In a survival situation, shelter from the elements is critically important. Although water is a high priority, depending on the circumstances, a person can easily succumb to the effects of hyperthermia or hypothermia much faster than dying of dehydration. To put things into context, a person may survive for 2 – 3 days without water; however, in extreme cold or heat, a person may not last more than a few hours.
When it comes to shelter and the idea of warmth, it is important to recognize that it isn’t necessarily the shelter itself that generates warmth. The primary function of a shelter, especially in a survival situation, is to provide protection from the elements (wind, rain, snow, etc.) and to a certain extent, predators. We seek protection from the elements because they endanger our ability to maintain our core body temperature.
The source of heat for a snow-based shelter could come from a candle, small fire, your body heat (by default), a lantern, or a combination of several different sources. While snow-based shelters provide excellent insulation, you should ask yourself – what is the source of heat it’s insulating for you?
Think about the shelters we move in and out of on a daily basis. Our homes, offices, vehicles etc… It is not the structure itself that generates warmth per se, but rather a furnace, fireplace, heater etc… In other words, the shelter’s warmth is generated by a heat source. In a survival situation, give some thought to the heat source of your shelter as it may ultimately determine the type of shelter you construct.
Remember – In a survival situation, shelter and protection from the elements is critical. Don’t forget that your clothing is your primary shelter and clothing should therefore be well thought out.
Shelters are effectively micro-climates which allow us not only to survive, but to live and settle in environments that would otherwise be quite inhospitable. Proper clothing is what allows us to leave our shelters (homes, buildings, vehicles etc.) and move around. Therefore it is essential to think of our clothing as a shelter… After all, our clothing does in fact protect us from the sun, wind, rain, snow etc…