Learning from the Homeless

One interesting source of survival information is the homeless.  I always pay attention to what they are carrying and over the years have picked up some good ideas.  The picture that is shown below is from a homeless camp not to far from where I live.  Some of the people have lived there for years.  Now the weather here is not bad it only freezes a few times a year, but we do get heavy rain in the winter.

You will notice that this individual has one tent inside another and they are both covered with two tarps.  This is probably for two reasons, rain and cold.  This is a good example of why you need good gear and lots of backup.  Regardless of how fancy your gear is, it will deteriorate with age.

A while back we were camping on the coast and had three tents with us.  A cheap one I bought wholesale for $4.50, a Walmart tent and a fancy REI tent that cost $400.00.  During the night, it rained hard.  One tent leaked, you guessed it, the expensive one.  It was new and had a bad seam.  This is why you need to be sure and use your equipment and become familiar with it.

And don’t forget lots of redundancy, everything fails in time.

Howard

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3 Responses to Learning from the Homeless

  1. Morrigan says:

    I too have studied what the homeless carry. And also keep my eye on what is on the side of the road supply-wise, what can be scavenged. The ubiquitous plastic bag is one survival supply that has many uses. You can carry any number of things in one; including fluids, or as rain catchment. You can put them on over your socks, or as socks as a vapor barrier. You can make a moccasin out of several of them, using some for the sole and two for the top. You can use them as insulation, by stuffing them in your coat, or into your tucked shirt, or as in the case above, as a layer between the two tents. You can wear one on your head as a rain hat. You could make a layer under your sleeping bag with a bunch of them, again for insulation. Cutting the bottom corner of one would make a way to pour stuff, like liquids, dry goods. You can make a viable cordage from strips of the plastic by twining them together.

  2. KE4SKY says:

    When I lived in New Hampshire in the mid-1980s we built a winter camp on the far side of the lake, which was reached by snowmobile or cross -country skiing across the frozen lake. In spending several winters using this outpost as a base for hunting, ice fishing, and exploring I learned a few things.

    Insulating your sleeping area from the cold ground makes a BIG difference. Our floor was raised up on wooden pallets, covered with canvas, then a 9×12 wall tent erected over the floor. Another 8×10 wall tent was suspended inside the 9×12 using snap links. Over the whole thing we built a wooden A frame having a 20 foot ridge pole 2 feet above the outer tent, with sloped rafter ropes spaced every two feet, staked firmly to the ground, then the whole works covered with a flame retardant 24×24-foot tarp.

    Heating inside the sleeping area was provided by a pair of Coleman double-mantle lanterns, which together produce about 4000butu/hour. The A-frame overhang of the fire-retardant fly extending beyond the entrance served as gear and fire wood storage, and as a cooking area for a folding sheet metal Army stove.

    When purchasing a new wall tent set it up and wet them down to shrink the canvas to close all needle holes, test leakage by wetting it down again, sealing seams if needed.
    Some people think it is not necessary to wet it a tent if you will erect a fly over it. While the fly is an effective moisture barrier which prevents rain water from entering through the roof, it does not exclude wind-blown horizontal rain or snow.

    Some people use wall tent stoves inside the tent to cook meals. The hottest spot is nearest the stove. While this may be a comfort in frigid conditions, it reduces useful space inside the tent, and even with a metal “doughnut” presents a fire hazard. Keep your stove outside the sleeping area, but under overhead cover so you may gather around and enjoy its warmth.

    Milsurp collapsible stoves are great if space is at a premium and a light-weight stove is required. If your wall tent has a stove jack in the side wall or end wall – you must get a straight stove pipe with your stove, and you will need two adjustable stove pipe angles. One at the stove and one outside. Nesting pipes won’t work with adjustable angles / elbows.

    No canvas tent will survive very heavy snow loads, even when you place rafters in a wall tent frame. Typically people place canvas tent rafters every 5 ‘ which is OK if you will visit your camp daily. If you want to leave a camp unattended for long periods of time during the winter you must place rafters every 2′ – just like the roof of your house. Even
    2’ rafter spacing will not guarantee a wall tent to survive heavy snow loads, but it reduces the risk of the canvas tent frame collapsing.

    Military canvas tents normally last 15-30 years if well taken care of. Never put a tent away wet. Regardless of its water & mildew treatment it will get moldy and rot. Always use a fire retardant fly to keep stove sparks landing on the roof from igniting the tent!
    Using a fly also reduces UV deterioration when canvas exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods.

  3. Wall Tents says:

    It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

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