Learning to build a shelter is an important skill, but even if you know how to construct a safe place to hide and stay warm, it won’t help if you can’t find the right location. Here are some tips to help you spot the perfect place to build a shelter in a survival situation.
First, look for a place that will provide adequate concealment. Whether you are hiding from an attacker or you simply need to stay out of sight from unknown people passing by, choose a location that is well hidden from foot traffic.
Second, choose a spot that has an easy escape route. If you hide out in a cave, there is only one way out and it is the same way that an enemy would come in. If you are faced with a predator or even a wild animal, you need a quick way to escape so choose a spot that allows you at least two options to enter and exit.
Your shelter should also be located in a place where you aren’t in danger of falling trees or rocks. Never pitch a tent under trees that are unsteady and wavering. Likewise, you shouldn’t select a campsite where rock slides are even a potential threat.
Make sure your shelter spot is free from poisonous plants. Take time to examine the area carefully for poison oak and poison ivy. You should also look for dangerous insects and reptiles that could be lurking nearby before you set up camp. Nothing is worse than waking up with a raging case of poison ivy or finding your sleeping bag is full of fire ants!
Ideally, your shelter should be close to a water supply. That way you don’t have to transport water back and forth over a long distance each time you need to wash or get fresh water for drinking or cooking meals.
You should also consider insulation and shade when choosing a shelter location. If it is extremely hot, you need a shady spot to prevent sunburn and to keep the beating sun away as much as possible. If it is freezing cold outside, you want a location that has plenty of natural materials to insulate your campsite and keep you warm. Make use of leaves, pine needed, grass, and small sticks as necessary to stuff your sleeping bag and keep you warm to prevent frostbite or hypothermia.
If you are seeking shelter in cold weather, you will also need to consider where you can safely build a fire to stay warm. Ideally, you want a location where firewood is nearby and easy to collect so you don’t have to expend vital energy collecting supplies to keep the fire going.
Think through these tips as you choose the location for your shelter. With some careful consideration, you can insure you select a place that will offer you the best protection from the elements and any dangerous predators that could be lurking around you.