When it comes to surviving in a forest alone or with your friends, shelter is one of the most important things to consider. Creating a solid shelter will help you sustain any sort of harsh environment. As a result, the first thing you must do when you enter the forest is to build a shelter. Lucky for you, this article covers the nitty-gritty of building a survival shelter from scratch.

How to build the ultimate survival shelter?

Step 1: Start with a framework

Creating a framework first is an extremely important thing to do because in winter, laying on the ground will prove to be perilous for your health. Therefore, you can start building the shelter by laying a bed of limbs, boughs or leaves. Make sure it is 15-20 inches off the ground. This ensures that the heat of your body is kept intact as the cold ground will not remain in contact with you. 

Once you start building it, you’ll realise that the design is similar to a log-cabin style box. Make sure that the inner space is wider and longer than your body as it will give you more space and hence ensure comfort. After they are stacked, you can tie the corners of the logs with a jam knot.

After tying the corners, however, your work is not done. You need to put a few sturdy limbs between the logs in such a way that they can be moved forwards and backwards. 

Step 2: Make your bed

One of the best ways to build a bed after you’re done stacking the logs is to follow the method of making shuck beds. For those who don’t know, shuck beds are basically mattresses that are made from dried corn shucks. When you sew these shucks together, you must arrange them in a herringbone pattern. This ensures the stability and strength of the bed.

Step 3: Don’t forget to build a roof over your head

Once your foundation is solid, building a roof overhead is not that hard. You can build it in the form of a semi-wigman structure which will hardly take 20 minutes. For this, you will need to cut 7-10 saplings which are 8-10 feet long and 1-2 inches diameter at the base. Any sapling you take, make sure that it’s long, thin and strong. You can wedge these saplings in the framework or you stick them in the ground at the corners of every frame. 

The saplings need to be bent towards the middle and then twisted. Make sure that when you do this, they are equally spaced all the way. Once you’re done with that, you must weave the backside saplings over and under the arches and voila, the roof overhead is secured. All you need to do is cover the back and top with some reflective blankets. 

This can prove to be one of the best winter survival shelters as it preserves the heat and warmth inside itself. What happens is that when you place a small fire in front of the shelter, the heat from the fire passes through the plastic. Once this happens, the top and back of the shelter are reflected which helps in absorbing heat in your body as well as your bed. 

With that said, let’s explore different types of survival shelters that you can build in different environments.

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Long term shelters that will never be under the weather:
  • Wedge Tarp:

When the weather is stormy or about to become one, a wedge tarp can be the best survival shelter. It provides an aerodynamic shape that can endure the worst of the worst situations.

If you want to build a wedge tarp shelter, you must stake down two edges of the tarp in the wind. Make sure that these are not opposing corners. Once you’ve successfully done that, you need to tie up a line towards the centre of the opposite side of the tarp and the remaining corners towards the ground. The last corners should be tied down sharply so you can get the best weatherproofing. 

Once you’ve done that, you need to place some logs under the tarp to catch some water.

  • Round lodge:

A concoction of multiple cultures and various architectural styles, the round lodge handles any weather. Be it cold, sunny, windy or rainy, the round lodge is certainly the best survival shelter out of all.

Its structure resembles a tipi, however, the only difference is that the lodge has a solid doorway whereas a tipi does not. It needs to have a smoke hole through the roof and if possible, space for accommodating fire that can provide heat and light.  

You can build the round lodge with the help of mats or grass. You will be surprised to know that similar types of survival shelters were highly prevalent in the historic as well as prehistoric American west. 

  • Ramada:

Ramada is an ideal survival shelter that can protect you in extremely hot weather. By blocking the sun, its roof will protect you from getting dehydrated or suffering from a heat stroke. However, it does not shelter you from rain. So, make sure that you build a Ramada, only when you’re sure that it’s not going to rain. 

The basic type of Ramada includes four posts, a covering and lightweight beans. There are various modifications to this type, but most people follow the former. For the roof, you can use mats or tarps. Whatever you use, make sure that it completely blocks the sun. 

These are some of the various types of survival shelters that you can consider when you’re out there in the wilderness. Make sure that you build a solid shelter because the environment can be a man’s friend and enemy at the same time. You can survive without a shelter for a maximum of three hours, not more than. So remember to protect yourself, ensure your safety and then let the adventures begin!

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