Basics Pt 1. Shelter

Whether you you are camping out of your car, going on a backpacking expedition, or in an extended survival situation there are 3 things you absolutely need. You guessed it food, water, shelter. For this part we will be focusing on shelter. Shelters main goal is to protect you from the elements and keep you alive, if it keeps you comfortable thats even better. Shelter runs from a high end tent with climate control to a hole in the ground. most people are familiar with tents so i won’t go into more detail than to say you get what you pay for.

I always have some sort of shelter with me in my vehicle, usually it is what’s called a casualty blanket. there are 2 types of casualty blankets, thin ones like a disposable space blanket and thicker ones more like a tarp these usually have grommets in the corners for tying. They come in different colors like blaze orange if you are in distress or olive drab for if you wish to remain unnoticed. The thin ones are very light and small whereas the thicker ones are a bit bulkier but still pretty light. I use the thicker kind and set it up as a lean to and with a small fire you can remain pretty cozy down to the single digits. The reason for this is the aluminized side of it opposite the colored side, it reflects the heat back at you so if you use it just as a blanket it holds your heat in but used with a fire it reflects all that fire heat at you too. Now if it is hot out just flip it over and reflect the sun’s heat back at it while giving you shade. But the best part is these things are cheap! Another lightweight but more expensive alternative is what’s called a Bivy. Essentially it is a tent that is just big enough for a sleeping bag and you. Some have a pole to keep the fabric off your face while others do not. If you are claustrophobic this is not for you. I have used a bivy in the past and they have the advantage over a casualty blanket in that the seal up keeping rain and snow out and can be heated fairly well with a small candle lantern. Also you can set a bivy up anywhere where with a tarp set up you will need to anchor it and lash it to at least a small tree or some sort of pole. Which ever shelter you choose to use be aware that you need to be off the ground. The ground will pull heat out of you through conduction, this can be very dangerous even in the summer. a ground pad is a great choice to use to prevent this but if one is not available pine boughs are a fairly comfortable alternative. That is it for now, next I will cover water.