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Survival Lab: Gimme Shelter

Losing daylight and don't have a tent? Don't panic: We tested three shelter-making techniques that will help you survive the night. Plus: Three bomber bivies.

Scout a Safe Spot
Save energy and stay more comfortable.

>> Look for existing shelters first. Hollow logs, tree wells, and rock crevices may provide quick protection for a fraction of the calories you’d spend cobbling together a shelter. Best bet: Look for depressions at the bases of healthy evergreens; overhanging boughs shed precipitation.

>> Avoid natural cold sinks. Construct your shelter above low features like ravines and valley bottoms where cold air settles. Also stay away from wind-exposed areas. Need a fire to stay warm? Build in level, well-drained spots near wide rock faces, which will bounce heat back at you. Avoid overhanging cliffs—heat can loosen rocks.

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