Do you ever watch the survival shows that come on television? I have to admit that they are my secret addiction! In many of these episodes, we see a camper or a hiker that heads out for an exciting adventure. Their trip starts out as a fun journey but soon they find that they have taken a wrong turn or perhaps even had their campsite ransacked by animals or thieves. Regardless of the reason for their troubles, these people are thrust into the jaws of a dilemma. What are they going to do? How are they going to survive? What will they do for shelter from the coming storm? Can you feel the tension building?
While you might not ever find yourself in a situation like this, there is a chance that you could. So the real question is this: are you prepared to handle a situation where you or your family are left outside and exposed to the elements? If you were left out in the cold, would you have the ability to build your own shelter? Do you even know where to begin? Have you taken the time to learn about the items you need to make your shelter? Odds are that you have not made these preparations and you have no idea how to build your own shelter in an emergency situation. I have to admit that I was also guilty of this until a few months ago and then I decided to brush up on my shelter-building skills!
With a little help from survival TV and a lot of research and experimentation, I came up with this quick start guide on how to build an emergency survival shelter. This guide will give you the needed information to build a temporary emergency shelter. Lets look at the steps you need to follow to turn this shelter dream into a reality.
Leaf Pile Shelter
The most basic option for an emergency shelter is the basic leaf pile. While tis particular shelter will not prevent you from being drenched if it rains, it will help you stay warm on a cold night. The idea here is to gather as many leaves and pine needles as you can. Build a pile that is around 3 feet in height and longer than you are tall. Once the pile has been built all you need to do is bury yourself in the cocoon. Again, this is a very basic shelter that will simply help keep you warm. This shelter will not prevent rain from soaking you.
Find a Fallen Tree
Another shelter option is a fallen tree. It isn’t hard to find a fallen tree in the woods and this can make one the best frames for a potential shelter. This shelter will work much better than the cocoon for keeping you warm AND dry. For this shelter you will take advantage of the fallen tree by using the trunk of the tree as the frame of your make shift shelter. To build this shelter you will need to collect enough sticks and limbs to create a tent from the fallen tree. Place the limbs and sticks against the tree trunk in a diagonal fashion. This will create the structure for your shelter. In order to waterproof the shelter you will need to weave leaves into the sticks and limbs until your shelter is completely covered. It is best to use green leaves, if possible, because they will be much more pliable.
Build a Lean To
Still another shelter option is called the lean to. In order to build a lean to you need to find a large object, such as a boulder, that you can lean limbs and sticks against. The same concept is used for this structure as in the fallen tree shelter. This type of shelter is typically best for one person so it might not be the best idea for a group of people.
Use a Tarp
Tarps are also a great material for building temporary shelters. If you have a tarp, or a large piece of plastic, you can use this material to make your own tent. The tarp can be strung between two trees by using the laces from your shoes/boots. Tie the ends together and hang the tarp over the line. The ends of the tarp can be secured by running stakes through the tarp into the ground.
Where to Build It
While knowing how to build a shelter is important, it is also important to know where to build a shelter. It is never a good idea to build a shelter in low-lying areas since these areas are susceptible to flooding. It is also a bad idea to build a shelter in a damp, soggy area. Hilltops are not great spots for shelters because they expose you to the wind. Valleys are not a good idea because the cold air collects here in the nighttime.
These are simply suggestions. In many cases you will be at the mercy of the weather and the surroundings that you find yourself in. take the time to survey your location and try to find an area that is located in a flat area away from potential flooding and wind exposure.