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Versa Shelters-- Why you should try it

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by treemanx, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    I heard about this guy a while back, watched some of his youtube videos, and visited his website that I will link at the end of this post. He is ex-military, teaches wilderness survival classes, and is also a guide/outfitter.

    Over the years I have bought and ruined more tents than I care to remember. It seems like unless your willing to spend literally hundreds of dollars, you just cant find a rugged good quality tent anymore. I usually have bought cheap Coleman tents, which just dont seem to last more than a couple of trips. Even the 100 tents arent made for hard use.

    I was thrilled when I found out about the Versa Shelter, because you could build your own(or buy a premade one from this guys website) for VERY cheap, they are durable, literally tons of ways to make different types of shelters hence the "Versa", and include an entire shelter and sleep system that works well in most all types of inclement weather that dosent weight much. After watching the videos and reading on his website, I went out straight away to the local surplus stores, Lowes and Home Depot and bought what I needed to build my own.

    This is what you need:

    One heavy duty construction grade 6X7 or 8X10 reflective sided tarp
    One 10 foot section of rapeling grade rope
    Two to five bungee cords
    Six Army pup tent pole sections
    150 feet of REAL 550 paracord
    One wool blanket

    I set one of these up for around 50 bucks, and I love it. It really is as good as this guy says it is. I read an article about a guy that backpacked up the entire lenght of the Pacific Coast Trail with his son a few years ago. He said whe he got into Oregon, they enevitably ran into bad weather. The time of year they went, there was alot of other people on the trail as well, and often times camped in spots where there was alot of other hikers. He said most other people had traditional Coleman grade tents, and they at times ended up soaked and cussing by the middle of the night due to rain and wind. This guy and his son claimed to have stayed completely warm and dry inside his Versa Shelter, and gave kudos to its inventor for its sucess.

    Check it out on the website, and also look for the videos teaching all the various ways to set it up. This guy also has alot of other good ideas for backpacking/hunting/hiking/survival, and its all worth checking out.

    This is the home page, click on Outfitters Store to find the Versa Shelter-
    http://www.wildernessoutfittersarchery.com/

    This link goes directly to the page with the Versa Shelter-
    http://www.wildernessoutfittersarchery.com/VersaShelterKit.html

    Let me know what you think guys!
     
  2. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    There are a couple of good links on this guys home page, to some local NW survival schools and business. Pretty good, check it out also. Have you guys ever heard of the Versa Shelter before? Some of you might be saying, "dude, all it is, is just a tarp and some bunjee cords, sounds like something a bum would use." Well all I can say, is watch some of the videos and try it out for yourself in your back yard. It's not perfect for every different trip out in the wild, but it's great to have when you want it. I know its probably not for everyone, but I liked it and have one, and just wanted to share. One of the cool things about it to me is that all the components are cheap and readily available at hardware stores and surplus stores. If one thing wears out or breaks, you can replace it for cheap rather than having to potentially buy a whole new 100 tent.

    Any other thoughts?
     
  3. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Anybody have any opinions on these at all?
     
  4. PDXGuy

    PDXGuy Portland Member

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    It seems to be somewhat a step above twigs, branches and leaves. But, it's better than nothing. It will keep you dry, but wont shelter you from the wind, bugs or nasty little critters. I will stick to my tent from REI (pricey but comfy). If my tent ever fails or falls apart, REI has a lifetime replacement/return policy, in the long run it will be cheaper than the tarp set-up.
     
  5. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Thanks for the comment PDXguy, I understand that this set up probably isnt for everybody, but I liked it. IMO, tough and cheap, is better than weak and expensive, (not to say that everything expensive is weak) in my experience the more simple you can keep things the more effective they are. Most US Soldiers only use US GI Issue Ponchos and Poncho liners as tents, or as they call them "hooches"(I dont know if you can say that here......might turn out to be bubblegum!). This is a slight step up from that. Thanks again PDXGUY~tree
     
  6. bersaguy

    bersaguy Oregon Member

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    Treemanx,
    I enjoyed the videos. It is a modern adaptation of the canvas or oilcloth diamond shelter used by our forefathers. I have spent many nights under my diamond shelter during my buckskinning days.

    It is light, versatile and easy to pack.

    The modern tarp with the reflective inner surface is a plus, but my guess is that tarp is quite a bit heavier than a piece of oilcloth or canvas of the same dimensions. White canvas will also reflect radiant heat from the fire.

    Thanks for posting the links.
     
  7. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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    Here is my .02 cents... If things get bad enough to need to live in the wilderness do you really think REI will be around to warranty your tent...? I would be thinking emergency preparedness and not a luxury weekend with the city folk...:bluelaugh:

    With the mind set that when the Doo Doo hits the fan and you grab your family and a few belongings and head for the hills it might be a good idea to have a more open mind about survival in the wilderness and learning to become one with the Wind, bugs or nasty little critters and all the other icky things that go along with primitive living...
    Again just My .02...
     
  8. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    I would stick with a British army style rubberized nylon poncho with the metal eyelets that we used to use to make our shelters in the days before bivi bags.
    They are lighter and pack down smaller than a tarp, can be worn to keep off the rain and it will cover your pack too. Can also be used for river crossings to float your pack, but having done that a few times, they're not 100% waterproof in that capacity! At least not with a 75 lb "Bergen"
     
  9. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Great thoughts here guys, thanks! I like your shelter ORBrit, it combines the versa shelter with the poncho hooch and gives you even more versatility. I might just have to give that a try. Have any places in your neck of the woods to get those British ponchos, like a good Southern Oregon surplus store?

