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Outdoor Camping Advice

Outdoors Tips, Info, And Advice

3 Great Makeshift Shelters, And How to Build Them!

tips for backpack camping in the

tips for backpack camping in the

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Everyone knows that shelter is one of the most important things when it comes to camping outdoors, if not the most important. However, we have to keep in mind that if we start building without a plan, we might end up building inadequate shelters. It is critical to decide first which shelter to build, and then get to work. With that in mind, here are some great makeshift survival shelters for your information in case you need this knowledge in bad circumstances.

1.) The Cocoon: 

the mound, makeshift shelter, camping

The name of this one explains itself, Grab as many leaves and branches as you can find and put them in a pile big enough to hold yourself. Then get inside, and you are all done! This is not nearly the best shelter to use, but by far the easiest if you do not have time to build another one of these shelters.

Depending on exactly where you are, you may be able to make a pile of leaves, and throw them on top of yourself. This way, you will have an even quicker built temporary shelter. We only mention this type of fast shelter because it has saved our lives more than once, and we know we will use it again one day. It might even save your life one day!

2.) A Lean-To Shelter:

lean-to shelter, camping

lean-to shelter is another smart design when it comes to makeshift shelters. A lean-to can be built very quickly if you’re not worried about the way your shelter looks. Find the driest spot you can find then continue, and if there are no dry spots, don’t worry. You can just place some leaves inside your shelter. We will address that further towards the end of this. 

First, grab as many thick sticks, logs, or branches you can find, you can break thick branches off trees if you would like. Grab lots of leaves and small branches. (Keep in mind that a lot of what you find depends on the area your building your lean-to shelter in). You will also need to find a place to start building. For example, look for the biggest boulder you can find or a set of trees that are very close together. (This is our preferred method). 

Lean the thickest sticks, logs, or branches against the largest object you choose. (You will want to get them as tightly together as possible). Once you are satisfied with the positioning for the base of your shelter, (the positioning of the sticks, logs, and branches), begin placing all the leaves you have found directly on top of your base lean-to.

 If you can get some small sticks and rocks wedged in between the large sticks. The leaves will be able to stay in place better. Once you are satisfied with what you have done with the leaves and small branches that you have placed on top. You can then place the rest of your leaves inside of the shelter.

Arranging leaves inside of your shelter will also leave you much less vulnerable to cold from the ground. This will help keep the heat in. Placing leaves inside of your shelter will also help quite a bit if there are no dry spots to set up your shelter and you have nothing to place on the ground underneath you. That is the base building structure of a makeshift lean-to! 

For some extra protection, take any extra clothing in your supplies that you don’t need a.s.a.p. (waterproof if possible) and throw them on top of your shelter. This will not only keep you drier but much warmer as well because it will block even more wind than it would without it. However, do not forget to be careful, you do not want to make your situation worse by getting injured!

3.) A tarp shelter:

tap shelter, camping,

A tarp shelter is another easy one if you happen to have a rope, and a tarp or an emergency blanket. For your information, you should almost always be able to find an emergency blanket in your trusty first aid kit. If you do not have a rope, you can use a somewhat reasonably long and thick tree branch. If you do not have a first aid kit, check out our review on one of the best survival kits that we have found, (so far!) here.

Here is how to build a tarp shelter with and without a rope. First, start by tying one end of the rope to a tree. Then tie the other end of the rope to another close tree. The thickness of the trees depends on what is available, but usually, if the tree looks thick enough, then it is.

Make sure your rope is as tight as it can get, (without snapping obviously). Lay your tarp or emergency blanket directly on top of the rope. Break a small branch in half, (if you do not have a knife to whittle it down). Poke four holes In the tarp or security blanket at the four corners. (You may need to poke more holes depending on weather and wind, you don’t want it to fly away!) This is the basics of how you build a tarp shelter. As we said, these shelters are reasonably easy to assemble!

Another way of building this same tent is to get 2 to 5 thicker logs, and sticks and stand them up straight. Try and get them dug into the ground as much as possible. Then lay the tarp or emergency blanket on top. (You want the logs to be in a sort of circular order so that you have some integrity to your tarp tent.) Then grab some rope, thick string, or something similar, and poke holes in each of the four corners. Then, tie the pieces of rope through the holes and bring them down to the ground. You can either put large rocks over the rope on the ground. Or you can tie the rope on the ground to stakes and place the stakes in the ground.


Another way to secure the shelter, (if your tarp or emergency blanket reaches the ground), is to grab some big rocks and place them on the four corners. You will want some big rocks for this one though, at least 4 or 5 pounds each. Doing this will help to keep it from moving when big winds hit. You are now done building your shelter! Pat yourself on the back! also has some awesome do-it-yourself or D.I.Y. shelters, check them out here! Did you find this helpful? Why not share it!

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