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7 Easy to Build Shelters that can come Handy in a Bug Out Situation
You never know when you will be in a situation that demands you to take measures to ensure your survival.
Whether you are lost during a hiking trip or the government declares a national emergency, throwing the entire country into chaos and disarray, you need to have an action plan ready that assures you that your loved ones (and you) will have a safe haven to go to.
That is why it makes sense to learn how to build survival shelters that can come in handy during a bug out.
To help you, here are seven easy-to-build shelters that can prove to be a lifesaver in a bug out situation.
Simple Tarp Shelter
If you have your bug out bag with you or supplies, most probably you will have a tarp in there. This shelter will be handy if you want to spend a night and then move on.
- Rest the sticks or poles against the lowest branch of the tree. If the branch is too high, use the tree trunk instead.
- Remove sharp edges from the branch and wrap leave at the corner. This will prevent your tarp from getting punctured.
- Sling the tarp over the frame.
- Tie cord to the two ends at the top and hang rocks from them. It will prevent the tarp from sliding down.
- Place two rocks on the bottom sides to hold the tarp down.
Body Heat Shelter
This short-term shelter is an emergency shelter that can accommodate one person with ease.
- Create a mound using dirt, leaves, and twigs. Use slightly large sticks to frame the mound.
- Now clear a hole in the mound so that it is just big enough for you to crawl into.
- Close the opening so that no air comes in. Your body heat will warm up the space inside and keep you warm.
You can use the same trick to create an emergency shelter in the snow.
Don’t worry about the snow being cold. It will insulate you from the elements outside and keep you warm throughout the night.
Just try to clean the snow off the floor of your shelter to reach the ground below. The radiant heat from the ground too will keep you snug.
If you are trying to get away from the rain and the wind, you can create a simple shelter using downed trees. This shelter can easily accommodate up to four people and protect you from the elements.
- Look for a down tree and locate five to six sturdy branches that can function as poles.
- Position the branches in a 45-degree angle against the trunk of the tree.
- Now scavenge another five to six branches and create a grid frame.
- Weave flexible leafed branches or boughs between the poles and waterproof it with leafy branches and bark.
It will take you anywhere from two to five hours to finish your lean-to.
If you know how to build a lean-to, it shouldn’t be too difficult to construct an A-frame shelter. Here, the ridge pole or the topmost part of your frame extends into the tree.
Make sure it is at a height that allows you to sit underneath with ease.
Make an A-frame using branches to block the two sides of your ridgepole.
Use vine or cordage to secure the branches. The frame will protect cold weather and the other elements.
You can also make a fire pit, but be sure to place it near the opening so that smoke does not enter your shelter. It will also keep bugs, critters, and other creatures at bay.
A teepee can be a standalone structure or you can construct it around a tree trunk.
It is best to build one around a slender tree trunk, as it will function as a support for the poles.
Find several branches and position them around the tree trunk to form a cone. Keep an opening for ventilation. You can add boughs to your teepee for further insulation.
The good thing is you can build a small fire inside your teepee.
You can construct a standalone teepee by tying up three long, straight branches to form a tripod.
Position the frame on the ground and cover it with vines, leafy branches, and grass.
Start from the bottom and work to the top. This way, if it rains, the water will slide down the overlapping cover rather than entering inside.
You can build a short-term shelter in case of a bug out.
Locate a fallen tree with roots. You can use the roots as part of the structure and also prevent the soil from caving in.
Hollow out the soil under the roots to create a crawlspace that is big enough for you to curl and sleep.
Although this is a very rudimentary structure, it will protect you from the weather and also ensure you stay warm.
A long-term subterranean structure takes planning, time, and effort. You can build a simple cellar-like structure or a more elaborate shelter with all the amenities and comforts of a home.
If you have the finances, you can even install a complete defense system to keep your survival shelter safe and secure. The kind you choose will depend on your budget and other resources.
If you have the budget, you could make a serious shelter like the one shown in Day 2 from the show “24” with Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert) and Lonnie McRae (Kevin Dillon). Now Lonnie built that shelter and that type of shelter could last for decades.
The Poncho Tent
When you are looking to build an easy survival shelter, it doesn’t get easier than this. Get your hands on a military poncho. It is sturdy, waterproof, and durable. It can make a quick shelter while you are on the go.
Make sure you also have a knife and paracord with you.
Tie the paracord to the ends of the poncho and secure the cord to two tree branches. And, your shelter is ready. It will protect your wind and rain. You can line the ground with some boughs to make it more comfortable.
Precautions to Take While Building the Bug Out Shelter
- Regardless of where you choose to build your survival shelter, it is important to be aware of your surroundings in the area. Proximity to fresh water, easy escape routes, sources of food, predator tracks, and game trails are all important. This is the reason many people select the location for their shelter beforehand as emergencies and disasters always come unannounced.
- Before you start building your shelter, check the place thoroughly for snakes and other wildlife. This means checking under fallen trees and leaves. Your safety matters and this is one of the first steps that you should take. Use a long stick to prod and push grass and bushes. This will frighten creatures harboring there. Only after this, you should use your hands to clean up the area.
- If you have food with you, don’t take it inside your shelter. You will be inviting unwanted critters inside. Instead, place the food inside a bag and tie it high onto a tree branch.
- If you are using grass and moss to make your survival shelter, avoid any foliage that has chalk-like white coloring. This means the foliage has mold and could have an adverse effect on your health.
- Also, if a tree has lacey-looking leaves, don’t use its branches or leaves. This is a sign that the tree is infested with bugs and insects. You don’t want to take a risk getting stung or bitten by anything poisonous and you cannot rest or sleep with bugs crawling all over you. So avoid these types of trees.
Survival Shelter Building Tips
- Always construct your shelter close to a water source. While you can survive several days without food, it is a different story when it comes to water. Select a location that is close to a pond, stream, lake, or river.
- Keep your bug out location concealed. If you have found the location, chances are high others too can find it. So press the button for an area that is not frequented by too many people. A mountainous terrain is a good choice, but make sure it is not near a mountain pass.
- When you construct your shelter, camouflage it with the surroundings so that it cannot be seen from a distance. Use leaves and twigs to blend your shelter with the vegetation around.
- Try not to light a fire during the day as the smoke will be detectable. It is best to light a fire at night when the darkness can hide the smoke. If you don’t want anyone to see the fire, keep it contained.
- If you use a flashlight, make sure to choose the lowest setting to avoid alerting others to your location as well as preserving your night vision
- The location should have food-growing soil in the vicinity if you are forced to cultivate and grow your own food.
- You may be put into a situation where you have to defend your bug out location. Learn self-defense and offensive tactics to protect yourself and your supplies. However, concealment is the best way to avoid a conflict. So choose this route.
You never know when you will need a survival shelter. Rather than waiting for the calamity to strike and then panicking, it is best to have a plan and a bug out bag ready.
Select the shelter you think you can build quickly should the need arise and then fill your bug out bag with the necessary supplies. And do not panic!
Don’t forget the first aid kit, food cans, matches or a fire starter, warm clothes, waterproof clothing, bug spray, and water.
If you have the space, throw in a few utensils and cooking supplies as well. And, you will have everything you need in case of an emergency.
About the Author:
Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006).
He grew up camping and loving the outdoors. He loved to fish and shoot guns as a child. Benjamin joined the navy and survived two tours to the Persian Gulf and one to Central America. He now writes about survival and reads a lot about surviving and thriving in the wilderness.
Benjamin has gone on white water rafting trips, hikes, camped all over the place, operated fishing boats, and so on. If you want to read more of his work, check him out on Survivor’s Fortress. Make sure to follow us on Twitter.