Home Featured Articles How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources

How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources


Figuring out methods to construct a shelter is among the most dear abilities if you’re caught in the course of nowhere.

RELATED: How To Build DIY Survival Shelters To Survive Through The Night

Construct Survival Shelters with Supplies Round You

Wilderness Survival Shelters

My first piece of recommendation on methods to make a shelter from pure supplies is to go searching for one thing man-made.

In my final article, we talked about the usage of a car or vessel to maintain us protected. However there are occasions when Mom Nature supplies a hole cave or pure overlaying.

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This time round, I’m going to share among the experiences I’ve had when Woman Luck is smiling down on another person. There are occasions once we want to construct primitive shelters from scratch primarily with pure supplies, however we aren’t at all times profitable in foraging for these.

Except you’re skilled in thatching roofs, chances are high your survival shelter goes to let water in when it rains. A plastic bag buried in your purse or pocket will go a good distance in the direction of offering a treasured little bit of waterproofing.

Constructing A Teepee


This pretty leaf teepee that we constructed within the Smoky Mountains seems to be the epitome of primitive shelter constructing but hidden beneath its lush foliage is a trash bag overlaying the apex. Fortunately it didn’t rain however it was very comforting to know that if it did we’d stay dry, even when it meant sitting upright and again to again.

Because the climate turned out to be dry I typically want we had lain down on the trash bag as an alternative as had been eaten alive by chiggers on this expedition. Hindsight is an excellent factor.

In my expertise, bindings made out of roots or vines are not often as sturdy as commercially manufactured strings, ropes, and cords. It’s possible you’ll assume that you simply don’t have something like that with you, however check out your garments.

Your clothes is your first line of protection in any survival state of affairs and never simply in probably the most literal sense — what are you carrying that you may adapt and use?

Last Stand Red Design
Last Stand Blue Design

A bit trick that Myke taught me is to interchange my boot laces with 550 paracords and wrap a couple of additional lengths spherical for good measure. It’s a ache within the bottom for those who ever must journey by way of airport safety however a lifesaver out within the bush.

Even for those who don’t have 550 wire, your common shoelaces will work wonders in tying the struts of your shelter collectively. As will cloth strips ripped from the underside of a shirt or skirt.

A single string of 550 wire cinched along with the highest of this teepee within the Smokies. All the time remember to retrieve your wire, pure or in any other case, if you transfer on.


One other helpful tip, although obviously apparent, is ensuring your shelter is large enough so that you can match into.

A single individual can crunch right into a remarkably small place, albeit with some discomfort, however for those who’re making a brief house for multiple individual or your entire household it’s a good suggestion to check it out dimension smart. As a mom, I’m at all times considering issues like, “Would my little boy address this?

Would such a shelter work if he was with us?”

That is Myke and I testing our shelter for dimension. Nicely, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Building A Teepee | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources | Primitive Shelters

Constructing A Teepee Photograph by Kotaksurat

Utilizing A Poncho For Shelter


One in all my absolute favourite objects of clothes as a result of its multi-faceted nature is the army poncho, but I had by no means even heard of 1 earlier than I met my husband. As of late I carry one in my automobile, my tenting package, my survival bag and we now have a number of different littered round the home that our boy performs in.

Along with preserving you dry, a poncho has many potential makes use of in a survival state of affairs; a rucksack, a raft, a tarp, a medical stretcher, and a smokehouse, to call however a couple of. They usually make fast and superior survival shelters.

You may string one up in no matter method you fancy or for those who don’t have sufficient wire to assemble a ‘tent’ simply lay one over any primitive shelter that you’ve made to behave as additional waterproofing.

Right here in Alaska, we strung one between two timber after which I crammed the open sides with massive leaves to assist maintain the warmth in. When utilizing a poncho in moist climes remember to tie off the hood so that you don’t get leaks.

Conversely, when it’s scorching prop the hood open so it acts as a vent.

There, after all, is perhaps instances if you do have subsequent to nothing on you or with you that you should use and you need to create a shelter from what you could have round you. My least favourite is the particles shelter, however typically there isn’t a selection.

For individuals who don’t know, a particles shelter is created by mainly scraping up previous branches and leaves and piling them right into a rudimentary defend in opposition to the weather.

We used one as soon as once we had been caught in a sudden tropical storm in Dominica. Itchy, uncomfortable and moist.

Utilizing previous branches and logs has apparent dangers, different issues are additionally more likely to be utilizing them as a house – typically stinging bugs and arachnids however I’ve additionally seen deadly poison dart frogs in previous logs within the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. I additionally as soon as sat on a fer de lance in a fallen tree within the Peruvian Amazon.

