Apocalypse Tips #3 - Shelter
Thirst is dealt with, scrapes are clean and healing nicely; now what? It’s not quite dark yet and despite likely being hungry, night time is a far more pressing issue. Most of the advice that follows is going to assume a Spring/Autumn sort of situation in the lower portions of Canada. If you live somewhere other than that location and if the time of year is summer or winter this information will likely not help much. Off to the internet research mines with you! I will provide some links below to more specific survival situations.
The reality of any situation that puts you versus Mother Nature; you will lose. Hands down, every time. And that’s in normal circumstances, what about a blizzard, hurricanes, heat waves and far more horrendous situations? Any number of these can kill you or severely limit your possibility of rescue. Let’s not forget, these are apocalypse tips… in this scenario, there’s no one to do the rescuing!
Shelter is quite literally putting something between you and the weather wall, sleeping bag, plastic sheet, anything. What we are going to do today is cover some basic methods of building shelters and the basics of WHY these methods work. Once we understand the science of shelter, we can improvise; something us humans do extremely well.
Warmth and Heat Loss
One of the biggest killers in the wilderness is hypothermia, which is a catastrophic loss of body heat. One of the easiest ways to lose body heat is to the ground. The goal of shelter is to help you maintain your core temperature; and that’s to say nothing of what Mother Nature can throw at you.
At its most basic, even a layer of sticks and leaves between you and the cold, hard ground can be enough sometimes. Even wrapping a tarp around you to stay dry can be enough in mild conditions. The basics are to create a barrier between you and the air and/or you and the ground.
Short Term versus Long Term
Needing a warm dry place for a night is very different than needing to stay warm all winter; thus, the length of time needed plays an important role in some survival situations.
For example, a simple tarp shelter (here’s a video -> link) can work wonders in average and temporary situations. A night or two in a shelter like this won’t be too bad even during autumn in some parts of the world. But lasting a whole winter in this shelter could be very dangerous.
Conversely, if you only need a day or two of shelter, digging into the hillside to create a cave with a thatched porch area might be a bit too much energy spent. Balancing the type of shelter needed with the energy needed to build it is very important. That’s why having a house, as most of us do, is such a good deal for us. Permanent shelter negates the daily energy expenditure needed to build one. That means a lot less food to find every day and a lot more Netflix to watch every night.
Quick First Steps
Before any sort of shelter building, there are some quick and easy questions to ask yourself when choosing a location:
Wind Direction? – because having it blow right into your shelter is no good.
Is it Safe? – because being crushed by snow or collapsing buildings is no good either.
How’s the Weather? – temperature, weather, time of year and time of day are all important.
Humans? – Humans are almost always as dangerous as anything else in a survival situation, if others are around definitely make a note of them.
In any survival situation, what happens to be around is pretty much all you’ve got to work with, barring whatever you prepared beforehand. If you are curious as to the basics of prepping here’s a link to click on -> Link.
For shelter in a forest, look for branches and leaves. In tundra, there’s lots of snow. Jungle, I don’t know, build a pile of spiders and hope for the best. There is quit