How to Hide Your Food

Unless you know the context of the subject matter “how to hide your food” sounds somewhat and possibly, totally ridiculous. Why would I want to hide food? Well, maybe hide my candy bars from my blood-hound nosed grand-kids. Other than that, why would I want to hide food? If that’s your answer, obviously you are not a member of the Prepper community.

Stockpiling food and other survival supplies is the centerpiece of a motivated Prepper’s ultimate goal… stockpile items that are essential for the survival of your family and anticipation of nearly immediate shortage of such items. I believe everyone will agree food will be high on the stockpile list.

For the novice Prepper you may think this isn’t rocket science.

  • Do some research to identify the best food to store and remain edible.

  • Withdraw money from the savings, make a loan or max out the credit card.

  • Buy the food, bring it home, store it in the house.

What is the big deal you may say.

There are a couple of big deals and a lot of small ones.

  1. Anyone who has been building a stockpile, or rents a U-haul and fills it with food, will most likely run into a space problem. Unless you have storage space, such as a basement where you can build a dedicated storage room, space quickly evaporates. No basement, house is built on a slab … no problem, use the spare bedroom for storage. What? No spare bedroom, in fact the kids are doubling up. See what I mean?

  2. Lack of space is one matter, but a much worse problem is keeping the food you have stockpiled. That’s no problem, you’ll just keep having stored food a secret. Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

  • Your kids will tell their friends what you’re doing. Sorry, but kids are kids, even yours.

  • The neighborhood has eyes. You won’t realize it, but a nosy neighbor has peered through the blinds and have seen you unloading enough groceries to feed an army. What could you do with so much food and only 4 people to feed? Ah … stockpiling it for bad times. How clever. I’ll make a mental note of that.

  • In today’s information age your life is an open book. I assure you people with the proper authority, or proper hacking skills, can review every purchase you’ve ever made in the last 5 years and possibly beyond. You think they won’t be able to figure out you’ve been stockpiling?

Bottom line is keeping your food stockpile stash may be the hardest thing to do. You may arm yourself and fend off attacks by looters, but eventually enough people with enough firepower will break your defenses and take the food. If not looters, soldiers under Marshal law will confiscate the supplies.

These scenarios make it sound like it’s useless to try and store a stockpile of survival food because it’ll just be taken from you. However, there are always options and there’s a very real option that offers the chance for you to keep your food or at least severely limit the amount lost. Hide Your Food.

Let’s look at a few examples of how to hide your food. This method coupled with brute force may be just enough to make assaulting you just not worth the price. It’s a cost benefit equation that wild animals utilize. Even the king of beast, although possibly capable of achieving success, will mess with a cobra. The meal is too small to risk the life threatening venom.


Inside Walls

Building Hidden Compartments:

This is an excellent method of hiding food, but unless you have a rather large home, difficult to do. Any hidden room must flow naturally with the structure. Any newer construction or obvious out of place huge piece of furniture will draw immediate suspicion.

Perhaps the best place to build a secret storage area for an average house is under the steps, especially stairs leading to a second floor level. Looters will definitely look there, but if you build a fake wall about half way to the end, there’s a good chance they’ll overlook it. Store a few things, bats & balls, tennis rackets, whatever, for the appearance you use the area for storage, but there’s nothing of value there.

How to Hide Food Your Utilizing the Insides of Walls and Ceilings:

Common building codes call for 2” x 4” studded walls, interior and exterior, and you may even be lucky enough to have 2” x 6” walls. Remove the drywall sheeting on any wall and you will expose a 3 ½” deep by 16” wide vacant void between the studs. There will most likely be electrical wires and possibly water lines running through these walls, but they occupy very little space and are not dangerous. (You still don’t want to yank around on them and create a leak or a short circuit.)

