The main purpose of building a survival shelter is to shield you from the elements. Many people figure that in a survival situation, they can just build themselves a fire and call themselves sorted.
But while it’s true that creating a fire will be absolutely imperative for keeping you warm (amongst other reasons), it’s also true that a fire can’t actually protect you from the wind and the rain. This is why you need to learn how to build a shelter, and it’s also why you need to learn how to build a shelter without the aid of survival tools (since you may very well find yourself in a situation without such tools).
Here are three survival shelters that you can easily build without the aid of special survival tools:
This shelter is incredibly simple and one of the easiest to make: you simply need to create a great big pile of dried leaves and then climb into that pile to sleep.
There needs to be enough leaves below you to keep you safely up off the wet ground and also enough leaves on top of you to keep you protected from the wind and the rain.
Is this the best shelter you can make? Far from it. But it is a quick and easy shelter to make and one that can provide you with sufficient amounts of insulation as well. All you need is just a lot of leaves.
If you happen to have a tarp or a blanket with you as well, you can use that to help keep you covered or to serve as a mattress-type structure to keep you off of the ground.
The lean-to shelter is one of the most classic survival shelters. All you need to do is find two trees that are roughly six feet or so apart from one another. Place a pole between the two trees and lash it securely using vine, shoelaces, string, or rope.
Next, you need to lean poles against one side of the original pole to create a wall (this wall should face the direction of the wind to help keep you as protected as possible).
Then, you’ll need to set leaves on the ground to help serve as your bedding and to insulate you from the ground. You should also lash the poles on the side to the original pole for extra security.
For warmth, build a fire on the open side of the shelter. If you set up a space blanket on the inside of the wall, it will help to reflect the heat back to you.
A variation of the lean-to shelter that you can build for extra protection is the A-Frame shelter. This is the exact same kind of shelter as the lean-to, except you lean poles on both sides of the shelter and not just one side.
For extra warmth, you can also stuff leaves, grass, and moss in between the cracks in the walls as well.
Out of these three shelters, the wickiup is the most difficult and time-consuming to make; but it still doesn’t require the aid of survival tools.
The wickiup is a dome-shaped shelter that should require around three hours or so to build. You’ll need to find some poles and sharpen them on one end. Drive these pointed poles into the ground and then set them against one another on the top. Tie them together using vine, shoelaces, string, or rope.
Now, lean more poles against the original poles to create a wall around the dome, leaving one side open to serve as the door. As with the lean-to, you can also stuff leaves and grass into the cracks for extra warmth and insulation, and you should also create a bed on the ground to help insulate you as well.
If you have a tarp, you can wrap or drape it around the wickiup to, in a way, transform it into a teepee-type structure.
Each of the above shelters can easily be constructed by anyone without the aid of survival tools. All that you will need is the right natural resources, and then you’ll be all set.