Connect with us

Outdoor Survival Skills

Emergency Winter Shelter Tips from an ‘Alone’ Contestant



“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote, a.btn, a.o-button”} }”>

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members!
>”,”name”:”in-content-cta”,”type”:”link”}}”>Download the app.

Ideally, you never need the contents of this article. The best way to survive an unplanned night in the wilderness is to avoid getting yourself in that situation in the first place. That said, it’s always smart to have a plan for a worst-case scenario.

So, let’s say it’s winter and you get lost or hurt while skiing or snowshoeing in the backcountry. Maybe a storm you didn’t see coming blows in or darkness descends, and you have no way of safely making it out. If it’s an emergency, your best move might be to stay put. If you’re lost, moving blindly can be dangerous.

“Most people who travel in a survival situation end up dead. Think long and hard before you attempt hiking out or self-rescue. Stop, sit down, breathe, and assess your situation,” says Jessie Krebs, a Colorado-based survival instructor, former U.S. Air Force survival specialist, and a contestant on season nine of Alone—where she survived 46 days on the Labrador coast. Krebs is the founder and owner of O.W.L.S. Skills, a women’s survival school. “This is part of the mental and emotional aspects of survival. Most of us think we need to get somewhere else to be saved. People will keep pushing when they should just shelter in place.”

Stormy weather, darkness, injury, or being lost are all good reasons to hunker down, and you should do so in some kind of shelter. Here’s how to build a makeshift one, with tips from Krebs.

Pick Your Location

First, find a safe place to construct your shelter. “Make sure it’s an area that will meet all of your needs, including shelter-building materials and a good signaling site so rescuers can find you,” Krebs says. Check for safety concerns. Are you in an avalanche path? Are there large dead branches or trees above or near you? Once you’ve settled on a location, figure out what kind of shelter you’re going to build.

Select a Type of Shelter

Think about what you have and what’s around you. Do you have an emergency kit with rope and tarp or a large piece of material? Were you carrying a sleeping bag or a sack you can make into one? If so, great. Use them. Take in your environment: Are you above treeline or below it? Is the snow soft or icy? Are there several feet of snow on the ground or can you dig down to the dirt? “Depending on your location, that’ll determine what type of shelter you can make,” Krebs says.

Most likely you’ll be building what Krebs calls an immediate action shelter—something you can create in 20 minutes or less that’ll protect you for a few hours or overnight. A long-term shelter—like the elaborate hut that Krebs built on Alone and nicknamed “Hodgepodge Lodge”—is something you hopefully won’t need in this situation.


This isn’t technically a type of shelter, but it’ll do in a pinch. “If you’ve got a lot of branches around you, pile them up until it’s about chest high, then wiggle your way into the pile of boughs,” Krebs says. “Essentially, you’re making a sleeping bag and a shelter at the same time. Most animals make nests and burrows. They bed down, and they do just fine.”

Tree Well

Tree wells happen in mid-winter when snow piles up around trees and the tree sluffs snow to the outside. Directly underneath the tree next to the trunk, there can be an opening, basically a cavernous hole with less snow. They can be very dangerous—you can suffocate inside of them if you fall in head first—so consider yourself severely warned on this one. But tree wells are also nature-made shelters if they’re used properly in an emergency situation.

“The tree has done a lot of the work for you, but be careful when you approach them,” Krebs says. Start a few feet away, and make steps into the well by stomping down the snow. “Once you’re down there, you can dig out the snow and make a spot to sit,” Krebs says. Remember to put as much insulation between you and the ground or snow as you can. Stuffing the walls or ground with tree boughs and sitting on a backpack or a foam pad will help you maintain body heat.

Snow Cave

Snow caves are commonly used in winter overnight situations in the backcountry, but they can be time and energy consuming to build. Ideally, you’ll have an avalanche shovel and a waterproof, insulated pair of gloves with you. Look for a steep wall or drifted snow that you can dig horizontally into, instead of vertically. “Snow is such a good insulator. Look for a wall, usually on the downwind side, then start digging in, then dig down, then dig up, and build a sleeping or sitting platform,” Krebs says. Remember to make an air vent—separate from the cave’s opening—on the roof of the snow cave at a 45-degree angle and at least two inches in diameter to prevent air poisoning.

