Shelter

First we will live in our homes till “they” come or a disaster hits.. We can use bottled water when they turn the city supplies off. we can have an emergency small power plant to light our home when they take us off the power grid. But then what? When the bottles run dry?, When the fuel for the station runs out? When they come busting doors down one by one? as they did during Katrina.

Something to think about with Intel. In the Big city your in a heap of troubles..But you have the option of moving from one home/apt to the next, Scavaging as you go. But there will be Millions doing the same. Those in suburbs and smaller towns may have some luck making debris huts for when needed. Making them ahead of time and placing them in different areas beforehand, might allow you to see if others locate them. You better make sure you got your mini mag flashlite when you go back to crawl in these habitats, someone or thing might already be there.

Depending how well you can claim an area for awhile for hunting and route travel(note: never use the same path more than once if possible. A good tracker can find any path, anyone can find a path traveled more than once.), these would also be nice to have prebuilt for helicopters and hand held thermal detectors. Having a place readily available can save you from being spotted. They would be a cool temp barrier between you and the eyes from beyond as well as a barrier from the elements.

The debris hut is an outdoor survival shelter. A debris hut is just a pile of dead leaves, branches and whatever else is around. If done correctly, there is enough space under it for you to lie under the pile comfortably – and still breathe. It should take about 1-2 hours to build. Find yourself a long sturdy pole of a length about 2 times your height. This will be the main beam of your hut. Another option is to find a fallen tree that will fit to build this hut. Look for something to hold the beam off the ground. A rock, stump, tree with a forked branch, anything strong enough can be used. The height should be a little taller than you are when you are sitting. Make your shelter just large enough to accommodate you, especially in cold areas. because you are going to have to heat it with your own body heat.

Now Lean smaller poles against both sides of your beam at about a 45 degree angle to make a framework. Place them close together and fill in around them with smaller branches. Cover this with materials at hand such as dead leaves, dry fern, evergreen branches, or grass. Use whatever you can find. Once you have sufficient debris in place, at least 3 feet thick, you will need to place a layer of small, light branches over the outside of the hut to keep all your insulation from blowing away. Depending on how thick your layer is, and your debris is dry, a debris hut can keep people dry and warm in frigid temperatures. Place about 1 foot of debris inside the shelter for flooring. Try to choose stuff that you would like to sleep on. Body heat can be lost very quickly lying on the ground. At the door opening, pile material that you can drag there once inside the shelter to close the entrance or build a door. Try to place the entrance away from the wind. Wind and rain blowing towards or into the entrance will take the heat away from your shelter. You can make a door by gathering small dead wood and lashing it together into a grid pattern. Make two grids and place debris between the two grids. Lash the grids together and you have an insulated door. This simple hut is all that is needed to help you to survive and blend into your environment in a survival situation. And, the number one reason to use a debrishut? Your bivy bag will slide right into them!

You can also get a camo tarp around 10×12 or a poncho with tieout corners and make a nice lean-to tent out of it adding in some rope and stakes. stake the back side into the wind. With the rope, tie the top up on an angle between two trees or sticks/hiking poles. These tarps/ponchos can also be used for added rain fly tops, backpack covers or ground bearer. If funds are available, invest in the Silicone Nylon type. Polyplastic tarps will not last as long and be more expensive in replacements if and when available, besides being noisey as hell.

You might want to invest in a small camp saw . Until you use one, you would not believe how many times they can come in handy with making shelters and collecting firewood. They have folding saws that are light and fit nicely in a pack. I might also suggest thinking about a kukri machete by cold steel. Very good item to have when off trail!

If your going to get a tent, remember to get a  small light one. Make sure it will blend into the surroundings. Bright Orange and Yellow will not help you much if you want to play it stealthy! You can get a 2 man tent under 30 bucks if you look around, but you get what you pay for in quality. Eureka makes a nice one man called the backcountry for around $100.00-$130.00 that will last some time. This version just shouts Eureka Military ICS 2000, tamed down for the public at half the cost. You could use your poncho as the ground cloth/footprint, but would suggest getting a cheap poly tarp and cut it to 8ftx3ft. You can also add a separate rainfly to extend the covered range while adding less than a pound to your backpack.  Most of these will only hold one person with limited room. Keep them simple and low to the ground. Four man dome tents are nice, but seen easily and will add way to much weight to carry around. Just get what you need and make it low profile. Some are built in the shape of what a debrishut is and would make do quite well with  pad under you.


