Preparing for Survival: Shelter
By: The Nature Tech Fam
One of the most important aspects to surviving in any wilderness situation is to understand “The Survival Rule of Threes.” These rules need to be practiced and remembered well before heading out on the trail, and are even easy enough for young children to understand. The Rule of Threes states: You can live three minutes without air, three hours without shelter (when DRY), three days without water, and three weeks without food.
Although the Three Minutes without Air is crucial to even providing a chance for survival, we have chosen not to dwell on those first three minutes in this series of articles (for in-depth information on preventing water accidents, see the hikebiketravel.com website.) Therefore, we will begin this article with the next most important aspect of survival: Shelter.
When you prepare to head outdoors, whether for a few hours or a few days, the Rule of Threes should guide you in your gear selection and packing. Even a simple day hike in unfamiliar territory can cause you to lose your way. One lighter-weight shelter item in our EDC (Every Day Carry) Pack is the UST Brands Tube Tarp. With no poles necessary, this tarp can be zipped into a tent, and can sleep up to two people. This tent stays true to survival form: you don’t want your shelter to be much larger than your body to minimize heat loss. In addition, its bright orange color, reversible to reflective, can help you be noticed easier by SAR teams. At only $39.99, you can’t afford to NOT have a tent like this in your EDC Pack.
Whether you prepared ahead or not, the moment you realize that you are lost, STOP MOVING. Depending on the location of your survival situation, you will need to locate or create a shelter as soon as possible. Even in warm climates, the nighttime temperatures can dip down enough to cause hypothermia, especially if you find yourself wet or the weather becomes stormy. Look around you and locate (as close to you as possible) an area that might have a safe, natural shelter such as a cave, thick bushes, or other sturdy windbreaks. Be sure to avoid low areas or flood plains. If you have time before nightfall, work to find brush and tree branches that can be fashioned into a debris hut or lean-to. Even with a tent shelter or blanket, use debris to your advantage, piling it on top of the tent, and stuffing it inside. The closer you can keep your heat to your body, the warmer and more comfortable you will be. In addition to creating a safe place to spend the night, focusing on the task of building will help keep you stay calm, and the physical movement will keep you warm.
Never underestimate the power of a great shelter in the wilderness. Learn well before you go how to construct a debris shelter, and practice putting up your survival tent. Always go on a hike with an EDC Pack that has first aid supplies, shelter items, and fire starting materials. Planning and preparation will keep you in line with the Survival Rule of Threes.