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      How To Prepare Your Car In Case You Have To Live In It

      How To Prepare Your Car In Case You Have To Live In It

      Living out of a vehicle is never an ideal circumstance. In a perfect world, you would purchase a truck, SUV, or a van, which you will modify and customize to maximize the comfort and use of space. We do not live in a perfect world, and whichever vehicle you are currently driving may end up being your home on wheels. So what can you do to prepare your current car in the unfortunate event that you may be forced to call it “home”?

      There are a lot of articles written about living out of a car. This one aims to provide a few tips and things to think of that may not have crossed your mind.

      Related: 15+ Survival Items To Keep In Your Car At All Times For SHTF

      Preparation

      Number one on your to-do list is to keep your car well maintained and properly insured. It is a good idea to have a basic tool kit on hand, plus a set of spare fuses, a tire repair kit, at least one replacement bulb for each bulb type on your car, a replacement fan belt, and spare oil and air filter.

      If you have the available space, carrying a collection of fluids for your car is also not a bad idea.

      Gather up all the gear you figure you’ll need to live out of your car, and then try it for a night or two. This will show you what you’ve forgotten and what you do not need, before you need to do it for real. Depending on your skill level and mindset, your bug-out bag might be all that you require to live out of your car.

      I like to think of it as setting up a car for camping, but on a more permanent basis.

      Your Number One Priority

      Safety must be your number one priority. Multiple hazards surround living in a car and you need to be ready for them.

      Carbon Monoxide is a concern whenever you sleep in an enclosed space, especially if you leave the engine idling. There are battery-operated CO detectors on the market and some that are specifically designed for vehicles. If you plan on living in a car for any length of time, a CO detector is indispensable.

      Since your car is now your home, you should keep all of your valuables, important documents, a change of clothes, toiletries, water, food, etc. in a backpack in case your car gets destroyed or stolen or you need to suddenly abandon it. This bag should be considered your ‘bailout bag’ and when you are not in the vehicle, it should be on your person and never left unattended.

      Lastly, you are vulnerable when sleeping in a car in an urban environment, and protecting yourself is critical. First and foremost, it is always best practice to disengage from a threat as your first line of defense. Remember that you are driving a two-ton vehicle and escape is probably going to always be your best course of action.

      Second, remember that even though your car is now your home it is, after all, only ‘stuff’ and not worth grievous bodily harm or death in defending.

      When given the choice between your life and your car choose the one where you keep breathing.

      All this being said, you may be forced to defend your life, and in that case, you must choose methods that are legal in your area and that you have the training and temperament to execute effectively.

      Storage

      Open every door and the trunk of your car. Check each door for storage compartments, inspect where the spare tire is, glove box, center console, and the seat pockets. Once you’ve done this, plan out how you are going to outfit your car. Take into consideration how many people may be living with you as well.

      Keep items that you’ll need frequent access to in places like seatbacks and the pockets in the doors. Each person’s bailout bag should be compact enough to fit on the floor between their legs.

      The trunk will be the primary storage area and you need to think about maximizing organization. Purchase containers with tight-fitting lids, that can be stacked one on top of the other. Try to find totes and containers that fit tight together to minimize the dead space between and around them.

      Label these containers with their contents so you can quickly find what you are looking for. Also keep similar items or items that serve similar purposes (cooking, cleaning, entertainment, sanitation, clothing, etc.) in the same containers.

      The area where the spare tire is often has a significant amount of room that you can store items that you may not frequently need ready access to. This is a good spot for tool kits and spare parts.

      Keeping It Comfortable

      Unless you have a truck or van, you’re going to find that sleeping in a car is not the lap of luxury. A small backpacking tent and air mattress will make your slumber far more comfortable where it is legal to pitch a tent.

      Solar-powered fans that fit into the window of a vehicle are available. They will remove the hot air and hopefully bring in the cool air. Using sunshades on the windows will also help to keep it cool inside the car.