    Yeah, that was kinda my thoughts as well SDR, thanks for making that point for me.
     
  10. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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  11. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Did you actually get one on one traing from him, or just read his books? He definately has the experience to be great at survival.....thats for sure! I will have to buy his book, looks like the kind I would like. Thanks for the link SDR!
     
  12. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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    My wife and I attended a three day seminar that he and his crew put on...Very,Very Informative... I have many of his items and have used them...I put his skills to work every Oct and Nov... You just don't know how Un-Skilled you are until you get in a predicament....After the seminar and the book and DVD's the what could have been a problem that we encountered ended up not being a problem at all...

    My wife and I had a life threatening situation occur while Elk hunting one year.... Instead of giving up on a passion of mine I/We decided to arm ourselves with the knowledge to survive & Survive we will... When trained properly you will find some of the crap on the market now days called survival gear will be found to be very comical... You will also find some of the survival techniques written in places like field and stream from a well recognized Elk hunter CRAP!...I held back his name for a reason....
    This man's training will give the city person the knowledge and confidence needed to survive...
    One of the biggest piece's of advise he teaches is use your gear in your backyard in the harshest of weather so you are seasoned well to using your gear before you actually need it in a life threatening situation...Basically know your gear and how to use it well....Kinda like knowing your weapon and knowing how to use it well before you actually need it to save your life or a loved one's life.... It is all in the training and the confidence...:thumbup:
     
  13. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    I still have several friends in the service in the UK and I'm sure these things are a dime a dozen in surplus stores over there now.
    Another neat thing about these is you can snap a bunch of them together to make a larger shelter.
     
  14. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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    I wouldn't mind adding a couple of these to my wife and I assortment of gear...
     
  15. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    I wish I'd thought of this a month ago! I was just there at the end of last month/beginning of this month.
    Now I'm going to have to figure shipping cost into it.
    I know the older ones ('58 pattern) go for around £15 (Approx $24).
    The newer Webtex are probably lighter and more waterproof etc. and cost about £25 to £30 ($40 to $48) so are a pretty expensive piece of kit.
     
  16. SDR

    SDR Clackamas County, Oregon Silver Vendor Silver Vendor

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    I have whined and complained about the cost of a few things in the past , But when I'm warm and dry in what could have been a miserable situation what is expensive...
     
  17. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    The US Military Ponchos look basically the same as the British one in ORBrits picture, but it's been my experience in Army Surplus that most of the British Military stuff Ive seen is heavier quailty. My local surplus store has the US ponchos, (I have already bought one) but they are kinda crappy IMO. Id like to score a British poncho and one of the white british wool blankets with the royal blue stripe.

    ORBrit- could you reccomend a website or post a link for someplace to get these online?
     
  18. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    I found a few sites but have never purchased from any of them.
    Here's one that has reasonable prices though although I have no idea what their shipping policies are.

    All my current British kit is what I had when I left the service. Basically a couple sets of "Solider '95" uniforms, my dress uniforms, 3 pairs of boots, a bivi bag, and a lot of personal "Gucci" gear I purchased that was better than the issue stuff.
    I no longer have the webbing as they took that back.

    SDR I've never let money stop me from having the things I wanted :)

    Oh and "heavier quality" wasn't by design I'm sure. I'm sure it was a case of the lowest bidder! Same goes for the "heavy quality" radios etc. We were still using the 1958 pattern webbing when I went through RAF officer training in 1996. Luckily when I got to Honington for Regiment training they had already adopted the Soldier '95 gear. Couldn't even imagine trying to carry the loads we were expected to carry with the old canvas stuff.
     
  19. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Thanks for the link ORBrit, I'll check it out. What sort of bivy bag have you got? I was lucky and was able to piece together two complete bivy bags from my local surplus store. Ive got two complete sets of the new US Military ECWS Sleeping System, with the camo Gore Tex Bivy Bag, removable intermediate bag, and removeable Patrol Bag. When used all together theyre rated down to like -50F. These things are around 200 bucks used and 300-400 new, and I was able to get both mine put together for around 100. One has a small rip that I fixed with a Gore Tex patch, but is otherwise like new, and the other one is like brand new with no wear or defects. I was also able to get them both the actual stuff sacks they came with as well, I was really lucky on those considering this is what the Military currently uses.

    I also found and bought a WWII era bivy sack with a removeable wool sleeping bag that is in perfect condition, although Im not sure if I should use it. Its probably a collectors item!
     
  20. PDXGuy

    PDXGuy Portland Member

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    If you don't have a tent then that's fine, "become one with the wind, bugs or nasty little critters...". Its good to have an open mind, but its also good to make the most of what you have. If we have the equipment, why not use it. If getting bitten by mosquitoes, or ticks that can carry lyme disease, yes by all means be one with nature and with primitive living. I will use everything that's available to me. When I don't have what I need, then I will use what I know to survive, of course doing all this with an open mind. Emergency preparedness is using all that's available. Don't be surprise when you come down with something when you become one with nature.