Shelter selection isn’t quite as easy as the bushcraft, survivalist, and weekend warrior types would lead you to believe.
To simply put up a debris hut, canvas or tarp shelter as SOP isn’t anyway good enough to cope with the multitude of problems we all should be prepping for.
In todays modern world natures “little mishaps” tend to be short-lived and it’s the man-made cock ups that can cause a real trial of your survival methodology.
SHELTER, A Dictionary Definition:-
A place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger.
Danger? What would that be?
Weather as cold, wet, damp and it’s products.
Weather as too hot, dry, dusty, windy,
Government, Man-imal and insect attack.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Contamination aka CBRN.
Skynet, and aliens (for the fanciful).
What are you looking for regarding shelter?
- It must be physically secure, easy to defend and escape from.
That is an absolute must!
- Somewhere that is a good barrier to weather and CBRN.
- Good Security will allow you to live and more importantly sleep.
- Somewhere with or close to water.
- Somewhere where you can safely use heat to:-
Purify water, and cook
- That allows you to perform personal hygiene, toileting, etc.
- Somewhere you can use as a base of operations.
With good covert access but near to the road infrastructure to allow travel and resupply.
Got that? Quite a detailed list isn’t it?
OK, lets move on.
Bearing that in mind the above, lets look at shelter in its various forms with a mind to keep all those dangers out.
- Military installations. Got to be the best goal for the survivor. Most military camps are one stop shopping malls for logistics and resources with the advantage of good CBRN protection. Problem is they are going to be VERY POPULAR, may have personnel who will almost certainly be armed.
- Man made designed for habitation.
It’s simple really. Man builds housing so people can live comfortably, sort of securely, and apart from going out to resupply, everything you need is self-contained. They even pipe in water, occasionally gas, electricity, and have drains to dispose of your waste. They are usually near to the road infrastructure to allow travel.
- Man made designed for trade / industry.
There are two sub types here. Retail with its shop fronts and loads of glass and industrial (warehouses and trade outlets as an example) with its good security yet basic facilities. Industrial may be a better option thinking about security.
- Man made utilities.
From pumping stations to power plants, telephone exchanges, sewage works, etc, Those places that may have basic facilities but are usually unmanned and largely automated. Security is typically good, home comforts maybe few.
- Man made infrastructure.
Sewers, subways, tunnels, underground utilities passages, road underpasses, multi-story car parks, and dams with their internal tunnel structures, mines (coal, minerals, etc). You’ve got health hazards, no basic utilities, no lighting, little fuel, still CBRN and sub-terra may allow “nasties” to pool in the very place you thought safe.
- Natures fortresses which includes cave systems. Why cave systems? They usually have a source of ground water and most maintain the same temperature all year round. Except as above you’ve got health hazards, maybe some basic utilities, no lighting, little fuel, still has CBRN worries and sub-terra may allow “nasties” to pool in the very place you thought safe. Don’t forget the water that flows can still carry CBRN.
- Then comes the mobile and portable shelter.
Unless we are talking about hardened military vehicles, nearly everything has a poor ability to stand up to CBRN and has poor security value. They are usually cramped, may need fuel, water, or power.
- The great outdoors. (Rightttttt).
Weather protection? MAYBE.
CBRN protection? POOR to NIL.
Physical protection? IFFY.
Essentials? Maybe locally but there is still CBRN to consider.
This basic 8 point list may give you a few headaches to consider regarding your “run for the hills” planning but I haven’t written it to blow that plan out of the water.
CBRN is always a game stopper yet people associate it more with war than anything else. That’s wrong and lets consider why:-
An industrial leak or fire may release clouds of toxic material into the air. Whilst you may leave bugging out until the air is clean, what are your plans for decontaminating where you are going to. After all the ground, natural water, and most certainly any foodstuff and game will be “off-limits”.
Biological. So many thoughts come about here.
- Zombie fans will love this and expect to be fighting tooth and nail for the rest of their lives. Yee Hah and pass the machete!