      Try to park in shaded areas whenever it is possible. Otherwise, carry a tarp or two and some paracord and bungee cords to rig up some improvised shade when parked, or to create an outdoor space covered from the rain.

      RelatedEmergency Shelters When You Are On The Move

      Number One for Survival

      We need water to survive and it is important to have some on hand in your vehicle as well.

      Fortunately, water is not hard to come by in urban environments, so keeping a 5-gallon jug with a spout in your trunk will be sufficient, provided you have free access to water.

      Having a few reusable water bottles for each of the people living with you in the car is also a good idea. Use one bottle for water and the other for mixing sports drinks, juices, protein shakes, etc.

      Cooking and Sanitation

      You can not eat fast food for every meal, so you are going to have to do some cooking. A simple two-burner camp stove is portable enough for most vehicles and gives you the ability to cook a lot of meals. It is fairly simple to find pots and pans that nest together in your local camping supply store, as well as bowls that collapse flat, and cutlery.

      Acquiring cookware that is designed for camping means that it will be lightweight and compact.

      Sanitation is going to be an issue. In a pinch, you can use your camp stove to heat some water and use soap and a washcloth to give yourself a sponge bath. This is not a permanent solution though, so you are going to have to think about where the most accessible showers and washrooms are in your area.

      Remember that COVID-19 has shut down or put restrictions on places like community centers and gyms, where one would normally be able to shower. You can buy camp showers which are water bags with showerheads attached, or you can wash in rivers or lakes. Another option is to lean on your social network to find some friends or family that will allow you to use their washrooms to clean up.

      Going to the bathroom at night is also an issue that you need to consider when sleeping in an urban environment. Parking outside a 24-hour Walmart or other retailers that have washrooms open to the public is one way to solve this issue. Failing this, an empty gallon jug is another option to store liquid waste, make sure to clearly label it and secure the lid tightly.

      Navigation

      GPS is omnipresent in 2020 and most of us have used either the onboard vehicle GPS or one of the handheld units. Every smartphone has GPS inside of it and Google Maps is amazing at getting you where you need to go.

      But you need to have some paper maps and a compass in your center console or glove box.

      More importantly, you need to learn how to read and orient a paper map. While this seems like an archaic method of navigation, having a paper map or a map book helps you to understand how the different streets and neighborhoods relate to each other. After you’ve used a paper map for awhile, your ability to get around the city will dramatically improve.

      I hail from a generation before smartphones and remember how a glance at a map book would have me navigating around traffic problems. With a little practice, you can become better at getting around a city or finding an address than Google could ever be.

      Power

      We live in an electronic age and even though you’re going to be living inside of what is effectively a two-ton generator, you’ll want alternative ways to charge your devices while parked.

      Large roll out solar panels can be laid out on the car roof to trickle charge battery packs or devices directly.

      If your car is an older model and lacks USB ports for charging, there are power inverters available that plug into your car’s 12V power outlet that can provide hundreds of Watts of power.

      Finding public Wi-Fi is also something that you’ll need to do to save on data charges. Some unlikely places to find some unsecured public Wi-Fi is businesses that serve the public, such as medical/dental offices, retail/grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.

      Some people love to live out of their cars, but for most of us calling a vehicle “home” is almost always a result of some kind of catastrophe. While driving around with a car that is always ready to be home is not practical, having totes, containers and a bailout bag ready to load up is never a bad thing.

      How To Build An Electricity Free Fridge

      How To Build An Electricity Free Fridge - American Survivalist - Survival Gear

      One of the most immediate problems that we will face during a grid-down scenario is that the loss of electricity brings with it a failure of our ability to keep food from spoiling.

      Generators, battery banks, and other off-grid power options can keep a refrigerator running but will rapidly consume valuable resources in the form of fuel and battery capacity.

      Constructing an electricity-free refrigeration option will aid in preserving our battery and fuel stores.

