How To Make A Shelter In The Woods

shelter wood
shelter wood

Learning how to make a shelter in the woods is a skill that everyone who is interested in survival should learn. Whether or not you enjoy camping having the ability to put up a shelter is something that could one day save your life and the lives of your family.

The reality is that many people who end up stranded outdoors weren't planning on spending the night in the wilderness. Maybe they were out on a hike and got lost, or maybe they made the mistake of wandering away from their car after it became disabled.

No matter what brought them to this point, they are now in a situation where they are going to be forced to spend the night outdoors, and there's a very good chance they are not nearly prepared enough to do so. Assuming that you don't have a tent, sleeping bag, or even a means of lighting a fire, putting up a shelter needs to be your top priority. A well-constructed shelter can help to keep you warm and dry which is essential in any survival situation. I go into some detail below on how to make a shelter, but if you are looking for more detailed instructions, I would recommend you look into The Lost Ways, which will provide you with a wealth of survival knowledge.

Look For Natural Structures That Can Form Part Of Your Shelter

When you are putting up a shelter in a survival situation, you always want to expend as little energy as possible. You have to work under the assumption that you won't be rescued or find help for several days, so conserving calories is a must. So the first step you should take when getting ready to put up a shelter is to look for natural structures that can be used to form parts of it. For example, if you find a rock ledge or a series of trees that are growing together, then this can be the framework for your shelter. You also want to choose a place to shelter where you will be able to have a good vantage point if possible; this will allow you to see any potential rescuers searching for you. Finally, make sure that the place you choose to shelter at is dry, and that it is elevated if rain is a possibility.

Building Your Shelter

  • Build your framework. If you can find an overhang on a mountain, or a series of trees that are in the right position then this can be the foundation of the framework you are putting up. If you don't have any natural structures to build upon you can always start by finding some large branches and placing them in the ground. If you are smart about how you are building your framework you can use it to reinforce it, making it durable enough not to fall over. The two basic types of the framework you should consider are a tepee and a lean-to. A tepee can be constructed by simply laying large branches against each other after anchoring them in the ground. A lean-to involves building a framework that leans against two support poles
  • Putting up your roof. After you have put up your framework, the next step is to put up the roof. Use any natural materials you can find and make sure that you pile it on heavily. You can use pine bows, leaves, and even grass. The roof you are putting up needs to be waterproof to protect you in case it rains. Since you don't have access to shingles, you are instead going to rely on volume. By piling up a thick roof overhead, you can block most rain, which will keep you dry and help to keep you warm
  • Putting up your walls. When putting up your walls, you should take the same approach that you do with your roof; more is better. Your walls are in place to keep the wind from getting to you, and to help keep your body heat trapped within your shelter. So make sure that you use a lot of material, and that you pile it up. As a side note when you first start putting up your shelter make sure that you take note of which direction the wind is coming from. Then make sure that any openings in your shelter are facing away from it
  • Making your bed. Even if you are hot during the day, you need to keep in mind that at night the temperature is going to drop, and you will have to contend with hypothermia. When the temperature drops lying on the cold ground is the worst thing, you can do. The cold ground will suck the heat right out of your body and if you try to sleep this way you are going to have a long night. That's why you need to build up a bed made of leaves, pine bows, and any other types of soft material you can find. This layer of soft material will keep you insulated and help you to maintain your core body temperature. As an added note if you are sleeping in an area known to have snakes and venomous insects you should take the time to build a platform to sleep on. This will keep you out of reach of most of these threats since the last thing you want in a survival situation is to have to deal with a sting or bite

My Final Thoughts

In survival, you need food, water, shelter, and fire. Anything beyond those four key things is a luxury. The truth is that in most survival situations you won't have access to food, water, or fire, and you won't be trapped in the wild long enough that they become necessities. But the one thing that you will need in any survival situation is a shelter. Without a shelter, you will be exposed to the elements, which can kill you far faster than you might think. If you are serious about survival then learning how to put up a shelter is a skill you must master.

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