Building Shelters In The Wild

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Building shelters in the wild is highly essential to your survival, be it in the wilderness, Sahara, Rainforest Savannah, or Kilimanjaro. The importance of shelter is pronounced when you realize that extreme weather conditions can kill within a few hours of exposure. 


A List To Adopt For Building Shelters In The Wild

The wilderness isn’t your city with its distinctive streets, cop station, and mapped roads. There is danger lurking somewhere every second. Is it about the traps, wild animals, or weather conditions? Whatever it could be, keep in mind the wild isn’t exactly your home. 

You have to stay protected, and what better way to do that than have a formidable shelter? 

Below, we’ll look at the conventional shelter designs in the wild and how you can build each. Here we go. 



Although Ramada doesn’t guarantee you a leak-free roof when it’s raining, it is an effective shield against the sun. It is, therefore, most suitable for sunny, hot environments. Thankfully, Ramada is pretty easy to build. I don’t suppose anyone would relish spending much time erecting a shelter on a sunny afternoon.

There are various types of Ramada, but the concept remains the same. To build, firmly root four posts in the soil and cover a flat roof. The roof is usually made from mats and tarps. Removable lightweight beams can serve as walls, in case the evening air is often cold.



The Quinzhee is similar to an igloo in structure but much more comfortable to construct. As hinted, Quinzhee looks like a dome and is mostly built for a snowy environment. What differentiates a quinzhee from an igloo is that the former can be built by putting together all snow types while the latter must be made from perfect snow. 

To build, pile up a moveable gear, for example, backpacks, under a tarp. Then cover round with a snow pile as thick as 2 feet. Plant 3–4 dozens of 12-inch sticks below the dome until they are well burrowed. Remember to leave some space for passage. Proceed to evacuate the gear and snow until you can see the base of the sticks. Make a hole in the roof.


Snow Caves

This is where the adrenaline… or numbness kicks in. A snow cave is typically the most dangerous shelter in the wild and is mostly meant for terrains with deep snow. This is because inhabitants may have an oxygen shortage or perish should the ceiling collapse. 

To create, the first step is to find a deep, solid snowdrift or bank— you need perfect snow to build this cave. Dig a low spot tunnel into the side of the bank to form the cold well, which refers to where colder air falls and collects. Proceed to dig above and over to create the shelf, which is always the highest part of the cave where you can sleep on. Make a 6-inch hole in the roof to aid ventilation, particularly if you’ll be blocking the cold well with a huge snow chunk or backpack.


Wedge Tarp

The wedge tarp is more reliable and effective than most types of wedge shelters, which explains why it is best for terrains with unending windy air. The wedge stands firm against heavy rainfalls and severe wind due to its aerodynamic structure. As you’re tying down in at least five spots, it is easy to see why the wedge tarp stands out.

To make, peg down two edges of the tarp in the same direction of the wind and then tie a line to the middle of the tarp’s opposite corners. Tie the remaining two corners to the ground, ensuring that they are tied sharply for excellent weatherproofing. If you’re interested in harvesting rainwater, position two basins underneath the first two ties. This is an outstanding feature given that finding water can be difficult in the wild.



The tipi is remarkably versatile and hence suitable for numerous terrains. Tipis are traditionally made with hides and canvases, but any large fabric will serve us well, whether a tarp or parachute.

To make, tie some straight poles together or lock three or four forked poles. Proceed to support the structure with the remaining poles in a circular shape. Cover with the tarp or parachute and tie firmly. Shelter ready.



A wickiup is similar to a small tipi set up with vegetation, piles, and brush. A wickiup is tweakable to serve both hot and cold seasons. For a sunny climate, a wickiup with a light brush covering and a broader structure is ideal for enjoying ventilation and adequate protection. While with a steeper than a regular roof, thicker than usual leaf coverings, brush and grass, wickiup is also great for areas with frequent rainfall. 

To construct, gather plenty of poles, making sure to collect some with poles at the top. Lock those with forks to form a freestanding tripod. Surround the structure with the remaining poles and proceed to cover with the vegetation. All done. You can risk starting a fire in a large wickiup with green or wet roof covering.



Widely considered as the easiest and quickest shelter to make in the wild, a lean-to is remarkably effective. With a lean-to, you are well protected from the slanting rain and stinging wind. Think of a lean-to as a shelter with a single wall and half roof.

To make, firmly peg a long pole between 2 trees. Cover one part with brush or sticks and make a roof by heaping leaves or palm fronds on top. 

Job done. 

A lean-to has its shortcomings. For one, it becomes useless when the rain or wind changes direction. 


Round Lodge

The round lodge is a hybrid adaptation across several cultures. It is part wickiup, part-tipi, and is usually built in several archaeological styles. A round lodge is an effective shelter against all weather conditions, whether the sun, rain, wind, or cold. 

It looks like a tipi, has a hole at the roof through which smoke escapes and a solid doorway. If you’re using a round lodge, be careful with fire as it is made from grass or mats. It is typically most effective in wetter climates.


Concluding This Guide on Building Shelters In The Wild

Building shelters in the wild isn’t rocket science. As you have read, these shelters are easy to build and live in. To survive in the wild, you have to be an expert in erecting shelters. Either that or you’re the clueless one out of your crew. But do you know what’s worse? All of your friends may not know how to build an effective shelter. I’m not sure that’d be a good spot to be.