Now that you have the basic skills necessary to plan and build your shelter, the next step is to get outside and get practicing! While techniques such as weaving and lashing can be practiced in your backyard, when it comes to building an effective survival shelter, there’s no substitute for the real deal. As you’re practicing, make sure to take note of pertinent factors such how long it takes you to gather materials and construct your shelter – knowing this timing can be life-saving in a real disaster scenario.
Depending on the supply of materials available, the construction can take anywhere from two to five hours. Start by looking for downed trees that have branches low enough to support the topmost point, known as the ridgepole. If you only locate one tree, use it as the ridgepole – lashing in place if necessary – but if you locate two downed trees near one another, lay a sturdy branch between them.
Regardless of what it looks like, a wilderness survival shelter should embrace these essential principles. It should provide insulation and protection from all elements. It should include a heart source, whether that is a fire, the sun, or trapping body heat. It should be placed in a good location - think high and dry. And lastly, it should offer comfort and sanctuary. After all, this will be your new home.
With a calm center, over half the struggle is over. As I mentioned earlier, the most common physical reason that people die in wilderness survival situations is exposure to the elements. A person can die from exposure in as little as three hours. You must learn how to stay warm when it is cold, how to stay cool when it is hot, and how to stay dry when it is wet. Enter the wilderness survival shelter. It can take many forms, with a classic one being the debris hut. The debris hut is a small, one person shelter that is basically a simple structure that cocoons a person in leaves, grasses, boughs, or other natural debris to keep them insulated. It is built to shed water. Just imagine a primitive tent and sleeping bag all in one.
Unlike gold, which is hovering around $1,300 an ounce, these old silver coins come in small enough denominations to barter for a loaf of bread or a socket wrench in an economic “Mad Max” scenario. Even so, some survivalists remain silver skeptics. “For $100, let’s say you get five silver coins,” said an urban preparedness expert who goes by the nom de guerre Selco. “Why not buy 100 cans of soup?”
When searching for immediate, short-term shelter, look for trees (especially fallen trees), rocky overhangs, and caves. Trees are an obvious source of shelter and have many useful parts for building shelter including the trunk – which can be used as a support, the branches – which can be used as framework, and foliage – which can be used as insulating material.