Install shelves inside this void, fill it with non-perishable food (can goods) and replace the drywall. It’s important the replaced drywall be taped and painted to match the existing wall. If you are not skilled enough to do this, consider building an attached bookcase or placing a heavy piece of furniture in front of it to hide it.

ceiling tile

Suspended Ceiling Tiles

If you have a finished basement with a suspended ceiling you can turn the space between the floor joist into storage. Simply remove the ceiling tile, carefully as to not break it, and install shelves between the floor joists. You’ll experience the same issues as inside the wall but probably more congested as sewer and other drain pipes, heating/cooling duct-work and water lines all run inside these joists. If you remove ceiling tiles and encounter a lot of obstructions, put it back and go to another spot.

*** Floor joists will offer more room than walls because they are normally 2” x 8” or 2” x 10” and on 24” centers.***

A normal bedroom or hall closet can be used for food storage. Place a few boxes (containers) in the closet and have them clearly miss – marked. A bottom box of canned goods can be marked Xmas stuff while supporting real boxes of Xmas stuff. Or fill the box half way with food and finish topping it off with clothes.

An additional spot is above the door in the interior of the closet. Who looks there? Remove the drywall as in other examples, and store food in the vacant spaces. You won’t have to replace the drywall because chances of being seen are all but zero.


Fake Duct Work

Outsmart Them by Faking Them Out:

Maybe 1 in 100 people have the expertise to know a home’s systems well enough to know what is real and what’s not. And that 1 person will be focused on stealing food, not analyzing your sewer system. This offers you a golden opportunity to hide a vast quantity of food.

Your ventilation duct-work will be located either in the basement or the attic. You can construct a duct branch, however long you want, made from the same material and same appearance of the real ducts and store food inside it. You can store a lot of food in such a fake storage spot. Be sure to adequately support the fake as canned food is quite heavy.

You can do the same thing with your plumbing system. Drain pipes in the house will either be 3” or 4” wide. Even if they are 3” into the main sewer drain you can use 4” fake pipe and nobody will notice. Simply fill the 4” void of the pipe with canned goods, and place it onto the floor and secure it to the floor joist. Make sure it appears to go through the floor, concrete and wood, is plumb, and isn’t obviously out of place. They’ll never spot it if you do it right.

Do You Garden?

Another good place for how to hide your food is the back yard. If you have a garden this is an excellent hiding spot because the ground is already disturbed. Don’t shake your head. Burying food is one of the oldest ways of storing food. Early American history clearly describes casks and barrels of food being buried underground as a means to preserve it and/or hiding it from hostile Indians.


PVC Pipe

Dig a hole at a corner of the garden where a steel post can be inserted to appear as a fence post, or in the center of the garden where a scarecrow can be placed, in order to disguise the spot. Use food grade five gallon buckets filled with food and bury it. The container is leak proof and insects can not get in.

Another method is to take a 4” piece of PVC, fill it with food, glue caps on either end and insert into the ground. This pipe will fit nicely inside a hole you make with a post hole digger.

How to Hide Your Food in Plain Sight:

The soffit above your kitchen cabinets is a totally void spot. Remove the drywall, re-enforce the framework and install a bottom flooring. This can offer a tremendous amount of storage space. Either replace the drywall, finish and paint to match the rest of the kitchen or maybe wallpaper it, eliminating taping and painting.

Remove the toe plate from underneath the kitchen cabinets and you’ll discover an empty space for some storage. This space can be utilized for a diversion. Place food inside the void, but don’t reinstall the toe plate correctly. If looters spot this and find the food, they very well may think that’s all you have and will leave. Just a thought.

If you never use your dishwasher, or you haven’t replaced the broken one, use it for storage. Just be sure to disconnect the electric to prevent a well meaning in-law from turning the dishwasher on attempting to help with holiday dishes.

The washer and dryer can also offer space. Remove the backing, place food inside and re-secure the backing. Be sure that no food interferes with any mechanical movement of the appliance or you may have bought yourself a big repair bill.

