If you spend a large amount of time hiking in the wilderness there is a non-negligible chance that at some point you may find yourself lost or trapped overnight. In this situation there is no chance you will be able to find your way out in the dark so you must find shelter to stay warm throughout the night. Luckily as long as you have an ultimate survival knife and a bit of knowledge it is possible to build a shelter in almost any environment.
Building a survival shelter takes time and is not really possible to do after dark. If you find yourself lost in the wilderness you need to decide whether you will build a shelter or carry on walking at least two hours before dusk. The first step once you’ve decided to make a survival shelter is to explore the area. Look for anything that could make your job easier, a cave, a cliff, a large fallen tree, a particularly dense patch of trees, a tree stump or two trees with low down forks. You’re looking for some natural feature which means you don’t have to do extra work, you don’t want to have to make a shelter on some empty flat land.
Lean To Suvival Shelters
The easiest form of survival shelter is the lean-to, I shall explain it using a cliff as an example. You need to find some relatively straight sticks around a yard long, if you have a saw on your survival knife use it to cut down appropriate sticks. Trim the off shoots of the stick with your blade, you don’t want any thin branches getting in the way. Lean these long sticks against the cliff in a row at the same height, at this point you can already see the structure of the shelter and where you will be sleeping.
So far we have the basic structure, but it’s neither waterproof nor stable. You need to add more weight to make it stable and use leaves to make it waterproof. Use your ultimate survival knife to cut small leafy branches from living trees. The branches both add weight and make the water run off to the ground, pine branches are very good for this. Make sure the leaves are pointing downwards so that the water runs along them and onto the ground. Alternatively you could use snow, if there is snow in the area simply heap it on your shelter. If it is cold enough for snow to lie around there won’t be any rain and it’s a great way to add weight and insulation to your survival shelter.
The ground can be very cold at night to it would be best to also make a bed. There are two easy ways to do this, if there are a large amount of dead leaves in the area simply use your feet to sweep them under your shelter for you to lie on, they can also be used to as extra insulation on top of your shelter. If there is a large amount of undergrowth such as ferns in the area simply cut them down using your survival knife and bring them into your shelter.
After doing that, you will have two open entrances to your shelter. If you want you can build a wall to block it off, only really feasible if you have snow around. However I would recommend building a fire there to keep you warm during the night.
This method can be adapted to be used on any form of wall, not simply a cliff, you simply need a stable structure to lean the sticks against and protect you on one side. You can also make a lean-to against a large fallen tree or a snow wall. Unfortunately we can’t always be fortunate enough to have a cliff or a large fallen tree nearby. In this situation, we shall have to adapt our method to work without a solid wall, although this will mean more work.
You will need to find a big straight stick around a foot longer than you are, again you may need to cut one down using your ultimate survival knife, this will be the support you can use to lean your smaller sticks against. At least one end of the long log must be kept raised off the ground by a solid support. Ideally you can find two trees close together which both have low lying forks, then you can simply fit the log between both the forks and use this as a support to lean the smaller yard sticks against. You will have to cut down double the amount of yard sticks as you will have to lean them against both sides of your survival shelter instead of just one.
If you can only find one point to support the log that’s also OK but you will need to modify the method again. Instead of finding a large amount of yard sticks of identical length you will need sticks of varying length, from one yard down to a couple of inches. A good solution to this is to find a willow tree, they can often be found near water and can be identified by the long, straight, thin sticks dangling down. Cut down many of these willow wands as they are known and simply cut them down to size with your ultimate survival knife. Lean these sticks against your supported log and then pile of the sticks and leaves to provide waterproofing and insulation.
If you can’t find anywhere to support either end of your log find a relatively sturdy stick at least a yard long with a fork at one end. Dig a hole in the ground deep enough so that when you put the stick into the hole and pack the dirt in the stick easily stays upright, you’ve just made a support for your log. Then you can simply cover the sides with your sticks and leaves. It’s important that you only support one end like this, if you try supporting both ends of your log with dug in sticks the structure will likely become unstable.
It is easy to create a survival shelter in any environment as long as you have access to wood and a survival knife. You simply need to find or create somewhere to support your yard sticks against, cover the yard sticks in leafy twigs (facing down) and then cover in whatever insulation is locally available. This method results in at least one open entrance so if you have a jacket place it over the entrance as a door. Congratulations you now know how to create a shelter in any wooded area on the planet.