|Before proceeding, please review Important
Disclaimers about the information, resources & links contained in
this website. The information provided below is for basic reference only
and is not intended to be professional instruction.
Building a shelter is an
underrated and often overlooked part of wilderness survival. Most people
cannot survive unprotected from harsh weather for more than a few hours. Besides breathing, building a shelter is an absolute
priority, particularly in areas with harsh or unpredictable weather. A good
multi-tool or pocket knife will greatly aid you in your efforts to
build a shelter.
An ideal shelter must:
- Protect you from rain, snow, wind, cold and
- Provide a basic level of comfort for resting and
- Be conspicuous enough to be found by search and
To build a basic shelter:
- Look for a transition area between forest and field with good
drainage (the trees will provide good protection against the wind and cold but
will not completely obstruct the warmth of the sun).
- Find a natural structure, such as a fallen tree or
boulder to serve as the foundation wall of your shelter.
- Find a sturdy branch about six feet in length to
serve as your shelter's ridgepole.
- Plant one end of the branch into the ground and set the other end on the foundation
- Gather up non-poisonous vegetation and small braches
and place them on both sides of the ridgepole to create the roof.
- Line the surface of the shelter with dried leaves and
twigs for insulation.
Things to avoid:
- DO NOT use
caves, hollow logs or bushes for shelter, as they are likely inhabited by other animals, insects or reptiles, some of
which may be dangerous.
- DO NOT camouflage your shelter, as this will reduce your
chances of being rescued.
- DO NOT over-exert yourself when building a shelter.
work at a moderate pace to minimize perspiration and loss of water.
For more detailed information about shelter building, see
5 ("Shelters") of the U.S. Army Survival