Alot of people are going the Hammock route these days for added comfort and the “leave no trace” mentality. In “my” opinion as to what I look for in the perfect survival hammock:  Quick exit from all sides, waterproof, bivi/tent mode possible, bugnet, under 4 pounds.We live in a day of change, there are many hammocks now to choose from with most of these requirements. I sure wish someone would make an updated improved version of the vietnam era hammock with some flir deterrents, if possible.

Understand in this day and age, anyone looking for your stealthy camp, probably has a handheld flir which will make you glow like a lightning bug hanging in those trees. Large enough rainfly enclosing the hammock would be a heat barrier of sorts I guess. Still, main reason most go to a ground shelter for survival in my opinion. Surely it’s not for comfort.

anyways…Hammocks compress and store in a very little footprint compared to tents. below left to right is a Rothco Jungle hammock in a compression sack by outdoor products, warbonnet blackbird 1.7 dl in included double end stuff sack and the texsport hammock in their included stuff sack.  All in the neigborhood of 12/14/12 x 10/6/6 x 6 inches and weighing in at 3.5, 2.5, 3.5  lbs in weight as they come from their suppliers before mods etc. The compression sack on the left can actually hold much more, rainfly, groundcloth, rope and anything else that may go with the hammock setup of your choice and compress into one bag. Nice way to keep it all together.

With a hammock, you wont have to find a flat piece of ground, nor will you disturb much of your surroundings. Always remember these are Nylon and open flames are not their friends. watch for those ambers and the wind direction when setting up camp. They are water resistant,  flame resistant. And neither is a guarantee. Always use drip lines from your webbing, water finds it way down those lines to ruin your sleep.

Although I would have the Eureka Backcountry 1 with ICS rainfly in my Survival bag,  I favor hammock tents for comfort and camping with family and friends. So the rest of this is just trying to find a camping hammock to match the survival tent, I think I may have found it. I also need mosquito netting on my hammocks! depending on your location, netting may be a MUST HAVE!

I found a hammock with netting, that converts to a ground tent or cot tent easily. With proper care, it should last awhile. Texsport Wilderness Hammock with Mosquito Netting will do the job in the 30-40.00 dollar class if your under 6foot and 250lbs. Rothco makes one that looks just about the same, but a bit longer (imo) and could stretch to a 6ft 2in man. These are not for cold weather areas though. The side flaps when converted to tent will still add a bit more than ventilation on the sides. This tent will need some tender care, stakes and extra rope. You probably will have to set it up a half dozen times till you figure out what your doing. After that, its a very nice addition to surviving with a bit of comfort. But, these are not waterproof and exit from one side only.

My scaled weight on the Rothco: 3lbs 6 oz., You could lose about 7 ounces to a pound replacing that harness and steel ring with paracord and carabiners and run a ridgeline inside to hang stuff (a quick touch of a punk or scent stick will supply the small hole while sealing the torn ends at the same time) or just velcro a mesh pocket from the auto department of wallyworld etc. up on the closed end. If your handy with a needle and thread or some velcro again, you could get a few yards of nylon fabric and add side curtains by extending the outside flaps without compromising the netting for privacy or when weather gets a bit colder to block the ventilation of the mosquito netting, but not as a replacement for a rainfly!

hmmm..worried you don’t have trees in your area to find those sticks to use? Any garden department should have some bamboo.. cut some the length of the hammock rolled up for storage, you can carefully thin out one inside diameter to fit the other outside diameter. use some stretch cord to run down the center and tie at each end with button or similar ideas. weight added is barely noticeable and will roll up with the hammock. You have now pimped your ride!

