Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare course

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Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare course

Post by EndeavourOfWill » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:23 pm

Hey all,

I'm looking for pictures of improvised winter shelters for anything from 1 up to 4 people, preferably shelters you have used or you can vouch for. I'm searching the forums here and trying to narrow down the hits but thought I might see if anyone wants to throw out some pictures (or links) and commentary.

I'm teaching on a winter warfare course and one of the classes/checks is building improvised shelters. There are examples of decent shelters in the lesson plans and I have some of my own too but I know there are some other very cool and ingenious ones out there. I'd like to add some variety to the mix.

We will be in fairly heavy forest with lots of pine trees and a few feet of snow on the ground. One segment of the training will be a plane crash scenario so they won't have full winter kit (like a winter jacket for example). Temps are probably going to be between -15C and -30C.
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Re: Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare cour

Post by nolongpork » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:33 pm

Tree pit i feel is the fastest in the snow forest if you have lots of people. ... elter.html

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Re: Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare cour

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:51 am

Check out the training for the Marine's 10th Mountain Division. Saw a documentary once that showed them surviving/training. ... ed_States)
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Re: Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare cour

Post by LastBoyScout » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:13 am

One of the things I learned over the years that saved me a lot of cold night are as follows.

Every one you see builds a fire and sits next to it and hopes it does not go out and then tries to reflect back the heat using something.
Well I build two fires and sit in the middle. Yes more wood but if one goes out you have one to help light the other. Three are even better if you have limited or no shelter. Limited I mean like a cliff wall only or something. I know if it rains or snows your F'ed. But you wanted ideas. I used to do a lot of high desert camping where we had limited shelter other than big rocks or cliff faces. We were not worried about rain or snow but it got down to 20 degrees or so.

The one I have had the best luck with and when I do it in camp everyone then copies me is a good old fashion hot water bottle. Which of course can be anything that holds water and does not leek and lets the heat out. If you have a bag or blanket to sleep with then the bottle works great. I have used everything from a 2 liter soda bottle which works really well to a mouthwash bottle that is flat. A funnel works better to fill them and I have made them form other bottles. Trail trash re-used to warm me at night got to love it.

Ok these are not what you would call shelters but they keep you warm.

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Re: Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare cour

Post by woodsghost » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:37 am

Can you have a fire? Or no?


I assume you already know about snow caves, snow trenches, and the various versions of the Mors Kochanski Super Shelter?

I was camping for a few days with folks down to -20 C. Everyone who used a Super Shelter and fire combination had wonderful nights and usually had to strip way down to be comfortable.

I used a different shelter idea and froze my butt off, but did not die. Thankfully.
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Re: Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare cour

Post by MachineGunMonkey » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:58 pm

Spent some time at the Northern Warfare Training Center for Arctic Light Infantry Training I & II. I don't have any pictures of my shelters since I didn't have a camera, but their website has some good stuff:

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Re: Seeking improvised shelter ideas for winter warfare cour

Post by Maeklos » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:06 am

I got back not too long ago from a five-day scout carrying my viking gear. Once I get my video edited and my pictures sorted, I'll post pics of the shelter I made on my second day out. I was lucky enough to have plenty of snow on the ground to use for it, but otherwise just had my felling axe, belt axe, and seax for tools. Also had flint and steel for starting a fire, along with a few lengths of char rope I'd made from jute twine. Had about 20 feet of normal jute twine and 10 feet of rawhide for lashings and ties, but only used the twine. (Wet rawhide stretches, and the last thing you want is for your lashings to get soaked as snow starts to melt on the roof of your shelter, soak your lashings, and the whole thing sag and then collapse!) Used a 9'x9' oilcloth (linseed-oil-proofed linen) for the roof and pine boughs for the floor. Had to dig out about a 3-foot-deep pit in the snow with a digging stick and my hands, then shored up the sides of the pit with branches and saplings. The walls also made a good fire reflector. Made it so that wrapped up in my wool cloak, I was toasty warm at nights when the temp dropped well into the -30F range.
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