How To Build A Shelter In A Forest

How To Build A Shelter In A Forest

Natural shelter in the wild is a potential life saver. If you do not have a tent or bivouac with you, knowing how to make a lean-to shelter is one of the most important bush craft survival skills. So watch VideoJug's guide to building a shelter in a forest.

Step 1: You will need

  • An uprooted tree
  • Some sturdy branches
  • Plenty of leaves and debris from the forest floor

Step 2: Preparation

Make sure you choose the right spot to make camp. If you are stuck outside after nightfall and it is to dangerous to carry on you must work with the environment you find yourself in, but if you have a choice then there are a number of things to consider.
Where are you? If you are on high exposed ground, head to lower more sheltered ground. If you are in a valley, then head to higher ground. Hot air rises, so the lower ground will tend to be colder and damp.
Are there any natural resources? Ideally you would like to be near a water source, and a good source of fuel for your fire.
Are there animal trails nearby? You don't want deer or any other animals wandering through your camp at night.
Also spend a minute checking the area above where you intend to camp, are there any bees nests or dead branches in the trees? These may crash down on top of you in if the wind picks up.
Always try to camp at the edge of a forest, rather than in the middle of it, so that you can see what is going on around you.

Step 3: Location

You will need to find the right structure to lean your branches against, an uprooted tree is perfect, especially if it has a hollow where the roots once were as this will give you more space inside. Be sure that it is dry as sometimes these hollows fill with water.

Step 4: Construction

Now you have the main structure you will need the branches to create the rest of your shelter. Light fades very quickly in wooded areas, so it is essential the construction is done quickly and efficiently.

The shelter can be made from fallen branches and debris. Once you have collected your wood, start by leaning it against the structure, each piece should be firmly pushed into the ground, at a 45 degree angle. This allows the rain to run off effectively Use the stronger, thicker branches first, as these will form the main support for your structure, then fill in with the thinner pieces. Leaving just one end open for your entrance gives you further protection from the elements and will insulate you better. With the structure finished add handfuls of leaves to create an insulating roof. You will need a lot of leaves and debris, because as a general rule you want a 30 cm layer of leaves, to have any hope of retaining warmth.