Survival Shelters

All posts tagged Survival Shelters

By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, we covered a few items on winter camouflage and winter preparedness training.  I’m going to throw out to you the concept of the winter shelter.  Most are self-explanatory.  Going into the basics, we need something to keep the snow from falling on our heads, as well as something to insulate us from the cold and the wind.  If you have no tent available, then it’s up to you to build something if the emergency arises.  Undoubtedly someone will comment about sleeping in the car, but circumstances may arise that may prevent that, such as a bad accident with leaking gas or combustible fluids.

The Simplest Survival Shelters

One answer for you is the lean-to, which is simply a couple of vertical poles jammed into the ground and a cross-pole (or cross-beam, if you will) lashed to the top across the two vertical poles.  Then you “lean” other branches across the top edge of your cross-pole, building a triangular shelter for yourself as you create this roof.  Ideally the rear can be on the slope of a hill or mountain without any runoff, leaving you a “front” to sit in at the edge of the lean to.

Tree-pit ShelterIn areas where heavy snows accumulate, you can also make a tree-pit shelter.  Excavate around the trunk of a pine tree with low boughs (a tree with thick branches and the boughs close to the ground).  If you have about two to three feet to dig, all the better in this case.  You’ll excavate about a 6-7’ diameter “hole” around the tree, and with the snow you remove, stack it up and pack it on the edges of the hole, building it up until you reach those bottom boughs.  You can also reinforce the construction by using boughs and dead branches to set the snow on top of.  Be creative, and use your imagination to make the situation fit your needs.  You want to make a front “gap” for yourself to squeeze through, and maybe a “door” out of pine boughs to close the gap off.

The principle being to create walls of snow that extend to the thick tree-boughs.  The tree will be your insulation topside, and the walls of snow akin to a semi “igloo” that will protect you on the sides. 

Reinforce those walls by placing branches on the inside vertically, stuck into the ground, or use a foam pad to run around the walls of the pit (Army issue ones work well).  Pack the top of the wall before putting branches and snow on the sides to build it up.  Don’t build a fire in the thing, unless you want to risk the fate of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” character and risk bringing stuff down on top of you to smother you.  Also, don’t pick a tree heavily laden with a billion pounds of snow.

Why These Shelters Are Ideal

The principle is to crawl in this thing, taking support against the tree (lean against it to rest and sleep).  Even if you were buried, the tree itself will protect you and create an air pocket when you lean against it.  This type of shelter will buy you some time until you can build something a little more permanent.  If you did what I advised many moons ago, and packed your “A-bag”/bug-out happy-camper-survivor bag the way I advised, it’s packed per the season, and you should have a poncho and poncho liner in it.  The poncho can either be stretched out on the ground for a ground-cover, or used to solidify a lean-to and make it more waterproof.

The tree-pit shelter is for when you need to get out of the elements quickly.  If that can’t be done, you can dig a snow-cave for yourself.  With the poncho and/or a ground pad, you can insulate yourself from the ground and “hole up” in this snow cave (nothing more than a “spider hole” to protect you from the bite of the elements) and allow your body heat to warm up the hole.  It is the same principle that sled dogs use when they dig holes in the snow and bury themselves.  The principle is sound and can work for you as well.

Also for the tree-pit shelter: try not to pick a tree that is growing on the side of a mountain or hill.  You don’t need an avalanche to ruin your day on this one.  The lean to you can get out of.  Let the tree-pit shelter be on fairly-level ground, if you can make it so, and check it out thoroughly beforehand.  Be prudent and carry your pack with you should you have to leave the vehicle.  Practice building these shelters and familiarize yourself with them when you have the time, prior to an emergency occurring.  Stay warm, drink coffee, and take care of one another!  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready NutritionA Green Beret’s Guide To Building an Emergency Winter Shelter

About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.



Complete Survival Shelters Handbook | Backdoor Survival

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

Water, food, fire, and shelter are considered the four basic human necessities.  Bloggers tend to focus on the first three because they are easy to research, test, and write about.  But what about shelter?  As much as we all hope we can hunker down in place following a disaster or disruptive event, the truth of the matter is that there may be a time when you have to flee and find shelter elsewhere.

