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Survival Shelters

The act of having access to one or more survival shelters can give you peace of mind. When we're outdoors and stormy weather sweeps over you, what's the first thing you think? Is this the end of the world? Has the Earth shifted on its axis?

Even if any of those scenarios are true, that's not typically what we're concentrating on. The typical response that we all have is that we need to find shelter. We want to stay dry, warm and safe. That's why it's a good idea for anyone who spends a fair amount of time outdoors (especially away from the city) to have a good understanding of how survival shelters can be built even with the most meager of materials.

A Lean-To Survival Shelter Is Easy To Construct and Can Be Built Anywhere

One advantage of learning and knowing how to build a lean-to shelter is that it can be built just about anywhere. You might think you have to be in the trees or in the forest to have the materials to build lean-to survival shelters, but that's not necessarily the case. People stranded out in the elements have built lean-to shelters out of the most unique materials, whatever can be found. But for the sake of this article we'll discuss building a lean-to in an area where there are trees.

The most basic lean-to design starts with anything resembling a pole. This can be a small tree, a large stick (that's not too brittle and can handle a fair amount of weight) or any similar object that is high or long enough so that it will allow you to be comfortable inside the shelter.

Remember, this primary starting pole or tree is the foundation of lean-to survival shelters. Ideally, you should find a place where you can lodge the pole horizontally in the branches of two or more trees. This will be the peak of the roof of your shelter. As mentioned before, it needs to be at a certain height but also should be low enough so that if the weather is cold the warmth generated by your body in the shelter will be contained such as hot liquids would be in a thermos bottle. Too much space and the heat in survival shelters will dissipate upwards and will provide no tangible warmth.

Hunt and search for any other sticks of various lengths you can find. It doesn't matter if they're a certain size, but obviously you don't' want them to be so big that they cause a collapse. Ideally, they should be about the same shape in terms of roundness but diameter is not an issue.

The main thing is that they need to fit together tightly side by side. Align these sticks so they basically create a wall of sorts. Then do the same on the other side of the main beam. Gather sticks and lean them with one end on the ground and the other against the main roof beam (hence the name lean-to!).

This will probably leave you with two open ends at opposite ends of the roof "beam," and you can leave it that way or you can find more natural materials to cover one of the open ends to prevent breezes from blowing through. Popular lean-to survival shelters will have three sides covered with one opening. You can build a small fire if possible outside the opening and the heat from the fire will help heat the inside of the shelter.

Some Helpful Tips for Building Good Survival Shelters

If your situation allows to you explore a bit, look around for vines or any kind of branches that have bark you can strip off. It takes some practice but you can use the vines or stripped bark to tie branches together for extra strength. And it's worth the time to try it. After all, you have nowhere else to go at the time, right? There's nothing worse than trying to sleep in a survival shelter that suddenly begins to collapse or blow away during the middle of the night because the sections aren't held together well enough.

A good tip is to build your shelter the best you can then once you've settled into it, take some time to explore your surroundings and find what you can to do "shelter improvements."

Lean-to survival shelters are a great option for wilderness survival because they can be built with very little "building knowledge" and can be customized to fit your needs and surroundings.


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