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SitX - Shelters

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posted on May, 18 2008 @ 07:40 PM

SitX has just kicked off and your on foot heading towards your meet-up destination. Trouble is it's gonna take a good few days to get there and you'll need to sleep sometime.
You've arrived in the middle of a bleak, windswept moor/plain/countryside. Nights approaching and you need to sleep.
You've no tent in your BOB and sleeping in the open won't cut it, the cold wind will keep you awake all night, knackered for the following day.
You've got a fellow survivor with you but he's not got a clue about making a shelter, he says he can watch over you and scout the area while you're at it and get fire wood.
He's just gone off and you start making a shelter.

Shell Scrape.

This type of shelter is something I was taught in the forces. Basically it's a shallow hole/depression in the ground (see pic) with overhead shelter from the wind and rain. This is actually not a 'civilian' type of shelter but serves a good purpose foundation for a more permanent shelter should you have to return later.
You could improve upon it with timbers and rocks to form a drywalls.

If you're lucky you might find a natural depression in the ground, but more than likely you'll have to make one yourself or end up with minimal wind protection.

1. Preferably find a tree, shrub, bush or anything raised you can get a bungee, rope, cord etc around. Pick a site with preferably some raised ground between you and the wind too.

2. Get your entrenching tool, if you have it, and start digging a square shaped hole opposite the tree with the opposite end from the tree facing into the wind, if the grounds too hard a pick-axe might be needed to break it up. The quicker you dig the faster it gets dug. Take turns with your buddy or alternate with one swinging the pick axe, the other the entrenching tool.
Make no mistake this is the toughest part of the process.
Pile up the dirt along the windward edges but be aware it may blow all over the place if its loose.
I've dug one of these in the middle of an English winter and the ground was like rock! If this is the case or time is of the essence it might be easier to move to step 3.
If its been raining though the moist ground should be easier on you.

2. You can make it as deep as you want (couple of feet+ minimum) but crucially it needs to be big enough for you, your buddy and all your kit.

Here's what one looks like before you get a poncho stretched over it...

That should fit two soldiers with kit and rifles but they'd be packed tight.
For two survivalists it should do fine too. Depends on how big they are really.

3. All you need is a poncho or something waterproof (in a pinch you can use sets of waterproofs etc) and get it tied off from the tree (via bungees etc) to the the edge of the shell scrape in a slanting manner over the shell scrape and down across the the bottom edge. Use rocks or something heavy (A waterproofed BOB in a pinch) to keep the bottom end of the ponco down.
Ideally though you want your kit inside the shell scrape at the bottom.

4. Layer out the bottom of the shelter with a ground sheet, pine needles, brush, scrub. Even bunches of twigs if you get enough of them etc. Get a liner and stuff your doss bag (sleeping bag) in it, lay that down too

5. Put your gear underneath at low point of poncho. Your head at the tree end. The 'foot' of the shelter should now bear the brunt of the wind and be deflected away along with any rain. It should also be pretty cosy.

When you're buddy gets back from fire wood detail and marvels at your creation throw the stove at him and tell him get knock up some brews. As you'll be knackered by now

The next day you can strip the shelter and get ready to hit the trail or leave it for another traveler. Depends on the Situ I guess.

Hope you find this useful.

Feel free to add your own shelters to the thread.
There are loads more to learn about :

[edit on 18-5-2008 by WatchRider]

posted on May, 18 2008 @ 07:55 PM
Wet conditions..

I think I'd prefer to spend a little extra time digging a little deeper then scramble around for some brush/branches/leaves to line the bottom of the ditch too.

Just enough to raise you and your kit out of the sludge.
Sleeping in a puddle is a real bummer.

(Just ordered a poncho
.. and a mosquito-proof hammock..Oh yeahh luxury items :roll

Welll DUH!! I totally missed 4).. You got it covered... cross eyed...must sleep..

[edit on 18-5-2008 by AGENT_T]

posted on May, 18 2008 @ 08:03 PM
If SitX is truly impending you should prep the route, with shelters and provisions. If possible, your destination should be an oasis in the middle of a hell hole no one in their right mind would go through, a small island or platform in the middle of a god forsaken swamp. A lake with field around it 20 miles from the nearest road should do nicely. You can scout the ideal spots out using topographical maps of remote areas.

Everything which would indicate shelter or provision it, should be hidden completely. You do not want people to get in the habit of camping your refuge, because you leave a fire pit.

posted on May, 18 2008 @ 08:13 PM
That first paragraph Cyber, is a very good point to make.
These pesky posting conditions means that you can only post 4000 characters

If you have to suddenly take a massive detour away from the route the pre-scouting groove may take a hit.

As to clearing your tracks etc. I agree, but like I said in the OP it depends on the SitX you face.
Or are you suggesting clearing them in anycase?!

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 03:46 PM
How long does it take to make one of those shelters.

It sounds like it might take some time.
But It still sounds like a good shelter.

But if you have to make one in a hury I would suggest a simple lean-to shelter for a sitution like that.

posted on May, 19 2008 @ 05:59 PM
I forgot to mention that you can camoflage the poncho with foliage to blend in more.

As to how long it takes to dig. That's a bit like asking me 'how long is a piece of string' the answer is, it does depend.

For me and buddy digging a two man shell scrape it took us an hour and a quarter. This was the middle of winter working non-stop, the ground was hardened earth. At the end of it we were pretty knackered.
The following morning we were ready to rock and roll though.

posted on May, 20 2008 @ 06:40 AM
Never go anywhere without your poncho and liner! Nothing worse than wet soggy gear. Ideally you should stop at least 2 hours before sunset to setup camp. Earlier if the weather's crappy.

It would wise to plan your escape/overland travel route with specific shelter stops beforehand. It could something as simple as a small copse of trees or rock outcropping. Trees and bushes are good indicators of prevailing wind in most areas. Hunter-gatherers often cached wood, kindling and tinder under shelter spots when they left in case of bad weather. Several ancient archeology sites in the Southwestern US have been found dating back at least 10k years ago with such caches of wood and churt. They often found other sites within 12-20 miles apart from one another. This was obviously a planned route.

Unless you're heading for a specific rendezvous time, take your time and arrive later if necessary. Rain soaked gear and clothes can add 20 pounds to your load which will tire you out as if you traveled an extra 6 miles a day. Survival is about burning the least amount of calories for the most work. Unless you're a world class endurance athlete, few people can sustain a 20 mile a day pace for more than 5 days to a week at most. We're just not in as good walking/hiking shape as our ancestors were even 100 years ago.

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