In survival emergencies, shelter is a top priority. It’s the first step in preparing yourself to survive and live healthily outdoors. You can live for days without water and weeks without food, but having nowhere to stay in to stave off wind, rain, snow, and hear can kill you.
Fortunately, there are many tips, techniques, and materials you can use to build a home and escape these elements. Whether you’re building a survival shelter during an adventure or an emergency event, this guide will show you some of our 7 simple-to-build and durable bushcraft shelters.
The Double Lean
Also called the A-frame, this shelter is one of the easiest to make since you can build it without any tools needed. However, if you have a tarp and cord, making the double lean would be a breeze. It’s perfect for sudden events like a storm that will require you to build and finish a shelter immediately.
You’ll be needing sticks, a branch, a large stick for the spine of the shelter, debris for the roof, a bushcraft knife, and vines for cordage.
Look for a Y-shaped stump that you can cut as a base. Then, find a sturdy stick for a ridgepole to support the weight of the insulation that you place on the roof. Place this in the groove of the uprights and use the vines or cords to secure it.
Scratch a groove or a straight line on the ground with your knife to the other end of the ridgepole. Use this as a reference for tapering the ridgepole with sticks. Stack them together and push a little into the groove you scratched.
Stack the debris to create a roof od leaf bed.
The Ultimate Wickiup
This kind of survival shelter is more detailed and therefore more time and energy-consuming. It’s perfect for long-term stays which will encourage you to invest in it and upgrade its design to make it more comfortable and sturdy.
This video will show you how complex yet suitable it is for survival situations!
In situations where it is too cold and windy, and you cannot make fire, the best type of bushcraft hut to make is the debris hut. It is insulated and it used your body heat to warm the surroundings.
Although this type of shelter can be made with no tools, it can still be challenging as it lasts for three to four hours! We recommend you start building before sunset.
The debris hut is basically a lean-back shelter too, except it has an interior insulation bed. You’ll need pine needles, dead grass, and other materials for a bed you can snuggle in. It will insulate you from the ground as the upper layer protects you from the wind.
The tip here is to stack the debris really thick, at least two feet to keep you warm. If you still have the energy, try making a door to keep you more protected from the cold air and predators.
This type of bushcraft shelter is a hybrid of many cultures. It combines a tipi, wicki-up, and is even influenced by different styles. It can block rain, wind, cold, and heat. It features a great doorway and a smoke hole for tiny fire.
It can be made with grass or it can be buried with thick leaves. This reliable lodge works well in wet climates, that is why it was used in pre-Roman Britain.
The dugout shelter is easier to make among the others as it only requires you to dig into the ground. It’s perfect for soils that are not too sandy, fine, or soft so they won’t fall off around you. However, for this, you’ll be needing a shovel.
First, dig a hole that is big and deep enough for you to sleep in One edge should be sloping inwards to serve as the entrance or exit. Remember to be careful and gentle when digging so as not to burn yourself out easily. Then, gather branches that can be lined across the width of the furrow to make them your roof.
You can also try lining the interior with vegetation to make a bed, or make a fire pit outside to get rid of animals and let fellow campers know.
If you’re in a snowy area, forest shelters may work but it might be tricky to look for debris, wood, and other materials. Try making a snow cave by simply digging a snow hole and getting in. When you do so, the air temperature inside the cave will rise higher than the temperature outside. It will even protect you from the strong wind in case of a blizzard.
Be careful about making a snow cave as extreme sweating during the cold as it can lead to hypothermic situations. You can also be poisoned by carbon monoxide when cooking in a snow cave.
Snow caves will eventually collapse, so they are not suitable for long-term situations.
The quinzhee is a snow shelter that will require you to have a few tools and materials. To build one, pile some snow over some moveable gear that’s under your tarp. Pack the snow down up to two feet thick all the way around.
Then, insert long sticks around the dome and burrow in the quinzhee to retrieve the tarp and gear. Excavate snow in the mound until you reach the base of the sticks. Lastly, make a ventilation hole in the roof.
Escape the Elements
No matter what kind of environment you’re in or what season it is, these bushcraft shelters will ensure your safety from the harsh conditions and wild animals through their sturdiness and comfort.
Whether you’re building out of adventure or you’re in an SHTF event, remember that building a shelter entails knowing the right location, preserving your energy as much as possible, staying hydrated, learning basic bushcraft knots, and always carrying a knife!
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide about making the best shelters that will help you escape the elements!