7 Long Term Survival Shelters In The Woods to Know

In this article, I will cover 7 long term survival shelters that can save your life in an emergency, from beginner to advanced.

The survival rule of three is a basic underlying concept for survivalism. It basically states that you cannot live with three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

Now, these numbers are not exact, and the environment plays a key role. The point here is that shelter should be one of your top priorities when out in a survival situation. Severe weather conditions are widespread in various parts of the world, and you do not want to be a victim of that.

So, in this article, I will cover 7 wilderness survival shelters you can construct with basic materials or no materials in all sorts of environments. Let’s dive right in.

one man shelter

Building a one-person shelter with just a tarp, three branches, and a sturdy tree/wall is an effective way to survive in the woods for the long term. To construct this natural shelter:

  1. Start by finding 3 poles of different lengths – 15 feet (longest) 10 feet (medium length), and 6 feet (shortest).
  2. Attach one end of the longest pole at waist level or higher on a sturdy tree/wall.
  3. Place two shorter branches parallel to each other onto either side of the longer branch and drape your tarp over all three poles so that its even edges hang down towards both sides equally. 
  4. Tuck excess material tightly underneath every short pole & spread out evenly creating flooring beneath them.
  5. Anchor corners or place another horizontal short pole between them against a tree preventing it from sliding inwardly together which aids in keeping the structure steady when windy outside due to more stability created overall. 
  6. A candle will maintain a pleasant temperature inside the interior space since the size isn’t too big or small allowing heat retention quickly while being suitable enough for a single person if the need arises unexpectedly resulting in emergency circumstances needing temporary shelters outdoors such as in forest environment rather than snowy ones where constructing something similar would be difficult unless snow proof insulated blankets available instead then further modifications can be done accordingly

2. The Lean-to

If you’re fortunate enough to come across a fallen tree, a small overhang, or another big item nearby, this primitive shelter will work. All you need to do is some simple bushcraft and shelter building.

Collect dry ground covers such as dry leaves, moss, pine needles, and a few small branches. By leaning the smaller limbs against the object’s windward side, you can create a wall. Make a thick shield against wind and rain by weaving dry materials into the wall. 

A dense layer of pine needles or leaves will protect the ground from moisture. A fire near the opening will add to the warmth.

3. Wickiup

how to make a wickiup

Build a Wikiup or Debris Tipi shelter for a longer-term, semi-permanent, and water-resistant shelter that will enable you to have a warm fire inside in this article on how to make a wickiup.

This is the perfect long term survival shelter that’s ideal in a colder environment since it warms you up. Native Americans used this as their home in some cases. So, if need be, this could potentially be a permanent shelter.

4. Snow Cave

A snow cave is a great way to protect yourself from extreme weather and elements, provided there are no other options. This is a perfect long term survival shelter option if you think the snow will stick around for a while longer.

It’s important to learn how to choose the right snow before attempting it on your own. Here’s how to make a snow cave:

  1. Select a deep and stable snowbank
  2. Create an angled tunnel with a low point that will act as a “cold well.”
  3. Build up a sleeping area like a shelf or mound for insulation purposes
  4. Dig a trench around the inner perimeter of the shelter or at least around the sleeping mound so water can flow away from you
  5. Make a ventilation opening at least 6 inches in diameter (for oxygen); keep the shelter small enough so body heat can easily be contained inside.
  6. If stuck, suddenly bring a stick/tool available for breaking through fallen snow/ice 

5. Tree Pit Snow Shelter

tree pit snow shelter

In a place with pine or evergreen trees, this form of shelter works well in snowy, cold weather. Digging would necessitate the use of a drill. It’s a viable choice if the circumstances are favorable.

  1. Look for a sturdy tree with a thick canopy of branches above you.
  2. Remove snow from around the base of the tree with a shovel or other tool, if appropriate.
  3. Dig until you hit the ground or until you reach the depth and scale that your group needs.
  4. All snow should be tightly packed around the inside walls and along the top edges of the hole to ensure the walls are supported.
  5. To cover the top of the trap, gather more leafy branches or sticks, as well as big leaves. As a barrier against the ground in the pit’s bottom, use evergreen branches or other dry stuff.

6. Dugout Shelter

The majority of desert shelters are difficult to build. You might construct a dugout survival shelter in a sandy area of the desert, like this one, to make a long-term survival stay:

Of course, this one requires a lot of effort, so bring a shovel and plenty of water if you intend on constructing this type of shelter in the desert.

7. Basic Tarp Shelter

Simple tarp constructions are good for a temporary shelter. Just find a natural structure that can reinforce your tarp and use this video to help you out. All you need is a tarp and paracord or twine.

Final Thoughts

You can create one of these survival shelters no matter what climate you live in or what season it is right now.

It’s always a good idea to practice shelter construction before attempting it in the wild. – time you build a shelter, you can gain a better understanding of what can go wrong.

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