Shelter and warmth help keep you in good condition both physically and mentally. Poor sleep will make you less effective both mentally and physically. When creating a shelter try to use the minimum amount of energy for the maximum amount of gain. Items that can protect you from the elements include:
- Tent to help protect you from the elements
- Space Blankets, tarp, and bivy, offer protection from the environment
- Sleeping bag or blankets for warmth
- Sleeping pad or hammock for comfort and insulation from the ground
- Rain Gear to keep you dry
- Clothing and gloves for protection and warmth
- Getting Started – Shelter
Shelter is critical! If you cannot survive in your environment then all other preparation is irrelevant. There are vastly different shelter options depending on your situation. For home preparedness your home or car could be your main shelter. For the outdoors you might use a tent, bivy, or improvised shelter. Shelter also includes items to retain warmth such as blankets, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Your main shelter is your home but if your home should fail or if you must evacuate do you have alternate shelter?
- Home: Your home can normally protect you from the elements but what if your house was damaged or the inside temperature drops to the outside temperature? Could you keep warm using warm blankets or a sleeping bag? If you have a generator is it connected properly, in working condition, and do you have sufficient fuel? You should also have proper illumination in the event of a prolonged power failure.
- Vehicle: A vehicle can provide shelter if your home was severely compromised or if you were stranded on the road. I have slept in the car on road trips when I did not want to pitch my tent or sleep through bad weather. When sleeping in a vehicle you will need to keep yourself warm using blankets or a sleeping bag.
- Tent: When sleeping outside do you have a tent or bivy to provide shelter? Be sure that your tent or bivy is in good, working condition and make sure that fabric and seams are well sealed. A bivy is basically a covering for your sleeping bag that provides protection against moisture and insects. Bivys are normally not very comfortable but they are small and lightweight.
- Field Shelter: In “worst case” situations you may have to create a shelter using available materials. This situation is more for the hardcore survivalist sites and I will defer to those sites for more information.