Quick, what’s the first thing you should do when you find yourself in a survival situation? If you said locate food and water, that was a good guess. However, in most survival situations, building or finding shelter should be the number one priority. Without shelter, you won’t last very long even if you immediately locate a water and food source.
If you become stranded or lost without a tent or any other type of shelter, you’ll need to act quickly and create a natural shelter from your environment. Here are six of the top natural shelters every survivalist must know about.
If you’re fortunate to find a cave, you’re in good shape. This is nature’s best shelter and doesn’t require you to do any extra work. A cave can immediately help you get out of bad weather conditions and keep you from being easily spotted by predators.
There is one very important thing to consider when making a cave your shelter though. It may already belong to an animal or even another person! So before you dive in, approach carefully and make noise so you can find out whether someone or something else is already living there.
Deadfalls are simply fallen trees that can come in handy when you’re surviving outdoors. They can provide you with structural support for a lean-to or other emergency building. You may find a tree with a cavity beneath the roots, or you can use the roots to provide the walls of your shelter. You can also simply snap or cut branches from the underside of the deadfall and huddle beneath the main trunk of the tree.
3. Hollowed–Out Trees
If you can find a large, dead tree that is hollow inside, you may be able to turn it into your own personal cavern. If possible, create a hole in the side of the trunk that’s large enough for you to enter. You may have some other roommates, such as termites or ants, but as long as they don’t bite, you’ll likely find your new living space to be quite comfortable. It will certainly be warmer than if you’re fully exposed to the elements.
4. Vertical Faces
If the wind and/or rain are blowing in a certain direction, you may be able to quickly find some relief by locating a vertical face that protects you from the wind. This could be an embankment or a rock face. You may not be able to stay completely dry, but vertical faces are associated with “rain shadows” which are phenomena that refer to the dry areas immediately around vertical faces. This should not be a long-term shelter for you, but it could temporarily help you avoid getting soaked and hypothermic in certain situations.
5. Rock Structures
Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to find large formations created naturally by rocks. These formations may include hollowed-out areas where you can add a tarp or foliage to protect yourself from the elements. Rock structures may also help protect you from hungry wild animals, or at the very least seal off the area behind you so that you can see if an animal approaches you from the front.
6. Low Branches
If you have very little time to construct a shelter, you can always look for low-hanging branches on fir trees. These branches may provide some shelter for you and act as a sort of roof. If you have the ability and the time, gather additional fir branches to reinforce your shelter and add walls and a bed. It’s always a good idea to insulate your body from the ground when sitting or sleeping, and pine needles can function as extra insulation and padding.
Do you know of any other excellent natural shelter ideas? Let us know about them in the comments!