Lean To

A lean to—a simple shelter with a sloped roof and two walls—is a great option if you’ve got trees around and you plan to have a fire or you are trying to protect an injured person. Because one side is open, you’ll have access to treat that person easily. Use long pieces of wood and lean them at about a 60-degree angle against a horizontal branch or pole propped up at neck level between two trees. Or use a tarp and line if you have it. “If you build a fire, make sure it’s at least three feet from the edge of your shelter. Especially if this is natural material, it’s easy for that shelter to catch on fire,” Krebs warns. “If you want to build a fire in front, you may also want to build a separate shelter over the fire circle to help you light and protect it.” As a general rule, make all shelter entrances away from the direction of the wind. If you’ve got a tarp and some rope, you can use that as the roof or put together a basic tent.


The Athabaskan name for traditional snow shelter, a quinzhee is a shelter inside a mound of snow. Instead of digging down into the snowpack like a snow cave, you’re piling snow into a dome. You’ll need a decent amount of snow to make this work, and this one is more of a long-term shelter since it will take most people more than 20 minutes to build. Start moving snow into a pile (don’t pack it down and make sure it’s rounded at the top) until it’s about chest high. The snow needs to sit for a couple of hours to solidify. Then choose an entrance (ideally one facing away from the wind), and start digging your hole to hollow out the inside. Putting foot-long sticks through the mound like a porcupine will help guide you so you don’t carve out too much. “This is a dome shelter, so the sides need to be vertical,” Krebs says. “We’re not making flat pancakes, we’re making an arch. Make sure it’s almost vertical on the sides, otherwise, there’s a chance it’ll collapse on you.” Put down an insulated floor—vegetation, a foam pad, whatever you’ve got—and don’t forget your air hole for ventilation.

Set Up Signals for Rescuers

This is a critical step. If you’re awaiting a rescue, make sure you’re not hiding from your rescuers out of sight and earshot. “It can be very difficult, especially if the weather is bad, for people to find you,” Krebs says. “Make sure you put something outside of your structure so they know you’re there.” That can be poles or sticks in the ground tied to a piece of bright clothing or whatever else you have to create a visual signal.

Want to learn more? Jessie Krebs teaches wilderness survival skills, including shelter building, on MasterClass, and through her women’s survival school, O.W.L.S. Skills.

(Visited 113 times, 1 visits today)
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Why You Need A Generator TODAY




In any survival scenario, having a reliable source of electrical power can significantly enhance your ability to weather emergencies and sustain your family’s well-being. While there are various ways to generate and store electricity, one of the most critical components for survivalists is a generator. Here, we’ll explore different methods of generating power and emphasize the importance of having a generator as part of your survival strategy.

The Importance of Electrical Power in Survival Situations


Electricity is often taken for granted until it’s no longer available. In a survival situation, power outages can disrupt essential services, including communication, refrigeration, heating, and medical equipment. Having a reliable power source can mean the difference between a manageable situation and a crisis. Here’s why electrical power is crucial:


Maintaining communication with the outside world during an emergency is vital. Powering radios, cell phones, and other communication devices allows you to stay informed and reach out for help if needed.

Food Preservation

Electricity is essential for running refrigerators and freezers, which keep your food supplies from spoiling. This is particularly important when you’ve stockpiled perishable items or rely on a homegrown food supply.

Heating and Cooling

In extreme weather conditions, having the ability to heat or cool your living space is crucial for comfort and safety. Powering fans, heaters, or air conditioning units can help maintain a livable environment.

Medical Equipment

For those with medical needs, having a reliable power source to run medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, CPAP machines, and other devices is non-negotiable.

