Building a survival shelter
made from natural materials
If building a survival shelter, a lean-to shelter is probably the easiest and quickest type of shelter to build. A lean-to shelter is suitable for most terrain. Always build this type of shelter with its back to the wind.
Place two Y-shaped sticks in the ground about 1 foot (30 cm) down, so they stand about 3 feet (1 m) high. Take a long branch about 6 feet (2 m) long and use it as a ridge pole. Lay the ridge pole between the two forks. Now, fill in the roof area with other straight sticks tied at the top and buried in the ground. You now have the skeleton of the shelter.
Finally, you must cover the skeleton with whatever material is available, for example, spruce twigs, grass, bracken fern and large leaves. Always start at the bottom of the shelter and work upwards when thatching, so that if it rains, the water will run over the joints and will not leak through onto you. Try to make life as easy as possible by using any standing or fallen timber, or a wall, as one side of the shelter.
If warmth is needed, build a fire in front of your shelter.
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