When it comes to survival in nature, there are some key concerns that most people agree are critical for survival: Food, water and shelter. Regardless of the type of climate or geography you are in, it is vitally important to protect yourself from the elements. Knowing how to build basic structures from locally foraged materials can be a life-saving skill if you do not have access to a tent or hut.
However, there are also a number of lightweight survival shelters that can be stored in “suitcases” or vehicles in case of emergency that are meant to be relatively weather resistant and, in general, very quick and easy to assemble. I will go into some ways in which you can prepare for the eventuality of needing a shelter and some of the options available in the current market.
Survive the elements: factors to consider.
Before deciding what your survival refuge contingency plan will be, you must first assess your local geography and climate and determine what kind of probabilities your structure will have to overcome. Things like seasonal weather patterns, local terrain and even wildlife should be a factor in making this decision.
For example, if you live in mountainous and rugged terrain that experiences many unpredictable temperature changes, and is home to large predators such as mountain lions and bears, there are some special requirements you will have for your refuge.
On the one hand, if the terrain is rocky, steep and, in general, it consumes a lot of energy to traverse, you must make sure that if you pack your shelter with you, it is very Lightweight, and you can secure it without stacking it on the ground. Given the temperature fluctuations seen in mountainous areas, you want to make sure that what you use is not only waterproof, but that it is classified for very low temperatures.
Then, considering the local wildlife, you will want something that does not absorb the odors of food easily. While you may not find a portable survival shelter that can withstand a bear attack, even a thing that can be sealed too hard to keep attractive odors in or out will be an advantage.
If you plan to use local forage materials to build a resistant survival shelter, familiarize yourself with the process before you need it, so you are not doing it for the first time when you need a roof over your head. Ask yourself what kind of materials you can find in the forest and what types of natural features you can use to your advantage.
Options for prefabricated survival shelters.
There are many different routes that you can go to if you decide to buy something and put it in your emergency kit. Depending on how specific or complete the accommodation you buy is, the prices can vary enormously.
Keep in mind that if you buy a special lightweight tent specifically designed for hiking and low temperatures, it is likely to cost several hundred dollars. The more specific your criteria and the more specialized the equipment, the higher the price.
However, if you prefer to have something that is packaged and ready to use, and do not worry too much about the price, there are some really cool options out there. I especially like the tents used for mountaineering. These are typically very small, maybe one or two people, and are designed only for sleeping.
However, its compact design means that they occupy very little space in your package, and are incredibly lightweight, between 3 and 7 pounds for most. Their pitches are often designed with fierce winds in mind, so they can take a beating without bending the poles or blowing them up.
Also, because they are designed with mountain climbers in mind, there are quite a few available that are rated for very low temperatures, even -60? F. But seriously, get ready for a high price with these bad guys, most of which cost between $ 500 and $ 800. But if you can afford it, more power for you, these things are the world’s store tanks ( see North Face or Mountain Hardware to see some of the best).
If you prefer to put together a survival shelter kit, instead of going out to buy a tent, there are some things you can throw in a bag to put together a variety of shelters. This type of pseudo-hybrid refuge is a good plan because it uses local materials, but it does provide some tools to accelerate the process.
If you choose this method, plan to pack some things that may take a long time or be difficult to design in the desert on your own (remember, you really only have one day to build a shelter, there is no work after dark). Some good staples to bring are:
- A tarpaulin, or sheets of polyethylene plastic.-The waterproofing of its structure can be carried out, at least partially, without the use of these materials if necessary. But in miserable and rainy conditions, these materials will speed things up a bit for you. The canvases are large, but a little bulky. I really prefer a good all-purpose plastic sheet, even a thick plastic cloth. Not only are they effective and versatile, but they are super economical.
- Rope / paracord-The importance of the rope can not be exaggerated. There are many ways to build a shelter by weaving branches, and you can certainly make ropes with flexible plant fibers, but it is a tedious, time-consuming job that usually requires some practice to master. Invest as much as you have money and space in your kit; He will be glad he did it.
- Knife and axBoth are quite critical of any good survival kit, but they will save you a lot of frustration and work when you try to find a refuge. Obtain a knife with a very thick blade, and preferably a serrated edge and a smooth one (or simply pack two). When it comes to your ax, make sure the blade is thick (this will help it to last quite sharply), and also that it has a little weight: the back of an ax is a big hammer.
- Bastard file-This is not completely critical, but it occupies so little space in your kit and can save you a lot of frustration, I make it mandatory in mine. There is nothing more exasperating than a dull knife or an ax, especially when the only construction material you can find is green wood (which, in case you still did not know, is much harder to cut than the dry one) . Familiarize yourself with the basic sharpening skills and keep this file in your kit at all times.
There are many other things that you could pack for your survival shelter kit, but these are what I consider the main essentials, and really everything you need to start. With a little ingenuity and fat on the elbows, these basic staples will help you install a shelter in almost any environment.
Natural shelters of nature.
Of course, there are many ways to stay covered without any of the materials mentioned above. Although having a luxurious and weather-resistant tent is certainly easier and very convenient, there is really something to be said to build your own structure only from what you find in the desert.
The feeling of wandering through the forest, looking for building materials, invokes a kind of primordial instinct that many of us have forgotten. We may not yet know what the hell we are doing, but just the fact of having to find what we need and work with the forces of nature, instead of doing so, is tremendously satisfying.
