall for your rubies. It will probably be easier to do at night, as they emit a faint glow that makes them easier to see.
Finding gel sacks
Once you’ve got a stash of rubies, the next material you need to craft aerogel is gel sacks. They can be found at a similar depth to rubies, and sometimes even in the same locations. Gel sacks aren’t as fussy about heat as rubies are, but they can be found reliably in fewer areas.
One of the best areas to find a balance of gel sacks, rubies, and some other important items, is the Blood Kelp Zone. Specifically, you should head to the Blood Kelp Trench, which is roughly southwest from your Lifepod. The Trench is located near a Grassy Plateau, looking a whole lot worse than it actually is. Other than a couple of warpers, the entire Trench is quite safe. It’s also loaded with materials, with tons of rubies, uraninite, blood oil, and gel sacks scattered along the bottom and wall.
If you’d rather only gel sacks, the best place for a good haul is the northwestern Mushroom Forest. This area is completely safe, free from any threatening critters, with a fair few jelly rays to keep you company. The main attraction to this area is the massive mushroom tree located roughly in the middle of the forest. This mushroom tree is home to the local gel sack population, with tons of them dotted around the deeper parts of the tree.
Once you’ve got a couple of gel sacks, your next priority should be to build a few grow beds at your base. With them, you can effectively have an unlimited supply of gel sacks, with a bit of waiting between batches. First, plant the gel sacks you obtained during your expedition. Then, hit each one twice. You will be rewarded with a couple of seeds each time. After you’ve collected the seeds, pick up the gel sacks, replant them, then rinse and repeat – an infinite supply of gel sacks is yours.
What can be crafted with aerogel?
Aerogel is used for a few mid-late game items and machines, all of which you’ll be happy to have. One is story-related, which I won’t spoil, so you’ll need to get some aerogel at some point or another. The most useful items that require aerogel are as follows:
- Prawn Suit
- Thermal Plant
- Water Filtration Machine
The Prawn Suit, if you aren’t aware, is the closest thing to a battle mech in Subnautica. With the right upgrades, it can easily face off against a Reaper leviathan, or even a Sea Dragon. It can also mine the large mineral deposits you’ve no doubt come across. The Thermal Plant is self-explanatory, able to make electricity out of the thermal vents dotted about Subnautica. Lastly, the Water Filtration Machine can create some salt and filtered water, recovering 50 hydration each. There are a few other items you can craft with aerogel, but I’ll leave them for you to find in your own playthrough.