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fire or shelter?

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posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 11:37 AM
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The question really is not circumstantial it is knowledge, and experience based. Ask any old time trapper, hunter or experienced bushman. You will get the same answer.

Shelter is your number one priority. Properly made it will warm you up and get you out of the wind, and dry you out. Properly prepared it will even hide you from any enemies that might be looking for you. It will protect you in fair weather or foul.

A fire on the other hand, may give away your position, give you a false sense of safety and security, not protect you from wind or weather, and may not even warm you up if built incorrectly. It may possibly cause you, or others harm if it gets out of control. It may go out while you sleep and cause you to freeze if you are truly exhausted. A fire is not dependable and can become fickle when you need it most. A fire cannot be left unattended. A fire will actually draw unwanted animals to your campsite, even if it cannot be seen.

The firs versus shelter is a non issue to any that have true bushcraft. It is what separates those that truly understand and live in the wilderness and the weekend hunter, camper. I have spent more than a few nights in a properly prepared shelter in freezing weather, without a sleeping bag or fire, even in rain or snow conditions.

Learn from those that know, not from what you think is the better or most approved method. When your life is dependent on what you do, is not the time to do what you think is right. Draw from the experience of others. Learn from those that live in the outdoors. Find someone that has lived the lifestyle, preferably from up north, and ask them questions. And most of all be wary of any tell you anything not born of experience. Question everthing even this advice.

respectfully

reluctantpawn




posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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Originally posted by Solarskye

So fire is the best thing on your side when it's possible to make one.

Shelter helps especially if you have high winds. Then you build a shelter that can have a fire inside.


[edit on 2/18/2009 by Solarskye]
did you see the Survivorman episode where Les built the fire under the eaves of his shelter and set the whole thing on fire? I had just mentioned to my wife how dangerous it was, right before it happened.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 03:18 PM
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Actually both. You must be shielded from exposure, and a fire may not prevent that, it may only slightly prolong the inevitable without proper protection. If I had to choose between the two I would seek shelter immediately.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 03:43 PM
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Daft idea prioritising such things, If for example you got stuck in Iraq or afghanistans wastelands at noon in June you would need shelter from the oppresive heat, but at midnight you would need fire from the bitter cold.

The guy who lives by gard and fast rules can be sure he will also die by them. The guy who uses his brain to adapt to each situation will thrive.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 04:16 PM
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Originally posted by Northern Raider
Daft idea prioritising such things, If for example you got stuck in Iraq or afghanistans wastelands at noon in June you would need shelter from the oppresive heat, but at midnight you would need fire from the bitter cold.

The guy who lives by gard and fast rules can be sure he will also die by them. The guy who uses his brain to adapt to each situation will thrive.


Priorities are a necessary evil because without them, you'll just wander about aimlessly trying to decide what to do next, accomplishing Nothing. The only thing that really takes precedence over shelter is a life-threatening medical emergency like being unable to breathe or severe bleeding.

That's just my opinion, but it's based on my learning of things the hard way. My Mom always said if their was an easy way or a hard way, I'd choose the hard because it was most like my head.


[edit on 20-2-2009 by LLoyd45]



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 04:26 PM
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Priorities are a necessary evil because without them, you'll just wander about aimlessly trying to decide what to do next, accomplishing Nothing. The only thing that really takes precedence over shelter is a life-threatening medical emergency like being unable to breathe or severe bleeding.

That's just my opinion, but it's based on my learning of things the hard way. My Mom always said if their was an easy way or a hard way, I'd choose the hard because it was most like my head.


[edit on 20-2-2009 by LLoyd45]

Prioritising in itself is fine, but rigid priotising as suggested in the OPs post is wrong. You should never start with a set of rigid priorities because that not assessing or thinking or grasping your situatrion, its just reacting.

BUT Assessing your situation THEN prioritising your tasks is very efficent.
But trying to start a fire when Fallout is dropping all over you, or water is swamping your camp, or an mudslide id moving in or theres 500 sheeeple heading towards you shelter is just mad. You must do a local immediate risk assessment first, then sort out your priorities.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by Northern Raider

Prioritising in itself is fine, but rigid priotising as suggested in the OPs post is wrong. You should never start with a set of rigid priorities because that not assessing or thinking or grasping your situatrion, its just reacting.

BUT Assessing your situation THEN prioritising your tasks is very efficent.
But trying to start a fire when Fallout is dropping all over you, or water is swamping your camp, or an mudslide id moving in or theres 500 sheeeple heading towards you shelter is just mad. You must do a local immediate risk assessment first, then sort out your priorities.