Other Options:

If you absolutely don’t have enough space to hide food supplies, or live in an apartment, you can rent a storage unit at one of those self contained storage facilities. A 5’ X 5’ storage unit would hold a huge amount of non-perishable food.


Rented Storage Unit

Don’t overlook disgusting and diversion tactics:

  • Keep a weapon (pistol) in a water tight container and store it in the toilet water tank.

  • Build a cat litter box with a hidden shelf underneath it big enough to store a pistol.

  • Put a shelf large enough to place a pistol in the bottom of the pet food storage container and fill with pet food.

Don’t forget looters will be in a hurry. They want as much stuff as they can quickly find without too much problem and a fast get away.

  • Raise your bed onto blocks and store food under your bed. It’s not exactly inspector gadget hidden, but if they locate it, they’ll probably stop at that point, saving the rest of your cache.

Preparing for a crisis by knowing how to hide your food should be rather high on your priority list. However it’s only one element of a crisis management plan.


21 Day Abs    



Be Prepared



How to Throw Together a Survival Shelter

You’re not stupid, are you? But you can do stupid things. Everyone does from time to time, I’m famous for it, but not knowing how to build a simple survival shelter may not only be stupid, but deadly. Exposure to the elements is the number one cause of deaths for people stranded and lost in the wilderness. Actually you don’t need to be lost. You may be on a familiar hiking trail when an unexpected Spring blizzard strikes making it too dangerous to attempt to walk back down the mountain, and preventing rescue personnel from attempting to find you until the conditions improve. Meanwhile, you’re enduring a white out with 30 mph winds and a chill factor of minus 30 F. Let’s look at a few emergency How to-Survival Shelters.

image006  Free Tactical Pen

KISS: Keep it simple stupid

There’s absolutely no need to explore what happens to the body as you slowly die from hypothermia, besides we already have. What’s the sole purpose of a survival shelter in arctic conditions … Provide heat.

There’s another way to look at that … Prevent heat from escaping.

Building a body-heat shelter, referred to as “a poor man’s shelter” is the simplest form of a shelter. It’s main goal is to trap a pocket of dead air, which your body heat warms, providing an escape from arctic conditions.

In a forested area, scrape together a heaping mound of leaves, sticks, debris, moss, anything you can use to build a large enough mound for you to fit into. Once you have the mound large enough, carefully dig a tunnel or cavity into it. Crawl inside it and use a backpack or other object to block the entrance in order to restrict air flow, and subsequently heat, from escaping. If you are not filthy and cramped, you have made the cavern too large. You don’t want to heat anything other than your body. This primitive shelter can keep you alive during a minus 20F day.

Should you are above the tree line where no trees or litter exist, build the shelter out of snow, which requires essentially the same technique, just different building material. Instead creating a mound using sticks and debris, you build a mound of snow.

No different than you were a kid, unless you lived in the warm areas of the country, build a large snow mound and dig a tunnel straight into it. Again, make it small, close – the opening with a backpack, and if possible lay a layer of plastic, bows, whatever insulation you can find, on the floor to help keep you up off direct contact with the snow.


How to Throw Together a Survival Shelter – Open Shelters

Lean-To (Pole & Bough lean-to) is an ancient and reliable shelter. The single wall of the lean-to fulfills three needs, as a windbreak, fire reflector and overhead shelter.

Step One: Locate a relatively straight strong tree limb to use as a ridgepole, this will serve as the main shelter support. If possible wedge the ridgepole into the crotches of two adjacent trees. If not possible, build two tripods from limbs lashed together and place each end of the ridgepole into them.

Step Two: Gather long limbs to use as the body of the shelter and lean them against the ridgepole tilted to provide an enclave for you to sit and sleep in. To help strengthen these poles, inner lace limber small branches at right angles.

Step Three: Thatch the lean-to with slabs of bark, leafy or pine-needle branches, pointing downward to shed rain, and chink with sod, moss or snow to increase the insulation factor.

