One of the toughest things you could face in a disaster is having to spend a night out without a roof over your head. Alone or with your family, this is a whole different ballgame than during the day. It’s colder, you are not moving around, and obviously it’s dark. Add to that the confusion of an emergency situation. Let’s look at how to get at least a little rest and shut-eye when you didn’t plan on spending the night out.
If you bugged out with a trailer/RV, or have a real tent in your 72 hour kit, you don’t need to read much further. Just get set up and relax. One thing to consider with a very visible trailer or motor home is finding a spot well off the beaten path, or you may find a lot of self-invited house guests asking to share your dry, warm space. Maybe you are okay with that, but if not, it’s something to consider.
If you have a tarp, plastic sheet, or mylar “space” blanket, you have a few options. The quickest way to find shelter is to find a rock overhang, large hollow log, or just a depression at the base of a tree, pile up some dry leaves or pine needles to sleep on, and crawl in. A space blanket will give you a modicum of insulation, but you need something between you and the cold, cold ground. You can either rig a tarp like this:
Which works better when you have more than one person, or like this:
Often the best way when you are by yourself. For either configuration, make sure you put some paracord in your kit was well.
The real fun starts if you find yourself with no tent or tarp and evening is coming on. If no precipitation is threatening, (famous last words, eh?) the simple way to stay warm enough to survive is to gather as much of the dry leaves and needles that I already mentioned with the tarp shelter, and when you are sure you have enough, gather some more, until you have a pile at least two or more feet thick and as long as you are plus several inches. Then crawl in. Nature’s insulation will keep you warm, though you might have enough insect companionship to keep you from sleeping much. But it beats freezing to death.
If rain or snow is a worry, and you have a few hours before total darkness, you can fashion a lean-to that can be surprisingly warm and water resistant. Find a long, narrow log or branch, set one end on the ground and prop the other on a rock or large log. Then arrange first branches, then smaller sticks, and finally pine boughs or leafy branches leaning against the log. By the way, except in a true life or death situation, you should never, ever, strip live boughs or branches from trees. If you were smart enough to have a garbage bag handy, slice it open and add it between the sticks and the leaves for an extra measure of waterproofing. The finished product should look kind of like this:
One last note-if you have the ability to make a small fire outside the entrance to your shelter, especially in front of a rock to reflect heat, this can make your unexpected night out warmer, yea, nigh unto cozy.
by Lorin John www.survivalbased.com
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