There is a very good reason that almost any survival manual out there spends a great deal of time emphasizing and detailing the importance of building a proper shelter when in a survival situation. A solid shelter prevents exposure to the elements, which increases your chances of survival. If you are someone who spends a lot of time in the woods, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing or exploring, then knowing how to build a proper shelter is essential.
Natural shelters are the result of Mother Nature and good fortune if you happen to be in a survival situation where you can utilize one. A natural shelter is a form of shelter that can be improved on, however is generally already there. These are things like caves, rock overhangs, or places where several fallen trees have stacked up in a way to create a den. If you happen upon natural shelter, it is important for you to ensure that it is stable, and you may likely need to improve upon it by adding surrounding branches or rocks to ensure that you can remain properly insulated.
Debris shelters are the next best thing in terms of creating a temporary hang-out for your terrible situation. This is because it doesn’t take much to construct a debris shelter from things like branches, leaves, pine boughs and some cordage. A-frames and lean-to shelters work best when working with a debris shelter, and your primary concern should be ensuring that the shelter can keep you dry and warm. Paying special attention to use thick, insulating bedding is key. Also, taking care to weave and stuff your thick bedding beneath where you will be sleeping as well as above you, is crucial.
If you find yourself in a survival situation where you are fortunate enough to have something like canvas, plastic lining, a tarp, a poncho or heavy-duty trash bags, you may consider creating a bivy shelter. A lean-to, double lean-to or even an A-frame may be strong considerations. Perhaps the most important element of constructing a bivy shelter is the cordage that you have to work with. Ensuring that you run tight lines of cordage while setting up your bivy allows you to stretch the bivy material iln a manner that keeps things like rain and condensation from entering the shelter. Mylar survival blankets are also an excellent choice for this type of shelter.