7 Simple Survival Shelters You Have to Know

In this article, I will cover 7 simple 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, the hours without shelter, and three days without water.

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 the wilderness. 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 simple survival shelters you can construct with basic materials or no materials in all sorts of environments. Let’s dive right in.

one man shelter

You can easily build a one-person shelter with a tarp, three branches, and a sturdy tree/wall if available. This is great for a forest environment but not ideal for a snowy one. To construct this shelter, begin by:

  1. Find a branch that is approximately 15 feet long and two other poles approximately 10 feet long.
  2. If you stand by the tree, fasten one end of the longest pole to the tree about as high as your waist.
  3. Place the two shorter branches on either side of the longer branch on the ground, parallel to it. Drape the tarp over the long pole and change the edges to hang down evenly on both sides.
  4. Excess material must be tucked tightly underneath each short pole and spread out to create a floor.
  5. Anchor the corners or lay a short pole horizontally between them near the tree to keep them from sliding toward each other.
  6. Because of the tarp material, this shelter is wind-resistant. It’s big enough for one person to crawl into but small enough to warm up quickly. A candle will maintain a pleasant temperature in the interior.

2. The Lean-to

If you’re fortunate enough to come across a fallen tree, small overhang, or another big item nearby, this shelter will work. 

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.

4. Snow Cave

If there are no other choices in a deep snowfield, a snow cave can be a good way to protect yourself from the elements.

Snow shelters are extremely unsafe to construct due to the risk of individuals suffering from oxygen starvation or cave-in if not done properly.

It’s important to learn how to choose the right snow and practice building a snow shelter with an experienced person before attempting it on your own.

  1. Select a deep and stable snowbank.
  2. The cold air descends and condenses at the lowest point. Tunnel into one side of the drift at an angle, creating a tunnel with a low point that will act as a “cold well.”
  3. Make a sleeping area that is raised, like a shelf or a mound.
  4. The inner roof should be smooth, allowing water to flow down the sides instead of dripping onto you from the ceiling.
  5. The accumulation of ice water is unquestionably a concern. Dig a trench along your cave’s inner perimeter, or at the very least around your sleeping mound. Water can flow down the sides of your cave and pool in the trench away from your body if the inner roof is smooth.
  6. Make a small ventilation opening of at least 6-inches in diameter.
  7. Make your shelter no bigger than it needs to be. It may be difficult to start a fire, and smaller shelters are easier to keep warm with your body heat.
  8. If you get stuck in the snow cave suddenly, bring a stick or other tool with you to break through fallen snow or 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 couple of days to stay. 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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