As promised I have picked the winner for the bug-out bag contest. It was a tough call, but I believe that if young children can benefit from anything I have to give than they will. Like I said it was tough, but in the end I chose Crystal Perkins. Here’s what she had to say:
I am a single mother of two young girls. I have managed to prepare some things as far as food and water, but I do not have a bug out bag. On my salary I can’t even afford a first aid kit….(in which every one should have in there house). This bug out bag would help out a great deal with my children’s survival. Please consider my girls and I for this wonderful bug out bag…. I know on my own I would never be able to afford anything like it.
There were other families out there that have young children as well in similar financial straits, but it seems Crystal is fighting the good fight alone. Or she was. Now she has Ol’ Jarhead Survivor in her corner.
Crystal – please email me your mailing address and I’ll see that one gets sent to you. My email is email@example.com and I hope you find this bag useful in your preps.
On to the post!
This weekend I was out at my camp setting up the fire pit and suddenly it started raining. It was hard enough to get a fire going as there had been a major storm the night before and the woods were soaked. I’d split some wet stuff to get to the dry inside and after a little work had a decent fire going. Then the rain.
I always have my poncho in my bugout/hiking bag, so I pulled it out and set it up as a shelter over the fire.
Instant protection from the rain!
The way I set this one up is simple: just take some paracord and tie it to the four corners of the poncho, find some trees to tie it to and tie it up about four or five feet off the ground. There was no wind today, so the rain was falling straight down. That’s why I was able to get away with the tarp this high off the ground.
If the wind is blowing you need to tie the tarp down lower to the ground on the windward side to help keep you, your gear, and your fire dry.
As you can see there’s a little bow in the poncho, which would allow water to collect if I weren’t being careful. You have three choices in this situation:
1. Keep pushing up on the poncho so that any rain that collects will fall off the sides in stead of puddling in the middle.
2. Tie the hood to a branch above it and that will help keep the rain from pooling.
3. Prop a stick up under the tarp up so that it will keep the rain from pooling in the middle. Although you can’t see it that’s what I did in this situation. I didn’t put it in until after the pictures were taken.
There are literally dozens of ways to use a poncho as a shelter. Really, you’re only limited by your imagination. As you try different shelter configurations you’ll eventually come down to two or three that you like and get good at setting up.
A note about the poncho
This is a heavy duty military surplus poncho, not one of the three dollar ponchos you can pick up at Walmart. I tried making a shelter out of one of those once during a snowstorm and the wind and snow tore it to shreds. Literally shreds.
As you can imagine I said a lot of colorful words and vowed never to be caught without the real deal ever again. This is one of those areas that if you can afford it – don’t skimp.
If you had a strong piece of plastic you could probably make the same type shelter, but I like the poncho because it has built in grommets that allow you to tie your paracord directly to it with minimal fuss.
When I was in the Corps I spent many nights under a makeshift shelter and I carried that into my civilian camping as well.
I’ll write more about the poncho in another post, but this is one of those pieces of equipment that has many uses.
Sound off below!