Many people claim to know a lot about survival, but haven’t actually spent much time outdoors in emergency situations and bad weather. It’s easy to survive when you plan on spending the night out and have all the gear you need. But when a real situation comes around, you can’t count on having all your equipment with you.
In today’s blog, we’re going to talk about one of the most important elements for survival: shelter.
Protection from the Environment
The number one way that people end up in trouble in survival situations is through exposure to the elements.
Exposure to the wet and cold is especially dangerous. Hypothermia can strike in nighttime temperatures as high as 60 degrees, and can kill you. That’s a night that would feel quite comfortable normally, walking around town. But outdoors, with no shelter, those temperatures can be deadly.
In desert regions, heat is a real concern. Heat exhaustion may just mean you’re going to have a really bad day, but heat stroke is fatal more often than not. That’s why the first element on our list of important gear for survival is shelter. Shelter can come in the form of gear that you carry with you, or can be improvised.
For equipment, we always recommend you carry a space blanket or large heavy duty trash bag in the bottom of your pack. Whether you’re heading to the grocery store, to a family reunion, or on a hike, this item should not leave your bag.
Even in an urban situation, disasters like earthquakes can strike at any time. A waterproof surface like a trash bag can keep the rain off and help keep you warm.
The ability to improvise a shelter is a critical survival skill. Building a structure that can shed some rain and most importantly keep you warm is more difficult than you’d think, especially if you haven’t built anything out of sticks and leaves since you were a kid.
Fortunately, building improvised shelters is relatively easy once you know the principles (and as long as the right materials are available in your location, which is the real trick). This is a topic we’ll cover in other blog posts. For this post, the lesson is simple: prioritize shelter.
It could save your life.