The Scenario

Another winter storm blew in overnight and brought us about 6 inches of powdery, sticky snow. The kind that’s good for snow balls. Traveling anywhere by car can ultimately turn into survival decisions having to be made. For example, if you were to hit black ice and slide off the road. When you live in the sticks like me, being prepared to camp the night in or near you’re vehicle can become a real possibility.

Shelter from the elements

In a less than perfect winter attire, I started out to build an improvised snow shelter/wind break. Staying inside of a stranded vehicle can become life threatening as the car becomes a refrigerator when the temperature drops.

Using an old army ammo can that I keep my car tools inside of, I started scooping up snow and forming snow bricks. If I had started at 6 am when I first came outside everything would be okay because it was 20 degrees. The snow bricks would have been nice and solid.

Army Ammo Can

I waited until noon when the outside temperature had risen about 30 degrees warmer. In this elevation of 7500 ft above sea level, the noon sun was melting the falling snow. The bricks were not forming well and were coming out of the can in pieces.

Snow Block formed from ammo can
Forming the walls

Conditions Change

Had this been a real survival situation, survival decisions would have to be made. To continue trying to make the shelter and risk get wetter while being exposed to hypothermia or stay dry and move on looking for better shelter material.

During a previous excursion I seen some discarded timber just two fields over west from my present location.  Another option would to have been shelter in place and wait until the temperatures drop again. Sun set is estimated at 4:30 pm and the temperature will drop again to the single digits.

Survival is about accessing your current situation and resources based on the conditions of you’re environment. Using available resources within you’re environment to add you’re survival. But you must also be willing to change and adapt your survival decisions based on changing conditions. It would be stupid to shelter in place if you saw smoke from a chimney just a few short miles away.

In this case I think I’ll just go back home make a cup of hot chocolate and curl up with John Wisemans Survival manual.

As always be safe and healthy my friends.

Chris D.

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