What I want to say when working with nature is not a proverb that embraces trees, but a very practical and very scientific mentality with which you want to become familiar, regardless of your survival methodology. When all you have to work with is the dirt on your feet and the branches that rub against your legs, you have to think very practically. While in a typical house construction scenario, you build the house to meet your needs, and greatly alter the terrain you build to suit your needs. those You need, in this scenario, you are working around what nature requires.
For example, to alleviate a drainage problem on your property, you can dig ditches and drain, but when you are building a shelter in nature, select a well-drained area and modify the structure to fit the area. So, if you’re trying to survive in a frozen tundra, although you may be more familiar with booths and teepees, the lack of wood and the hardness of the ground will make it much more difficult to build one of these structures, instead of just Building an igloo or something similar.
The point is, work with what you have, do not exceed the limits of the environment, because the environment will absolutely win. That said, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some basic structures of natural survival, and even take an afternoon or two to build a couple of prototypes (it’s a great project to do with the children!).
Tipis and similar structures.
Familiarizing yourself with the basic principles of tipi construction is an invaluable skill. While it is true that it may not serve you well in an area without wood, in any other environment it is a simple, effective and highly adaptable design. There are many complexities and refinements in the construction of tipi that the Indians of the Plains have come to perfect over the years, but even understanding their basic construction can be incredibly useful.
That is, you will want to become familiar with the post assembly. It is a fairly simple task to harvest some small trees for work; just take time to peel them before you assemble your tripod. Once you have your posts erected and secured with a rope (this is where the paracord is useful), you can use a variety of materials to seal on your walls, depending on what you have on hand.
Of course, animal skins were traditionally used, but since you are not likely to have many of those tanned and ready to use, use what you have. You can use your plastic to form a waterproof barrier, just consider the mechanisms of smoke evacuation from the room, as well as the accumulation of condensation inside the walls.
If you do not have plastic or something similar, you can even begin to secure a network of thin branches over your poles to create a kind of mesh wall, to which you can apply a combination of mud and leaves (depending on the thickness of your branches). are) to seal you in.
The snow as construction material.
If you are stranded in an area full of snow, it will be incredibly difficult to recover the wood and make use of it. Your best option in this scenario is to use the snow to build an igloo or a Quinzhee (a structure made of snow, easier for beginners than for igloos). There are many methods to build these types of shelters, some more complex than others. However, if time is a factor and you are new to building with snow, I definitely recommend going with a Quinzhee.
There are many technicalities for its construction, but essentially the process is this. You are in a good location, with lots of loose snow nearby, and ideally sheltered from the wind. Find something to act as a place marker under the snow mound while packing a large mound around some objects, preferably some things that move easily, such as packages, or even bundles of branches. Place the snow around the objects, making the mound a couple of feet thick.
Add some markers sticks, about a foot long, piercing the dome everywhere. Tunnel the mound and remove the elements, and then start digging outward until you reach the ends of your poles. Also make sure to dig a ventilation hole, so that the structure gets adequate oxygen.
Making use of the natural characteristics of an area is a quick and infallible way to get a roof over your head. Even just building your shelter against a rock wall, or digging it into the side of a hill can greatly reduce your exposure to the elements. In addition, it obtains the additional benefit of the thermal mass of the earth, which helps regulate the temperature and maintain the heat.
The caves, although humid and dangerous at times, can be an excellent escape from the elements. As long as you have a means to light your way, and preferably a guide rope out in case your light source fails, they are an excellent choice. But follow some basic precautions if you decide to go this route:
- Always make sure you are alone. Throw rocks in the depths, make a lot of noise and give other inhabitants the opportunity to get out or make themselves known. You do not want to go near a sleeping bear.
- Do not go too far Caves can be very deceptive with their size. What appears to be a tiny room may have a crack or hole that can take hundreds of feet farther. Do not complicate your situation by exploring and losing yourself. Stay near the entrance.
- Be careful of your surroundings. Caves by their very nature are formed by water and fast moving land. Especially if it is stormy, or local streams and rivers are high, be alert to the possibility of landslides, landslides and flash floods.
In general, caves are a simple and effective refuge, but they are not free from risks. Be sure to exercise common sense and walk with care if you spend the night in one.
Knowledge really is power.
There is simply no exaggeration of the importance of housing. Without it, you open yourself to some harsh conditions. Even just a couple of hours of exposure to wind and rain can give you a case of life-threatening pneumonia or hypothermia.
Intense exposure to the sun can cause dehydration and dizziness, which can make your stomach get sick incredibly, as well as greatly impair your cognitive abilities. And a cold wind along with moisture or snow can cause severe cases of hypothermia, which if left unchecked will begin to close the organs slowly, or freezing, which will destroy the limbs permanently.
The best preparation you can do to build survival shelters is to arm yourself with information. Although high-tech equipment and tools certainly make life a little easier, knowing how to do without is much more valuable.
Take the time to research several shelters and practice what you learn. Take the information you get from the Internet and turn it into a prototype of training shelters in your yard on weekends, or camp with your basic tools and see what you can do to avoid it.
In the end, really learning the ins and outs of these structures and then applying that knowledge through practical practice is the best preparation you can give yourself, and in my opinion, it will go way beyond a $ 800 tent.