Monday, August 5, 2013

The Five W's of Shelter

     Shelter is perhaps one of the most important aspects of survival. Shelters help protect you from the weather. They are a barrier between you and whatever may be out there, wheather its wind, rain or animals. Of course building them is the hard part, however before you build them, you have to find the right spot. This is where the five W's of shelter come into it.

1. Wood
     Wherever you are surviving, wood is neccessary. It is great as building material, because it can be manipulated in so many ways to create your shelter. However caves and rocks and other materials can work for building a shelter as well in its absence.

     Wood however is very important as fuel for a fire. Your shelter will give you protection from nature, but fire will give you warmth, a way to purify water, a way to cook, and it can act as protection.

     Wood can also be used to create any number of tools from containers to spears.

2. Weather
     What kind of weather is there in the area where you are setting up your shelter? Is it seventy five and sunny? Doesn't matter. You also have to have an idea of how the weather can change. Could it rain? How cold will it get at night? You have to understand what kind of weather you could get, so you can make the appropriate shelter. You don't want to be rushing to change or improve your shelter if unexpected weather rolls in.

3. Widowmakers
     The name refers to dead trees that can fall on someone and kill them. Dead trees are a big danger and you never want to make a shelter near by one. If wind comes through and knocks it over, it could be you that makes the tree a widowmaker.

     However in the case of shelter building, it isn't just trees that can be widowmakers. It refers to anything big that can fall on you. Big rocks are another common danger to watch out for. Sleeping under large rocks or even in caves can be dangerous. Take a look at the surrounding area. Are there a lot of smaller rocks around it that look like they have fallen off the rock face? If so, those rocks could be a very dangerous, and you may want to rethink your shelter site.

4. Wiggles
     Yup, the name may sound immature, but the danger is still real. The name refers to bugs, but it can really mean any type of potentially dangerous creature in the area. Spiders, snakes, and scorpions are all a potential problem. Other animals like big cats, bees, bears, and crocodiles can also be included in this. Pretty much anything that can poison you, make you sick, or eat you is a potential danger.

     Because of this you want to make sure your shelter takes this into account. With things like bugs and snakes you may want to make a platform to keep you off the ground, so that it is harder for them to get on you.

     In the case of large predators you may want to have a weapon or too in you shelter. Also make sure your shelter has walls, which can act as a barrier between you and whatever else is out there. If you're in an area that has lots of predator and the risk is very high, you may even want to add thorny bushes along the outside of your camp, as well as a fence of some kind and even a set of stakes if you can.

5. Water
     Water is perhaps the most important aspect to choosing a shelter site. It doesn't matter how good your shelter is. If you don't have water, you're going to have to leave your shelter behind to find it, or stay with your shelter and die from dehydration.

     The five W's of shelter building are an important aspect of survival to know, and can be used in everyday life when you're out camping. After all, nothing ruins a camping trip like a big dead tree on your tent. They are five simple rules you can follow, and they could mean the difference between life or death.


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