• 8 Simple DIY Emergency Shelters for Conquering the Great Outdoors

    Gust Post by Will Ellis


    Your emergency shelter should always suit your situation. Cold weather? Ample insulation. Heavy rain? Deflect it. Sun? Sometimes, you need two whole roofs to fight it.

    These 8 simple shelters can help anyone conquer the great outdoors - no matter the environment.


    Survival Shelters for Rain Protection

    1. Lean-To

    Lean-To Emergency Shelter

    Quick and simple, a lean-to can be built in less than a hour out of practically anything, which makes it a very attractive structure in a survival situation.

    How to Build:

    Wedge a sturdy pole between two trees. Layer one side of this pole with smaller branches and sticks. Cover this side with leaf litter, brush, grasses, palm fronds, or any other vegetation you can see.

    Be Aware:

    A lean-to has very little insulation and often becomes obsolete if the wind changes direction. Adding a second side is an excellent way to combat this issue.


    2. A-Frame Tarp

    A-Frame Tarp Emergency ShelterLooking for a versatile shelter that can go up in less than ten minutes? The A-frame tarp is the way to go.

    How to Build:

    Suspend a cord between two supports; higher for more airflow, lower for better rain coverage. Lay tarp over the cord and secure all four corners and set up your survival hammock underneath the tarp.

    Bonus tip: the cord that connects the tarp and the tree is a great place to hang any self defense shotgun or rifle, and makes for easy access should you encounter unwanted predators in the night.

    Be Aware:

    You can use a poncho or waterproofed canvas instead of a tarp. This works very well with a hammock or over a bough bed.


    Survival Shelters for Sun Protection

    Double Roofed Emergency Shelter3. "Double Roofed" Desert Tarp System

    Centuries of use throughout the deserts of northern Africa and the Middle East (and more recent trials in military survival training) have proven that the double roofed tarp is the best structure to block out the sun. A side awning built with modern material may do a better job of blocking the elements, but both are capable of blocking the hot sun.

    How to Build:

    Find or dig a low spot, roughly 18 inches or so, into the ground. Lay one tarp over the low spot and drive one stake through each corner.

    Tightly tie this tarp to the stakes. Attach the second tarp a foot above the first. Tie the tops of the stakes to anchors, which can be rocks, other stakes, logs, or any sturdy object.

    Be Aware:

    You can also fold over a single tarp in order to create the two layers, so long as there is still one foot of airspace between the layers when attached to the stakes.


    4. Ramada

    If airflow and shade is more of what you're looking for, a ramada is well suited to your shelter needs.

    Ramada Emergency ShelterHow to Build:

    Most variations rely on four posts sunk into the ground with lightweight support beams fastened between them to create a steady structure. Layer the flat roof with brush, a tarp, or mats to provide shade.

    Be Aware:

    Due to the flat roof, the ramada is ill-suited to blocking rain. You can add removable walls to the structure to protect against nightly temperature drops.


    Survival Shelters for Cold Weather Environments

    Snow Cave Emergency Shelter5. Snow Cave

    This kind of shelter may be your only option in an area with no vegetation and very deep snow, but can be just as dangerous as the cold.

    How to Build:

    Locate a deep, solid snow drift or bank and dig a tunnel into the side, leading towards a low spot. Then dig up and around, creating a sleeping shelf in the highest part of the shelter. Dig a hole roughly six inches wide in the roof for ventilation, especially if you plan to block the entrance.

    Be Aware:

    A snow cave can be deadly if you select the wrong type of snow. Inhabitants can die from low oxygen or get buried alive if the ceiling collapses.


    Quinzhee Emergency Shelter6. Quinzhee

    Smaller and easier to construct than an igloo, the quinzhee is a wonderful cold weather alternative.

    How to Build:

    Under a tarp, pile gear that is easy to move, like a backpack. Cover the tarp with snow, packing it down repeatedly until the snow is two feet thick all the way around, Insert 3-4 dozen 12" long sticks around the dome.

    Burrow into the side to retrieve the tarp and gear. Excavate the snow from inside until you can reach the base of every stick, so the thickness is uniform. Include a ventilation hole in the roof about the size of a fist.

    Be Aware:

    The quinzhee can be made with almost any type of snowfall, making it very versatile.


    Survival Shelters for Almost Any Environment

    Round Lodge Emergency Shelter7. Round Lodge

    From the prehistoric North American west to pre-Roman Britain, round lodges have long been one of humanity's preferred shelters from the wind, cold, rain, and sun.

    How to Build:

    Lean a dozen or more tall poles together in a clockwise fashion, then secure them at the top with rope, grass, or even sinew. Fill in the walls with vegetation - grass, hay, leaf litter, etc.

    Be Aware:

    Leave a hole in the roof for ventilation if you plan on having a fire.


    Wikiup Emergency Shelter8. Wickiup

    Think of a wicki-up as a tiny tipi that can be tailored to your surroundings. If built correctly, you can even light a small fire inside to keep warm.

    How to Build:

    Find several dozen poles of a similar height; some will need to have forked ends. Lock those forked poles together to create a freestanding skeleton of the structure.

    Lay the poles without forks around the locked forks to create walls. Fill in (or weave with) vegetation, including branches, brush, leaves, grasses, and man made materials

    Be Aware:

    For hot, dry climates you will want to go for a broad and squat structure covered loosely with brush to provide shade and ventilation.

    For climates more apt to rain, choose thicker insulation like straw, leaves, and grass in conjunction with a steeper roof to keep you dry - but be careful to ensure it is green, if you choose to light a fire.