A-Frame: The pitched roof design of the A-Frame affords better protection against the wind than a lean-to due to it being enclosed on two sides. By having an opening the shelter can be warmed by a fire placed directly in front of the entrance, however, unless the A-Frame is large, you can’t lay parallel to the fire which could cause an issue with uneven body heat.

Step One: Locate a strong relatively straight tree limb and wedge it into the crotch of a tree. Unlike the lean-to the ridgepole of the A-Frame can be elevated or leaned against the ground.

Step Two: Lean tilt poles against the ridgepole on both sides, lashed together and strengthened with weaved limbs and thatch.


How to Throw Together a Survival Shelter – Enclosed Shelters

Enclosed shelters are much more labor intensive and require longer to build (4 hours or longer) but it may be worth the effort. You are better protected from the elements, specifically the wind, you can heat the enclosure with a small fire, reducing the need for a huge pile of firewood, and the firelight will reflect off all walls which helps moral, a huge factor in survival training.

shelter    Amazing New Methods

Wickiup Shelter: This is the grandfather of the Wigwam and is the quintessential primitive shelter, providing protection from strong winds, weatherproof and can be comfortable enough to serve as a long term shelter. This was a favorite of nomadic hunters as it can be quickly built and can be vented for an interior fire.

Step One: Locate three poles, one with a Y end, at least 10 feet long, and place them together in a tripod, binding them together at the top.

Step Two: Enclose the shelter by leaning poles against the tripod in a circular form, strengthening with thatch and limber limbs as you proceed. Leave the top open to serve as a vent for a fire inside the shelter and leave the front open, covering it with a blanket or other fabric.

Wigwam: This is a larger and more complex version of the Wickiup, which is built with long limber poles positioned into a dome shaped framework which allows maximum interior space.

Step One: Determine the desired size, inscribe a circle to accommodate that size and dig holes at 2 foot intervals in which to accommodate the framing poles.

Step Two: Firmly place the butt ends of the poles into the holes and bend the smaller ends over the top and lash or weave them together, essentially forming a dome-shaped framework.

Step Three: Lace thin green poles and thatch the framework in order to strengthen and waterproof it.


Salish Subterranean Shelter: This shelter is historically used by Pacific Indian tribes from Alaska to California. Obviously without digging tools a pit shelter is impractical unless you are in deep snow. The huge benefit is a shelter located in the ground offers much more protection against cold and heat than an above ground shelter.

Step One: Decide how large a shelter you want, dig a circular pit at least 3 feet deep.

Step Two: Build a tripod of poles over the hole, strengthen by inner lacing limber limbs

Step Three: Thatch the shelter using the dirt and sod you removed when digging your hole. Leave an opening for egress & ingress and for venting the fire smoke.

image002  Click Here Please

Building Materials

Making Shingle and Thatch Weatherproofing

Weatherproof materials should be carefully placed onto the framework, then be bound to the structure with cordage or held against the frame by propping sticks against it. What type of thatch to try and use depends on the angle of the roof. More porous thatch requires a steeper slant to induce quick runoff.

Bough Thatching

Overlay the framework with a mat of evergreen boughs, careful to always have the needles pointing out and down. Use several layers and if possible compact it down with snow or heavier sticks.

Grass Thatching

You need some weaving skills for this roofing, but it is excellent weatherproofing done correctly. Take long water-resistant grass and weave them into mats. Overlap these mats and sew together and around the framework poles.

Bark Shingles

Birch bark is a nature made roofing shingle. Using a knife slice completely around the birch tree twice. Peel the birch bark off the tree between these two slices and use for roofing. Start at the bottom of the shelter and work your way upward overlapping the top shingle over the bottom one.

wagontrain   Old into New Ways

I included this material list for two reasons, some people may already know the info but needed a quick refresher, and for people who never had a clue. For those people, which are a vast majority I offer this no-nonsense, doesn’t take rocket science, advise.

1.Use anything you can to cover your shelter. Sticks, leaves stick attached are good, long grasses, anything to put between you and the rain or wind.

