Here in the UK, it is very unlikely that you’ll ever truly get lost and have to spend a night or more out. It does happen a lot when hikers decide to head out into the Peak District or the Lake District without the correct knowledge.
One of the most important parts of your knowledge base should be how to build an emergency shelter that will protect you from the elements.
Keys to a Successful Shelter in the Woods
We wanted to look at a few tips for a successful build and then give our share of some of the easiest shelters to build in a survival situation.
How you dress matters – it’s no good trying to survive a night in the snow if all you have is some shorts and a t-shirt. If you wear layers of synthetic material or wool, and carry a shell of windproof, waterproof material, you are ready for anything.
Location matters – if you’re not careful.as to choose the spot wisely for your survival shelter, it could lead to a bad night. You don’t want to be building your shelter in the wet so if possible, find the driest spot that you can.
1. The Cocoon
If you’re very limited to time and only need a quick shelter to get you through the night, the cocoon can do the trick.
All you need to do is to make a big pile of the driest materials that you can find. This can be leaves, pine needles, bark, anything from the natural environment will do.
Make your pile a few feet high and longer than you are tall. Once completed just burrow into your pile and be protected against heat loss.
2. Using Fallen Trees
Probably the next easiest method of creating an emergency shelter is to use one of the fallen trees in the area. Providing that you have enough space to crawl under then you have a perfect shelter.
You can make a wall by leaning branches against one of the sides which will help to keep the wind out.
3. The Lean-to Shelter
If you come across a fallen tree but it isn’t any good for the shelter above, we can still use it to build a lean-to shelter. Start by leaning fallen limbs against the object, such as the top edge of an overhang, to create a wall. Lean the limbs at an angle to help shield rain. Cover the leaning limbs with leaves, pine needles, bark, etc. When you have built a thick wall, you can crawl underneath into your shelter.
You can also build a lean-to shelter by placing one end of a long stick across a low limb of a tree and propping up the other end of the stick with two more sticks. Tie the ends of the sticks together with your boot laces or belt. Lean more sticks against the horizontal stick. Then pile leaves and other forest debris against the leaning sticks until you have a wall. Once again, a fire on the open side of the lean-to will add much heat to your “room.”
4. The A-frame Shelter
The A-frame survival shelter is easy to make when your options are limited yet it works incredibly well at keeping you sheltered from the elements.
All you need is two sticks that are a out five feet long and one stick about 12 feet long. Prop the shorter sticks up in the shape of the letter A. Prop the longer stick up at the top of the A. Tie the three sticks together where they meet. The three sticks will be in the shape of an A-frame tent with one end collapsed against the ground. Now prop up more sticks against the longer stick, and pile forest debris against the sticks until you have an insulated shelter open at the high end.
5. The Easy Tarpaulin
Carrying a lightweight tarpaulin or plastic sheet in your bag when you head out is a smart choice. Tying a line between a couple of trees, throwing your tarp over it and you have an instant shelter.
Never Build Your Shelter…
- On damp ground
- On mountaintops and open ridges where you’re exposed to the wind
- In narrow valleys
- Ravines or washes