You will also need a rain fly tarp over it if you really intend to stay completely dry. These rain flys will cost as much, actually more than the hammock itself. When you must run like hell, this rainfly and a few other items might be your final setup. A rainfly can be used as it’s own shelter and your backup poncho and backpack, it is another one of those must have items. The top of these hammocks, will need some sort of water repellent spray as is.  They are fine for  light drizzle, but don’t count on it alone in a downpour, you will be getting wet.

 

 

 

For an (priced 170.00 airmail, 200.00 EMS shipping) all in one hammock there is the Deluxe Camping Hammock by Mosquito Camping (my weight: 3 lbs 10 oz) in woodland camo, including rainfly. Out of curiosity, I opted for EMS shipping which added nearly the price of a whole extra tarp to the cost. But it did arrive within 7 days of order. That’s pretty impressive seeing I waited 3-4 weeks on a tarp they shipped just airmail a few months earlier.

These Hammocks also convert to ground or cot tents for use with the mosquito netting or when trees are not available. Pretty nice setup and a bit cheaper than the top priced hammocks, The hammock and rainfly are 244T(thread count?) ripstop nylon and look wonderful. I really like the woodland camo look! The bottom is double lined to stop those nasty mosquito’s from biting your bottom, along with a place to add in a pad for extra warmth or ground protection when converted.  I seen some reviews mentioning velcro to hold the inner liner. Mine had none and their description does not mention any. At this point I will figure they dropped the velcro or it was an added feature the reviewer did himself. You can also get “Hammock Sleeves”  priced 45.00 airmail usa (15 days).

I personally think you can find a cheaper alternative here and can’t suggest the cost on this item as there is nothing new or different here. Hennessy sells theirs for $20.00 and DD hammocks sells theirs for $15.00 and I am pretty ure either would work. Just get the largest to be sure. The Sleeves/snakeskins cover and wrap the hammock and tarp together while allowing the lines to hang out on each end, makes putting up and taking down alot easier. The hammock dimensions are 9′ 9″ long x 4′ wide. Comfortable for a man up to 7′ 5″ and 350 pounds.This could easily be turned into a 4 season tent with some thought. Well, for the bottom half of the USA anyways.

If you really want to invest(spend money) in a hammock, Hennessy Explorer Deluxe Asym gets great reviews and is a quality item. we have now jumped into the $200.00 area though, once you add in Hennessy Snakeskins which make taking down and putting up a snap! Material is 210 D oxford nylon on the hammock and 70D on the rainfly. Again, a 3 season hammock and you would have to purchase their insulation kit (another $99.00) which will bring you to the $300.00 mark and make it a two layer bottom as well. Their rain fly is one solid piece, while the midprice hammock above is sewn together in a few pieces. The mosquito webbing is run with a cord down the center instead of poles clipped on as in the mid priced. You pay for innovations. I might add, you need to get the “Deep Jungle” version of the hennessy to get a double bottom to avoid those mosquitos if you do not buy the insulation kit. Deep Jungle setup runs about $260.00 to $300.00 and comes with a reflective pad for inbetween the layers. The nylon is 30D on both rainfly and hammock. All Hennessy Hammocks include attached mosquito netting, detachable rain fly, support ropes, tree huggers to protect the bark of trees, and stuff sack with set up Instructions on back.

I would also like to mention blackbird hammocks by  http://warbonnetoutdoors.com/ for a quality hammock and rainfly.  My full review can be found under gear reviews. WB Blackbirds are American designed and Made in the USA by a small mom and pop shop located in Fort Collins, CO at the foothills of the rocky mountains. Outstanding reviews on the internet and innovative design convinced me to add one to the stable. Turns out, The first one I got was TOO LARGE or material made to strong for my weight. I then purchased their 1.0 double layer full import(discontinued) for $130.00 and found a world of difference in ventilation and actually the lay was much better for me. Allowing side views through the netting instead of material wrapped like a cocoon. The material on the 1.0 is so thin(breathable) you can see thru both layers. I am sure it is strong enough for weight limits suggested. I do see a problem with care, seems very fragile in weight and time will tell. No chance of these being used in Bivi mode with this material, in my opinion.