      Refrigeration Before Electricity

      The electric refrigerator is a relatively modern innovation, and commercially available models have only been in homes for about a century.

      Before that, the simple icebox was the most common method of keeping food cold, and even during ancient times, people used ice houses to preserve food.

      The problem with using ice is that it may be hard to come by in a grid-down scenario, which is where evaporative cooling comes into play.

      Evaporative cooling has proven to be an effective method of keeping perishable foods from spoiling throughout history in areas where ice is not readily available.

      The two elements required for an evaporative cooler are wind and water, which are far easier to obtain than large quantities of ice or snow.

      Zeer Pots

      The Zeer pot has been in use for thousands of years in one form or another but was resurrected from history by Mohamed Bah Abba in the 1990s.

      Abba developed the pot in pot refrigeration system, using two unglazed clay pots. These pots are different sizes; the smaller one should fit inside the larger one leaving a gap of about an inch or so.

      The inner pot is where the food you want to keep cold goes, and the outer pot serves to contain the sand that will fill the gap between the pots.

      How the Zeer Pot Works

      The Zeer pot can keep the inner pot cool because of the process of evaporative cooling.

      For water to evaporate, it needs to absorb heat to turn the liquid water into vapour. As the water vapour absorbs this heat, it will be replaced by cool air that will settle in the inner pot.

      The reason why the pots that make up a Zeer pot must be unglazed is to allow moisture to seep through the walls, which has a similar effect that sweating has on humans. Likewise, the moist cloth that is draped over the Zeer pot also aids in the cooling process.

      Much like how a breeze can help cool your body when your clothes are damp or when you are sweating, the wind blowing across the Zeer pot is an essential component of its ability to keep food cold.

      How to Build a Zeer Pot

      Constructing a Zeer pot is a very simple process and requires readily available materials at your local hardware store. The entire build process takes very little time to complete. In my case, I constructed a Zeer pot in less than twenty minutes.

      Materials and Instructions

      • One large unglazed terracotta pot
      • One smaller unglazed terracotta pot
      • Sand

      1. If there are drainage holes in the bottom of either of the pots, you will need to seal them.

      In my case, I decided to use plumbers’ putty, but you can use anything you have on hand to keep the sand and water from leaking out of the bottom. Of course, whatever you decide to use needs to be waterproof.

      2. Pour a layer of sand into the bottom of the larger pot.

      Related: How To Preserve Your Vegetables Using Sand

      The goal is that when you place the smaller pot inside, the tops of both the pots will be at the same level or that the inner pot is slightly higher than the outer pot.

      3. Place the smaller pot inside of the larger one.

      Centre the pots as best you can and make sure the inner pot is not below the level of the outer pot, as this will mean that sand may fall into the inner pot.

      4. Pour sand in the gap between the pots filling it to the top.

      5. Pour water on the sand until the sand is saturated with water.

      You will need to allow the pot to cool for a while before loading it with food. During this cool-down period, you will want to drape a damp cloth over the pots.

      6. Fill the inner pot with whichever food you wish to keep cold.

      7. Cover your new Zeer pot with a damp cloth or lid.

      It is essential that the fabric stay moist to facilitate the cooling effect. Then place the pot where it will be exposed to the wind and remain out of direct sunlight.

      8. Pour water on the sand a couple of times a day to prevent it from drying out.

      Limitations of the Zeer Pot

      There are several limiting factors for this style of electricity-free refrigeration:

      • The Zeer pot is best suited for use in dryer climates. As the humidity in the air increases, the effectiveness of the Zeer pot is decreased.
      • You have to keep the wet sand and damp cloth moist for the Zeer pot to maintain effectiveness. This means that you may have to wet the sand several times a day.
      • Evaporative cooling requires wind, so in areas where there is no breeze, the Zeer pot will not be nearly as effective.
      • There is no way to ensure that the temperature remains stable throughout the day, meaning that there could be periods of time in which the temperature within the Zeer pot rises to unsafe levels.
      • Direct sunlight cancels the cooling effects.