2,Anytime you use long grasses or spruce branches, have the material angled downward in order to shed the water.

3. Unfortunately the world is overcome with trash. Use it to your benefit. Plastic bags, cardboard, newspaper and old clothing can be great for helping strengthen and insulate a shelter.

I’ll leave you with a parting bit of advise. If you are new to the survival world with little to no experience, stick to the A-Frame and Lean-to shelter. They are easier to build and will provide good temporary shelter.

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Five Things That Will Save Your Life

Today I hit my wall. I have writers block. I’ve sat here looking at the blank screen, going to the kitchen for more coffee, going to the bathroom to get rid of coffee, and yet the screen was still white and blank when I sat back down. It’s not like I was embarking on a novel, a great piece of literature impersonating Hemingway, or a black horror mocking Stephen King. No … just a simple survival blog.

That’s when it struck me …. There’s nothing simple about surviving. We, and I mean Me, I, Myself, have become so reliant on modern conveniences I have severe doubts of my ability to survive without electricity much alone in the wilderness. I’m an avid deer hunter, in Missouri opening day is nearly a National holiday. I spend an entire week deep in the woods “roughing it” and hunting prey just like my ancestors. Then I really stopped and thought about it.

Yes, I’m in the woods, but in those woods sets a 34 foot camper with a slide out. Electricity is readily available operating the lights, microwave, radio, satellite TV, while the furnace runs on gas for heat, as does the stove and oven for cooking and baking. Water, hot and cold is supplied from a tank under the camper and is of seemingly endless supply.

Hear the old joke “Does a bear shit in the woods?” I don’t unless I get the urge while out hunting. Which is very aggravating because I must secure my 45/70 weapon, careful not to bang the scope against the tree, they didn’t have that problem with muskets. Then I must peel off my $400 super insulated camouflage coveralls, I never take them off because my $250 boots are a problem to put back on with the insulated socks. If I have a disappointing day of hunting I jump on my Honda ATV and ride back to camp, and some of those logging roads are really rough and bumpy.

I’m ashamed to say, but that’s when I really realized my mountain man persona was fake. It was not done on purpose, no fraud intended, just honest role playing I guess. However, I was not alone. Like I said deer hunting in big in Missouri and the highways are lined with campers and motor-homes, $2000 to $150,000, rushing to the woods to rough it.

To these honest, hardworking people, male and female, my wife loves deer hunting, I dedicate this blog post. I’m going to strive to inform, people like myself, how to actually survive a catastrophe, man made or the wrath of mother nature.

The Beginning:

The first step to understanding basic survival skills is to recognize what is considered the greatest threats to your continued survival. Although dangers in the jungle differ from those in the desert, they all fall within categories of threats.

Exposure ….

Dehydration ….

Starvation ….

And in that specific order are your worse enemies, and pose the greatest threats to you and your family. Therefore, you must know these 4 responses in dealing with said dangers in order to survive.

Shelter ….

Fire ….

Water ….

Food ….

Drive these chilling facts deep into your memory if you think you’re playing Cowboy and Indians.

Extreme Weather, especially frigid wet conditions, can kill you in the short time span of 3 minutes.

A lack of water can kill you in 3 days through dehydration as the body shrivels like a prune.

No food will kill you in 3 weeks as the body consumes itself, eating fat, then muscle, then organs

It must be noted before continuing there are disagreements, difference of opinion would be better, within the survival community of which element of danger requires addressing first. Some say water, some say shelter while others maintain without fire you’re just wasting your time. Here is where you’ll have to utilize common sense. Caught in a snow storm … better find shelter. Desert environment … water is priority.

Let’s begin with shelter.

Short definition: “A structure that will protect you from the elements.” That protection can be in the form of an overhanging cliff, a fallen tree or a make-shift stick and leaves structure. Let’s look at 2 of the easiest shelters to build.

The lean-to is one of the simplest primitive shelters to construct, taking about an hour or so, depending on material availability, to build.


