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Makeshift Covers for Tents, Canopies, & Caves

Some situations in life leave you exposed to the elements and away from pre-built man made shelters. In such situations, knowing how to build a quick shelter can mean the difference between surviving the night or not. There are 3 basic methods that can be erected for your safety and shelter in a matter of a few minutes to an hour or two.

A Tarp Cover: If you are lucky enough to have a tarp or canvas on your being, then your life just became a little simpler in the makeshift tent making arena. There are several options, the most common one requiring rope and two trees that are located within approximately 4 to 5 feet of each other. Use some of the rope to tie a line in between the trees and reserve some extra rope for the corners of the tarp. Drape the tarp or material you have over the rope, as if you were hanging it to dry. Next, use the leftover rope to secure each corner of the tarp at a 45 degree angle away from the center line. This option will provide you with a A-Frame type cover over your head. Use bushes, branches and logs for coverage on the sides if needed.

Cave Covers: Many people who seek shelter in the wilderness during emergencies, hope for a cave or natural rock outcropping to provide a roof over their head for the evening. However, there are a few things to watch out for beside natural wildlife living inside the cave. Generally caves are cold and damp with natural running water dripping from the ceiling and it is even possible to have small streams form on the bed of the cave. Therefore it is necessary to erect a makeshift bedding to elevate you off the floor of the cave and if possible, create a water resistant shelter over your head for the ultimate protection. The simplest method is to lean branches with leaves and twigs against the wall of the cave and on the floor.

A Tree Branch Hut: If you find yourself without a tent or a tarp in the wilderness and no natural shelters such as a cave or outcropping ““ then it is time to build your own little tree branch hut. With the use of a knife or hatchet, a tree branch hut can be constructed in a matter of 30 minutes or less depending on the availability of trees. Without such tools, it can take up to 2 hours and lots of energy and therefore careful forethought should go into planning of your day to ensure you save enough daylight hours to construct your temporary shelter. Find either two or tree trees close in proximity or a large boulder on a slope to start construction of your shelter. Strip the fresh bark off of saplings and it can be used as lashing or rope to tie the frame of the shelter together. Use several sturdy branches for the top and supports to ensure they can bear the weight of the branches. Once the frame is constructed, simply lay branch after branch of twigs and branches full of needles and leaves over the frame until the top and sides are covered.

A shelter is the key to surviving the wilderness, as it will help you to stay dry and warm during a cold night. Therefore, spend sufficient time finding a good location away from water sources and food sources such as berry patches so as to not attract the wildlife. By building an ideal shelter, you will stay positive and retain more energy for the next day to find help or food.

– Stay Safe

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