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An essential item for any outdoor outing and certainly in every survival kit and Bug Out Bag is a good quality rain poncho. There is nothing more miserable (and dangerous) than getting soaked by rain. Hypothermia is the No. 1 outdoor killer in America, and being wet drastically increases that risk.

There are hundreds of different ponchos to choose from. Not all ponchos are created equal. I prefer a military-style poncho with grommeted corners and snap-closure sides. These are typically constructed of a nice quality, rip-stop nylon material that not only makes them water proof, but also very durable.

I like for items in my pack to be multi-use items – meaning they can be used for more than one purpose. My poncho is no exception. Besides protecting me from rain, I can also use my poncho as a ground tarp to act as a moisture barrier. I can also use it as a tarp to protect my gear or to keep a wood pile dry. Furthermore, it can be used as a make-shift shelter, which is the subject of this article. I’ve slept in a make-shift poncho shelter many times, and if set up properly it will keep you as dry and comfortable as any tent on the market.

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Below are three different military poncho shelter sets that can be used for a variety of unexpected survival circumstances.

Military poncho shelter No. 1: Basic lean-to


Supplies needed: Paracord, three stakes
Uses: Sleeping, rain shed, sun shed
Ideal environment: No-to-moderate wind, no-to-moderate rain
Fire-friendly: Yes
Knots used: Double half-hitch, Siberian hitch, quick-release taught line hitch

Military poncho shelter No. 2: Poncho tent

Supplies needed: Paracord, four stakes
Uses: rain shed, sun shed, sleeping
Ideal environment: No-to-high wind, no-to-high rain, works well in cold temps
Fire-friendly: Not really
Knots Used: Double half-hitch, Siberian hitch, quick-release taught line hitch

Military poncho shelter No. 3: The wedge

Supplies needed: Paracord, three stakes
Uses: rain shed, sun shed, sleeping
Ideal environment: No-to-high wind, no-to-high rain, works well in cold temps
Fire-friendly: Yes (small out front)
Knots Used: Double half-hitch, Siberian hitch, quick-release taught line hitch

Shelter is one survival category that warrants redundancy. Humans can survive only three hours in extreme conditions without shelter. Having a back-up shelter option (and the knowledge to use it) in your kit is a wise survival strategy.

Remember, it’s not IF, but WHEN.

 

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