The Importance of Shelter for Survival

If you’re reading this, you’re probably fortunate enough to have a roof over your head for most of your life. It’s hard to grasp how much trouble it saved you as you grew up as it protects you from the elements, fickle changes in temperature, gives you space to organize your life and activities and kept your loved ones away from harm as the world is a dangerous place to live in.

Imagine living a life without proper shelter. Where would you go if it rains? Where would you store your necessities? How could you possibly cook and eat your meals? How would you shield your family from thieves and murderers?
If you’re lucky, your house probably won’t be blown away by a typhoon as strong as Haiyan, a hurricane as strong as Katrina or an earthquake of intense magnitude.

However, life does not always operate on luck, and you should seek out the training, skills, knowledge and tools to build a temporary and durable shelter.

It can be said that the need for shelter precedes the need for food and water as leaving yourself open to sickness and the elements far reduces your chances of survival than enduring not feeding yourself on time.

As you camp in the woods for fun, you also learn basic survival skills. It is crucial to protect yourself from exposure when you’re out there – from predators, the weather and insects.

The Importance of Shelter for Survival

A well-made shelter can give you the morale boost needed to survive and help you prepared mentally for the days ahead. First and foremost, shelter can be your sanctuary and refuge, giving you a sense of accomplishment and hope in contrast to the grimmest of circumstances.

You cannot rest properly on open ground as you will be left exposed and vulnerable. Shelter allows you to rest. You can mend your injuries, align your breathing patterns, hydrate yourself and make sure that you are healthy both physically and mentally before you set out.

In cold weather and winter, your clothing can be wet and moistened, loosening the insulating properties needed to keep your body at a stable temperature.

A proper shelter can help you stay warm enough to regain equilibrium, reducing the risk of colds and hypothermia. You can go about your activities better if you are warm and not freezing from the cold, as you can do less to survive if you are immobilized.

Build a shelter that is proportionate to your needs. If it is too large, the energy you expend in building it may not be worth all the effort as you value every ounce of your strength for survival tasks.

It should be big enough to protect you and store your goods yet small enough to contain your body heat.

When outdoors, look at your current environment to size up your surroundings and see which materials you can use to build a shelter.

Choose a location that is possibly near a water source, gets enough sunlight and does not attract unwanted attention from predators and pests. Good structure begins with planning and durable materials that can withstand the elements.

Vegetation can be used as insulating materials that can keep the inside warm as grasses and leaves can be thatched as insulation for the walls.

You can make windbreaks with ice, snow, wood and rocks to keep cold gusts out and even build a fire from the inside if you have enough space.

Natural shelters such as rocks, caves and tree formations take out most of the guesswork yet you still have to patch up and build towards the open ends. Tarp shelters can be built by putting two sides of a used tarpaulin over a rope and pegging each end to the ground.

Debris shelters are made using available recyclable materials and a little handiwork.

You cannot expect to survive in the woods for very long without the adequate means and knowledge for building a shelter. It serves as your home in the dark heart of the woods, enabling you to withstand the odds and not get swallowed up by the forest, or so it would seem.

Every man worth his salt should be able to build a home for those he loves and wishes to protect, even if the home does not have a postal address.