I personally perfer the old fashion canvas bottom hammocks and claytor, DD type design compared to hennessy and warbonnet, although they can weigh more. For a large guy (I do mean LARGE) their 1.7 double layer would be great and one of your limited options. Under 250 lbs and six feet, get the 1.1 dl(175.00) made in USA.   Again, not waterproof, no bivi mode without wetness and one side exit only. Great for camping with friends and family though. Would be great to introduce kids and the ladies into hammocks.

One type yet mentioned is waterproofed nylon hammocks. During the Vietnam era they made a light weight hammock of nylon and added a poly coat to the bottom so it would be waterproof when the rains came. This failed for a few reasons, One was the thought the soldier would use it as designed with top and setup right as expected and Two, due to the soldier not wanting to use it right and hang high in the sky with canopy to be shot at. The waterproofed bottom would then have no canopy and would soon fill with water, well it was suppose to. Option, make a small hole to drain the water, although this could weaken the material.  So in theory this actually was a good hammock if it was used properly and remains in service today as a m-1965 model which has velcro exiting mosquito netting on both sides. I have not seen one in years, so don’t know if design changed much at all.

DD Hammocks out of the UK makes a Travel Hammock/Bivi which is similar in design to the claytor/mosquitohammock with some added features, not to mention cheaper pricing. You get two layer bottom like the claytor but both are a waterproof fabric. You also get dual side zippers to allow you to exit either side of the hammock and as a bonus feature, you can tie the netting up and away when the bugs are not a problem. You can use it in Bivi mode with netting and/or can actually split the two waterproof layers (picture above and not hot and humid) to make a complete little waterproofed bivi to hurry inside if needed.  This hammock runs $95.00 USA and with a tarp and some hammock sleeves you will be setup for around $175.00 shipped. Overall, the best in setup for survival that I have seen to date.

Note: although mine had issues with loose thread in many places and yes, rain absorbing webbing. Please note, although waterproof fabric, Im sure although untested, water will get in through the velcro ends during bivi mode if care is not taken. Also, put drip lines or better yet, split the webbing and use carabiners or rings plus drip lines to avoid water comming in from the tree ends.

I did try another which advertised “waterproof” all in one. Ajillis out of Utah has an interesting Nylon waterproof hammock out which doubles as a bivy. I don’t know much history on this hammock and have not been able to obtain much. Light weight at 43 ounces, RipStop Polyester Material, waterproof – polyurathane coated (not hot or humid) and Nylon straps in the $80.00 range. The design looks pretty good using one bow in the center and having the top overhang for the seal. Velcro used on overhang and bugnet zipped on the inside. Unfortunate as it is, this design failed on it’s first test in rain. Through testing, I found that the webbing is way to absorbent and the main water puddles came in through the ends. Also, the tape around the bow area needed more sealer. Both an easy fix albeit time consuming. With a rainfly, as they should advertise it, it performs rather well. Lighter and favorable at the moment with rainfly ofcourse. Plenty of room and the lay is comfy with new webbing.

Remember, these top of the line hammocks come with a steep price. Figure around $300.oo to get yourself setup. Now with a cheap 30-40.00 Jungle hammock setup, You could add a bottom insulator to this also for 3+ seasons up to freezing using poncho, rainfly or light tarps (can double as your poncho) and space blanket($2-$5 bucks). Some people deploy the ”pod” or “cocoon” method and enclose the hammocks “inside” a sleeping bag, running the ends through the zippers. This makes for a cozy barrier and setup come winter. Add Carabiners , tree huggers and hammock sleeves to speed up deployment and another tarp/fly to the zipper side extending over your campfire and gear. It’s all in how you plan it and weight you are willing to carry. When it’s all said and done, buying the more expensive $300.00 setups by Hennessy etc., you may enjoy it more due to cost invested.  It’s hard to admit you overpaid for something.

So in review, is the added price tags worth it? depending how much you wish to spend and if this will actually be used, there are alternatives to everything. Each way works for me. You usually get what you pay for in quality, but only advantage may be with bragging rights. Can’t afford quality or would rather put your money in other items, just use caution, common sense and take care of your cheaper gear.