    There you have it. With these 8 survival shelters, you’re ready to brave the outdoors in almost any environment. Pick one or two that look interesting and ideal for your situation, and give them a shot!


    Will Ellis is the senior editor of Gun News Daily. The site was originally built by his uncle who used it as a resource center for people looking to learn more about gun education and safety. This legacy was carried on by Will, who relaunched the magazine in 2015 and began to rebuild GND. For the bulk of his career, Will worked as a private military contractor for a number of NGOs. He is currently living outside Loveland, Colorado where he runs GND and a local coffee shop. Will is also actively involved in the local community where he runs annual skeet shooting events. His favorite gun is a modified lightweight AR-15 rifle


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Emergency Shelter

  • Italy Earthquake Devastates Entire Towns

    Italy Earthquake - via The Mirror Searching for survivors - via The Mirror

    A magnitude 6.2 earthquake – along with a string of more than 80 aftershocks – hit central Italy early Wednesday morning. At least 120 people are dead, and entire towns are in crumbles. One such town is Amatrice, to which the mayor explained, devastated, “Half the town doesn’t exist anymore.” At least two other towns have been reduced to rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue teams arrive at more remote areas.

    The earthquake rattled central Italy during the early morning hours when most people were still asleep. Homes fell and roads buckled. The shake was so powerful it was felt more than 135 miles away. Italy is situated on two fault lines, making it not only the most earthquake-prone country in Europe, but also in the entire world.

    With homes destroyed, people are now essentially homeless. The same thing happened in Nepal in 2015, although on a much larger scale. Because homes were destroyed and residents were fearful to spend the night in a damaged home, Kathmandu and the surrounding area became a city of tents.

    City of Tents - Italy earthquake Kathmandu's tent city

    Having some sort of emergency shelter is always a good idea. A tent will keep you protected from outside elements, but even a tarp draped over tree branches is better than nothing. Sometimes you may need to rely on these alternate shelters rather than a compromised home.

    Earthquakes can strike anywhere and at any time. In the case of the Italy earthquake, it struck around 3:30 in the morning. Lights will be out and power will be sketchy, at best. Having an earthquake kit – stored in a safe container, such as a bucket – will help you through those literal dark times with your prepared flashlights and other gear and supplies.

    While the Italy earthquake is devastating, it is still a good time to reflect on your emergency preparations and continue to build it up with the gear and supplies you need. Being prepared before the disaster is essential for riding it out as safely and comfortably as possible.


    Earthquake_Blog_Banner Italy earthquake

    Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Giveaway

  • 5 Types of Base Camp Shelters

    There are many reasons to setup a base camp shelter. Whatever your motivation, make sure you design and build one that meets your requirements and anticipates your needs. From underground bunkers to pine bough lean-tos, unique base camp shelters are needed for different scenarios.

    These five shelter types will cover most of your bases. Keep in mind that each shelter meets a different need. You may require more than one type for the scenario you are preparing for.


    1. Bunker

    Old abandoned bunker in forest - base camp

    This hidden shelter option has many advantages. Easily defensible, concealed, and well-fortified, a bunker shelter can provide safe and secluded base camp accommodations. Long-term food storage, rations, and other supplies can be easily concealed and kept safe until you need to access them. Bunkers can be equipped with generators and electricity, secure doors, multiple rooms, and other amenities of a permanent shelter.

    The size and location of a bunker may be limited by your access to land, and the amount of funds you are able to allocate to building one. Land, excavation, materials, and utilities can require a significant investment.


    1. Portable

    Portable shelters provide protection from the elements while allowing users to keep on the move. Trailers, tents, tarps, and tensioned fabric structures let you set up camp without having to own land, invest in excavating and building equipment, or devote a lot of time to building a permanent structure. Portable base camps should be designed for ease of setup and take-down, as well as stability in extreme weather events.


    1. Permanent

    Celtic Round House Base campA permanent base camp requires access to land and a significant investment in materials. Creating a permanent shelter is one of the most expensive base camp shelter options, but also one of the most comfortable and secure. A permanent shelter is more conspicuous than a bunker or a portable shelter. This type of shelter also provides many of the same amenities of a house. A permanent shelter may have running water, electricity, heating and cooling systems, and other comforts. It is important to remember that, unlike a bunker or a portable shelter, a permanent shelter will likely require a more established access route, such as a road, driveway, or established trail.


    1. Emergency

    An emergency shelter is necessary for quick and easy setup. This type of shelter is often located near a survival cache, and is meant as a temporary spot to regroup on the way to a more permanent base camp. An emergency shelter may also be required in an extreme weather event, such as a rainstorm, tornado, or blizzard. Emergency shelters can be crafted from many different materials. Having a tarp can make emergency shelter setup easy. If you aren’t that lucky, tree branches, rock outcroppings, or dry cave openings may have to suffice. Emergency shelters can be dug into the side of large snowdrifts, riverbanks, or small hills.  Survival caches setup ahead of time can also store tarps, ropes, and stakes in the event that an emergency shelter is needed.


    1. Semi-Permanent

    SafariTent_Open_Lifestyle_Moab_MattBarr_002_Web base campMore stable than an emergency shelter, yet not as immobile as a permanent one, a semi-permanent shelter can create a long-lasting, durable base camp that can be relocated or disassembled if necessary. Tensioned fabric structures can be anchored to nearly any surface to create a sturdy semi-permanent shelter. These types of shelters may have electricity and other utilities setup in mobile or temporary configurations.



    Jimmy Wall is an avid outdoorsman always advocating people to get outside. Living in Washington State, he says nothing is better than a climb up Mount Rainier to Camp Muir.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner - base camp

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