How To Make Shelter In Wilderness (Easy Peasy!)

how to pitch a shelter

Build a Shelter | Survival Shelter | How to Make a Shelter in the Wilderness

Everything You Need to Know About How to Make Shelter in the Wilderness

If you suddenly got lost in the woods, would you know how to survive? Here at The Hobby Kraze, we don’t just bring you hobbies for fun and laughter (although that is one of the biggest benefits), we want to cover the grounds of having a hobby to help save you in a risky situation.

And, while you may not plan on taking an unforeseen trip to build a shelter, all manner of things could land you in a position where The Hobby Kraze knowledge can come in handy. For example, if you’ve read our other articles like The Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Beginners and decided to take a crack at it but suddenly found yourself in the middle of nowhere and needing to craft a survival shelter.

That’s why the team here wanted to bring to you a brief guide to teach you how to make a shelter in the wilderness. We’ll be covering the grounds on why you need to build one, to the basics of the three tent types.

3 Simple Types of Shelters and How To Make Them

The Importance of Knowing Why and How to Build a Shelter

Throughout life, there are many paths that could lead you to needing to build yourself a survival shelter in the middle of nowhere. For example; the scouts, an extended hiking trip, a compass gone wrong or even just for the sake of it.

With so many people taking-on crafting a survival shelter as a hobby in the UK, plus the fantastic camping sites and National Parks across this magnificent island, it makes sense for you to follow suit.

Here’s The Hobby Kraze’s ABC’s for why you should learn how to make a shelter in the wilderness:

You’ll Can Shield Away from Scary Bugs

While we may not be a nation of killer spiders or child-eating snakes, that doesn’t mean we have to love the creepy crawlies of the British woodlands. So, knowing how to make a shelter in the wilderness can provide you with peace of mind that you’ll get a little bit of uninterrupted sleep.

Even if you love the woods, and nature in general, bugs can be a nuisance to cause red, itchy and lumpy bumps in the morning. And, sometimes even the best bugs sprays and anti-histamines can’t rid us of the pesky critters.  So, just by creating a shelter, you’ll be shielding yourself away from insect bites, restless sleep and night-time itches.

However, we can’t say anything for the noises of any larger animals prowling in the British jungles. The calls from nocturnal animals such as foxes, owls, dogs, birds and deer can’t be escaped after you build a shelter.

There Won’t Be Any Freezing to Death When you Build a Shelter

While this might be a slight exaggeration, a British night in the wilderness can be pretty nippy. Especially if you’ve managed to get lost in Scotland or higher. If you’re ever stuck at night, even when rescue is on the way, it’s best to create a survival shelter so you can at least shield from the crisp winds.

Here at The Hobby Kraze, it’s our job to keep you informed and safe. So, although it is on the more extreme end of the spectrum, knowing what hypothermia is and how to prevent it can be lifesaving for you and those around you. Here’s some of the key signs:

  • Shivering
  • Pale Skin
  • Cold Skin
  • Slurred Speech
  • Slow Breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Inability to Remain Awake
  • Darkening of External Limbs (such as; ears, toes and fingers)

Being sure of the processes for how to make a shelter in the wilderness can save you from these unwanted symptoms. And, even placing leaves underneath you can be enough of a survival shelter to keep your body warm. Then, you can use other items such as tarps and branches to increase your chances of warmth.

Having a Survival Shelter Will Help to Keep You Sane

Not everybody is an avid camper and not everybody is fond of the thought of being left in the wilderness at night. So, it can be understanding that panic-attacks, anxiety, stress and malnutrition can occur.

However, with the knowledge of how to build a shelter in the wilderness, you will automatically be ahead of the curb. Using this self-created space can help you separate your mind from your location and begin to relax into ‘your space’.

When you build a shelter, you are in control of your area and can increase the feelings of being safe and secure. Which, as providers of fun and joyful hobbies, is what we strive for here at The Hobby Kraze.

The Basics of Creating Shelter

The Hobby Kraze’s Basics to Creating a Survival Shelter

Now you know why you should begin to learn how to make a shelter in the wilderness, it’ time we moved onto the basics.

Before we begin, it’s important you know that to build a shelter is not as simple as simply finding a flat surface, a couple of trees and creating a makeshift roof. In fact, there’s other factors such as; wreckage, other individuals, ground security, nearby water and tidal movement, animals, food and signal you’ll need to consider, too.

Let’s start with wreckage. If you’ve survived a crash, whether from a car or plane, there are first-area rescuers that search for the crash site. And, if you remain close, you can increase your chances of not having to build a shelter for the night.

Secondly, there’s other individuals. If you’ve ventured out into the wilderness with your family after reading The Ultimate Guide to Geocaching for Beginners, you need to think about how to make a shelter in the wilderness that is big enough for everyone to enjoy. Of course, this point also covers our beloved furry friends. 

Moving onto ground security: the soil is not always solid. If you’ve wandered into an area with soft ground, you won’t be able to build a shelter. A survival shelter needs to be on solid ground so you don’t sink or wake up in an entirely new location requiring you to build another survival shelter ready for your second night outdoors.