In a worse case scenario (including but not limited to Camp FEMA), would you know how to build a shelter that will keep you warm and safe until danger passes?  After all, lack of shelter can kill you in days, and sometimes hours.

With that introduction, I would like to present the next book in Prepper Book Festival 10: The Best New Books to Help You Prepare.  Written by wilderness expert, journalist, and author Anthonio Akkermans, The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook is a gem.  It takes you through building various types of shelters starting with the most primitive hand built shelters to tents and other modern store-bought shelters.

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: Prepper Book Festival 10: Complete Survival Shelters Handbook + Giveaway

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on

By  Rich M Off The Grid News

Cold weather puts a strain on anyone’s survival skills. The greatest problem you face is maintaining your body heat, which the cold will do everything it can to steal. Although being in a shelter can help protect you from the cold, it doesn’t always help as much as you’d like.

One of the biggest problems with most survival shelters is that they leak air. We have this problem with our homes as well, but a home heating system usually has enough overcapacity to make up for it. Nevertheless, those air leaks cost us money, in the sense that they make us burn more energy than we would otherwise.

If you have an energy audit done on your home, they will check for air leaks as well as places which aren’t properly insulated. Many people lose a lot of heat through their attic, because the insulation compresses over time, leaving them without enough insulation to meet their home’s needs. They also find that seals around doors and windows wear, allowing air leaks that steal precious heat.

Similarly, if you are in a winter survival situation, you need to run a home energy audit of your survival shelter. Your shelter probably won’t have much insulation and it will also have air leaks. Identify those so that you can do something about them.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: How To Insulate Your Survival Shelter With Snow

tarp shelter

By Patrick G. Whalen Off The Grid News

When lost, stranded, or injured in the outdoors, aside from adequate water, shelter is of the utmost concern. Shade from the sun or an escape from wind, rain and cold may often be taken for granted in our daily lives, but when disaster strikes, this essential cannot be overlooked. Thankfully, shelters can be as simple or as complex as one wants to make them.

Here, we are going to give an overview of four different types of simple shelters that can be set up rather quickly.

1. Tarp Shelters

When preparing to venture into the outdoors, it is highly recommended that some type of tarp and a few feet of rope or cord be included in your gear. The reason for this is that a tarp can be used to build simple yet effective shelter with very limited effort. Whether you are stranded in a heavily wooded area, or one that has relatively few trees or shrubs, the versatile tarp could very well aid in your survival. A tarp can be spread over rope tied tightly between two trees in order to form either a lean-to or an A-frame. Guy lines anchored at each corner will pull the shelter tight. The closer to the ground, the more it will provide protection from wind and rain.

There are some outdoors enthusiasts who pack along a sturdy poncho that can double as a tarp for shelter in an emergency. It is my opinion that it is important to carry both items.

Ultra Efficient Water Filter Fits In Your Pocket!

A tarp or poncho shelter can be very effective in protection from the elements, but neither of them will accomplish this goal completely. The tarp is meant for shelter and the poncho is meant for the body, meaning that a person wearing a poncho and protected by a tarp shelter is much more likely to remain warmer and drier than one of these items alone.

2. Debris Hut

debris hut

To build a debris hut, it is essential to locate it in a site that is safe from flooding and falling limbs and within an area that has plenty of leaves. Once the area has been identified, clear the ground of all debris, leaving a flat area of dirt a foot longer that your height and about twice as wide as your shoulders.

Find two branches that are about three feet long and lash them on one end at a 45 degree angle.  Next, find a longer branch that is at least two feet longer than your height. Place one end in the X formed by the lashed branches and the other end on the ground in the direction of the prevailing wind. Construct the walls by leaning branches against the ridge pole until the entire length on both sides is filled in. Collect piles of leaves and other small debris that can be piled on top of the structure. The thicker the layer of debris, the more water and wind resistant it will be and the more it will retain your body heat.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: The 4 Fastest Survival Shelters When You’re Stranded