What I am going to describe for you now is a blueprint for absolute minimalist survival, ensuring quickest reaction time, smallest calorie
expenditure, fastest shelter building with zero exposure to cold, maximum freedom in time and space making one almost completely invisible and
We begin with shelter.
Shelter should always be dug on a hillside. Digging on flat ground means with the first rain you're getting swamped. What you need for perfect long
term shelter is lots of tough cord, a tent, a large plastic tarp (or several smaller ones), a knife, an axe and a shovel.
The strategy here is to protect your tent from all the elements, instead of letting it protect you from them. Even the best of tents won't be
comfortable long term in the winter, because it's almost impossible to heat from the inside (the exception being with the use of a very small
portable rocket stove), and it bleeds heat to the outside at a faster rate than it's possible/comfortable to replace over weeks and days. It's a
negative calorie experience, requiring constant work, and on top of that you're on the surface, for anyone to see.
The solution is to dig an opening into a hillside, on the side that gets sun in the winter. Pick a spot that is surround by trees, but that isn't
impossible to dig into because of roots. You want your tent to fit in completely and then some. Next, you axe a good number of thick branches and lay
them on top of your "hole", then tie them together with cord. Basically, you're making a sort of woven raft out of branches, which will act as a
roof and will be strong enough for human and animals to walk on top of it without feeling any difference. When the structure is strong
and stable enough, you now cover it the plastic tarp/s, and then with numerous smaller branches, making a very thick layer. Then come leaves on top of
that and soil on top of the leaves.
In the end, the structure will be supremely stable - interwoven branches of different shapes and sizes, tied together with tough rope is a barrier
that no animal can get through. A bear couldn't get through it, because the pattern of branches is too thick and varied, and it doesn't know what
rope is and that it holds the whole together.
An axe and a spear can defend against bears even out in the open, it's been done for centuries in Russia and old-time USA, inside the kind of shelter
that we're discussing here, even if an animal does manage to find the small and concealed entry-way, it will have no way in but you'll have plenty
of opportunity to spear them and defend yourself.
Being underground, you can expect to survive winter even without heating. You have the inside of the tent, which is the first space, then you have the
air space between the tent and the thick branches, the branches themselves, the thick layer of small branches, the leaves and the soil. This is far
more insulation than almost any house, except an underground house. Of which there are plenty.
Now, when you build your shelter you should ram the earth all around, both the walls and the floor. This will help with any water infiltration, and
with general comfort. The way to heat the shelter comfortably is to dig a hole right at the entrance to the tent. You can make it quite large, fill it
up with rocks, and even make a 40-50 cm raised rock wall that will reflect heat back to your tent. You can slowly build a small fire inside that hole,
and the rocks will absorb the heat. A small fire doesn't cause too much smoke. Another solution is to build a fire elsewhere, gather the
burning coals inside a large metal contained of some sort, then place it inside the hole, covering it with rocks. This will give off heat for a long
time. Both ways work, I prefer building a very small fire and letting it burn for hours - there's an art to creating heat without smoke.
You can also build a thermally safe shelter within hours using two or three living trees. You place your tent between them, then tie a structure of
thick branches to the trees, protecting the tent, and then you start insulating it with smaller branches, leaves, and soil. It's not invisible, but
it can be quite hard to spot if you pick the right place to build it, and it will keep you perfectly warm in the harshest winter, and will protect
from wild animals. I can't stress this enough. If your tent gets trashed by an animal, even if you survive, you've just found yourself in a really
On the topic of heat, apart from several layers all over your body, you need a full-face textile mask for winter, sky goggles or tactical googles, two
more hats on top of the mask, and at least one good hood. Also, two pairs of gloves, the inner pair wool, and the outer has to be tough and
Next comes food.
This is where my approach is even more different from the norm. And I believe at least in terms of caloric mathematics and military strategy, it's
also far more effective. First I'll introduce an uncommon thought to you - leaves are edible. There are countless varieties of edible leaves, and
some of them are evergreen. Meaning easy food with protein and quickly digestible sugars, and you can pick it anytime as long as you know what's
Here's a search for edible leaves available in the 6 cold months of the year.
But the main survival food crop are acorns. Find an area with many oaks, gather a couple hundred kilos of acorns, sprout them and they lose much of
their acridity and become much easier to cook.
As for a calorie crop you can plant anywhere, this is the potato. Put potatoes into the ground, come back months later, and you're set for winter.
This is a kind of forest gardening. Google "hugelkultur" - it's a technique for making mounds out of plant material (leaves, grass, wood), covering
it with a layer of soil, and you have a medium which retains water and heat that you can garden on.
Here are alternatives to potatoes.
Plenty of root crops to plant.
But for immediate survival, you need a timeline for available wild foods, with photos and descriptions. Longer term, you need seeds and a timeline for
planting. If you manage to learn these two things, then you can know ahead what food will be available, and you can plan a very varied diet of
vegetables that you plant yourself, year-round. But this means you have to have seeds.
Another advantage of eating plants is that you do not make any noise as you travel through the landscape. you don't have to chase anything, sneak up
on anything, so you can move stealthily and in your own rhythm, picking a path with perfect cover while every other living creature around you is
hurrying about and making noise. it also makes you a perfect soldier, but more on that later.
Now imagine the root system of a forest, or a meadow. there is an infinite amount of chemical and biological interactions going on between the plants.
the minerals and elements of the soil, the air, water and sun are being constantly transformed. it's like a natural symphony performed by perfect
little food factories, and all you have to do is be like the native indians - or countless other ancient