>>You can live three minutes without air
>>You can live three hours without shelter
>>You can live three days without water
>>You can live three weeks without food
How many people put a lot of thought into the second item - the one about shelter? People may think about it, but few acquire the skills and equipment necessary to git 'er done.
What elements should a shelter possess? The only "must have" requirement is that it protects you from the weather. Many shelters also provide you with security from predators, but unless your camp is in the middle of a pack of wolves, your focus should generally be on protection from the weather.
Also, when thinking about types of shelters, don't think it only means a structure. A poncho or garbage bag are shelters as well. My BOB/GHB contains a number of large, heavy duty garbage bags, Mylar "emergency" blankets and light-duty tarps. And LOTS of paracord. These are all small, light and don't take up much space, but will at least give me some short-term shelter in an emergency situation.
There are a couple of scenarios for which we're making shelters. The first are shelters that are designed to protect you from cold and wet. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 95F. If you become wet and the weather is cold, your chances of survival drop significantly.
In these types of environments, we want shelters that keep us dry and provide for the retention of our body heat or external heat sources to keep us warm.
Trash bag poncho
10 things to know about building a natural shelter
Emergency tarp shelter (video)
The second type of shelter are those designed to protect you from the heat. Hyperthermia is the over-heating of your body, generally to temperatures between 100F to 104F. You get so hot, your body's natural ability to cool itself fails.
So, we want to shield ourselves from the heat. Since we all know that heat rises, this logically means that we want to stay low, as well as out of direct sunlight.
Shelter in the desert
One of the key things to note is that whenever possible, the part of the structure facing the sun will be more effective if it's insulated. And remember, air is a good insulator.
So, if you've got a single tarp that is acting as a sun break, you'll see a 15F to 20F drop in temperature. Set up two tarps - one over the other with an air space between them, and you can easily double the temperature drop.
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Lastly, know how to tie knots. Check out this post ("All Tied Up In Knots") which also contains a link to an earlier post ("Knotty Problems").
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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com