By: Blonde Two
Storm shelter, bothy bag, mountain shelter, group shelter…
All of these names refer to the same, very useful and often necessary, piece of walking kit.
A group shelter is just that, it is a single skin nylon shelter (think tent flysheet) that you can fit your group into if:
a) They are getting cold and wet.
b) One of them is injured.
c) They are annoying (in this case, you would stay on the outside).
We Blondes have used group shelters many times, in many different (and some emergency) situations and never cease to be surprised by how quickly they can warm up a group of chilly people (some of this warmth comes from giggling whilst everybody tries to organise their limbs into a rather constricted space). You can scientifically test the efficaciousness of a group shelter, all you need is:
a) A cold, wet moor (plenty of those to choose from)
b) Six grumpy, staring at the floor, shuffling teenagers (plenty of those around too!)
c) Some food (you will have to bring your own)
d) About ten minutes.
What you need to do is take the six grumpy teenagers and instruct them on the gentle art of getting into the storm shelter. GRAB-UP-DOWN-SIT! Once they are inside (never enter a shelter with a grumpy teenager, bring your own) chuck in some food and sit back and listen. Three things will happen:
a) The volume and number of voices will rise in direct correlation to the internal temperature of the shelter.
b) They will forget that you are there and you will pick up lots of ‘don’t tell the adults’ bits of conversation.
c) When they emerge the grumpy teenagers will have been replaced by smily, ready-to-go ones.
So a storm shelter is well worth the investment (they aren’t that cheap). You can get different sizes and we would recommend orange (by far the best colour to spot from a distance). Blonde One and I had a bit of fun checking one out at Cotswold Outdoor in Exeter the other day. We had even more fun trying to get it neatly back into the bag!!
PS If you or someone in your group is carrying a tent outer (or indeed if you own a cape), you can use this in exactly the same way; but it won’t have the exciting window or the mysterious sticking-up bits!