Different Ways to Generate Electrical Power

Several methods can be employed to generate electrical power, each with its advantages and limitations. Here’s an overview of some common options:

Solar Power

Solar power is a popular choice among survivalists due to its sustainability and low environmental impact. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which can be stored in batteries for later use. While solar power is an excellent long-term solution, it’s dependent on sunlight availability and requires a significant initial investment.

Wind Power

Wind turbines generate electricity by harnessing wind energy. This method can be effective in areas with consistent wind patterns. However, like solar power, wind energy is weather-dependent and requires specific conditions to be viable.


If you have access to a flowing water source, a micro-hydro system can generate electricity by utilizing the kinetic energy of flowing water. This method is highly reliable but limited to locations with suitable water sources.

The Critical Role of Generators


While renewable energy sources like solar and wind are excellent for long-term sustainability, having a generator is crucial for immediate and reliable power during emergencies. Here’s why a generator is essential for survivalists:

Reliability and Immediate Power Supply

Generators provide a reliable and immediate source of power regardless of weather conditions. Unlike solar panels or wind turbines, generators can produce electricity on demand, ensuring that you have power when you need it most.


Generators are highly versatile and can power a wide range of devices, from small electronics to larger appliances like refrigerators, heaters, and medical equipment. This versatility makes them invaluable during power outages or emergencies.

Ease of Use

Modern generators are designed for ease of use, with straightforward setup and operation. Portable generators, in particular, are easy to transport and can be used in various locations, making them a flexible solution for survivalists.

Choosing the Right Generator

Selecting the right generator for your needs is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

Power Output

Determine the power output you need by calculating the wattage of the devices you plan to run simultaneously. Generators come in different sizes, so choose one that can handle your power requirements without overloading.

Fuel Type

Generators can run on several different fuels, including gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas. Consider the availability and storage requirements of the fuel type you choose. Propane and natural gas are often preferred for their longer shelf life and cleaner burning.


If you anticipate needing to move your generator frequently, a portable model is a good choice. Portable generators are easier to transport and store.

Maintaining Your Generator

Proper maintenance of your generator ensures it will be ready to perform when you need it. Regularly check and change the oil, keep the fuel tank clean, and test-run the generator periodically to ensure it’s in good working order. Store your generator in a dry, accessible location and keep extra fuel and necessary parts on hand.


For survivalists, having a reliable source of electrical power is not just a convenience—it’s a necessity. While renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are excellent long-term solutions, the importance of having a generator cannot be overstated. Generators provide immediate, reliable power in any situation, ensuring you can maintain communication, preserve food, regulate temperature, and power essential medical equipment. By selecting the right generator and maintaining it properly, you can enhance your preparedness and ensure your family’s safety and comfort during any emergency.


Continue Reading

Outdoor Survival Skills

BREAKING: Donald Trump Survives Assassination Attempt!



( – Donald Trump was whisked off the stage at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, after apparent gunshots rang through the crowd.


Trump was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers when shots started ringing through the crowd. Trump could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his neck. There appeared to be blood on his face.



He quickly ducked behind the riser as agents from his protective detail rushed the stage, and screams rang out from the crowd. The shots continued as agents tended to him on stage.



His motorcade has left the venue. His condition was not immediately known.


This is a developing story.


Copyright 2024.

Continue Reading


Be Prepared: Surviving a Total Loss of Fresh Water Supply




If there’s one thing every prepper knows, it’s that disaster can strike at any moment. This can lead to significant disruptions in your daily life, such as a water shortage. Whether it’s a short-term issue like a frozen pipe or a long-term crisis like a total loss of fresh water supply, being prepared is crucial. Understanding the causes and knowing how to respond can make all the difference.

