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Water, food, fire, and shelter are considered the four basic human necessities. Bloggers tend to focus on the first three because they are easy to research, test, and write about. But what about shelter? As much as we all hope we can hunker down in place following a disaster or disruptive event, the truth of the matter is that there may be a time when you have to flee and find shelter elsewhere.
In a worse case scenario (including but not limited to Camp FEMA), would you know how to build a shelter that will keep you warm and safe until danger passes? After all, lack of shelter can kill you in days, and sometimes hours.
With that introduction, I would like to present the next book in Prepper Book Festival 10: The Best New Books to Help You Prepare. Written by wilderness expert, journalist, and author Anthonio Akkermans, The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook is a gem. It takes you through building various types of shelters starting with the most primitive hand built shelters to tents and other modern store-bought shelters.
This is all great stuff but the highlight is the hundreds of photographs that allow you to follow along and really learn as you go. There is something for everyone, regardless of climate or geographical locale.
Today I share an interview with Anthonio Akkermans, the author The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook. In addition, I have three copies of his book up for grabs in the latest Prepper Book Festival giveaway..
Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.
An Interview with Anthonio Akkermans Author of The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
It’s a book about shelter, starting with clothes and sleeping gear, journeying through so-called “primitive” hand-built all-natural shelters and home-build projects such as the Mongolian Gher/Yurt. It finishes with modern shelter equipment such as hiking tents, hammock “tents” and family sized bell-tents.
It also deals with improving comfort, such as the correct use of emergency blankets, improving your campfire and building your own mattresses.
Shelter comes first in order of priority on anyone’s list of survival priorities, whether they be out for a long camping trip or surviving natural or man-made disasters.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
Actually, very little as a direct consequence of writing this book. I write the way I teach. I only teach subjects I am intimately familiar with and have mastered through experience. Without this mastery, a book might lack depth or miss important points that a more experienced person would have learned through trial and error.
On the other hand, I have spent most of my life learning skills and knowledge from others who went before me, whether it’s through their books, courses or personal interaction. As such, the process which led to this book started with learning what others had to teach, internalizing the knowledge, mastering the skills, adding knowledge gained through experience of every-day use of the skills, learning some more from others, and so on.
I have no doubt that if I were to write a future edition of the same book, it would be even richer and deeper.
How long did it take to write?
It didn’t take too long to write. I find it hard to give an exact figure, because I didn’t sit down behind my computer and get up three weeks later with a finished manuscript. instead, it was an hour here or there over the space of a few months.
While the writing was easy and fast, the photographs were not. The book contains hundreds of step-by-step photographs that had to show the step accurately in a way that would show the reader clearly what was intended.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
The message I keep coming back to is that these skills have to be learned through practice. Sure, a lot of knowledge can be gained by reading books such as these, but that knowledge will not be enough when it really matters.
People will have to go out and practice the skills they read about. They need to internalize them, master them and make them their own. This applies even more so when the skills are needed during times of immense pressure and stress.
It’s all great building that shelter on a sunny day, but how about that car crash during a blizzard with night fast approaching?
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I started on this path when, as a young teenager, I met a man who taught me through his school and encouraged me to teach the skills on through a youth group. Years later, as a young adult, I moved to Northern Ireland, where I started my own school.
In the years since that first youth group, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel around the world, teaching primitive skills and learning more skills myself in the process. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to experience searing deserts, damp rainforest and the freezing sub-arctic regions and see the skills work there.
As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
It sounds a bit cliché, but a person tries to prepare for everything and nothing at the same time.
I am fortunate to live in a country that has very little exposure to adverse natural disaster. And though there are still lingering consequences of the so-called “Troubles”, Northern Ireland is a very safe place to live.
What book or movie, fiction or non-fiction, do you think gives the best portrayal of what could go wrong in the outdoors?
“Into the Wild” is a fair account of the type of incident that is most likely to befall the unprepared traveler or survivalist. It’s the small things that we would be most at risk of.
I mean, the chances of being in a plane crash in a big wilderness are remote, whereas small mistakes made during a normal outing are much more likely.
In the story, the mistake is eating non-edible berries (a lack of knowledge). It could be something else such as spraining an ankle, losing a piece of equipment, breaking down in a vehicle, misjudging the incoming tide or similar that presages disaster.
Do you have plans for another book?
Yup. I’m working hard on a book about fire with the same concept of starting simple and primitive and journeying to modern equipment, taking in the making of wood-burning stoves, pit-fires and similar. I am also working on a book about hunting tools, beginning with traps and knapped tools through to bow & arrow as well as rifles etc.
Again, a journey from old to modern and everything in between.
Anthonio and his publisher, Ulysses Press, have reserved three copies of The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook for this Book Festival Giveaway.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: This giveaway is only open residents of the United States.
The Final Word
My hope is that the most complicated homemade shelter you will ever need is one to protect you from a sudden rain squall. The space blanket in your kit will serve you well in that regard.
On the other hand, the time may come when you need a more substantial shelter. This book will teach you about all types of outdoor shelters, regardless of climate or wilderness situation. This is a fantastic book to include in your survival library!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Life-saving Structures for Every Climate and Wilderness Situation
You can survive a couple of weeks without food and a few days without water, but in some cases, you would be lucky to survive one night without shelter.
With structures ideally suited for any weather condition, this book presents emergency shelter designs built from a variety of elements, including 100 percent gathered items, a combination of natural and store-bought supplies, and even durable construction materials.
The author offers helpful tips and techniques for mastering your shelter-building skills, as well as tutorials on how to make basic tools, bedding, mattresses and other items to increase shelter comfort.
Packed with easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photos, this all-encompassing primer teaches you how to construct a variety of lifesaving shelters, including:
Bent Sapling Shelter
For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival.
Into the Wild: In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild. Also on DVD.
Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage
No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage. The eBook print version is available.
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