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When in a survival situation, you have to pay close attention to the environment you are in as well as the weather of that particular area, and closely monitor how it is affecting you from the moment you arrived here.

Your body needs different types of protection in different weather conditions. In order to make the best possible decision, you have to be completely present. Observe your surroundings, think about the materials you have at hand, what you can salvage, and the tools you can create.

While you can easily create a make-shift shelter from using natural materials, it will not provide the optimal protection. What you need to keep any eye out for are pieces of rope, canvas, pieces of wood that can be used as a stake you can drive into the ground, and possibly a knife or sharp edged rock to fulfill the purpose of a knife. Below, we are going to discuss various types of shelters you can use in different weather conditions and the minimum materials you will need to create them. The season of the year plays an important role in determining the type of shelter you choose, but first, let’s discuss shelters that occur naturally around your area.

Natural Shelters

Never underestimate the area around you, and that doesn’t only mean in terms of danger, but for your wellbeing as well. There are many naturally occurring formations that provided the perfect shelter. For instance, clumps of bushes, rocky crevices, caves, small depressions, leeward hillsides with large rocks, low-hanging limbs and fallen trees.

However, when you find a natural shelter, you might have to work on it to make it into a proper shelter.

Also, when selecting the shelter:

• Keep away from lower ground, such as narrow valleys, ravines, and creek beds. Lower areas tend to collect cold air during the night and can be significantly colder than higher ground. Not to mention, brushy, thick lower ground harbors the most insects.

• Remember to check for dangerous wildlife, such as ticks, mites, snakes, scorpions, and even stinging ants.

• Lookout for dead limbs, loose rocks, or coconuts that can fall on the shelter you build. Poncho Lean-to Forest Shelter

This type of shelter works best in a weather that is not too taxing on your energy and wellbeing; ideally when the weather isn’t very hot, nor is it too cold.

This type of shelter is perhaps the easiest to build, and takes minimal time and equipment as well. What you need is a poncho, about 2 – 3 meters of rope or a suspension line, three wooden stakes about 30 cm long and two trees 2 to 3 meters apart (depending on the size of rope you have available). Check the direction of the wind and make sure the back of your leanto is facing the wind.

Making the Lean-to

• Tie the rope between two trees tightly so when you tie the poncho, it doesn’t move a lot due to the wind.
• Now fold the poncho and tie the top two ends on to the rope firmly, while making sure that the poncho leans in at 30 degrees from the ground and is long enough to shelter you completely when lying down.
• Drive the stakes into ground, pull the poncho down and lean-to at a 30 degree angle and tie the bottom two ends firmly. Your poncho lean to is now ready, just ensure that you follow the aforementioned guidelines in selecting the appropriate location for your shelter

Beach Shade Shelter

This shelter is good for protecting you from the wind, sun, rain, and heat. It too, is easy to make using only naturally found materials.

Making the Beach Shade Shelter

• The first thing you need to do is to collect
driftwood and other materials you can find
to use as support beams, and something else
that you can use as a digging tool.
• Choose a location that is well above the highwater
• Scrape away or dig a trench that runs north to
south, as this way, the shelter will receive the
least amount of sunlight.
• The size of the trench should be long and
wide enough for you to lie in comfortably.
• Now create a mound on all three sides. The
higher the mound, the more space you’ll have
within the shelter.
• Now lay support beams that span the entirety
of the trench on top of the mound to create a
firm base for the roof.
• Dig out more sand from the front of the
trench to increase the size of the entrance.
• Use natural materials like leaves and grass to
create a bed within the shelter.

Tree Pit Snow Shelter

If you find yourself in a survival situation where you are in a cold, snow covered region where evergreen trees can be found, you can easily make a tree pit shelter to protect yourself from the extremely cold environment.

Making a Tree Pit Snow Shelter

• In order to make this shelter, you first have to find a tree with bushy branches that can provide you with an overhead cover.
• Now, to make this shelter, you have to dig around the trunk of the tree until you reach the diameter and depth required to house you comfortably, or until you reach the ground.
• Properly pack the snow in and around the top and on the inside of the hold to provide adequate support as well as to prevent a cave in.
• If the overhead cover isn’t sufficient, you can cut evergreen boughs from around the area to find more cover.
• You should also put boughs in the bottom for insulation.

Shelter for a Desert

If the survival situation you find yourself in is a desert, consider the effort, time, as well as the materials needed to create a shelter before expending any valuable energy or resources.

After all, the environment is very arid. Ensure that you have salvaged as much as you could have from the mishap that happened to you.

If you have materials like a canvas or a poncho, you can use it with terrains that have outcroppings of rocks, depression between dunes, or mounds of sand to make the shelter.

Making shelter with rock outcroppings

• Take one end of your canvas, poncho or other material and anchor it to the edge of the rocky outcrops using stone weights.
• Take the second end of the canvas, extend it and anchor so it provides optimal shade. Making shelter in a Sandy area
• For this shelter, you can do two things. You can either expend valuable energy to create a mound of sand to build one side of the shelter or you can use a sand dune for that. Work with what you have available.
• Anchor one end of the canvas atop the mound using stone weights or the sand itself.
• Take the other end of the canvas and extend it just as in the previous shelter guide, so it provides the optimal shade and anchor it in that position.

Note: If you have more than enough canvas or other material, fold it into two layers and create an air space in between the two layers of about 40 cm. Doing this will significantly reduce the temperature in the shelter.