Where to start?!
The Survival Rule of 3s is a good place.
3 Minutes without oxygen to the brain – without any long lasting brain damage. (also bleeding out!) Yes some people can last a lot longer!
3 Hours without Protection from the Extreme elements before you could succumb to Hypothermia or Hyperthermia.
3 Days without water – Extreme dehydration.
3 Weeks without food - Starvation.
(The Rule of 3s is just a rough guide)
This shows us how important protection from the “Killer combinations” is. The Wind, Rain, Cold, Heat and Sun.
So to understand how the killer combinations can get us we need to understand how our bodies deal with temperature change.As Humans we are “Homotherms”. We keep our core body temperature at a constant level. When we get hot we sweat, this is our bodies way of cooling us down. When we get cold we
shiver, a reflex action which makes our muscles move which in turn creates warmth by expending energy.
Our inner core body temperature is normally around 36.8°c – 37°c. If your core temp goes higher then 42.7°c or lower than 28.8°c, you will die of Hyperthermia or Hypothermia.
So this is why we need to know how to Shelter from the killer combinations.
The Layering System
Your first line of defence is the clothing on your back.
Base Layer – Against your skin to wick sweat away.
Thermal Layer – Traps the warm air in between your base layer and itself.
Outer Layer, Soft shell or hard shell layer – Protection from the wind and rain.
Hat, Gloves, Buff (scarf) Around 70-80% of your body’s heat is lost from your head and Neck area...
Your second line of defence is to find some sort of personal protection shelter such as a tarpaulin or a storm shelter (bothy bag). If you are unlucky enough not to have any other protection that is where natural survival shelters come into play. If we get to the point of having to build a shelter we will need to think about certain things like what equipment you have if any knife, saw, axe, digging tools, cordage......
Site selection: Any hazards like dead fall, game trails, dry river beds, rock fall. If possible close but not too close to a water source. Are there enough building materials in the area? What is the terrain like? If you need to consider a search and rescue attempt!
Construction: The size and strength of your shelter, how is it going to stand (lashings, foundations, gravity) what are you going to thatch it with and how are you going to heat it (fire or body heat)?
What ever you do and how ever you do it, your main aim is to get yourself out of the elements and get your core body temperature back to 36.8°c – 37°c.
Andy Froy is a qualified NCFE Level 4 Bushcraft, Survival and Wilderness Living Skills Instructor & Mentor at Survival School Ltd UK (And a good friend of BushcraftLab)
He has some fantastic videos on his YouTube channel that I'm sure you'll find of interest CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE