Ask the Gear Guy

Best way to build a survival shelter

Q. What is your best idea of a survival shelter? How would you build it?
— Jhon Against Wild, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.

A. Best survival shelter? I call that a “cabin.” Just kidding, Jhon. In all seriousness, it’s great that you’re being prepared enough to think through a potential emergency like getting stuck out in the wilderness. While some survivalists recommend building a shelter out of sticks and leaves, you’re probably better off using your precious energy getting found (or un-lost) than building some kind of lean-to.

Always carry with you this portable shelter: a heavy-duty, 4 mm-thick orange plastic bag (approx. 38” x 65”). Just cut a hole for your face, crawl inside and hunker down for the night. It might not look pretty, but it’s lightweight, packable, cheap and it’ll stop the wind and rain and could save your life. Hypothermia (loss of your body’s core temperature) is one of the main causes of death in survival situations.

Comments about “Best way to build a survival shelter”

  1. chaos says:

    find some thing to block the wind and rain and build a fire!!!!!

  2. Raven Lonewolf says:

    A brushpile shelter, built properly, will protect you from the elements and keep you warm (without need of a fire) to -20 degrees. To know how to build one properly, study a squirrel nest (yes, I’m serious).

  3. Boy scouts Rock! says:

    A hammock with a tarp around it

  4. GearGuy says:

    Or you can build a teepee or in the snow you can also build an igloo. :D

  5. chessking14 says:


  6. cab123 says:

    tarp with twigs is your in the forest

  7. c says:

    you could just make a lento

  8. superc says:

    cut a hole in a garbage bag for your head and its a shelter in itself

  9. darth Bob says:

    rock-on gear guy!

  10. bwca says:

    A poncho with some bunjees or rope works great!

  11. crashman says:

    that is a good idea i should get some of those bags

  12. T-Man says:

    I would suggest a tarp

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