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Survival Skills: Be a Modern Caveman

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February 21, 2014
Survival Skills: Be a Modern Caveman - 3

There's a reason why bears and other beasts hole up in caves: They're ready-made shelters that provide immediate protection from rain, snow, wind, or brutal sun. No need to work at erecting a hut—just move in and set up housekeeping.

Watch Out for Water
Make sure the cavern is high enough to be out of danger from flash floods, incoming tides, and storm surges.

Put Up a Fence
Erect a low stone wall across the opening to help keep dirt from blowing around.

Start a Fire
The stone walls make good reflectors for the campfire, and there's no worry of the fire spreading to nearby vegetation and getting out of control. To keep campfire smoke from becoming a problem, build the fire near the cave entrance.

Beat the Draft
Because they are made of rock, caves generally retain the cold. They're good places to escape the heat of a hot desert, but not so desirable in the dead of winter. Unless you can get a good fire going or partition a section of the cavern into a small room, cold air will always surround you.

Stay Safe in a Cave
Like any neighborhood, a cave has its advantages and disadvantages. Before you can move in, you need to make sure it isn't already occupied. Depending on where you are, caves might be favored dwellings for venomous snakes, bats, wolves, bears, cougars—you get the picture. Even if the only cave dwellers are rats, mice, or squirrels, you might become ill from contact with hantavirus in their urine or feces, so look for a clean cave floor. One other caution: Caves exist because the ceiling "caved" in from some type of erosion. If you see evidence of instability overhead or fresh rockfalls on the floor, or if there's water flowing through the cave, it's probably not structurally sound. I'd move on.

 

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from FrontierFun95 3/19/2014 at 01:56am

Yeah really make sure there is nothing living in one. Me and a partner were practicing survival skills and holed up in a cave for the night and a mountain lion woke us up around at 5 am we had no food nothing in there except us and a pistol for defence and also a pistol isn't a good thing to shoot in a cave.

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from Chassit 3/16/2014 at 11:22am

@Tioughnioga

Very good points you've made. It may be worthwhile looking at the rock on the outside of the cave. Cracks that look deep just might be!

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from Tioughnioga 2/21/2014 at 02:50pm

Just to add a bit to the last point: Even if there are no obvious signs of instability, the temperature change when a fire is lit can cause rock to crack off and fall.

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from Tioughnioga 2/21/2014 at 02:50pm

Just to add a bit to the last point: Even if there are no obvious signs of instability, the temperature change when a fire is lit can cause rock to crack off and fall.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chassit 3/16/2014 at 11:22am

@Tioughnioga

Very good points you've made. It may be worthwhile looking at the rock on the outside of the cave. Cracks that look deep just might be!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FrontierFun95 3/19/2014 at 01:56am

Yeah really make sure there is nothing living in one. Me and a partner were practicing survival skills and holed up in a cave for the night and a mountain lion woke us up around at 5 am we had no food nothing in there except us and a pistol for defence and also a pistol isn't a good thing to shoot in a cave.

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Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

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