Why is shelter and planning for the different stages of shelter

Let’s look at the Survival Rule of 3:
§         You can survive for 3 Minutes without air (oxygen)
§         You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment
§         You can survive for 3 Days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment)
§         You can survive for 3 Weeks without food (if you have water and shelter)

The rule of 3 illustrates that after breathing, shelter is the next most important thing. As we talk about every day carry with an emphasis on understanding shelter, let’s try to learn what shelter is and how simple planning can help keep us safe and comfortable.

We will break the EDC (every day carry) into three stages:  
Stage 1 - What you are wearing. This includes shoes, clothes and tools.
Stage 2 - What you are carrying with you (backpack, purse, etc.). This includes supplemental clothes, tools, a water bottle and maybe food.
Stage 3 - What you have with you in your transportation. This should include a clear plastic, and mylar, warm clothes and blankets, fire starting and basic tools water and/or water filter.

Stage 1 can sometimes be difficult. We cannot always wear good, comfortable and durable outdoor clothes. Depending on the activity, we might be in dress clothes that are not sufficient for sheltering us in the outdoors. Having a plan and tools with you at all times is the first stage in your safety and preparedness. A knife, even a small one, and a way to make a fire are the most basic tools you should always have with you. These two tools will be most valuable if you find yourself in a situation where you have to improvise a shelter. Other tools are also useful, a good multi-tool is designed to provide you with many tools you may need in a pinch.  Because we cannot always wear clothes that are considered “good shelter” we need to be aware of the potential problems and strengthen our stage 2 and 3 to help cover the vulnerability of our stage 1. We should try to wear the most functional and sturdy clothing as possible that will be appropriate for our activities. There are sad circumstances where women are caught in a disaster situation, big or small, and find their high heels compromise their safety. Whether they have to flee from danger, cross difficult terrain, or walk in cold weather or an extended distance.

A plan entails knowing what is going on around you so you can be prepared for the most likely problems you will encounter. Knowing the weather and the surroundings are key.  For example, in the winter, it would be advisable to take warm boots, a coat, and work gloves with you in your vehicle, even if you were just going to church. The potential is a flat tire, or being stuck in the snow. Some inconveniences that should be an easy fix can turn into a life threatening situation due to the elements. You may plan a simple trip to town that could turn into spending the night in your vehicle. What is your plan?

Stage 2 we have a little more leeway. If you are carrying a backpack or purse, you can put in a jacket, a pair of gloves, or any other warm gear that is easy to carry. Other useful tools would be a flashlight and a space blanket.
Stage 3 is what you carry with you in your vehicle. This may include a 72 hour kit, or car emergency kit. These items may stay in the vehicle year around and should be supplemented with clothing, shoes and any other necessities that may vary due to the season. There are many videos on youtube about 72 hour kits and car emergency kits that you can get ideas from, but the most basic necessity they usually overlook is a sturdy pair of shoes and work gloves. These two personal shelter items can provide a huge amount of comfort and safety in a variety of situations. The last thing we will try to cover here is the need for a lightweight, all-season shelter. The items you will need to construct this shelter are clear plastic, a space blanket or reflective tarp, rope, and tape. With these supplies and a way to make a fire, you can make a shelter that will stay warm and dry, far below freezing.

Use the rope to make a ridgeline around 3 feet above the ground. Make a triangle shaped shelter with the clear plastic, up from the ground over the ridgeline then slanting back 4 or 5 feet to the ground. The Mylar or reflective tarp is placed from the top of the ridgeline sloping back to the ground inside the clear plastic. Fold the ends in and tape them closed, also you can tape at the ridgeline to reinforce the plastic. Then make a fire in front of the shelter, about 3 feet from the plastic. The heat from the fire will travel through the clear plastic, hit the Mylar and reflect back into the shelter and onto you. Many people try to use Mylar to reflect their body heat back to themselves. This may work in the short term, but in cold temperatures, it is much better to have an external heat source that can be reflected into a shelter to keep you warm. This shelter has been used to keep people dry and warm in below freezing temperatures. Also, the same material can be used in different configurations in hot weather to keep you cool. 

These videos show people who have made this type of shelter:

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