Building A Lean-To Shelter For Outdoor Survival

If you are stranded in the wilderness in an emergency, you must tap into your wilderness survival skills. Building a shelter is very important to survival in such situations, and people can only last a short while amidst extreme weather conditions without protection.

To be adequately prepared for an emergency, you should master the outdoor survival skill of building a lean-to shelter.

A lean-to shelter is one of the easiest and simplest shelters to make for an emergency. This shelter is a great way to protect from the weather and wind. Always place the shelter’s back toward the prevailing wind for the best protection.

A lean-to shelter is also great for most types of terrain.

To create your lean-to shelter, pound two large, forked sticks or straight ones into the ground, about one foot deep. These sticks should be about six feet apart, depending on your height. A large limb must be placed inside the Y-shaped forks to create the frame for the shelter or lashed to each upright. Another option would be to use existing trees, rocks, etc.

Fill in the roof area with sticks tied to the top and stuck into the ground. This creates the frame for your lean-to survival shelter. Remember to bury the sticks in the ground to make the shelter sturdy enough to withstand the force of the wind.

Covering the skeleton of the lean-to is the next step to making the shelter. Use large leaves, bark, pine needles or grass to cover the framework of the lean-to shelter. Whatever material is available will suffice.

As you cover the lean-to shelter, begin at the bottom and work your way to the top, just like roofing a house with shingles. If it rains, the water will run over the joints and not leak onto you. Staying dry is very important, so take the time to prepare the shelter appropriately.

Don’t forget to place some comfortable grass, leaves, or pine bows on the ground inside the shelter for bedding. Look for items that are soft and comfortable. Sleeping on the bare floor will sap your body heat quickly.

Also, you can cover up items such as grass and leaves for more insulation. If you have a trash bag in your survival kit, you can stuff it with these items to make a comforter. Think of this as nature’s blanket for you.

When making a lean-to shelter, it is beneficial to use the natural environment to your advantage. Look for limbs, leaves, and sticks that suit your needs and close by with as little work as possible.

This will reduce the amount of work you need to do and save your energy for other outdoor survival tasks. Also, build a reflection fire in front of your lean-to shelter to radiate heat into your sanctuary.

Because the elements are harsh on the body, building a shelter is crucial to survival in an outdoor situation. Practice this outdoor survival skill to master it before you need it.

If you enjoy a hike over the weekend, bring along your camping gear, for instance, but plan not to use it. Instead of sleeping in your tent and bag, rough it for a night in your lean-to shelter. This will allow you to practice your skill while allowing for another safe sleeping area as a backup plan.

4 thoughts on “Building A Lean-To Shelter For Outdoor Survival”

  1. two tips:
    – spend some time on closing the side of the shelter and maybe even part of the front, depending on having a fire.
    – Make the lean-to as steep as possible to have certainty that water runoff will go correctly. Less steep means more time in collecting material to waterproof the structure.

  2. Excellent tutorial on a quick lean-to, Greg. I agree that this skills is essential and really one of the first things to do when becoming stranded.

  3. Nice article, lots of good info. I personaly try to carry at least a poncho with me when I’m out and about so I can try to make something like this just a little more water tight if need be.


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