There are many reasons to take shelter in the woods. Survival situations vary depending on the weather, season, wilderness knowledge, who you are traveling with, and the gear you are packing.
If you find yourself lost in the woods as the sun is starting to set. You have little time to make one of two decisions. Are you going to build a shelter or keep moving until you find your way out?
Choosing an unknown route is high-risk; You might find your way, or you risk further disorienting yourself, getting more lost, and potentially running into dangerous wildlife. Your best chance at survival and ultimately finding your way out is to stay put. It would be best to give yourself enough time before you lose daylight to build a shelter.
Below is a list of the most common survival shelters that are constructed in the woods.
4 Simple Ways to Build a Shelter in the Woods
Teepee Debris Shelter
A teepee shelter is often found on a beach or near a lake. It’s an easy way to tidy up nature using washed-up branches. There are many fallen branches in a forest, making this one of the simplest survival shelters to make. By leaning broken branches against a tree in a teepee-like fashion, it creates protection from the wind and sun.
Take leaves, twigs, and sticks, and build yourself a bed on the forest floor. Ideally, you want to get yourself up off the damp ground as high as possible. As you find larger branches, you’ll lean those up against a large tree with one end on the ground and the other end on the tree.
Your first instinct may be to build this as big as you can, but that’s the wrong idea. The smaller, the better because you’ll be able to retain heat better. Cover the exterior with evergreen branches, leaves, and whatever brush you can find for insulation.
If your hiking through the woods carrying an emergency survival kit, you’d have a tarp or an emergency mylar blanket. With either of these items, you can make a tarp shelter in a very short amount of time.
Anchor one end of the tarp in the direction of the wind so it won’t blow away. Take a stick and push it into the ground to hold the tarp up and create an entrance to the shelter. If you have any string or rope, you can tie the edges to and pin them to the ground for added support.
When you’re in an area that requires you to get off the ground, this type of shelter won’t work, and you’ll have to find a way to suspend the tarp like a hammock. This does require a lot more effort and knowledge, but it can be done.
If your tarp is strong enough, you can actually use the string or rope to suspend it in the air by tying it around at least three trees. Finding this scenario might be difficult, but if you’re in a dense forest with poisonous insects, it is worth the effort.
A Frame Shelter
One of the simplest ways to make an A-frame survival shelter is to find a tree that is shaped like a Y. Then use a fallen branch that is slightly longer than yourself and place one end of the branch in the Y of the tree and the other end on the forest floor. Then lean a wall of branches against both sides of the first branch you placed. When you finished there should only be one opening that you’ll want to cover using evergreen branches.
Building a dugout shelter is simple but requires you to expel a lot of energy. If you’re in a location with loose soil, you’ll want to dig out a hole in an embankment so you can crawl in and be kept safe from rain and wind. Line the base of the shelter with grass, twigs, and leaves for insulation. Our bodies provide a lot of heat. As a result, if we can close ourselves off from the cold and keep the wind out, we can actually stay warm.
Whether you are stranded in the woods, you’re headed to your bug out location, or adventuring with your family and taking shelter in the woods, it’s important to develop shelter building skills. Build only what you need to be comfortable. The smaller, the better, and it will take less time and energy.
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