      If you live in a hot, dry region, the Zeer pot is a fantastic option for extending the lifespan of fresh produce without expending precious resources to generate the electricity required for conventional refrigeration. It is cheap, effective, and genuinely off-grid.

      How To Preserve Your Vegetables Using Sand

      How To Preserve Your Vegetables Using Sand - American Survivalist - Survival Gear

      We work so hard during the summer to keep a sizable garden and have our own fresh produce. When growing my own crops, the growing season quickly becomes the harvesting season. Before long, I have a surplus of vegetables that I want to last through autumn and winter.

      Instead of freezing my veggies, or keeping them in a root cellar, our family has always stored our surplus crops in sand. Our home-grown root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabaga, onions, ginger, and radishes are buried year after year to preserve them. We also store apples and pears this way. Just be sure to store apples and vegetables in separate containers, due to the ethylene emission from apples.

      Root veggies are also safe to keep in the ground as the temperature cools. After the first frost is typically when I wait to harvest. Be careful through; the longer you wait, the easier it is for rodents and bugs to infiltrate your crop.

      I have found that a sand method of preservation is the freshest, most natural way of keeping my hard work in the garden paying off during the cold months. Preserving your crops in sand also offers the following:

      • Inexpensive storage
      • Crops stay fresher, longer
      • Easy to make and maintain

      Every prepper has their way of storing their vegetables in sand, but I wanted to share my method of storage. Our family sand-storage secrets have been passed down through generations, and it’s important to stick with what works for you. There are a few considerations that are non-negotiable in my sand preservation.

      Temperature

      Root vegetables need the right temperature with the right moisture levels to keep well.

      The ideal preservation temperature is anywhere between 32 to 40 degrees, with humidity at about 95 percent. Any colder and the veggies will freeze; any warmer and they will grow.

      Container

      I use an insulated box that I made myself, which is just a large wood box inside a larger wood box. The larger box’s gap between the sand box is filled with straw, acting as insulation. You can also use sheet insulation inside a corner of your shed or garage for temperature control, as long as the structure is rodent-proof.

      Rodents and bugs are a huge threat to your preservation.

      If you are new to this method, your crisper drawer can be used as a last-minute solution to preserve your vegetables in sand. Take this into account and prepare for next year by planning a more permanent solution.

      Location

      I keep my sand storage in my basement in a well-insulated room, ensuring the temperature is within that sweet spot consistently through winter.

      I keep this room unheated and enclosed to keep moisture and humidity consistent.

      If you do not have storage available in your basement, a corner of your shed or garage can be used. Be sure to insulate with sheet insulation to make sure the temperature does not go below freezing. Some sheds and garages can act as hot boxes, even in the winter sun, so be mindful of your location choice.

      Sand Type

      For years, my family has always consistently used “play” sand for storing, which is sand that is washed, screened, and dried. It is the safest type of sand to use around your food.

      Typically, you will find play sand in children’s sandboxes and playgrounds.

      I buy my sand in 50-pound bags at the garden surplus store. Upon purchasing, the sand is moist. If you find that your sand is not moist enough, spray lightly with a spray bottle and aerate the sand with your fingers. Do this before packing up any vegetables.

      Sand Storage Procedure

      1. First, I remove all leafy tops and greens from my root vegetables, avoiding cutting off any vegetable flesh. I do not wash my vegetables prior to storage, but you can knock off some dirt and grit from the flesh and roots.
      2. You want to select the best crops from your harvest for storing. Mature, but not overripe veggies with unblemished surfaces are key.
      3. Pour several inches of sand evenly into the bottom of your box. Nestle your produce into the first sand layer, and then continue layering sand and veggies, like a preserved vegetable lasagna. The sand must cover all veggies, and allow a few inches between each one. The veggies should not be touching.

