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Survival Shelter Ideas: All You Need To Know

by TheSurvivor
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Survival Shelter Ideas: All You Need To Know

The wilderness is a place of unknown and a place of mystery. Equally scary and awe-inspiring, many adventure enthusiasts and junkies plan out elaborate survival trips – willingly, mind you – to some of the harshest and unforgiving of terrains, lands, and forests. There are great survival shelter ideas that you can take inspiration from.

The thrill of conquering a vast stretch of land and coming out victorious at the end of it, surviving on the base of almost nothing other than your wits and resourcefulness is a great feeling. 

If this sounds like you and you are already planning your next survival adventure shortly, then this article is exactly for you. We will give you survival shelter ideas that will keep you safe and sound, and away from exposure when in the wild or during hiking. 

Plus, if you are not planning to take the next flight to a remote island of forest to test if you can survive, it never hurts to gain some extra knowledge – who’s to say you will never use it. 

You might be also interested in: Top 8 Best Wilderness Technology Tents

Shelter Should Be One of Your First Priority 

Why a whole article on shelter, you ask? Why not focus on how to gather food or what tools to use? Well, first of all, those articles already exist, and second, shelter is the top, if not one of the top, priorities you should have when you are in a survival incident. 

You will be most vulnerable to exposure in the wild and depending on the climate, it will have a varied impact on your health. What most people do not realize is one of the biggest dangers of surviving in the wild is hypothermia.  

If you are staying in a cold icy place, stranded or in a rain forest with a lot of wetlands around you, you might be in danger of hypothermia. Hypothermia is especially dangerous because it creeps up on you and, more often than not, there is no way of telling whether you are getting it or not. So being safe is and preventive is the key here.

Keep in mind though, a seasoned survivor knows that no two experiences are the same. Whether you need shelter or not will also depend on the specific type of situation you are in.

You need to conserve your energy and creating a shelter especially if you do not have a tent with you is one of the most laborious tasks. So, asses your situation and plan out your strategy before frantically running around for materials to make a shelter. 

For the times where you are sure you will be needing a shelter to keep you safe, keeping on reading; we will take a look at the different survival shelter ideas.

Where You Build A Shelter Matters as Much as the Type of Shelter

When building a shelter there are certain key things you need to keep in mind regarding where you build this shelter. Remember, this shelter is going to keep you safe and protected from the environment and provide you with a resting place. 

You need to be careful about the place and the surrounding elements of the place you are planning to build the shelter.

Pick a Dry Place

This is a no-brainer. Last thing you want it to build shelter too close to a body of water or a stream. There is always the risk of animals lurking in the water and even water can seep through your shelter, making life much harder than it needs to be. 

Pick a Flat and Secure Place

Pick a flat place to put up your shelter, this will help you to make your shelter secure and without any risk of falling on its side, wasting the time and energy you put behind it. 

Never Right Under A Mountain

Never set up your shelter under a mountain or lose rocks. There is always the risk of a boulder getting and lose and tumbling down on the place where you sleep. This is going to be extremely dangerous and is never a good practice. 

The Types

With all that said and done, let’s get into the survival shelter ideas you can experiment with in the wild.  

1. Survival Shelter Ideas: Brush Shelter with Optional Hole on Top

Brush Shelter with Optional Hole on Top (Survival Shelter Ideas: All You Need To Know)

This type of shelter, although a bit difficult to get the hang off, is great for colder places. You can make a tipi shelter and carve out a hole at the top. If the place you are in awfully cold, you would ideally want to light a fire to keep you from freezing. You can use branches or vegetation from your surroundings and create a shelter of any size.


  • Has fireplace
  • Different styles and nuances can be made


  • A hole may impair the structure
  • Difficult to learn for beginners

2. Survival Shelter Ideas: Frame Brush Shelter

Frame Brush Shelter (Survival Shelter Ideas: All You Need To Know)

Easy and quick to build, this shelter is great if you want something to take you through the night. Perfect for a lone survivor, you can use different branches or large three leaves. Start by creating a support frame for the shelter and then lean your branches and leaves at an angle against the support. Keep in mind, this is a temporary solution.


  • Quick and easy to build
  • Does not need much material


  • Temporary solution
  • Not the best protection

3. Survival Shelter Ideas: Snow or Igloo Shelter

Snow or Igloo Shelter  (Survival Shelter Ideas: All You Need To Know)

Probably the only choice if you are in a snowy climate and do not have a tarp or tent handy, an igloo will be a great option for a shelter that will keep you warm and also provide protection. You can get creative with the shape and size as well depending on the number of people you are building the shelter for.


  • Keeps warm in the snow
  • Versatile when it comes to size


  • Time-consuming
  • Can’t light a fire inside

4. Tipi Shelter with Debris and Branches

Tipi Shelter with Debris and Branches (Survival Shelter Ideas: All You Need To Know)

This is another classic shelter design that makes use of long tree branches to create support for its own if you place them right. You would ideally want to start with a couple of branches and debris and create a solid structure and build on by adding more to make it sturdier.


  • Easy and quick to build
  • One shelter can be used by multiple people


  • Requires tediously searching for long branches
  • Risky to build in windy places

5. Slanted/Leaned Debris Shelter

Slanted/Leaned Debris Shelter

Perhaps one of the easiest to build from our lineup of shelter, the name of the shelter perfectly describes the shelter itself; it is a shelter you can easily make from gathering branches and debris from your surroundings and create a leaned shelter. It only covers one side of though and keeps the front completely open and vulnerable.


  • Easy to build 
  • Open side can cause it to get uncomfortable in cold windy places


  • Not a long-term solution

6. Dug-out Shelters 

Dug-out Shelters

This is a solid and permanent shelter that will give you ample protection from your surroundings. As the name suggests this shelter is made by digging out some of the ground and creating space large enough for you to fit it. You can also put a make-shift roof of branches or leaves for some added protection. 


  • Solid and structurally sound
  • Shape and size can be altered


  • Requires suitable ground to build
  • Not save near water

7. Juniper Tree Shelter

Juniper Tree Shelter

This shelter is not one you can make per se; you will need to ‘find’ this one. Junipers make great shelters because of their size. Use a fallen juniper tree as a roof over your head. The leaves can be used for bedding and shields. 


  • Minimal effort to make
  • Safe and secure


  • Cannot be readily made

8. Survival Shelter Ideas: Tarp Shelter

Tarp Shelter

A tarp shelter is one of the simplest shelters you can build. Although you can’t make it out of the resources you can find lying around. Very similar to a tent, tarp shelter is better suited for quick and easy dismantling. They do not take much time to put up if you are experienced enough. 


  • Safe and secure once built
  • Keep you comfortable


  • Might be tedious for beginners

9. Survival Shelter Ideas: Tarp Tipi with Poles

Tarp Tipi with Poles

This sort of shelter is an upgraded version of our tarp shelter. The addition of the poles gives it greater strength with all the benefits from a tarp shelter. 


  • Further added strength with the poles
  • Stays warm and provides great protection


  • Cumbersome to dismantle

10. A Good Old-Fashioned Tent

A Good Old-Fashioned Tent

A good old fashioned is probably the best as far as survival shelter ideas go. In a survival situation, your shelter needs to do two things; one is to protect you from the environment – cold, rain and snow, and from the surrounding like small animals, insects, and bugs. A durable tent will do both perfectly. 


  • Durable and sturdy
  • Will provide great protection


  • Not the easiest to do correctly for beginners
  • Need to carry around a tent on your person

In conclusion, these survival shelter ideas can help you come up with creative and innovative ways to survive through any ordeal that you might be put into. Remember to always think and act strategically in the wilderness. Asses your needs and the situation and see if and what type of shelter works best for you!

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