Crafting a makeshift shelter in the wild
- Jun 19, 2014
Whether you've been caught in the wild, opted to spend the night while hunting or lost your gear during an adventurous trek, outdoorsmen are sometimes forced to make camp with little more than the spoils of nature and their own common sense.
However, sometimes all you need to survive in the wilderness are the essentials - like a pocket knife and watch compass - as shelter and food can be foraged in dire circumstances. If you find yourself in one of these situations next time you're engaging in an outdoor pursuit, keep these three things in mind when building a shelter from scratch.
Be mindful of your surroundings
Before deciding on an area to make camp, carefully assess your surroundings, looking for large boulders, fallen trees or stumps that may provide a sturdy foundation for sleeping. You'll want to find a spot that's relatively elevated as well, as higher locations can provide cooler temperatures and are less likely to house bugs or predators. If the weather is poor, try to find a spot where you'll be covered by treetops or jutting rocks - staying dry throughout the night is essential for avoiding illness or other negative physical effects.
Collect materials wisely
Dry materials are key, so start compiling leaves, sticks and clean debris that haven't collected condensation. For a sturdy tent, consider this template as suggested by the Boy Scouts of America. You'll need four sticks that are about 4 to 5 feet long, one stick that's up to 12 feet, two that are 2 feet and two more that are about 1 foot. Start by arranging two medium-length sticks in an inverted V, then placing the longer one at the top. Tie the three sticks together - if you don't have any string, shoestrings or wet bark should do the trick. Arrange the rest of your sticks to add support to the structure, creating two smaller V's with the 2-foot and 1-foot pairs, then connecting them together with the remaining 4-footers. Once the skeleton is complete, pile the dry leaves and sticks on top to create a spot that is both shaded and warm.
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