As a wilderness survival guide, I often am called upon to differentiate wilderness survival from primitive living. Often times these two are lumped together as one, but in fact they are distinct. Wilderness survival refers to the actual experience of survival in the wilderness, which may or may not be a "primitive" experience depending on the gear you have access to. Wilderness survival is usually a short term experience. Primitive Living is usually a long term experience, and refers to the experience of living in a primitive setting, practicing primitive skills for an extended period of time.
Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also significant endeavors, ones that take much time and practice. These are also skills that are often times unnecessary in a short term survival situation. However if you are in a wilderness survival situation for any length of time, you'll want these skills. Throwing sticks, bow and arrow, primitive fishing, spear fishing, and primitive trapping are all important to learn.
In a world where the bombproof bunker has replaced the Tesla as the hot status symbol for young Silicon Valley plutocrats, everyone, it seems, is a “prepper,” even if the “prep” in question just means he is stashing a well-stocked “bug-out bag” alongside his Louis Vuitton luggage in a Range Rover pointed toward Litchfield County, Conn. Here is a checklist for the neo-survivalist preparing for the apocalypse.
First you'll need to find water. Water flows downhill, encourages vegetation, and collects in natural caches, be they ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, rock depressions, or even leaves. Unfortunately, most fresh water sources are not pure enough to drink from (as they used to be), so you'll need to know how to purify water under most situations. Use any of these methods to collect clean, purified water:
If it's legal to do so where you live, it might be a good idea to purchase a gun ahead of time and become proficient at using it. Be sure to exercise gun safety at all times. For starters, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, unload the gun when not in use, always treat a gun as though it is loaded (even when you know it isn't), keep the gun where children cannot access it, be sure of your target and what lies beyond it, and regularly have the gun serviced by a firearms professional.
A long-term log cabin is built using a similar method as Lincoln Logs you may have played with as a child; the general idea is to lay a frame of logs that interlock at the corners to form a rectangle. Before beginning, you will need to clear the ground of grass, level it, and top it with a layer of gravel for drainage. Locate large rocks that can serve as stilts to keep your cabin off the ground and place them at all four corners as well as every three to four feet.
Hard-core preppers, however, would never leave their survival up to a mouse click, which is why some sites suggest endless creative tweaks to the standard equipment. Graywolf Survival recommends a chain-saw blade stashed in an Altoids tin to harvest firewood. Survival Life touts feminine hygiene products, even for men, to soak up blood from wounds.
Atlas Survival Shelters takes pride in finishing out your shelter to the means you are used to living in your home. Any wood materials used in an Atlas Shelter is either a hard wood or kiln-dried to ensure longevity. Making a shelter feel like you’re in the county jail takes away the normality you would need to survive long term underground in a survival shelter.
Regardless of what it looks like, a wilderness survival shelter should embrace these essential principles. It should provide insulation and protection from all elements. It should include a heart source, whether that is a fire, the sun, or trapping body heat. It should be placed in a good location - think high and dry. And lastly, it should offer comfort and sanctuary. After all, this will be your new home.
Depending on the supply of materials available, the construction can take anywhere from two to five hours. Start by looking for downed trees that have branches low enough to support the topmost point, known as the ridgepole. If you only locate one tree, use it as the ridgepole – lashing in place if necessary – but if you locate two downed trees near one another, lay a sturdy branch between them.
So what is a defenseless, law-abiding survivalist to do? Prepper bibles like “100 Deadly Skills,” by Clint Emerson, a former Navy SEAL, are filled with improvised alternative weapons, like a collapsible umbrella lined with wrenches, which is “not illegal to possess,” a New York City Police Department spokesman said, but “would be considered a weapon if you used it on someone.”
For a longer-term shelter, substantial planning and effort will be required. A long-term subterranean survival shelter is something you would build in preparation for when SHTF, as opposed to building in the aftermath while bugging out. Those who choose to build a long-term subterranean survival shelter either build one on their property or an offsite location. Designs can range from simple cellar-style rooms to complex homes that are fully outfitted with a power supply, furnished with necessities and comfort items, and have functioning defense systems.
But if you are among the swelling class of weekend paranoiacs of affluent means who are starting to mull fantasies of urban escape following the endless headlines about disasters, both natural and manufactured, you may be starting to see a different image in your mind when think “survivalist.” You may no longer see the wild-eyed cave dweller in camouflage fatigues, hoarding canned goods. You may even see one in the mirror.
Food, water, shelter – the essential elements of survival. Shelter can protect you from the elements and wildlife, as well as keep you warm or dry; finding appropriate shelter can literally mean the difference between living and dying in a survival situation. No matter what your circumstances, you want to be sure you can prepare suitable survival shelter for you and your loved ones.