Im with you there. While I am of the mind that all things being equal, fire is more important to me. However, should I be stuck on an inflatable raft in the middle of the ocean, starting a fire is going to drasticly fall on my list.



posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 04:14 PM
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Entirely dependant on your situation to be honest, Fire may scare off predators and keep you warm - but it also attracts peoples attention and informs others of your location...

In an ideal world you need both, but lets face it a survival situation isn't exactly ideal is it ?



posted on Feb, 24 2009 @ 09:37 PM
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The decision for shelter or heat depends entirely on the situation at hand. If it's freezing cold out then by all means build that fire. You can always take breaks while buildiing your shelter and warm up by the fire. Has anyone every tried to build a shelter with numb hands? I've enjoyed that experience in Alaska and it's not fun. Now if your in a warmer climate then I would suggest building a good shelter first. It would also depend on the time of day. If it is getting close to night then go for the fire, but if you have all day then build the shelter.

Survival always depends on the situation. You have to make the sound judgement on what you need to do to help keep you alive.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 11:52 AM
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Without a doubt the question is situational. What I am trying to do is point out to those with lesser field craft than some on this board. There are always exceptions to many rules in bushcraft, environment is only one.

If you happen to be in the lower 48 I will stick to my guns. If you are in any tactical type of environment, a fire will give away your position quicker than most anything. If the weather is windy or wet a fire is impractical. If you are very tired a fire is impractical as you may burn down the whole area.

On the other hand a simple debris hut can be put together in little time, can warm you up quit quickly, and may even keep you out of sight of any enemies that might be searching for you. They can be built with little practical skill, with handicaps[i.e. numb hands or injury], and in most environments in the lower 48.

Certainly there are exceptions to this rule as well. After all survival is based on making do with what you have when you have it. In my opinion shelter is easier to acquire, less conspicuous and requires fewer skills. This, in my opinion, makes it the priority.

respectfully

reluctantpawn



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:00 PM
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Why are some people saying "build a shelter first absolutely!" and then others saying "build a fire first absolutely!"? It all depends on the situation.

For example if you are marooned ona beautiful desert island that is warm both in the day and night but has heavy rain then shelter is your first goal. If however you need clean water and are starving then a fire is your first objective.

In a desert, shelter and fire can both be vital as the days are scalding and the nights can be freezing. This would depend simply on the time of day. If night is approaching then get a fire, if the day is approaching then grab some shelter!

It all comes down to common sense and knowledge of your environment.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:07 PM
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You hit it right on the head!

I do tend to agree that fire 1st though..

I would tend to build a better shelter if I was warm, or not hungry...etc...etc,
Not to mention A fire takes what 5 mins unless your really bad at it...

A shelter will take IMO much longer and you feed the fire as you build....?

Dunno just throwing out ideas



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:27 PM
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reply to post by Doc Holiday
 


A fire takes longer than five minutes if you want it to burn for any length of time
Collection of firewood shoudl take around half an hour, minimum and then lighting it takes 5 minutes, assuming you find nice dry wood to use.

If a fire is a minimal priority due to the situation then it is wasted time. Get a fast shelter up, something to keep the sun or rain off and then make your fire. Other situations may of course require you to get the fire going rapidly and then the shelter. Imagine a very cold environment with little snowfall and minimal wind, that would require a fire, quickly. Now imagine you have a cold environment with snow and heavy wind, well shelter is the most important thing in this situation.

Look i'm just saying that it is silly to say fire or shelter should be made first priority in all circumstances. It depends absolutely on the environment and situation, even the time of day.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:30 PM
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After 8 years in the infantry I don't remember ever needing a fire.

We were in deserts, jungles, swamps, forests.... even in winter the only time we used fire was to melt snow for water and get warm after cold water crossing but that wasn't absolutely necessary and I only remember doing that as an exercise in survival for cold weather climates.

I walked 500 miles on the Appalachian trail and always used a tent or shelter but only built a fire once. There was a lot of rain that spring and even some snow in the higher elevations. We made the fire because there were six of us at that same spot one night and we were sharing a bottle and talking. It was purely social.

In my experience, fire is nice to have and on occasion is necessary but that is the exception most of the time.

I'd say shelter is the priority.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:33 PM
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You win man...

I keep a small fire pouch around my neck, tender,char cloth, yucca spindle, and my walking cain is my grease wheel.
And I'm still not using flint/steel/magnesium..
So yes fire in less than 1 min for me, it will not be huge but it will burn.

And if I'm so bad at not being able to pick a few branches get a coal bed started, evan if the "fire goes out" I still got a coal to re-ignite with....anyways...

I agree a shelter for you, a fire for me, maybe we could work together?

As far as needind a fire, I don't eat anything raw, I always catch fish/squirrells, rabbits/deer, and don't trust creek water now a days.
So for me evan if its 100 degrees I need a fire..

[edit on 19-10-2009 by Doc Holiday]



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 04:41 PM
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reply to post by badgerprints
 


I rspect your experience, i have not served in the infantry i have simply been a bushcraft fanatic. Our ancestors used fire because it gave a great deal of psychological comfort, was a way to create safe food and water and warmth. If you spend nights in the desert without a fire i am guessing those must have been cold, unless you had a really nice sleeping bag.

I think fire is important for survival but more than that it is about comfort. Survival is the barebones of existence and isn't to nice.

My question here would be, what kit did you have on such trips?

[edit on 19-10-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by ImaginaryReality1984
My question here would be, what kit did you have on such trips?

[edit on 19-10-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]


I was packed for travel and / or combat.

Ruck sack , poncho for shelter with some chord, sleeping bag in cold climates or a poncho liner in warm. Even in a desert enviroment shelter from the sun is often essential.

I was used to getting up in the morning and getting into cold wet clothes if necessary and walking until I was warm. I was used to eating cold food and tepid instant coffee or tea. Fire took too much time and did not offer enough benefits to warrant the extra work and effort that could have been utilized in sleeping or traveling.

In this case, the issue is survival and in my experience it is shelter that played the bigger role versus fire.

Of course, I always had a means to build fire but when traveling constantly or in a tactical situation I simply didn't need it.

If I were ever to be in a safe, stationary situation with fuel and time a fire would be welcome. We all want to be comfortable and sometimes we do need warmth.

I just don't see fire as the priority.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 07:02 PM
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Ok thanks for the reply badger.


Originally posted by badgerprints
I was packed for travel and / or combat.

Ruck sack , poncho for shelter with some chord, sleeping bag in cold climates or a poncho liner in warm. Even in a desert enviroment shelter from the sun is often essential.


Yep shelter is essential, well apart from at night when fire would be far more essential, unless you already had good night time gear. My reply to this thread i must admit was based upon the idea of walking out the door without any sleeping bag. That i admit is my own personal predudice to this thread


Originally posted by badgerprints
I was used to getting up in the morning and getting into cold wet clothes if necessary and walking until I was warm. I was used to eating cold food and tepid instant coffee or tea. Fire took too much time and did not offer enough benefits to warrant the extra work and effort that could have been utilized in sleeping or traveling.


This again goes to a very important point. Was the OP talking about instant survival or comfort? It also goes again to the point about which situation you are in. In a situation where there is little wind, minimal snow but a severely cold temperature then fire would be ffantastic! You could make warm coffee or tea or even just warm water. That would really help you.


Originally posted by badgerprints
In this case, the issue is survival and in my experience it is shelter that played the bigger role versus fire.


I would actually agree that in many situations i would go for shelter first, however lets not apply that to all situations. It should be noted that it is common sense that decides such things.


Originally posted by badgerprints
Of course, I always had a means to build fire but when traveling constantly or in a tactical situation I simply didn't need it.

If I were ever to be in a safe, stationary situation with fuel and time a fire would be welcome. We all want to be comfortable and sometimes we do need warmth.

I just don't see fire as the priority.



I hate to sound arrogant but this is nonsense. Not using fire has been something that the military has drilled into soldiers because it is a sure sign of giving oneself away. Fire is essential, if it weren't then our ancestors would never have used it. Long term survival needs fire. Every tribe that we have contacted has used fire.

I respect your training but you are rather jaded by it.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 07:04 PM
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reply to post by badgerprints
 


Once again please understand that i respect your training, i respect it deeply. I have no military training outside of air cadets. My experience comes from years of experience utalising bushcraft knowledge and my experiments into sole survival within the UK.

Peace my friend.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 08:35 PM
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I am really amzed that so many here do not know how to build a shelter that will warm a person without the aid of fire. It seems that this would be the primary reasons for it. As to qualifiers I did say the lower 48 states. I have spent many nights in sub freezing temps without the aid of fire and on occasion without a sleeping bag. Ialso cannot think that some would be willing to give away the tactical advantage by building one. Although I was never in the infantry, but I can appreciate there willingness to do without. To me in a survival situation a fire can be a luxury, a shelter is almost required.

This is however a question that has been debated for longer than we have been around. It is good to see that there is still disagreement on what should be first. it makes us think, and by thinking makes us more prepared.

respectfully

reluctantpawn



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