- Only what if it was something like Anthrax spores?
Once they hit the ground, they can lay dormant for years. Problem is the antibiotics you may carry won’t last that long.
- Human disease carriers may look OK but coming into contact with the infected may be as simple as brushing against a bush they coughed into or drinking from a water source they urinated into.
I’m thinking dirty bomb or even Chernobyl.
Short lived air-borne isotopes and particles may fade fast but what about the nuclear iodides that were water-soluble and long life? Hows about that Japanese irradiated Tuna you West Coast US inhabitants.
Tell me is any sea food still on your menu?
Nuclear. “Pop” time.
What is the radiation safety factor of canvas, fiberglass, a metal car, or even a debris hut. How are they (let alone you) going to withstand the flash, double blast, initial rad hit, and the subsequent fallout?
Then there is the small matter of what are you going to drink and eat?
So what think you now?
Has it changed your appreciation of shelter and your basic plan of run for the hills?
The next part will deal with the choice, access, security, and start to discuss how to plan for living off grid in a situation where it’s anything but!
As always I welcome your input folks.
The header picture has changed and thus my focus is going to be following the quote:-
“You wanna know a funny thing about the end of the world?
“The world is still there afterwards”.
The quote actually comes from a short amateur 2012 YouTube film entitled “Survival” and it kinda sums up my thinking.
Regular readers of my scribbles know I’m a fan of scavenging, dumpster diving, and using what is around me. That’s got to be the junkyard engineer side of me.
So I’m totally ditching the bush-craft fraternity, rubbing sticks together, the build a shopping mall out of a couple of cotton bud’s like Mac Gyver, or even look at waging war like Rambo (although I’d love access to firepower again).
Bear in mind we already think in terms of using existing secure shelter, ways to generate heat, obtaining fuel, making water safe to drink, sourcing and cooking food, personal hygiene, life-sustaining meds, self-defense, the currency of barter, communications, and transport.
It’s not going to be totally urban based thinking though as we used to live in the countryside (deepest darkest Lincolnshire) and know a thing or two about off grid living BUT even there we were aware of what was on offer in the surrounding area for the “practical opportunist”. Utilities, fuel, food stuff, etc.
We still forage for forest fruit and veg and hunting for our much-loved rabbit plus nabbing anything else edible that is stupid enough to get caught. So, trapping remains part of our “repertoire.”
Add to that our experiences of living under canvas and now a boat, all that has focused our minds on the basics of life and a fuller appreciation about what’s important to us and more importantly what’s not!
This should be a bit of fun and a good chance to sort out my scribbles into some sort of more focused order.
BEIJING: Western powers should take into consideration Russia’s legitimate security concerns over Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat has said in an unusually frank and open display of support for Moscow’s position in the crisis.[Source]
Why should the West listen?
Because soon enough BRICS is going to be the power in the world and they will be in a position to apply economic sanctions.
After all its only through the recent joint actions of the UK-US-EU that BRICS has gained ‘momentum and form’ so fast and it will soon begin to flex it’s muscles.
The stupidity of the rekindled Cold War will cause long reaching effects to Europe’s economy as Russia looks to new market places for its excess energy. Predominately to those who are the West’s traditional “enemies” and trading “opposition”.
I wonder, at what point will Russia find itself NOT DEPENDENT on trading with the West at all?
Add to that, what if NATO decide to do something silly and go for the punch up?
What then, who will support Russia?
Recently Russia has been talking to is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of non West loving countries and some of them have “resources” the West should worry about.
Just thinking about China.
Would it be in China’s interest to see Europe’s manufacturing bases stalled, their economy, banking, stock market, and the almighty dollar in tatters?
I would think so as then China can quietly go in and buy what’s left, in a fire sale type of purchase. Something they are pretty good at doing.
For China to speak now is pretty significant.
After all they don’t speak a lot and when they do people should listen.
The problem is will the West be too bull-headed to heed their advice?