How to Build a Wilderness Shelter

Thinkstock
Thinkstock

Trapped outside without a tent? Don’t worry. With a little ingenuity, you can build a shelter that will keep you safe while ensuring you have a fascinating survival tale to tell.

1. Let Nature Do the Heavy Lifting

You may get lucky and find out your work has already been done for you. Look around for handy shelters like caves, domes formed by low branches, or sheltered gaps in rock faces. If you can find one of these lodgings, you can save your energy for other survival tasks.

2. Location, Location, Location

If you’ve got to improvise, put some thought into selecting your site. The best spots will be flat, relatively close to water – but not too close, or bugs and thirsty critters will bother you – and free of hazards like dead trees or ready-to-fall boulders.

3. Frame Up

Find a long, sturdy stick that’s at least as tall as you are and lean it against a rock, stump, or limb that’s two or three feet high. Then make a series of small A-frames by leaning two sticks at a diagonal on either side of this main ridge pole. Basically, you want to make a cornucopia that only you will be spilling out of.

4. Put a Bough On It

Once the frame is built, cover the exterior with boughs or evergreen limbs, leaving the mouth open so you can crawl in and out. If there’s snow on the ground, pack that around the limbs; it’s great insulation. Place a pile of leaves, needles or snow near the opening so you can seal the entrance once you’re inside your makeshift home.

5. Invest in Flooring

Sleeping on the bare ground can be cold and wet, so brighten things up and conserve energy by spreading the floor of your shelter with evergreen needles, dry leaves, or anything else you can find for a layer of insulation.

6. Thank You for Not Smoking

Even if gets really chilly or dark in your shelter, resist the urge to build a fire or spark your gas lantern. Both are recipes for carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, build a fire outside the shelter, use it to heat up rocks, then move the rocks into your shelter to keep things toasty.
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Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Philadelphia Is Now Home to a Yarn Vending Machine

Emani Outterbridge with her yarn vending machine in Philadelphia.
Emani Outterbridge with her yarn vending machine in Philadelphia.
Emani Outterbridge

When 24-year-old Emani Outterbridge was stuck at home with a broken foot this past spring, she got to thinking of new ways to bring her self-made designer yarn to DIYers around Philadelphia. What she landed on was the idea of a yarn-dispensing vending machine, which she floated to her followers on social media.

They responded enthusiastically, and after a whirlwind fundraising campaign, Outterbridge ordered three machines, ready to be stocked with rows of brightly colored skeins. Earlier this month, the first one made its society debut at Elements of Grooming, a Philadelphia barber shop owned by a friend of Outterbridge’s. Soon, curious customers flooded the shop, and Outterbridge (who was on a business trip to Miami at the time) received excited updates from the owner. With the first vending machine already a proven success, she’s now looking to place the remaining two at other local businesses before ordering more.

Outterbridge's vivid skeins in the vending machine.Emani Outterbridge

Outterbridge doesn’t just make designer yarn—she also crochets custom items for her fashion line under the name “Emani Milan.” She’s been crocheting since she was 12 years old, and launched her own online business at age 15 after finishing an entrepreneur course in high school. She’s even designed items for Cardi B, whom she credits with elevating her profile. Outterbridge tells Mental Floss that the best part about being a business owner is the freedom to be “completely committed to my own success.”

Part of that success comes from understanding the needs of her fellow crocheters (and knitters), which helped her come up with the innovative vending machines in the first place. “I was thinking … if I had something that’s accessible to me 24 hours, mid-project, if I need to stop and go get some yarn, a vending machine would be ideal,” she explains.

Since the first vending machine is currently housed inside the barber shop—and future ones will likely live indoors, too—Outterbridge is hoping to open her own brick-and-mortar store in order to give people round-the-clock access to yarn. “With the salons and the shops—they close," she says. “But if I had my own store, I can have it open 24/7, so that’s what I’m pushing for.”

A future crocheter checks out the goods.Emani Outterbridge

In the meantime, she’ll continue offering her vibrant yarn skeins and garments through her website. Though you might assume a career crocheter would look forward to making cozy sweaters and scarves for chilly weather, Outterbridge actually prefers the summer months, which allow for more “creative range”—items like swimsuits, coverups, skirts, and rompers.

While you’re waiting for a yarn vending machine to land in your neighborhood, you can follow Outterbridge on Instagram and check out her products here.