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Monday, February 6, 2012

How to survive 101

 What a perfect weekend for a survival campout.  Well, it was good on certain aspects and we had certain aspects that had good survival aspects.  We stayed on a ranch that had lots of Angus cows on it.  The owner was a real nice gentleman and the cows sun bathed in the nice 70 degree winter weather.
 OK, I know that a picture like this makes me look like a fool.  I was helping my son with a "how to build a survival shelter" class.  Living in Texas and being as prepared as we try to be,, there are not alot of situations that give us a chance to practice our survival skills.  My son was showing the class how to do a basic debris shelter and he just did not take alot of the "weather" variables into his demonstration (70 degree weather is kind of hard to tell someone why you need to build a shelter).  His original shelter was 6 feet tall and was real random on the construction.
 We took down his original design and then we looked at our variables, wind direction, materials, location, trees, and supplies.  This "half baked" shelter is low so that you do not waste space and material.  Then it is built with my feet pointing towards the general direction of the wind so like the roof of your house it naturally deflects the wind.  The the sticks that are layered on the support beam act like the shingles on a roof and naturally wick any moisture away.  Remember this was just a demonstration and we would have layed some sort of pine needles or leaves on the bottom as insulation and protection from ground water.  Then we would have also covered the top completely with branches to fully protect myself from the rain.  Don't I look cute with my head on my arm and tree?  Kind of looks like a survival calendar shoot.
The last thing I love to do with my shelter is to place a small fire nearby for warmth.  A fire also gives you something that builds confidence you are going to survive and also it acts like a TV and you can just sit and stare at it instead of thinking of how bad things might be.  I like to do a wall behind the fire to deflect the heat back to myself in the shelter.  The wall also helps block wind and rain.  This fire would not be your signal fire because it is small and is used as heat.  You would build a signal fire in an opening where people can see it.

I always hear people say "practice makes perfect" and that includes your survival skills.  Just think about the last time you used your spare tire?  You might not even have air in it or be able to change the tire.  It is always good to practice your work on changing a tire in a safe place then when you need to know how you are ready.  The same thing goes for anyone who camps out.  You need to practice using your survival gear so that if the time comes you are competent and capable of using them.  My son had the know how, of building a survival shelter but he needed some guidance from me to show him the elements he was not thinking of so later that day when we took the boys out to build and stay the night in their shelter they were comfortable building them. 

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