      In three simple steps, you have fresh produce from your own garden throughout all of winter. Some other helpful tips I’ve picked up over the years are:

      • Harvest your veggies initially from the garden on a dry day. Leave them out in the sun with the roots exposed for a few hours to harden the outer skin.
      • Be sure to check your veggies once every week once planted in the sand. It is scary how quick rot can spread through your crops, so be sure to look at them and smell them often.
      • Store veggies such as carrots and parsnips in the same way they grow in the ground, roots facing down.



      • Be sure the roots on your veggies are supple before storing. Too wet of roots will cause rot, and too dry of roots will shrivel.
      • Eat your crops before any sign of rot happens. These crops are only meant to last you through the winter, anywhere from two to five months.

      Keeping a large garden in the summer is the best way to ensure our families have enough to eat, since society is not stable enough these days to rely on. Once summer is over and you have a farmer’s market worth of produce to keep, it is time to get crafty in your storage solutions.

      Storing vegetables using sand is not a new way of storage, but it is an efficient way. It retains the vitamins and minerals your family needs to survive, as opposed to freezing or canning.

      Having a nice, fresh carrot in the dead of winter that you did not have to buy at the store is a rewarding feeling as a prepper, but also as a person who provides healthy food for their family.

      How To Preserve Your Whole Harvest For Winter Without Refrigeration

      How To Preserve Your Whole Harvest For Winter Without Refrigeration - American Survivalist - Survival Gear

      Knowing how to preserve your harvest even without refrigeration is an important way to deal with surpluses and avoid waste, as well as to see you through months when your garden isn’t as plentiful.

      The first step to successful longer-term preservation is understanding what makes produce spoil in the first place. When it comes to food storage, your biggest enemies are:

      • Some foods begin to dry out when exposed to oxygen for prolonged periods. You may notice changes such as lettuce becoming limp and wilted, oranges shrinking and hardening, or the skin of cucumbers starting to wrinkle.
      • Humidity is often a good thing when it comes to fruits and veggies, but too much moisture can lead to quicker rotting. That’s why, for example, greens stay fresh so much longer when stored with paper towels between the leaves.
      • Ethylene gas. A natural plant hormone, ethylene gas speeds up ripening when exposed to oxygen and carbon dioxide. Some veggies and fruits release this gas as they age. The release of ethylene gas affect other nearby produce, so foods that produce ethylene should be kept away from foods that are sensitive to it.



      • Produce tends to be rich in natural enzymes that provide essential health benefits for our bodies. These enzymes become active when the food is cut or peeled. They are also sensitive to heat and will cause the food to spoil quickly once cut.
      • Other chemical changes. Oxygen, sun exposure, and high temperatures all work together to escalate the spoilage of your produce. In general, store your food away from heat and sunlight, and eat any pieces with natural cuts or bruises first.

      Do keep in mind that any mishandled produce may contain unsafe microorganisms that can cause illness if ingested. Any pathogens in your fresh food can quickly multiply at room temperature, make your food spoil faster, and potentially spread to other foods nearby. Do not eat anything that you suspect may be contaminated or rotten.

      With this information in mind, let’s look at the best ways to preserve your whole harvest with no refrigeration.

      Storing

      Some of your fruits and vegetable will store well for months under the right conditions.

      For best results, choose unblemished items and check them regularly for signs of spoilage – it’s true that “one rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch.” Here are some tips for storing different items.

      Root Vegetables

      Potatoes, carrots, and beets are well-suited to storing.

      Remove the leafy tops from carrots and beets and place them in a single layer without wrapping. A layer of sand can keep both from becoming rubbery.

      For potatoes, harvest them on a dry day and leave them out in the sun to dry completely. Remove any mud and store in paper sacks in the dark.

      Parsnips are a root vegetable exception: leave them in the ground over winter and harvest as needed.

