Lots of people become homeless for a variety of reasons, and many of them end up living in their cars, on the street or in the woods.
Being homeless usually means living with very limited financial means which compels the homeless to come up with some ingenious ways of surviving.
These homeless survival tips are taken directly from their lived experiences, and preppers may well be able to benefit from these ideas. All of us have the basic needs of clothing, food, water, and shelter.
One of the most pressing needs for homeless people is the need to stay warm especially if they live in cold climates or are out during a cold time of the year.
The ability to stay warm is a deadly serious matter as hypothermia is the number one killer of homeless people.
Tip #1 – Wear multiple layers of clothing during cold weather, preferably made from wool or synthetic materials as opposed to cotton.
Many thin layers are better at keeping you warm than one thick layer because air is trapped between the layers that will help to keep you warm.
Tip #2 – Use materials stuffed between the clothing layers for extra insulation. Common materials are newspapers, pieces of foam, plastic bags, and dried leaves.
Tip #3 – Wear a waterproof jacket.
If you don’t have a waterproof jacket, use an adapted garbage bag to keep your clothes dry.
Remember, wet clothes (even from sweating) will cool your body down, making you feel cold.
Tip #4 – It’s important to keep your extremities warm in cold weather. Wear a wooly hat or pull up the hood on your hoodie and put on extra pairs of socks.
Plastic bags between the pairs of socks will help to stop your shoes/boots from becoming damp from sweating as well as adding some extra insulation.
Tip #5 – It is better to wear boots that at least cover the ankles, if not higher up, to help to keep out the cold.
Tip #6 – A sleeping bag coupled with a blanket or two is best.
The blanket can be wrapped around the body before entering the sleeping bag.
Extra insulation can be had by placing a mylar blanket or newspaper between the blankets.
Tip #7 – It is vital that an insulating layer is put between you and the ground so as to stop heat being sucked out of your body into the cold ground.
At the very least a dismantled cardboard box will make an excellent insulator, or thick layers of newspaper will also work. If you have one, a foam yoga mat is also good.
Tip #8 – Try to generate some body heat before laying down either by eating/drinking something hot, or doing some jumping jacks etc. but avoid generating any sweat as this will cool you down.
Tip #9 – Pick your sleeping place carefully so as to avoid getting your bedding wet. Stay away from water sources that may end up wetting your sleeping bag.
Tip #10 – If it really is too cold to sleep, don’t try to sleep but keep moving to generate body heat and sleep during the day.
Tip #11 – A tent is the number one choice as it is easy to put up, take down and carry around.
Tip #12 – In urban areas, shelter can be found under bridges, freeways or railway tunnels. Alleyways are useful for blocking the wind and even unoccupied buildings may be accessible.
Tip #13 – In rural areas, pitching a tent underneath trees will give added shelter and help to hide you. Shelters can also be made from logs and dried leaves if no tent is available.
Repurposing Items To Make A Shelter
Many items can be repurposed to make a whole array of different shelters.
Homeless people have become very resourceful and well understand the saying, ‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure’.
Tip #14 – All manner of wood can be salvaged, including wooden pallets, wood crates, old lumber, old doors, window frames, bamboo, furniture etc. This wood can be used to make small wooden shelters. Even old nails can be straightened out to be reused along with any screws.
Tip #15 – Cardboard boxes can be used to make a number of differently designed shelters.
Cardboard is easy to get and is a very effective insulator. Its downside is that it can get wet easily and therefore needs to be covered in plastic if exposed to rain or snow.
Tip #16 – Plastic bags as well as discarded shower curtains and bubble wrap can be stuck together to form a tarp.
Tip #17 – Packing peanuts can be stuffed into plastic/garbage bags to form pillows and mattresses or even as part of a tarp as described above.
Tip #18 – A rudimentary teepee can be made using a plastic sheet, sticks and shoelaces to tie them together.
Food And Cooking
Tip #19 – A very simple yet effective wood/gas stove can be made by repurposing a used soup can with the help of a can tapper and nail.
There are also numerous other methods that can be used to make stoves but using cans in various ways is the simplest.
Tip #20 – You will need a store of long term food such as rice, pasta, canned beans, beef jerky and peanut butter (high in calories and protein). Dried foods are also useful because they are lightweight and take very little cooking.
Trail mix is particularly nutritious with lots of vitamins and minerals. The dollar store can help to keep this expenditure low.
Tip #21 – Keep food in a metal tin or tie it up in a tree if in the forest. This will help to stop rats and racoons etc. from eating your food.
Tip #22 – Refillable water bottles are a must and can be filled up at gas stations etc. If you are in a rural environment, you can catch rainwater or use water from a lake or river. Just make sure to boil and filter before use.
The above tips can be utilized by preppers, especially those on a very tight budget. It is useful to remember that preparing for SHTF doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.