Storm shelter with a tarp

There is something really magical about sleeping out in the woods, normally just by walking into woodland we have shelter from many aspects of the weather. The canopy, dissipating the rain drops, or providing the shade from a relentless sun, to the tree trunks and shrub layer turning  a brisk breeze into a mere whisper in the depths of the forest.

fire truckA cosy, if  little breezy, camp in the wood


This natural and wild place requires  a degree of vigilance if we are to remain safe. There are branches that reach out to us at eye level, the roots that keep the tree steadfast to the ground can send us toppling us, dead limbs that are shed from crowded trees as well as entire dead trees which when its’  time it is to say goodbye  aren’t fussy if they take us with them as they transfer their energy back to the ground. All are there to catch out the unwary.

fire windHorizontal embers! Maybe time to think about relocating.

With increased ferocity of the elements even with the most vigilant as the tables turn and that once tranquil, safe place can turn into a turbulent, noisy and potentially dangerous one as the wind whips up.  Spend enough nights in the woodland and the day will come when you to will find yourself in this turmoil of protesting trees as the wind whips up its storm.

night time refugeNew home safe and sound in the middle of the meadow.

 Calling time when the comforting solace of a woodland becomes a concern before it then becomes a danger is a decision that you may have to make, but then what to do and where to go? It requires the clearest of thinking when safety must remain the primary concern.

 Caught out in  storm as I was camped out on the edge of a small meadow with trees all around I had to make that very decision. Decamping and taking the safest route to greater safety.  At that point the safest place was centering myself in the meadow. Taking my storm lantern I proceeded to locate an area far from the reach of any falling trees. This was achieved by taking a 45 degree angle from the tops of the trees to the ground, and doubling it to give a safe distance. Securing the lantern to the ground with tent pegs I then went about the task of re-conforming my 3x3m tarp in to a suitable ground shelter for high winds.

day time loe level tarpMy tarp in the light of day still standing with no nigh time adjustments needed

Hopefully the pictures are self-explanatory.   I positioned the shelter at 45 degrees to the wind. Starting at the rear of the shelter I cross pegged one corner down & then the other. I then went to the front to do the same. Running a guide line through the eyelets on the ridge line I added one stick at each end, tying off the guideline to the ground. I then secured each eyelet to the ground and added another guideline to each pole to add rigidity.

This is all simple enough in the light on a still day but in  forceful winds and the dark and it was challenging to say the least!

Jay Jenner

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