Without Shelter it is easily possible to be on the brink of death in just a few hours.
I have had a career in electronic security during much of my life. At times we have been required to do work in huge commercial freezers. Some of these freezers, particularly in food processing facilities, have an area called “Quick Freeze.” This is where food is frozen very fast. It is cold, but just as important, fans create a lot of airflow which takes the heat out of the foods quickly.
Hypothermia – is the greatest contributor to cause of death in the outdoors in temperate and cold climates
If you have studied survival and emergency situations as I have for most of my life, you know how dangerous hypothermia can be. It reduces our ability to work, clouds our senses, inhibits clear thinking, and is often a precursor to death. Hypothermia is simply a lowering of the body’s core temperature, below the normal 98.6° F. The body does not have much of a temperature range in which it can perform its vital functions, so it must heat, by metabolism, or cool by sweating to stay in that range. Our bodies can typically manage to stay warm enough down to about 60°F or cool enough up to 110°F, although there are personal variations to that. Beyond that range we step into a danger zone, particularly on the cold side. People have died of exposure, which is the journalistic word for hypothermia generally, at temperatures in the 50’s.
Shelter is not just for cold weather In a desert environment shade may be just as essential as any
protection needed in the cold. We can be in serious trouble if the body is not able to cool itself. Many times just getting out of the direct sun may be all that is needed. Less effort is needed to cool the body, and a considerable savings in water loss due to sweating. Another factor is preventing body injury and deterioration due to sunburn, and hot sandy wind.
A couple of the key dangers in the cool are, wind and rain or snow. Just like in the Quick Freeze, wind will take body heat from you incredibly fast, even in temperatures that may not be all that cold. I have found that even in temperatures below zero, when I can get to a place of perfectly still air, I can enjoy a bit of comfort as a mini warmer environment surrounds my body, but any breeze takes that instantly away. Getting wet is even more dangerous since water conducts heat away from the body 25 times more effectively than air! Getting wet can cut your survival window from days or hours, literally to minutes.
What is the best thing to have for shelter?
Well the best thing you can do for yourself is to be properly clothed, that alone can save you. If you can become like the animals in the wild, and able to simply exist in the elements, that would be the best option. You would not only have safety, but mobility. For most of us our problem comes about when we are not dressed as we should be. It’s too easy many times to dress for current conditions and not allow margin for a change in conditions, that’s how we get caught.
The next best thing to have is a tarp or tent. For survival purposes I like the idea of a tarp. One reason is that it is very flexible in how it can be deployed, it can be flat, a fly, an “A” frame, a Forester, a lean to, a door, a wrap, or a poncho. A tent can only be a tent really. By using a tarp I can easily adapt it to whatever situation I am in, and whatever my environment.
We developed what we call the “Personal Survival Tarp.” From years of experience with tents, natural shelters, tarps, sheets and combinations of these, as well as reading many books featuring both modern methods and old designs, we have designed what we believe is the best solution. It is both light and sturdy, can be pitched in dozens of configurations, comes with plenty of cord, stakes, shock cording, and is very quick to pitch. As noted in the title description, this is a tarp of personal size. We chose 7′ x 7′, which will work very well for most people.
Check out this video to see it in action and many of the dozens of set up styles then check the webpage. Watch this blog as we will also post additional more detailed information, hints, tips, and tricks.
At Wilderness Innovation we are focused on “Simplifying Survival”
Until next time – Perry Peacock