Shelter from the elements should be your first concern if you find yourself in a survival situation.  If you run your engine (your body) too cold or too hot it’s going to fail you.  Whether it is the sun, wind, rain, snow or sleet you need a barrier to keep the elements away from your body.  Anything that creates this barrier is fair game, don’t get hung up on making an attractive, right out of the wilderness survival handbooks beautiful shelter.  Functional is what we care about and the K.I.S.S. principle always applies.  The less calories spent building your shelter, the better off you’ll be.

  • The first level of shelter is your clothing.  Being appropriately dressed for the environment you are in is the first step of survival.  This is your first tool in maintaining your body temperature.
  • The next level is insulation from the ground (it will suck the heat right out of your body).  Again, anything that gets the job done is right, no extra points for pretty.  Whether you use a tarp, pine needles or garbage… just get off the bare ground!
  • Finally, you want to block wind, rain, etc.  Guess where I’m going with this?  Use ANYTHING that is available and functional.  It doesn’t matter if it’s natural or man made, just cover up!

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