      Apples and Pears

      These fruits will also store very well. Wrap each fruit in newspaper and store in a single layer.

      Garlic, Onions, and Shallots

      Dry these veggies thoroughly and then braid before storing in a dry place.

      Alternatively, you can cut off the tops and fill a net or an old pair of stockings with the bulbs.

      Hang these to keep them dry, preferably in a breezy location.

      Items in The Squash Family

      Pumpkin, butternut, and spaghetti squash, for example, can last for several months, depending on the type.

      Pumpkins won’t likely last past midwinter, but other squashes may keep well through early spring. Choose specimens in good condition and store them in a cool, dry place. Zucchini does not store well, unfortunately.

      Beans and Peas

      You can dry beans and peas for long-term storage.

      There are different methods for drying beans at home – one method is to simply leave the pods on the plant until they are dry and hard and will break and spill the seeds out (but be sure to harvest before they break on their own).

      Keep dried beans around to use in soups, stews, or as meals all on their own.

      Leafy Greens

      Leafy crops, such as spinach and lettuce, do not store well long-term. However, you can continue sowing these plants into early autumn so that there will still be fresh leaves to harvest after the weather turns colder.

      Drying

      You can dry some foods to produce interesting new flavors and textures to add to your dishes when you cook.

      Tomatoes, apples, and peppers all dry well. Drying produce is easy; simply slice the food thinly and arrange in a single layer on a tray. You can then use the traditional method, which involves leaving your trays outside over long, sunny days.

      Alternatively, you can use a quicker and easier process: set the trays in your oven on its lowest setting (250F) for a few hours or until the food has shrunk and become almost crispy. Then, store the dried pieces in sterile, airtight containers and use them within several weeks.

      Pickling and Canning

      Beets and shallots taste delicious when pickled and will last for months.

      Beets

      Wash and prepare your beets but avoid removing the tops too close to the root, as this may allow the color to leach out.

      Boil for half an hour or until the tops and skin rub off easily. Slice the beets, place in sterile jars, and cover in pickling vinegar.

      Shallots

      Peel and trim the bottoms and tops. Let sit overnight in a shallow dish filled with salt to draw out excess moisture. The next day, rinse the shallots thoroughly, place in sterile jars, and cover with pickling vinegar.

      Good news for zucchini lovers: you may not be able to store them dry for very long, but you can make chutney with them, as well as more or less any excess from your garden, such as tomatoes, plums, garlic, mint, onions, cherries, and much more.

      You may also can a wide variety of vegetables and fruits for later use, including cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, corn, most fruits, squash, leafy greens, asparagus, carrots, and more.

      If you own chickens or cows, you may also bottle stock.

      You worked hard on the food you grew; a little know-how can help you keep it fresh and healthy well into the winter months. Congratulations on your great harvest!

      How To Build A Survival Debris Hut

      How To Build A Survival Debris Hut - American Survivalist - Survival Gear

      The ‘Survival Rule of Three’ states that in inclement weather we can only expect to survive three hours without shelter.

      It is because of this, that shelter is prioritized before water in most survival situations and is one of the first survival tasks that one would undertake in a true survival situation.

      While there are multiple shelters that one can construct, the debris hut is probably one of the simplest to build often requiring no tools or cordage.

      What is a Survival Debris Hut?

      The best way to describe the debris hut is that it is a pile of leaves and other debris that is held back from crushing you by a ridgepole and a whole lot of sticks.

      The debris hut is not unlike any other shelter except that it requires no cordage or tools and relies on leaves and forest debris to provide insulation.

      Related: Emergency Shelters When You Are On The Move

      How Does it Work?

      There are three ways in which we can lose body heat, convection, conduction, and radiation.

      • Convection is where the body loses heat through the skin by way of cold air or water moving across it. When you feel the chill of a cold wind, that is convection stealing your heat.
      • Conduction happens when heat moves from a warmer object to a cooler object. Since the ground is cooler than we are our body heat is conducted into the Earth when we lay down on the ground without insulation between us and the dirt.
      • Radiation is the heat that radiates out of our body. If you look at a human through thermal imaging you can see that we radiate heat which warms the air around us.

