Survival for the Common Man – Your Primary Shelter

Survival for the Common Man – Your Primary Shelter
Don’t Fear the Unknown! Get Prepared!


There are a few important necessities for survival. One of these important necessities is shelter. However, when you journey into the area of preparedness, articles on shelter tend to focus on shelters that are built out in the woods. Although it is important to know some of those types of shelters (see below), the common man needs to understand how important their “regular” everyday or primary shelter is to their survival.

The common man needs to have a shelter that is structurally sound and can provide protection from extreme cold and heat.

Structurally Sound

It is not in the scope of this article to discuss architectural safety in regards to your primary shelter. If your walls are falling in, you have some big issues to deal with! Instead, I would like to point out that the “common man” should be prepared to identify and temporarily correct any situations that can potentially hinder the integrity of his/her shelter.

For example, after Hurricane Ike, a friend had some roof damage. Shingles were torn off and more rain was forecasted for the week. This could have caused more damage to his home, water leaks, mold, sheetrock damage, etc.. However, he was prepared with some blue plastic tarps and the materials to tact them down to his roof. This provided the time necessary for a professional roofer to come in an fix the shingles.

Having the basic skills, supplies and tools to protect your home shelter is important.

Extreme Temperature

If you live in a tropical climate that never sees any wide temperature swings throughout the year, then this section is not for you! That type of climate, although it can be found, is not common! This section focuses on more variable climates, heat and cold. It is in these variable climates, even when you believe you are ok, that the need for shelter becomes the most important.

The main issues here is that you need to maintain your core temperature!

Hyperthermia is elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. Extreme temperature elevation then becomes a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment to prevent disability or death.


The opposite is hypothermia, which occurs when the temperature drops below that required to maintain normal metabolism.


Note the body temperature that your body should maintain in the graphic above.

Shelter from the Heat – Hot weather can make life very uncomfortable. But besides becoming sweaty and smelly, hot weather can easily kill you or your loved ones. You need to have shelter from the heat, plenty of water to drink and a means to cool off if possible. Shade and open spaces where a breeze can flow through are very important.

Shelter from the Cold Being too cold is different than being in the heat in that when you’re hot, you want open spaces to let the breeze through. In cold, you want to get “small” and layer your space as well as your clothes.

For example, most people know that you should layer clothes. That way, if your body gets cold or warms up, you can add or take-off clothes layers as needed. But you can also do this in your shelter. If you are in a situation where your shelter is cold, you can try “layering” your shelter or room. Do this by having everyone in the house/shelter stay in one room. Cover up windows and any places where drafts can come through (don’t close off the room so tight that oxygen doesn’t come in, you’ll run the risk of suffocation). You can also utilize another layer by setting up a tent in your room. Besides all of this, you should make sure that you have plenty of blankets and portable heaters if possible, remember proper ventilation.

Shelter Out in the Wild

Many articles and videos have been done on shelters outside in the wild. For examples on various shelters, visit the shelter tag on Prepper Website – here and here.

Here, I would like to share one shelter for handling extreme cold out in the wild. It is the Super Shelter, first made known by Mors Kochanski. Check out these two videos by Dave Canterbury on how to construct one.


Final Thoughts

Your shelter is important. We don’t always understand how important our shelter is until we don’t have one. For the common man, knowing how to survive in hot or cold temperatures is important. Preparing when you don’t need it will sure come in handy if you ever do need it!

Survival for the Common Man is a series of articles for those who are new to prepping or those who never really felt they had a good foundation to start.

Why Survival for the Common Man? I love to gain experiences in wilderness survival, bushcraft, homesteading and “tactical” preparedness. But the truth is, most preppers are regular, everyday people (the common man). We live in the suburbs, go to our day jobs, and attend school and family events. But we also see the world around us and see the need to be prepared, to make sure our family is safe and able to thrive in times of uncertainty. There are more of us than you might realize! This series is for you!

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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