Step one: Locate a strong, somewhat straight pole and secure it between two trees. You can lash it, wedge it between low branches, whatever it takes to keep it from moving.

Step two: Lean sticks against the side until completely covered. These can be stripped of leaves or full of leaves as long as they are strong enough. Then heap leaves, grasses, palm leaves, whatever helps block the elements.

The shelter is not perfect. It doesn’t hold heat and if the rain or wind shifts direction it could pose a problem. However, it is quick and easy to build with little or no tools.

The Leaf Hut. This is essentially finishing the lean to structure, but requires more work and time, but offers better weather protection and insulation. Select a sturdy pole at least 9 to 12 feet long.


The leaf hut is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with much better weatherproofing and insulating qualities. To build one, select a long, sturdy pole 9 to12 feet long. Prop it up in the fork of a tree; or set it on a rock, stump, or two forked prop sticks. Then, cover the sides of the pole with tree branches to act as ribs. These are placed at an angle along both sides of the ridge pole. Place the ribs close together so that your hut covering won’t fall through. Next, heap vegetation over the framework (this can be anything that traps air, including grass, ferns, moss, pine needles, brush, or pine boughs). Two to 3 feet of vegetation covering all sides of the shelter is enough to keep you dry inside. Finally, fill the inside of the hut with a thick pile of vegetation for your bedding.


Not to debate evolution, but scientist that do subscribe to that theory maintain man broke away from animals due to the discovery of fire. Not just for warmth, protection, etc, but they maintain cooking the food, instead of consuming it raw, helped build brain cells and … well, the rest is history. Believe the theory or not there is no disputing fire is a vital element in a survival situation.


Don’t lose the ember

There are basic requirements for starting fire, no matter the method you use. You must have very dry flammable material which easily catches fire. Cotton balls, dry leaves, paper, wood shavings, dried moss, Brillo pad, paper money (won’t do you any good if you’re dead) cattails, the list is endless depending on location.

You must have elements (tools) in which to create an ember or spark. This can be two sticks, flint and steel, matches, lighter, magnifying glass, a battery, anything to create heat. Obviously some methods are extremely hard to perform successfully, while others are quite simple. I prefer simple. I highly recommend carrying some sort of fire-starter to insure success. Knives with built in fire-starters are available for instance.

Tip: Starting with an extremely flammable source of kindling is crucial and fabrication of a fire making tool (bow & string) can be trying. The actually physical effort required for starting a fire with primitive methods is exhausting and requires concentration. All this can lead to your forgetting to have an ample amount of small dry sticks to create a sustainable fire once you get your kindling going. Don’t forget fire building material.


Did you know if you make connections across the two poles of a battery with a Brillo pad, you will start a flame?

Water: Unless you are in weather conditions which can lead to imminent death, like minus 20 F, I believe finding water to be the number issue to resolve, and I say that because lack of water leads to the quickest death of all other dangers.

Just because you locate water doesn’t mean problem solved. Salt water will have to be desalinized, debris littered water will have to be strained, all water no matter how clean it appears should be boiled. I realize you can filter water with natural products, charcoal, sand, pebbles, and that may be the route you’re forced to take. But if possible … boil the water.

Even if the stream water is relatively clean and safe to drink, there are still parasites that although not deadly, can still give you a stomach ache or a little worse. You’re in a bad enough situation, why take an unnecessary risk because you decided to get lazy.

Food: Our bodies are used to eating and it’s a natural reflex to feel hungry as the body realizes it’s burning calories and not replacing them. However, unless you are in an expected long term situation, food is the last thing to worry about. But if you have a shelter built, a fire raging and a good supply of water … let’s go get some grub.

There are literally hundreds of types of snares, some easy to build, others not so much. I don’t have the time, energy or space to list a bunch of different types. However, I’ll tell you about one that I bet you’ve never thought of … a rat trap. It’s essentially nothing more than an over sized mouse trap, but can easily capture small game, squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, etc etc. This is a low-cost, low-tech, and easy to transport device and by incorporating simple food-based baits with these traps, you can be sure to have food and fur at camp each night.


