When it comes to shelter, the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is either wilderness shelter, or our homes. The truth is, shelter is much more than just a roof over your head. Shelter not only protects us from the elements, it gives us a sense or normalcy, security, and a place to rest and regenerate.
In this article we are not going to go over different types of shelter, but rather some shelter considerations for preppers. Having a shelter is only the first part, it also matters where the shelter is, and who knows your there.
Because considerations for the homes we live in have already been taken care of, I am going to talk more about survival type shelter. Most homes in Florida are built with hurricanes in mind, and most homes in California are built with earthquakes in mind.
Location, Location, Location
Depending on the type of shelter you are thinking about, location considerations are going to be different. For a home, you may be thinking about moving further away from population. A bug out shelter, or survival shelter would mean staying away from prying eyes.
Protecting yourself from mother nature is also very important. Depending on your location and the time of year this could mean snow, heavy rain, sun or flooding. A survival shelter is basically the same as going camping. You wouldn’t want to set up camp in a low lying area that could flood, and you wouldn’t want to set it up on game trails where bears could wander into camp.
Back 10 years ago, my thought process for buying or renting a home was completely different than it is now. These days I think about it with a prepper slant. Back then it was how much is it? How big is it? And how close to work is it?
These days I think about how good it will be in some sort of SHTF or disaster scenario. Is there a water source nearby? How many people live in the area? And the amount of property is more important than the size of the house.
How long we may need to use the shelter, is the biggest factor in how sustainable it needs to be. If you are bugging out, it may just need to get you through the night. With your home or bug out location you may need think about long term sustainability.
Long term sustainability includes the quality of the shelter, the supplies used for the shelter, and the ability to stay there without being detected. You also need to have resources like food and water nearby, or you might find yourself moving.
Security should be a major consideration because regardless how wonderful your shelter is, if someone comes and takes over, your left with nothing. It’s also important to protect yourself, and your family from anyone who might want to do you harm.
Perimeter alarms and other security measures might not guarantee your safety, but they will give you a little extra time to react. At your home this could be motion detectors, security cameras or yard signs. With a survival shelter it could mean trip wires, taking turns keeping watch or geological barriers.
A big part of having a good shelter that most people overlook is comfort. While you can sleep on the ground and be just fine the next day, if you have a comfortable place to sleep you are going to be better rested and make better decisions.
Comfort also gives you a sense of normalcy. If you are already in a bad situation, why make it worse by having to sleep inside a cardboard box. If you have the skills to make a comfortable shelter that’s not going to fall apart and a little fire in front, you are going to rest much better than you would otherwise.
Protection from the Elements
The main goal of shelter is protecting you from the elements. The rule of 3 states “you can go 3 days without food, 3 hours without shelter, and 3 minutes without air. If it’s the middle of summer, shelter may not be an absolute necessity, but if it rained, and you had to spend the night soaking wet, you would wish you had shelter.
Shelter would protect us from the wind, which over time can suck the energy right out of you. Hypothermia can also occur when it’s not freezing out, so protection from the rain is also important. Whether you are talking about rain or snow, staying dry is critical, and that’s what shelter does.
Different Types of Shelter
Because shelters main purpose is protecting you from the elements, there are literally thousands of shelter ideas. The type of shelter you need is dependent on the situation you are in. While our homes are our best shelter option, we need to think about shelter when we can’t be at home.
If you are stranded on the side of the road, your shelter would be your car. If you are bugging out, your shelter could be in your bag, made by materials found around you, or provided by mother nature. Shelter can also be the clothes on your back.
While most of us have no plans on bugging out, we just never know when something might happen that makes building shelter a necessity. You could get stranded in a snow storm, or find yourself needing to bug in (get home). This is why learning some shelter building techniques is so important.