The Smart Prepper

Life is hard, it's harder if you're stupid – John Wayne

November 03, 2015

Primitive Survival Shelters


Primitive Survival ShelterIf you are ever in a survival situation you may need to build your own shelter. This is true especially true if you are in a wet or cold area. If you don’t protect yourself from the elements you can put yourself in extreme danger of becoming very ill or dead. As a young boy I loved building forts just like every other young kid my age. I would build forts every time my dad took me camping. As a teenager I built a snow fort and slept in it for boy scouts (see image below). Being an adult gives me more physical strength and more ideas of how to build forts. In a survival situation a fort becomes a shelter. A good strategy of being prepared is to practice. You should practice building a fort. This can also be a great family activity. If you build a fort and sleep in it at least once you will learn from experience things you like and don’t like about your fort. No matter where you go or what happens to you in life you take what you know with you. Your experience is what helps you be prepared for survival situations.  What qualifies a place as a shelter? Here we have some basics of what a shelter should be. Check out these awesome shelters people have built and get some ideas of what you can go try.

primitive survival shelter

What does a wilderness need to be?

In any survival situation the moral can be torn down very easily. There are a few things that help build moral more than others. The biggest moral booster is having a fire. The second biggest moral booster is having a good nights rest, which can directly correlate to having a shelter that meets your basic needs for the night or nights you will be using it.

  • Relatively quick to assemble. Most survival situations you will not have a lot of energy input into your body – AKA food. A wilderness shelter should not expend all your energy to build or you will not be able to continue on with another day’s activities. The decision of how much energy you put into a fort is really determined on a case by case basis. Ask the questions “How long will I stay here?” or “What is the risk of not building a good shelter?”
  • Protect from the harsh elements. In cold areas the wind is going to be your worst enemy. Sleeping in snow is cold, but not as cold as sleeping in the wind on top of snow. A wilderness shelter in that type of environment should block out the wind as much as possible. Alternatively if you in a rainy area you will want a shelter that helps block out the rain. Sleeping in the rain is so miserable. It is like Chinese water torture. I had a tent break on me one time in a freak hail storm and I ended up attempting to sleep in the rain. Needless to say I didn’t get much rest that night.
  • Protect from animals.  Everywhere in the world has insects. Sometimes they are bad enough to the point you cannot sleep on the ground. No matter where you are in the world you will need to protect yourself from some dangerous animal. You don’t need to build Fort Knox, but some type of a fort that creates a deterrent will help you from being easily attacked.
  • Sturdy. If you are above ground because of insects you don’t want the shelter to fall out from under you in the middle of the night, or if you are in the snow you don’t want a collapsed roof on top of you. The last thing you need is to have something go wrong when you are trying to sleep. The frame of your shelter should use the strongest materials you can find.


Check out these awesome primitive survival shelters

Lowland Wilderness Shelter

High Mountainous Wilderness Shelter

Simple Woven Mud Hut

Winter Survival Shelter

Long Term Wood Cabin Base Shelter

Basic Wood A-Frame Wilderness Survival Shelter