Shelter Considerations

ShelterShelter is a Top Priority

It may seem counter-intuitive, but building or finding shelter is almost always a top priority.  Statistics show that most casualties of survival scenarios die of exposure!  That’s right…they freeze.  Even in desert climates, temperatures can swing from over 100° F to below freezing temperatures within 24 hours.  Shelter is also effective at preventing heat injuries and can help slow dehydration in dry climates.

Shelter Before Fire

Building fire requires some level of fine motor skills and ideal conditions for success, especially if you have been reduced to primitive fire starting methods. Also, fire can’t protect you from wind and rain, both of which can quickly zap your body heat. Building a hasty shelter can be done in just a few minutes and may be the difference between life and death.

Types of Hasty Shelter

  • Snow caves or Igloos
  • Lean-to constructed of logs, branches or stick frames covered with bark, leaves, dirt, or moss/grasses
  • Caves
  • Tents, tarps or bivy sacks

Shelter Site Selection

  • Choose level or very slightly sloping ground
  • Select sites with building materials in close proximity to conserve energy
  • Avoid flood planes and locations prone to avalanche and rock/landslides
  • Consider cover and concealment (if you DON’T want to be found) and escape routes

Other Considerations for Shelter

  • Build shelters sturdy to prevent cave-in/collapse
  • Investigate cautiously, caves and caverns that animals or insects may already occupy
  • Properly ventilate to prevent suffocation and/or carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Construct to minimize infiltration of wind and water
  • Construct two exits whenever possible

Shelter is necessary in almost any climate, because it provides protection from wind, rain, sun, animals and insects. Shelter can provide a big boost to morale in a stressful situation. I can’t stress enough, the importance of finding shelter as quickly as possible to shield you from the elements.