This snake kills extra folks in South America than another. Not what you need as a bedfellow.

RELATED: Conquering the Cornerstones: Shelter – the 1st Pillar of Survival

Constructing A Lean-to


One other primary shelter to make if you’re too exhausted to do the rest or maybe when the sunshine is fading is the ‘lean-to’. I used to be making this one on a Misplaced Survivors shoot for Journey Channel because the solar was happening in the Appalachians in Kentucky.

The principle backbone was an previous tree trunk that had fallen and caught on one other tree (not fallen to the bottom) then I positioned minimize branches and leaves to type the again wall. It was one other night time on the forest ground, which is rarely superb however the shelter is obstructing a harsh wind that was kicking up.

On a separate journey to Kentucky, we wove a form of cocoon out of river cane. We caught both finish of the canes into the bottom to create a collection of arches after which wove thinner extra supple items of cane between the struts to make the partitions.

You need to use this system with any form of reed or wooden that’s pliable sufficient, willow for instance.

Building A Lean-to | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources | Primitive Shelters

Constructing A Lean-to Photograph by Kotaksurat

Within the close-up image of me standing in entrance of it, you may see fairly flowers embedded within the partitions. This wasn’t an try to create bucolic loveliness out within the wilds.

It’s an eye-saving mechanism, the minimize cane was razor sharp and the flowers mark the dagger-like ends.

Building A Lean-to | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources | Primitive Shelters

Ruth Englund Constructing A Lean-to Photograph by Kotaksurat

It’s unquestionably higher to sleep up off the ground for those who can. Even a layer of minimize branches on the bottom will insulate you from the chilly.

One other essential cause to be up is so that you don’t encounter creatures that might in any other case damage or kill you. That is notably true in tropical jungles and swamps.

My favourite shelter of all time was one at a seashore in Aitutaki within the South Pacific. It was a platform protruding at one finish from the highest of some pandanus tree prop roots and supported on the different by tripods we made by lashing three sticks collectively.

The roof was a separate construction, a bit like a carport, crafted from palm leaves.


Constructing A Platform Shelter

Pandanus trees are nice for shelter making, they appear slightly like palm timber however have these mangrove fashion prop roots. It’s the roots which might be particular, they’re each sturdy and flexible.

We made the cross slats of the platform from these roots. As soon as they had been coated in palm fronds, it was like sleeping in a mattress.

They bounce slightly if you lay down. Great!


The mosquitoes in Aitutaki had been dangerous, the noise was just like the whirring of an inexpensive hairdryer. All night time lengthy.

Nevertheless, the view within the morning made life slightly simpler to bear.

Building A Platform Shelter | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources

Building A Platform Shelter | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources

The primary time I visited the Amazon rainforest we constructed a extra elaborate model of the Aitutaki platform shelter. Not like in our South Sea haven Amazonian land animals wish to chew you, sting you and eat you.

Fast Tip: Bringing Fireplace Into Your Shelter

Getting off the bottom is a necessary, not a luxurious.

Fireplace can also be important for defense within the deep jungle. Although our platform was too excessive to feed a fireplace with out having to climb down, repeatedly, to the forest ground.

An issue exacerbated that we had our boots off at night time to dry out our ft and forestall jungle rot.

Mike got here up with the ingenious answer of getting the hearth within the shelter with us!

Quick Tip: Bringing Fire Into Your Shelter | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources | Primitive Shelters

Fast Tip: Bringing Fireplace Into Your Shelter Photograph by Kotaksurat

We constructed one other mini wooden platform on our sleeping platform. Afterward, we daubed a layer of thick clay on prime of it to forestall the hearth from burning by way of.

We had only a few insect issues as a result of it additionally acted as a smudge hearth. A good bit of the smoke was trapped within the shelter with us due to the roof.

We didn’t wake to the identical wonderful view as in Aitutaki. Because of our selection of shelter we made it by way of the night time with out turning into dinner for a jaguar.

Quick Tip: Bringing Fire Into Your Shelter | How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources | Primitive Shelters

Fireplace within the shelter Photograph by Kotaksurat

Watch this video by J&J acres on methods to construct a teepee:

There is no such thing as a blueprint for shelter constructing. Terrain and circumstance will dictate the ultimate construction.

If I look again through the years and keep in mind each single one which I’ve slept in, each was totally different, every had its personal set of quirks, foibles, discomforts, and itches. You not often sleep nicely in a wilderness shelter however it’s at all times higher to have one than not.

Do you belief in these strategies of constructing a shelter? Share your ideas within the feedback part under!


Editor’s Word: This publish was initially printed in February 2014 and has been up to date for high quality and relevancy.





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