Use your eyes to help your chances of eating. Scour the ground for droppings, rubs, foot prints, trails. The first thing you need to know is what kind of animals are in your area and are they a possible target. You may know moose are present, and you may even have a rifle, but a moose will range for miles and miles, an unlikely target.

Generally speaking, small game animals are active in the early morning and early evening. They are wary of being spotted by predators and cling to areas of dense vegetation and cover. They travel along the edges of open ground using fence-rows and waterways as a corridor. They are predictable and habitual; just like us. They tend to travel the same trails and will usually choose the path of least resistance. All of these traits can be exploited to put meat in your belly.


Lastly, Butchering & Preparing Food:

The only reason I mention this skill, because every animal is butchered differently, is because you can totally destroy the kill if you don’t take care. Number one, a sharp knife is the Most critical tool you need. Ever hear the saying “You won’t cut yourself with a sharp knife.”? A razor sharp knife allows you the control to carefully cut whatever it is you’re butchering, while a dull knife will require undue pressure and a sawing motion. Ingredients for an accident.

Pretend you are undressing a doll. Sounds dumb but it’s the best I could come up with. Slice through the fur and skin, not too deep as you don’t want to contaminate the meat with bile from the organs, around the legs, the head and down the belly. Begin at the head and begin peeling the fur and skin off. This is not an easy task and some animals are damn stubborn about giving up their coat even dead.

It will look better cooked

Remove all the internal organs, known as gutting, and discard, leaving only the meat to cook. Be sure to discard the guts far from your camp. You don’t want to eat it, but there are a lot of forest creatures, some you don’t want to meet, who will and they can smell it from miles away.

Survival is not just one thing. It’s a combination of education, experience, common sense, preparation and a host of other variables. Having all the fancy tools in the world won’t matter if you don’t know how to use them. Experiment, practice, read, observe. One day your life may depend on it.

The One Most Important Survival Tool?


Good luck trying to get three (3) or more people in today’s environment to agree on anything. A beautiful sunny day … no, we need rain. Don’t even start on politics. Therefore, I’ll assume you will grant me some slack on the issue of creating shelters from a tarp.

That blue, comes in various colors, tarp that we use to throw over our firewood in order to keep it dry, or drape over our prized antique auto to keep the leaves from staining it, that very tarp could prove essential in helping insure you stay alive in a survival situation. Let’s look at some variations of shelter building with a tarp.

Wedge Tarp Tent


This type of shelter is very good for windy conditions, specifically when the wind is blowing constantly from the same direction. The wedge design provides an aerodynamic shape which disperses the wind and rain away from the main opening. The installation will require at least 5 tie down pegs, of course the more the merrier.


Stop Wasting Money

To build the wedge tarp shelter, simply stake down two corners of the tarp into the wind (not opposing corners). Then tie up a line to the center of the opposite side of the tarp. Tie the remaining two corners down toward the ground. Use more cord and of a less steep angle for open wings and better ventilation. Tie the last corners down sharply for the best weatherproofing.

Tarp Wing


This design is great for keeping rain off you and the campfire, as well as offering shade from a blistering hot sun. Obviously the size of the tarp dictates the area size to be protected, but the rope tie downs can be as long as necessary. To hang the wing tarp tie up opposing corners of a tarp, two up high and two in lower positions. Be sure the tie downs are secure as a sudden gust of wind will make the tarp react like a ship’s sail, billowing and breaking loose if not secured taunt.

The Tarp Burrito


Let me begin by saying this is not only one of my least favorite shelter, but I’d say use as a last resort. Why? Because you will be relatively tightly wrapped inside the tarp there will be little to no ventilation, which causes moisture to form. And as we all know moisture permeating a sleeping bag is not good. However, there will be situations which require you to use this type of protection so let’s learn how to build it.

