Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Emergency Shelters

There may come a time when you have to spend a night out that you hadn’t planned on.  It may be because of weather, darkness, injury or more commonly, getting lost!  Regardless of the cause you are now faced with nine or ten hours of discomfort at best and, at worst, the loss of your life because of your lack of preparedness for the event.

No one wants to spend a cold, wet, hungry, lonely night out away from family and friends - but it happens!   And it happens all to frequently.  It happens to both to the experienced and the novice – none are immune from the possibility of having to survive cold temperatures, high winds and precipitation sitting out under a tree somewhere waiting for the sun to come up the next morning.  It is more likely that the experienced person will be better equipped and ready for a night out.  It is also true that more experienced people, based on their know-how and past successes are prone to over-estimating their skills and abilities to spend a night out and tend to underestimate the impact of the environment and the weather on their ability to survive.  On the other hand, novices, ignorant of the hazards they might face, venture of into the wilderness blissfully ignorant of the dangers that they are exposing themselves to.  And, when confronted with the setting sun and the realization of a long, cold night ahead, are terrified by both real and imagined dangers.

Protection from the environment begins with the choices you make at home before you depart.  The selection of both the clothing you will wear and have available and the selection of the equipment you will have with you.  Your clothing must keep you dry and warm when you are inactive!  The equipment you carry must include a means to shelters yourself from the weather conditions and other environmental hazards (insects) that could threaten your life.

For those of you that believe that you will be able to find a cave or other protected nook to take refuge in or that you can build some form of improvised shelter from natural materials that will keep you warm and dry you had better think again!  Let me set the record straight.  Survival experiences often begin at the end of the day, as the sun is setting.  The need for additional shelter only becomes apparent when it is already snowing or raining.   It takes time, skill and natural resources to build a shelter using whatever natural materials are available.  It also takes a fully ambulatory person to be able to erect the kinds of survival shelters that are advocated in most survival books and articles.   These are criteria that are hard, if not impossible to meet and it is because of these criteria that I encourage all outdoor people to carry with them waterproof, wind proof sheltering material that they can either crawl into for protection or crawl under. To read more click here

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