My interest in natural building spans the full range of construction from simple emergency shelters for disaster victims all the way up to gorgeous homes. Today I thought I’d blog about something a little different. Imagine yourself stranded in the wilderness in an emergency situation. Your knowledge of knots, lashings and pole building could help keep you dry, warm and comfortable or even save your life. Even basic knowledge of these things could prove invaluable someday. You don’t need to be an expert woodsman or survivalist. In this scenario we’re talking about temporary shelter for a few days.
If you live in the mountains, you’ll know how people frequently get lost in the woods or stranded when their car breaks down on a lonely stretch of logging road. Many people succomb to the elements in just a few hours from hypothermia, so it’s imperative to stay warm and dry in these situations and not panic. Quick, easy to build shelter is just what’s needed until you can work out a better plan.
Okay, are you with me so far? (I told you this would be a different kind of blog post.) How would you concoct an emergency shelter for 1-3 days using just a few basic materials? Well, I saw this tree a while back and it inspired me to write this blog post. The steep shape, tree leaves and vines would all help shed water. It should be nice and dry underneath. Some rain might still get through and so I would use a tarp or piece of plastic to help keep the water out. The tarp or plastic could be attached to the tree truck and branches with rope or twine and sloped outward for a makeshift roof. You might have to trim off a few tree branches and clear a comfortable spot on the ground. Next up would be securing firewood, building a firepit and small fire. Then make a cup of tea and have a snack as you gather your thoughts. Even a simple shelter like this would improve your odds of survival by giving you a boost of confidence, allowing you to rest and clearly think through your options as well as keeping you warm and dry.
Search YouTube for lots more ideas on survival shelters. You can add wind breaks, reflector shields to direct more heat toward your body, pine boughs for bedding, raise the bed off the ground, hang pots over the fire, etc. Having camped and hiked in the mountains for many years, I’ve been in at least three survival situations (mostly from sudden severe snowstorms) and can attest to the importance of knowing basic survival techniques.