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
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
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
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.