0 Shares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- 0 Shares ×

Protection from the elements is the first and MOST essential of the “currencies of life.” 

In cases of extreme heat or cold, you can die from exposure in a matter of a couple hours, if you don’t have the proper protection from the elements.

So what is “protection from the elements?”

A lot of people will include “shelter” on their list of survival basics. I use the phrase “protection from the elements” because to me it seems like a more appropriate label for the threat we’re trying to describe-the elements. The elements can be heat or cold, and can be delivered with side orders of humidity, aridity, or wind.

Apart from helping me to remember that the “elements” really are the threat, and that they come in many shapes and sizes, I like the phrase “protection from the elements”, because it includes more than just shelter.

Protection from the elements includes: clothing, shelter and fire.


Having and wearing the right clothing may not be as exciting as building a tipi or ice cave, but it has INFINITELY more to do with whether you live or die.

Scout’s honor.

The clothing you wear, is your first line of defense. Proper clothing yields sooner and longer lasting results than your shelter will, because it’s on you. It doesn’t matter if you have a shady spot on a 112 degree day, if you’re wearing a wool sweater, you’re headed for heat exhaustion. Same thing goes for wearing a bikini inside of an ice cave.

Gaining a good understanding of how clothing can maximize your thermoregulation, is your first line of defense against the elements.


The second thing you can do to protect yourself from the elements, is to have appropriate shelter–both from the heat and cold. This means incorporating any natural AND man-made resources that you have at your disposal.

When you’re a couple hours away from dying of hypothermia, you can’t be thumbing your nose at sheltering in a car because it’s not “bushcraft.”

Same thing goes for trying to pitch a tent in the middle of a freezing rainstorm when there’s a cave or downed tree 20 feet away.


Fire could fall into a handful of different categories–water because it helps you purify, food because it helps you cook, but I feel like it’s a main course in the “protection from the elements” meal, and perhaps more like a side dish in the others.

Fire can create the heat that your body needs to survive, even in a subzero climate.

Check out the following prepisodes for topics related to protection from the elements:

So as part of my “new house renovations”, my wife and I got an Englander wood stove for our basement. As preppers, we know that having a backup heat source is […]

Every year, thousands of families are displaced by disasters. While these families are trying to figure out their next move, they need to take temporary shelter somewhere. The EXO Shelter, […]

On the coattails of yesterday’s prepisode about the Off The Grid Build website, I thought I’d let you in on a recent convo I had with my buddy Mike a […]

In my mind, the “summit” of prepping lies in having a secure off the grid build. It just feels peaceful. Even though you are still subject to weather and acts […]

A couple weeks ago, I got an interesting comment on a post I wrote in 2011 entitled “Is This the Best Bug Out Shelter?”. It was from a dude named […]

Like a handful of you guys out there, I have a minor obsession with ISBU shipping container housing.  It stems out of a handful of reasons. Shipping containers are: Cheap […]

Last winter, a giant windstorm hit Utah. For several days, some people were without power, and accordingly without heat. Families bundled up in extra clothing and blankets, and the lucky ones […]

While reading the book “Prepper’s Home Defense” I’ve been going over the section on “safe rooms.” A safe room is basically a room within your home that is ultra-fortified against […]

Hey Guys, After a long hiatus, I have another gear review for you–this time on the SOL Escape Bivy. I’ve had this bivy for a long time, and even took […]

Hurricane Sandy is starting to hit the East Coast, and from the looks of it, it’s going to be a nasty one. Here’s a few quick last minute helps. Resources: […]

Best of Web Monday, and on the coattails of my excursion to the Salt Lake mountains with Ben, today I’m sharing a few good resources for sheltering in the cold. […]

Field Trip Friday! Remember the mock bug out in the fall that I did? Well, I just did another one in the snow. My good buddy Ben from Financial Survivalist invited […]

Gear Review Wednesday, and today I thought I’d give you guys a look at my car survival kit.  With Christmas and New Years just around the corner, a lot of […]

Gear review Wednesday, and today I’m checking out the “Candle In A Can.” What do you think?

Gear Review Wednesday! Today we’re checking out some of what makes the Hi Tec Altitude Ultra WPi a great boot. Having weathered a couple “mock bug outs” and some seriously […]

The tights Prepisode. Since I did my 72 hour urban bug out earlier this year, I’ve received a handful of comments and emails from Cody in Boise (Urbivalist reader and […]

You tell me. In most scenarios, there are indisputable advantages to sheltering in place, or “bugging in.” But today, I want to know what situations you think make it a […]

Looking to build a bug out or fall back shelter? What about a permanent home that can save you some money? ISBU shipping container houses offer solutions for both. At […]

Due to their low cost and durability, ISBU shipping containers make a great survival bug out shelter.