Next, you’ll need to think about nearby water and tidal movement. Being stranded on a beach could be worse. With the beautiful sound of the waves crashing inland and the smell of the sea, the British coastline can offer amazing camping opportunities for the avid hiker. However, even the most experienced of campers need to know how to make a shelter in the wilderness and away from large bodies of water. Or, you could find yourself sinking into the ground or being whisked away on your own pirate adventure.

With animals, there’s not much you can do until you see them surrounding you. However, if you’ve seen some small creatures like birds and squirrels, you can expect the larger pups to be arriving soon. All of whom can eat or destroy your survival shelter and give you a very long night. So, try and locate a spot to build a shelter away from the nocturnal British wildlife.

One of the most important things to consider is food. This includes your water. If you’re in an area with fresh rainwater gathered in the trees and leaves, you know this will be a safe place to make camp for a little while. The same goes for when you find food growing underground, in the bushes or on the trees. Stay close to your food source and you could be spending more than one night in your survival shelter.

Finally, there’s signal. If you’ve managed to get stranded in an unknown location rather than simply calling it a day on your hiking adventure, then you’ll need to find a location with some signal. This way, you can call for help in the form of the fire brigade, ambulance or police. To do this, try following light pollution in the sky. It can guide you to nearby towns or roads.

Importance of Knowing How to Make Shelter

The Three Main Types of Shelter and How You Can Build Them

The last leg of the journey in The Hobby Kraze’s guide to teaching you how to make a shelter in the wilderness is understanding the three types of shelter and knowing which will best suit your situation.

As mentioned, there are three types of survival shelter you can craft depending on the equipment you have with you. And, don’t worry if you’ve only got the jacket on your back; we have a solution for that, too.

The “Tarp Lean-To”

A tarp lean-to is one of the most common types of shelter to use when stuck in the woods. The only tools you’ll need for this survival shelter are; two trees, a plastic tarp, rope and a strong branch. A tarp lean-to shelter can be one of the quickest and most simple ways to build a shelter, making it a key skill for when anxiety and panic begin to set-in.

Step one would be to look for two trees close together. These two trees will serve as ‘structural poles’ for your tarp lean-to, meaning you should look for the sturdiest of the bunch.

Step two is to look for a long and robust branch. When you have found it, place it on the ground in between your trees.

Step three is to use your handy ropes to tie this long branch to your two trees, effectively connecting them together.

The final step is to drape your tarp over your long branch. Then, you can get inside and enjoy your wind-free survival shelter.

A top tip from the crew at The Hobby Kraze: the tarp lean-to can be improved by adding more branches. Find long branches that, when stood up, can lean on your original branch from the floor. By adding these branches, you’ll be increasing your shelter-space and its structural integrity.

The “Teepee”

One of the more traditional shelters to use would be the tepee. Having been used by our ancient ancestors, we can rest safe knowing that they were an effective survival shelter.

Using only three long branches, sticks, rope and some leaves, you can strategically weave your way into a sheltered hut safe from bugs, animals and wind-chill.

Step one would be to find three long and sturdy sticks of similar lengths and create a tripod where they are far away at the base and connecting at the top.

Step two includes taking out your trusted rope and tying the three long sticks together.

Step three requires you to scavenge along the wilderness floor for long and flexible sticks. These can then be woven in and out of your teepee’s tripod legs. This way to build a shelter is much like weaving a basket but much bigger and tent-shaped.

Step four is to gather some leaves. These can then be placed between the sticks on your tepee to increase its structural integrity and ability to keep you warm. However, if you can’t find any leaves for the job, you could also use tree bark, moss, clay, soil and even your jacket.

The “Fallen Tree Shelter”

Of course, we can’t always expect you to carry a bag of tarp and rope in the small chance you are stranded in the wilderness. So, we thought we’d include the one tent-type that involves only what nature can provide.

If you’re in a forest, woodland or green area, you’ll very likely come across a fallen tree. And, this can be used to your advantage when you build a shelter.

Step one would be to find your tree. Often thinner tree’s in a densely populated woodland will not fall all the way to the ground as they get caught on the branches of other trees around them. Other times, you may find a very thick tree on the ground. Either way, you can use these in your quest for how to make a shelter in the wilderness.

Step two brings us back to a lot of scavenging. You’ll need logs, branches, sticks, leaves, debris and anything else you can find that will stack diagonally from your tree.

Finally, use your collection to drape a make-shift roof from your fallen tree. If you have chosen a tree that has not quite hit the floor, you’ll need to make two sides, whereas a tree on the floor already has one side covered for you.

A final top tip from the team here at The Hobby Kraze: make sure to pay attention when collecting so you don’t make your shelter out of poisonous plants or leaves. Otherwise, you may wake up with a rather red face.


And, there you have it. Your introduction towards everything you need to know about how to make a shelter in the wilderness. Here at The Hobby Kraze, we aim to make your hobby journey as easy, simple and joyous as possible. That’s why we’re here to cover the basics of important things such as the need to build a shelter.

So, with that, we hope we’ve helped you to understand that anyone can build a shelter, even if you only have your jacket to-hand.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments and tell us how you would build a shelter in the wilderness. Alternatively, check-out some of our other articles such as; The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Rock Collection and Tumbling” to spruce-up your time out in the wilderness.

Sharing is caring!

Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our NewsLetter!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x