Creating a Bushcraft Shelter from Scratch

primitive survivors bushcraft shelter

In a survival emergency, shelter is your top priority. If you don’t have a shelter to protect you from severe elements, there is a possibility that you won’t last even a day. But what if you don’t have enough tools and materials with you? Making a bushcraft shelter from scratch is an important survival skill you should master.

We share with you how to create a bushcraft shelter from scratch through various techniques and materials you can find in the wild.

Important Tips for Building Bushcraft Shelters

Before building a shelter from scratch always observe the following guidelines

  • Build at the right spot. This is probably the most important rule. It should be leveled and it should be near lots of building materials. Avoid making shelter in low-lying areas as these areas may become flooded when the rain comes.Β 
  • Keep it sturdy. Your shelter should be strong by using interlocking forked branches for the framework and fixing it with rope for extra strength. You wouldn’t want your shelter to collapse while you sleep, so keep the roof at a steep angle to shed water and cover the entire roof support with whatever material you find.
  • Leave space for fire. Building a fire will keep you warm for the night and will keep away wild animals like wolves. You can also utilize it for cooking a meal.

Different Shelters You Can Create from Scratch

Ingenuity is the best skill when it comes to shelter building, here are some types of shelters that you can build from scratch!

Tree Branch Shelters

Tree branches are great building materials for a bushcraft shelter. But it also has different types. For instance, a round lodge is a shelter that looks like a tipi. It has a solid doorway and better insulation.

Here’s how you can build a round lodge.

The leaf hut is also a type of shelter you can build with branches and leaves. It is a two-sided, wedge-shaped lean-to with much better weatherproofing and insulating qualities. It’s similar to a debris survival shelter that is usually in an A-frame form.Β 

Here’s how to build a leaf hut.

Remember that your debris won’t hold your shelter together nor withhold its strength against the wind. Try incorporating mud into your shelter so it would be sturdier. Look for materials that need little to no alterations to build your structures.


Caves also make great shelter without having to build anything else. However, you need to enter them with caution since animals may reside in them. Make loud noises as you approach, so as not to suddenly startle a predator when you enter. Throw sticks and stones into the cave from a distance and listen for animal noises.

A good fire is essential in a cave to stay warm and safe from animals. Put it inside the cave instead of the entrance for the smoke to travel to the ceiling and out the entrance.Β 

Tarp Shelters

You’re lucky if you’re bringing a tarp with you. This can make it easier to build a shelter from scratch! There are different types of tarp shelters, one of which is the tarp wing which provides partial coverage from the elements, such as rain.

An A-frame tarp, on the other hand, is triangular in shape and typically utilizes tools such as sticks, rope, and a tarp. It provides protection from sun, rain, and wind, but provides little assistance in terms of insulation or warmth.

Here’s how to make an A-frame tarp.

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