Teva Tip 2 - Using Nature to Stay Warm
Pop Quiz: Let's say you're hiking through the woods on an unusually warm winter day when the weather suddenly changes.
The temperature begins to drop and the winds pick up. Suddenly, you realize that you are getting cold and you still have quite a ways to go before you will reach the warmth of your house or car. What do you do?
Thousands of people each winter find themselves in situations where they are uncomfortably cold or faced with life-threatening hypothermia because
they do not know how to use nature to keep themselves warm.
The following are some of the things that my family and I do when we fail to dress properly or just want to try out a different way of letting the earth embrace us with loving warmth.
Keep in mind
that if you ever do experience hypothermia, you need more than a wilderness shelter. You must get to real help as soon as possible.
Leaves and Dead Plants
Leaves, dead ferns, still-standing goldenrod plants and just about any other forest debris you can find serve as good insulation against cold. One
of the things I've done is stuff my coat and pants with dried leaves until I looked like the Pillsbury muffin guy. It feels a little itchy but works really well.
Equally as good, maybe better, are the fluffy tops of cattails. You can find these throughout the winter in wet areas or along the shorelines of
ponds and lakes. And don't worry if you discover some little "worms" when you undress. I don't know what they are but I do know that they are entirely harmless.
Another good thing to know is that leaves can make a life-saving shelter should you ever be stranded in the woods on a cold and wet winter
night. The simplest way to make a leaf shelter is to collect lots of leaves (and I mean LOTS) and pile them as high and as wide as possible.
The pile has to be at least as wide and as high as you are tall. Depending on how many leaves are in your area, this task could take you between 2-4 hours, easily.
When your pile is finished, carefully crawl into it. Leave several feet of leaves between you and the ground. When I do this, I try to find pieces
of tree bark lying around that I can place across the top of the pile to offer added protection from rain. And remember that even if the leaves are wet, they will still provide insulation against extremely cold
My family's debris shelters are across from our Milford, PA home. When finished, the shelters are entirely waterproof in even the heaviest
rain and keep warm to minus 40 degrees F. And this means without the use of a sleeping bag, heating pad or intergalactic neuro-heater. If you would like some pictures of these, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org