Worried to try a “Parachute” Hammock from Vietnam era? Wonder about life prediction of Parachute material? A parachute ends it’s life at 15 years on standard. This is for safety sake. Test have proven parachutes stored out of sunlight have loss little strength in 25-30 years and true time testing is still going on. It seems, there is more life in those nylons then people had predicted if stored and cared for.  one reference:  http://hts.asminternational.org/portal/site/www/AsmStore/ProductDetails/?vgnextoid=ac38b87a13152210VgnVCM100000701e010aRCRD

With that said, always remember the true meaning of RipStop. The Rip will Stop when your bottom hits the ground.

Easy way to stop a hole from expanding? Melt the broken material, then patch it.

Even a cheap rope hammock at 10 bucks can make ya sleep like the dead!

The Suisse Sport Adventure extra-small sleeping bag is ideal for long treks when a few inches or pounds can make the difference between a pleasant hike and an unbearable slog. The mummy bag is ultra-compact, compressing down to 12 by 7 by 7 inches when in the stuff sack. How small is that? Well, it’s petite enough to hold in the palm of your hand. That means you can easily fit the bag in your hiking pack without using up a third of your pack space. At the same time, the bag is warm and comfortable, with a 100-percent polyester ripstop outer and inner lining, a double-layer construction, and a 700-gram Micro Tekk.7 high-performance microfiber insulation. The construction materials ad up to a 30-degree F temperature rating, making the bag a good choice for summer, spring, and fall camping trips. Other details include a full chest baffle, a draft tube, and a utility pocket. The Adventure sleeping bag measures 29.5 by 84.5 inches (W x L) when open and weighs 2.9 pounds in the stuff sack. The bag is also machine-washable for easy cleaning.

Wenzel makes cheaply priced “quality” sleeping bags. Look them up. Make sure you get one that can cover the temperatures you will normally be camping out in. Most can be unzipped all the way as a layer cover. also, bags rated to go to lower temperatures, will be much more bulky to pack due to content thickness. A summer sleeping bag may fit nicely in your pack while a below zero sleeping bag, might take the whole large compartment. You may wish to keep a little comfort around with a needed ground pad if your going to ground and will double as insulation if your hanging in those trees, getting a cheap pad can be a real blessing.

Alps makes some nice self inflating pads, although a few puffs into the valve makes them a bit thicker and more useful when in bivi mode. Their comfort series weighs in about 6 ounces more than their lightweight but adds a bit more thickness and a nice suede like top that can be comfy just bare back. The bottom also has tiny nipples  which holds the pad better in place. This again, will be up to what you wish to carry and your comfort level. I strongly suggest some sort of pad in any type of camping as ground or air barrier.

Clothing, again this is going to be a matter of your location and personal choice. Layers, is the best way to dress. Put on and take off. Insulated underwear rolls up small and will help in those 3rd and 4th seasons. They are actually nice to walk around in come early morning or when drying your clothes. You get what your wearing on the bug out and should have another set in the bag. Have an extra shirt, pair of pants and please remember (2 pairs)socks and underwear, you will be glad you did! I know we all like our jeans, make them loose cut. Your backup clothing should actually be para, bdu, cargo pants on the tough but light side. Nothing beats a field jacket and liner, but their are alternatives. Again, light and in layers should be kept in mind. Have boots that cover your ankles and breathable.

Your shemagh or scarf will come in handy in all weather and ofcourse your favorite ballcap if it is not bright orange! Do Not get cheap on a nice Poncho and liner, one that will cover you and your backpack as well. Your poncho can double as an extra rainfly, dry protection over your gear while you sleep and even a quick lean to tent. Make sure it is camo color if possible. Everything should be in a earth tone color or camo design that will fit into the area you will be traveling or hiding in. Camo’s are nice once you hit the woods, but if your going to travel thru or in towns, wear something to blend in normaly. kaki etc. , Camo military dress is just going make you stand out and one of the first to be picked up.

Leave a Reply