It looks easy, just roll up in it, but that’s a sure fire method to insure discomfort. Lay the tarp out in the area you are going to sleep in. Fold one side over @ 1/3 of the way, straighten, then fold again, in the same direction. This will form a loosely rolled tarp where the seam is on the bottom. Tuck one end of the tarp underneath itself, closing the end, then carefully shove your sleeping bag into the center of the roll.

Depending on the length of the tarp, if there is quite a bit of excess length, you can place rocks on the folded under portion to insure it stays closed. The configuration is complete, all seams are under you which keeps them pinned down by your body weight and you have a flap for an opening which you can close or leave open depending on conditions.

Tarp Tepee


Chances are you probably built a primitive tee pee as a child. It’s the original American home built by Native Americans, originally covered with animal hides, then replaced by canvas.

There are many traditional ways to build a tee-pee, remember it housed entire families, but for a quick field shelter we’ll stay simple. Use rope or twine to bundle a few (3 or 4) straight poles together, lacking twine, use forked sticks to lock together. Place other poles in a circle around the main supports. Pull the tarp or other covering into place, and tie down well. Try to size the framework so that you tarp covers it completely.

Practical tip: Make the tarp come together so that you have a door flap, which can be closed in cold or wet weather; or opened for ventilation and easy egress.

A-Frame Tarp Shelter


The A-frame is designed to offer the greatest protection against rain and wind when secured close to the ground, or still protect against rain but allow ventilation when constructed higher off the ground.

An A-frame goes up fast. Simply secure cordage, rope, twine, or a long straight stick between two trees. Throw the tarp over the support, center, secure to the ground and bingo. You’re done.

Desert Tarp


This type of shelter originated with desert cultures, particularly in Northern Africa and the Middle East, dating back 100’s of years. Due to the recent warfare in these areas American military includes it in their survival training.

To get started with this shelter, you’ll need two tarps and several dozen feet of rope. Locate a natural indention in the ground or dig your own low spot. Lay one of your tarps out over the low spot and drive stakes at each corner of the tarp.

Secure the second tarp tightly to tie down stakes, leaving one foot or two of air space between the two tarps. The idea is to keep you insulated from the heat radiating from the ground and shaded from the direct sunlight overhead. The temperature differences between under and outside the tent could be 20 – 30 degrees F. An incredible difference.

Tarp Hammock


This is an excellent and comfortable survival tool, but I only mention it in case you want to tinker with constructing one. I say that because it requires you to tie knots that the normal person lacks the knowledge to perform.


This is a quick way to improvise a hammock to get off the ground in wet or bug-infested environments. Use an 8 x 10 tarp and some ¼ inch braided nylon rope. Start out with one of the long sides of the tarp and roll it up halfway across the entire tarp. Then roll up the other long side to meet the first, so that the whole thing looks like a 10-foot long, two roll bundle. Now, tie a sheet bend securely to each end of the tarp, leaving 15 feet or so of rope on each end to tie to your trees. Select leg-thick or thicker trees about 10 feet apart, and securely tie the end of each rope to a tree, as high as you can reach.


Wrap around the tree twice for good grip on the bark, and then use two half hitches, with an extra hitch for added security. Tie to the trees high up to compensate for the settling of the hammock as the knots cinch down. You can tie up another tarp as an “A” frame between the two trees that the hammock hangs from to give yourself a roof.

Survival Tip: To help minimize critters from walking down your tie lines to you, spray each cord with bug repellent. To insure snakes are discouraged soak rags in kerosene and tie to the lines, which will also ward off bugs. The smell may not be pleasant, but snakes in the hammock are worse. (In my opinion anyway)

**** Be sure to not sleep too close to an open flame if using this method. Obviously kerosene is highly flammable.

Is the plastic tarp the most important tool in your survival kit? No. But it plays its part in the overall strategy of surviving in a crisis situation.
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