      The debris shelter serves to insulate us from the ground, keeps out the cold wind and water, and traps the heat that radiates from our bodies.

      Location

      Where you put your shelter is arguably as important as the shelter itself because a great shelter in a bad location can negate all the advantages a good, insulated shelter can provide.

      When selecting a shelter site look for the following:

      • Flat, dry, and level ground.
      • Plenty of shelter building materials.
      • The 5 W’s.

      Related: 12 Things You Need to Know Before Choosing Your Bug Out Location

      The Five W’s of Shelter Selection

      Wind – Be aware of where the prevailing wind is blowing and orient your shelter, so the wind does not blow into your shelter.

      Widow makers – Look up at the branches above you. Dead branches may break which can fall on your shelter causing severe injury or death.

      Water  You need a source of water close by but not too close. The air temperature around water is often lower than areas further away and higher up.

      Also, walk around the area and look for any evidence of water moving through your camp area. The last thing that you want is a river flowing through your shelter at 3 AM.

      Wood – Fire is almost as important as shelter and fire requires wood to burn. Aside from fire you also will need wood for the shelter construction.

      Wildlife – Avoid setting up near game trails or anywhere you find tracks or scat.

      Building the Survival Debris Hut

      To construct this shelter, you will need an area that has an ample supply of wood and dry leaves. For the insulation from the ground, it is also helpful to have access to evergreen boughs to lay down as a bed.

      One point of note is that as with any shelter construction this is going to require a significant calorie expenditure. It will also take a lot more time than you think to construct so plan on starting several hours before the sun is due to set.

      Step One – Now that you have a suitable location, you will need to set up a ridgepole. You will have to find something to lay one end of the ridge pole on which can be a fallen log, stump, or a fork in a tree. You may get lucky and find a fallen tree that is perfect.

      The goal here is to have enough room to lay comfortably under with a bit of headroom. In this type of shelter, your body heat is going to heat the shelter so you will want to minimize the amount of air space inside.

      Step Two – Figure out where your bed is going to be and then insulate the ground where you will be sleeping. Pile evergreen boughs at least 4 inches thick when compressed then test that you can still lay comfortably under the ridge pole.

      I omitted the bed for the purposes of these photos as to not cause any undue harm to live trees in the collection of evergreen boughs.

      Step Three – Lay sticks against the ridge pole tight together which will form the walls of the shelter.

      Test out the shelter again before moving on.

      Step Four – Gather all the leaves, sticks, boughs, and other forest debris you can find and begin piling it up on the shelter’s frame. Do not underestimate the volume of debris you are going to require.

      The goal is about one foot of debris on your shelter but if the weather is colder the amount of debris needs to be at least two feet or more.

      Step Five – When retiring to your shelter for the night the entrance needs to be filled in with some more debris but do not seal yourself in completely leave a little room for some airflow.

      Some Things to Think About

      • This shelter design requires a lot of debris so think about this before selecting a site for your shelter.
      • It is a good idea to practice building a debris shelter before needing one in a real emergency.
      • Dry leaves are best, but the circumstances may not allow for this. Try not to use wet or green materials to insulate the inside of the shelter or as your bed save all the driest materials for the inside layers of insulation.
      • Be extremely cautious with having a fire near this type of shelter. Before you go to sleep at night fully extinguish all fires and do not use a candle or smoke inside the shelter. If the shelter catches fire escape is going to be exceptionally difficult.

      Related: 3 Quick Shelters (The Last One is Invisible!)

      Building one of these shelters takes a lot of time and calories.

      While building one of these shelters can and will save your life in an emergency it is not anything that you should rely on, instead build and bring an emergency shelter kit with you every time that you head out into the woods.