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How to build a survival shelter

By Edited Jun 9, 2016 2 5

Getting out and about in the countryside is a great way to discover nature and learn about geography. Sitting in the forest or by a lake you can see how things work, get to understand why things happen and enjoy yourself at the same time. The down side is having to carry a tent, cooking kit and a ton of other stuff with you. If you can build your own survival shelter you can travel light and leave nothing but foot prints.

Things You Will Need

A few meters of strong string or card.

Step 1

Find a flat and dry spot, away from over hanging tree branches that could come crashing down. You need to have a spot long enough for you to lie down plus about three feet.
Get two small sticks or rocks, and lie down. Place one at your feet and one just above your head. These will show the length of your shelter.

Step 2

Find two straight sticks, about 4 feet long and ideally with a fork at the top. Push them firmly into the ground at the head end of your markers, to form an equilateral triangle with the forked ends locked together at the top. If they aren't forked, tie them together with cord.

Step 3

Take a long straight stick and rest it with one end on the ground at the foot end of the shelter and the other end resting on top of the triangle you just made. This is the spine, or roof pole, for your shelter.

Step 4

Lie down under the frame of your shelter and check it is the right length. This is your last change to get it right as once you build up the sides, the length can't be altered. Using as many sticks as you can find, rest them upright along both sides of the shelter to form dozens of triangles, getting smaller as they reach the foot end of the shelter. When you are finished, the shelter will look like a long tapering triangular tunnel.

Step 5

Pile dead leaves, ferns and small pine branches all over the stick frame, getting it about two feet thick all over. When you have finished you should be able to lie inside it and not see daylight anywhere apart from the entrance.

Step 6

Pile dry leaves or ferns on the floor of your shelter to provide a warm mattress. The only rules here are to use dry material and use as much as you can.

Step 7

Tie a bundle of ferns or pine branches together as a bundle - this will be the door you pull into place when you go to bed.
The entire process can be done in an hour to two hours and will be as dry as a tent, and a LOT warmer! When you move on, you can dismantle the shelter or leave it there to be used the next time you go that way. A well built shelter can last for several months.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure the length is correct - you don't want your head sticking out all night.

Avoid wet ground, places that might flood, animal pathways, and camping right next to ant nests. Try to have the entrance pointing down wind so the air doesn't howl through your shelter all night.


Dec 18, 2010 2:28am
I love it, an the beauty of it is that it is so simple I will remember this forever, Thanks David
Dec 27, 2010 5:55pm
Dude, this is awesome. I've always wanted to camp like this instead of using a tent. I'm going to give this a try next summer.

Thanks man!
Jan 20, 2011 7:05am
seriously....an awesome idea to camp.........
Jan 20, 2011 9:14pm
Survivor Man Dave!
Dec 30, 2012 3:14am
Great idea for camping and it is free too. Good instructions that anyone could follow.
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