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Surviving in the Urban Environment: Shelter and Clothing

Finding shelter in an urban environment actually gives you the advantage over shelter in a wilderness environment. Shelter is one of the most important parts about survival, as it will keep you warm in the cold, cool in the heat, dry in the rain, and free from unfriendly guests. Having a good shelter is important for your psychological well being. With a shelter, you can call that area “your own space” for a period of time.

In addition to that, clothing is somewhat a part of the shelter category, as good clothing is like a mobile shelter. Good clothing will be durable, hold in heat when it’s cold, keep you cool when it’s hot, wick out moisture, and protect you from mean little critters.

Aspects of a Good Shelter

If you are in a situation where you need to carve out your own space, then there are a few things that you should keep in mind when declaring a shelter. These rules apply to both rural and urban environments.

  • Shelters should keep you dry in the rain. Having a waterproof shelter is crucial for both health and also psychological reasons. A waterproof shelter will keep you from becoming exposed to the elements. When you are dry, you can retain heat, and heat retention can keep you alive during cold winter nights. On the same note, a good waterproof shelter will keep your mind at ease, as it is rather difficult to get a good night’s sleep soaking wet. The rain can rot, rust, and deteriorate your supplies very quickly, so it is important that your shelter is good enough to keep the water out.
  • Shelters should keep you warm in the winter. One of the best parts about a shelter is the fact that it can retain heat. Sometimes that heat may not be much; you might not be comfortable, but it will allow you to avoid hypothermia.
  • Shelters should keep you cool in the summer. This is not always feasible, but a shelter should offer some measure of shade during hot summer days. The name of the game is making sure that you don’t get heat exhaustion.
  • Shelters should keep you protected from undesirable guests. A good shelter will not only be able to keep out the potentially diseased four-legged critters, but it should also keep you safe from potentially malicious two-legged crazies.

Basic Shelters in an Urban Environment

If you are near a good water source, then settling in your own home is most preferable. This is space that you already call home. You probably know everything about your house, and it is easy to hide your stores there. Your house will most likely adhere to all the rules stated above, so this is going to be your best option. However, if there is some kind of biological or chemical attack, you need to be prepared to seal it from outside air as much as possible. Also, it may be a good idea to have window bars and door blocks at the ready, in the event of a disaster. You need to make sure that your own home is defensible and protected from just about anything the world can throw at it.

In the same way that a bird builds its nest to keep out predators, you need to fortify your house. Make sure that there are no unknown entry points, and make sure that you have all defensive angles mapped.

Your house is your castle. From it, you can provide for yourself, protect yourself, and find a decent night’s sleep. Determine ways to heat your home with off-grid sources.

With this revolution in backcountry shelters, you never again have to choose between staying dry and staying warm…

Clothing That Lasts

This is one area where it is best to find the kind that will last for a good five years before it wears out.

Good clothing should be a huge priority, but you don’t always have to spend a bundle. Keep this in mind:  the cheaper the material of your clothing, the more you need to have stocked. If you only keep cheap jeans and T-shirts in that “doomsday drawer,” then you will need a lot of them, as these will wear out in months when you cannot wash them on a regular basis. If you want to have minimal clothes on hand, then you will want to buy hiker-grade outfits. These will be light, synthetic hiker pants and breathable synthetic shirts, and they will last for years.

In the winter it is crucial that you pack thermal underwear and a good jacket that is waterproof, otherwise known as a “shell.” With these, you will be able to layer, keeping you very warm. If you are working up a sweat outside, you can simply shed a layer and keep going, but if you have a thick, down coat on, then shedding that will not be an option. The most important rule to clothing is sweat management.

Sweat management is crucial in the winter, because sweat will cool the body too far. It is also crucial in the summer because it will dehydrate you too quickly. It is best to have just a few pieces of high quality clothing, because you will receive good performance for its life, and it will last for a long time.

Do your best not to kneel or sit in dirt. On a microscopic level, dirt will actually work its way into the fibers of even the toughest clothing and break them apart, dramatically hastening its wear. Do your best to keep a piece of cloth or plastic between you and the ground.

One more tip:  It is best if you learn how to patch and sew. This skill will make your clothes last longer. It will also be crucial for repairing tents, straps, tarps, etc. Learning to sew is one of the best skills you can cultivate.

©2012 Off the Grid News

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