Would you know how to build a shelter to survive being lost in the woods or on some remote island? While you think it may never happen to you, if you travel by plane, go boating, or are an adventurer who likes to hike, you are at risk of having to fend for yourself should you survive a plane crash or being shipwrecked.
Adventurers are typically more prepared than the person who gets caught up in a storm on a boat or someone who is flying on a plane one minute, and wakes p on the dirt the next. Either way, building a shelter is essential to survival. Depending on where you are, extreme heat or freezing conditions, mixed with wind, sleet, rain, or snow, can kill you faster than a day without food or water. Hypothermia or heat stroke are your two worst enemies and make it imperative that you know how to build a shelter.
When most people think of a shelter, they think in terms of a square shape, with a roof and four sides.Right there, they are wrong, and that thinking could mean the difference between life or death.
Most often you don’t have a lot of time to construct a shelter and you are limited to what you have around you.
Here a some variations of a shelter that you can build …
- Finding The Right Spot
The place where you choose to build your shelter is just as important as knowing how to build one. First, look for a spot that is the driest. This can be hard in rainy or snowy conditions, but you might find a spot under a tree, next to large boulders, etc. A shelter built on wet ground will be damp and leech your body heat, which can be a killer. Try tobuild your shelter on an elevated platform, such as on top of a large rock. This gives you a great vantage point to see your surroundings and to be prepared for animal attacks as well as rescuers. In a warm climate, this keeps bugs, such as ants, out of your shelter, and the breeze will flying insects away. Refrain from going down into ravines or valleys which can get very cold at night. In hot temperatures, look for a shaded area, such as under a tree.
- The Wrong Spot
- A Fallen Tree
If you find a fallen tree, half the work is done for you. Gather branches with leaves on them and fill in the spaces where the tree branches end, covering up most of the fallen trunk. Cover both sides, positioning the branches so that they keeps out wind. Leave an opening on the opposite side of where the wind is blowing from, and build a fire about 6 feet from there.
- A Coccoon
Pile leaves, bark, and debris, and build a nest that is about three feet high and one foot longer than your height. Jump on top and burrow into the pile so that most of you is covered. You will be insulated from the cold and wind, just like in a sleeping bag or a cocoon.
- A Leaning Shelter
If you can find a large rock you can gather tree branches with leaves and lean them up against the rock at an angle. This will create one wall, while the rock creates the other. Add more leaves and debris to block out wind, and then crawl inside. Keep the shelter small, about a foot or two longer than your height. This will keep it warmer inside.
- An A-Frame Shelter
When you can’t find a large rock or fallen tree, you might consider building an A-frame shelter. First, you need to find a branch or stick that is between 10 to 12 feet long, as well as two other branches or sticks, roughly four to five feet long. Create an upside down “V” with the two short branches, and then place one end of the long branch at the point of the “V.” Let the other end fall to the ground behind the “V.” Tie the three branches together. Now you have your A-frame where you can prop other sticks against the two sides, forming a little tent or teepee for yourself. Insulate with leaves and debris, and crawl inside.
- A Tarp
If you have a tarp on you with a rope, you can create a tarp tent by tying the rope to two trees and then draping the tarp over it. This also works if you have a blanket or plastic to drape over the rope. The lower you tie the line the wider the bottom of the tent will be, and the higher you tie the line the more narrow the tent will be. Place rocks on the outside edges to keep the tarp from flying up in the wind.
Once you’ve built your shelter, you’ll need something to lay on. With the exception of the cocoon shelter, which is a built-in bed, gather dry leaves and debris. This will make the most comfortable bed. Try to make it about 8 inches thick and a foot longer than your height.
A shelter is of the utmost importance when stranded in the wilderness. Make this a first priority to protect your body from hypothermia or heat stroke. It is also essential to get enough sleep so that you can forage for food and seek out water, two of your other top priorities for surviving.