Staying warm in an emergency – Insulation

In a survival situation, knowing how to properly insulate yourself and your cold weather shelter can mean the difference between life and death.

Similar to how double-pane glass insulates your home, by trapping air between its layers, properly insulating yourself from the elements means knowing how to trap air between your body and what’s outside.

Whether you’re in an urban environment or a wilderness setting there are always a number of materials that you can use to stay warm.

Insulation in a Wilderness Survival Situation:

debris shelter instructions

Fibrous plants, grasses, layers of bark, pine needles, leaves, wood, and even snow are all types of materials that you can use to insulate yourself and your shelter.

Insulating a shelter with leaves

To insulate your shelter, use the materials to build a thick layer over and inside your shelter. Layering the materials will help trap air, and more efficiently keep the heat inside your shelter. Make sure you also use a thick layer of insulating materials inside your makeshift mattress. Doing so will insulate yourself from the cold ground.

Don’t forget to insulate yourself.

One of the most effective ways of staying warm is to insulate yourself from the elements. To do this you need to create layers of material that will trap air between your body and the elements.

The best way to insulate your body is to shove fibrous materials, grass, cattail, or dried leaves between the layers of your clothing. If possible, try to put the insulating materials between a couple different layers of clothing.

Urban Insulation:

During a winter storm, power outages can quickly turn into a life-threatening emergency. When the temperatures start to plummet, you need to take action. The first thing you should do is build a warm room. It’s a lot easier to heat a small walk-in closet or pantry than it is to heat an entire home. So the first thing you want to do is find a small room or closet, and then start insulating.

Urban environments are filled with materials that can be used to keep your body warm, and protected from the outside elements. Cardboard, foam, plastic, and bedding materials are just a few of the items that you should be able to easily find. During an emergency, a small room or closet can easily be turned into an insulted fortress.

  • Couch cushions, blankets, towels, and mattresses can all be used to add extra insulation to your warm room. Line the walls with these insulating materials to trap heat inside the room.
  • Layer your clothing, and remember that in an emergency you can line your clothing with crumbled up newspapers, paper towels, or any other insulating materials that you can find.
  • Depending how many people are in the room, body heat alone can be enough to keep the room at a tolerable temperature.
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    • I’ve been studying shelters and bug out places that are not paid for property, I’m looking at USFS sites, but the big thing is concealment. It’s going to be hard to build a shelter that hunters can’t find and destroy. These guys are horrible for doing this. I live in the mountains, but want a shelter to use if the Obama squad comes looking.

      • Dig underground, use branches to support tunnel and main room, dig ventilation shafts from main room to between tree roots, use grate patterned branches tied with cordage as preventative wild animal invasion plan. Construct hatch through same manner, weave plant material into it, place dirt on top. Snow will hide it in winter, plant plants from surrounding area on the dirt on top for the warmer seasons.

        • keep in mind that anytime we dig down, we need to insure that there are no animal trails anywhere above where we plan to build. Heck of a way to bag a deer.

    • to keep out of sight, first you need to dig down about a foot or more. This way your shelter need not be as tall. Maybe then those messy hunters will leave your home away from home alone. It will likely need new branches on top if you are away from it for a long time. Another cure could be finding a camping partner who could stay around camp while you are else where. Problem then will be not getting hit by those same hunters.

  1. “During an emergency a small room or closet can easily be turned into an insulted fortress” – I don’t normally pick on typos, but this is too funny! Good tips, too.

  2. During a winter storm, power outages can quickly turn into a life-threatening emergency. When the temperatures start to plummet, you need to take action

  3. Keep some plastic sheeting and or mylar around the house. It’s much easier to make a small, low room within a room by tacking up a sheet of this stuff and then taping the seams.put the mattress on the floor, use blankets or better yet a sleeping bag, cover it with the blankets and you’ll be amazed at how warm your little plastic “cocoon” will get, just from your body heat not escaping.

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