You know what they say about real estate — there are only three things that you have to keep in mind. Location, location and location.
Well, the same thing applies to the little patch of real estate where you set up your shelter. Except that I'm going to give you five important points to keep in mind, instead of just three. And my five are all different. Each one is essential to your safety and comfort while living in a survival shelter. Some are related to natural hazards or nuisances that you need to avoid. One point is related to getting yourself rescued, and one is related to your comfort while in camp.
• Look down — You’re looking for ants, ground-dwelling wasps, or other insect colonies that may already inhabit the construction site.
• Look up — You’re looking for wasps or beehives, as well as for widow makers (branches that can fall out of an overhead tree, or rocks that may slide off a hillside or cliff). You’re also looking for evidence of water that might stream over the edge of a cliff during a night storm.
• Look around — Check the area for snake habitat, scorpions, spiders. Make sure your shelter site isn’t in a drainage that could fill from a distant storm and wash you away in a flash flood.
• Try to locate your shelter where it may easily be seen by search and rescue teams. If possible, place the shelter within easy access to firewood, water and food supplies.
• Take advantage of existing shade in hot weather, open exposure to the sun in cold weather, natural windbreaks, etc.