As I continue with my testing of the pocket 10 C’s kit I come to the shelter element. For this I have an aluminum space blanket, cordage and two clear plastic garbage bags (so I can make a super shelter in the winter). So it was my intention to build a super shelter test it using these materials; however, with temperatures in the mid 30’s to lower 40’s, only four hours till daylight (when I would begin my squirrel hunt) and an ample supply of fire wood I really had no need for that much shelter so for this post I will just show how well the space blanket performs as a standard tarp like shelter. My expectations were low to begin with due to previous experiences with survival blankets; however, this blanket surpassed my expectations in every facet. I was able to stay warm and dry all night (remember it was mid 30’s and we had a light rain around day break). While this light-duty space blanket would not hold up to long-term use I was able to fold it back up and salvage it without any rips at the conclusion of the trip without issue (for those wondering I didn’t fold it like the Chinese origami expert who got it into that little package).
5) A quick view of the interior of the shelter with wood pile for the remaining 4 hours of the night I had upon my arrival at the hunting grounds that night. Notice the amount of firewood I have on hand (and that is only half of it there is another pile to the left side of the picture a little out of frame. That is a major pet peeve of mine about “survival” TV every fire I see is not only small but the amount of firewood they have on hand would honestly last an hour or less in an actual scenario. Unless I have a wood pile to my waist height and a fire that is at least as long as my torso. I digress though as I will be covering the topic of fire types in an upcoming post. Also for those who will say a Thermarest will not fit in an Altoids tin I agree, but didn’t want to mess with building a debris bed as I only had a couple hours left to grab a nap before a two mile or so hike at daylight and a full day of hunting squirrels.
While a space blanket is not the ideal shelter element to carry it is one of the few that can be incorporated into a pocket survival kit. The main issue you will encounter is durability issues so if you are going to incorporate one into a survival kit please go with a quality brand like SOL. If used properly this blanket will without a doubt make a good survival shelter as it was able to easily keep me warm in early fall temperatures. If you are planning a winter outing I highly recommend adding a few clear plastic bags to you kit so you can make a super shelter which will reduce the amount of fire wood needed and also keep you warm using a greenhouse like effect (when it gets a little colder I will do an overnight trip to try that shelter setup for you). So compact + cheap + out performs expectations + keeps you warm and dry without a sleep system= good enough to get by with in my book!
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