How to Build a Shelter – Things you must know
Spending a lonely night amidst a cold forest calls for building an instant shelter with the materials in hand to survive the deadly night. Thus, learning survival techniques is an essential requisite for a daring adventurer. Survival is a decision and the techniques involved are meant to offer a fighting chance. Food, clothing and shelter being the 3 basic needs, the last is important on several fronts.
A shelter acts as a shield protecting you from rough weather and wildlife intruders, thus providing psychological comfort. Seeking the best shelter accounts for the following strategies.
• Smaller shelters located near water sources are best to retain heat. Survivor of wreckage should better stay at a visible spot near the wreckage. Natural hazards like dead trees that could fall, cliffs and dry riverbeds could better be avoided.
• A ventilated shelter facilitates fire making inside or near the entrance. Branches and boulders prevent animals from getting in as well as retain heat inside. Sleeping on a pile of grass or pine needles helps maintain body heat. Fir tree branches and snow offer great insulation from the cold. Stacked up heated rocks provide extra warmth.
• Frozen water over thatched roofs act as protective insulator in freezing weather conditions.
• For the rainy season, make cover on flat or sloped land to allow drainage of rainwater, instead of burrowing a hole on the ground and covering with boughs.
• When using caves as shelter, its better to remain close to the mouth.
• Metals should better be avoided for roofs, as they tend to reflect away sun while deflecting the rain and wind.
• To avoid suffocating conditions due to formation of carbon monoxide gas, make sure you turn off the stove or lantern or any fire source inside the shelter.
Alternative shelter options
Since an emergency shelter is required just for survival and not for comfort, so anything could be used as a temporary refuge. While hollow trees could be used as sleeping burrows, an overhang could also prevent you against wind and rain. Dense tree branches act as instant canopy, as logs and rocks help check the wind.
• On hand materials like bits of discarded climbing rope, ripped plastic sheeting, old hiking boot, ponchos, nylon hammocks or parachutes come to best use for building shelters in worst of conditions.
• The basic idea is to spread something above you to serve as a temporary roof. A poncho or any kind of plastic sheeting could be tied to two or four trees to form a canopy. While a lean-to shelter can be made by tying two opposite corners of the poncho to trees leaving the other end to slant diagonally to the ground secured with stick stakes or heavy rocks.
• A tent shaped shelter may be built by running rope down the center of the poncho between two trees and staking the sides into the ground with sharp sticks to create an A-frame. A one-person tent may be built from tree branches without even using rope. The prime concept is to make a frame and then wrap a cover overhead and to the sides.
• Hanging cots could also be created by rolling sturdy branches into the sheet like a long scroll, leaving some exposed wood at each end, while lashing the cot to four trees a few feet above the ground. Added overhead covers give shape to an elevated platform.
Field Expedient Shelters are shelters built employing the same techniques, except for the roof that is built by branches and thickets in slanting manner for insulation and drainage of rainwater. It built by using Field Expedient tools when there is nothing else at hand. Well-insulated and easy to build huts are known as debris huts, while those built with evergreen tress amidst snow are called tree-pit snow shelters.
However, the most important thing is to remain calm and in control during emergency situations. Basic shelters are easy to construct and essential for surviving the harsh elements of nature.