Cold Weather Survival Shelters

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present another lesson from our Military Pedagogy series.  This discussion, from FM 21-76, the U.S. Army Survival Manual [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on Cold Weather Survival Shelters. 


Your environment and the equipment you carry with you will determine the type of shelter you can build.  You can build shelters in wooded areas, open country, and barren areas.  Wooded areas usually provide the best location, while barren areas have only snow as building material.  Wooded areas provide timber for shelter construction, wood for fire, concealment from observation, and protection from the wind.

Note: In extreme cold, do not use metal, such as an aircraft fuselage, for shelter.  The metal will conduct away from the shelter what little heat you can generate. (more…)

Building a Poncho Hooch

I was having a beer the other day with a prepper buddy and the conversation turned to what types of shelter are best to carry in a bug out bag… and that’s when the discussion turned to the poncho hooch also known as the poncho shelter.  The poncho hooch is basically a tarp shelter made from a poncho, and a little cordage.  Building a poncho hooch is easy so let’s look at a few alternatives: (more…)

Dakota Fire Pit Infographic

Here’s something that doesn’t weigh a thing to add to your Get Home Bag or Bug Out Bag… a little knowledge about how to build a Dakota Fire Pit.  While a fireless camp is the least likely to be observed there may be times when a fire is absolutely necessary…water purification by boiling (when you have no other methods available)  or to avoid hypothermia are two possibilities that come to mind.  Such situations call for a Dakota Fire Pit also known as the Dakota Fire Hole… the next most clandestine camp to a fireless camp.

Dakota Fire Hole Infographic

Dakota fire hole (Figure VI-15). Use the Dakota fire hole for high winds or evasion situations

Essentially the Dakota Fire Pit is a fire pit with a separate tunnel built to supply airflow directly to the fuel.  By keeping the fire below ground you reduce the light signature of the fire significantly and are able to get by with a much smaller fire than you would need above ground to accomplish the same cooking tasks.

Here are some additional hints to make your Dakota Fire Hole easier to build and less likely to be seen: (more…)

Today’s Top 10 It’s Not This It’s That for Preppers

Sometimes preparedness is about seeing the potential alternate uses of everyday items, sometimes preparedness is about keeping the ‘end’ in mind while dealing with the ‘ways’ and the ‘means.’  These were the inspirations for this periodic column on Prepography called… It’s Not This It’s That (INTIT):

  1. It’s not a salt lick for livestock, it’s brining material for salting that livestock’s meat
  2. It’s not 550 cord it’s a solar clothes dryer
  3. It’s not a pile of old tires…it’s an Earthship (or maybe just an Earthboat) waiting to be built (thanks to PennyPincher for the tip)
  4. It’s not a flower garden…it’s a survival garden just waiting to have the flowers replaced with beautiful vegetables
  5. It’s not a dog…it’s an early warning system…or if it’s like mine it’s a ‘come and get my master we live over here’ system (more…)

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