Types of No-Water Emergencies

Several occurrences can lead to water contamination or a complete lack of running water. Here are some common scenarios:

  • Broken Pipe: Broken pipes can occur due to aging infrastructure, extreme weather conditions, or accidental damage. When a pipe bursts, it can result in the loss of access to clean, running water and potentially cause significant water damage to your property.
  • Contaminated Water: Chemical spills, sewage backups, and other forms of pollution can render water supplies unsafe. Even if the water appears clear, it might be contaminated and unfit for drinking, cooking, or hygiene.
  • Frozen Water: In regions with harsh winters, frozen pipes are a common issue. When temperatures drop below freezing, water inside the pipes can freeze, causing the pipes to burst. This can lead to significant water damage and loss of running water.

How to Survive Without Clean or Running Water

While water outages are typically short-term in developed countries, extended periods without access to clean water can occur. Here are some essential tips to ensure your family’s survival during such times:

Stock Up on Bottled or Jugged Water: Always expect the unexpected. The general recommendation is to have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. For a family of four, this means at least 28 gallons per week for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.

Have an Alternate Water Source: In case of long-term water outages, having an alternative water source can be lifesaving. Options include:

  • Well: If feasible, drilling a well can provide a reliable source of groundwater. However, well construction and maintenance are complex and may require professional assistance.
  • Rainwater Collection: Setting up a rainwater harvesting system can help you capture and store precipitation for later use. Ensure that your collection surfaces are clean and have a method to filter and purify the water before use.
  • Local Freshwater Source: Natural water sources like streams, rivers, lakes, or ponds can be used, but must be treated and purified to remove pathogens and impurities.
  • Filled Bathtub/Sinks: During imminent water crises, fill bathtubs and sinks to store additional water.
  • Proper Water Storage and Conservation: Invest in high-quality water storage containers and keep them in a cool, dark place. Use food-grade barrels, tanks, or jerry cans. Also, practice water conservation by using water efficiently and recycling greywater where possible.

Water Purification Methods

Having multiple water purification methods is essential for ensuring access to safe drinking water. Here are some methods to consider:

  • Drops/Tablets: Chlorine, bleach, or iodine tablets can be added to water to kill microorganisms. Follow the instructions carefully for effectiveness and safety.
  • Boiling Method: Boiling water for at least one minute (three minutes at higher altitudes) is one of the simplest ways to purify water.
  • Multimedia Filters: Filters using activated carbon, charcoal, or reverse osmosis technology can remove contaminants, including heavy metals and microorganisms.
  • LifeStraw: This modern product can filter up to 4,000 liters of water, making it a practical tool for emergency water purification.
  • Liquid Chlorine/Bleach: Use suitable chlorine or bleach products for water purification. Ensure that you follow guidelines to avoid health risks.
  • Desalinator: For those living near the ocean, a desalinator can convert seawater into potable water through reverse osmosis.

Practical Tips for Water Use

Knowing how to use each water source efficiently is vital. Here are some tips:

  • Drinking: Allocate a strict daily water intake to ensure hydration. Mark water levels on bottles or jugs to control usage.
  • Cleaning: Use disinfecting wipes and sanitizing sprays to maintain cleanliness when water is scarce.
  • Bathing: Utilize sponge baths, outdoor showers, or waterless cleaning products to maintain personal hygiene.
  • Non-Potable Uses: Assess the quality of available non-potable water sources and use them for tasks like toilet flushing and clothes washing.
  • Emergency Cases: Keep clean water available for treating injuries, using products like disinfectant wipes, alcohol, and clean towels.
  • Extreme Use Cases: Hidden/Forgotten Water Sources
  • Water Heater: In an emergency, your water heater can be a valuable source of water. Properly drain the heater to access the water inside.
  • Pool Water: With proper treatment and purification, pool water can be used for various needs during a crisis.
  • Oxygenate Flat Tasting Water: Improve the taste of stored water by using agitation, aeration, mechanical devices, or adding small amounts of hydrogen peroxide.

The loss of fresh water, whether short-term or long-term, can pose significant challenges. By stocking up on water, having alternative sources, and knowing how to purify and use water efficiently, you can ensure your family’s survival during a water crisis. Start preparing today—before it’s too late.

How prepared are you for a water emergency? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below and help others learn how to stay safe and hydrated in times of crisis.


Continue Reading