Primitive Survival Shelters – Open Shelters

Pole and Bough Lean-to

Open Shelters

Bough structures that reflect a fire’s warmth are the most important shelters to know how to build. They can be erected without tools in an hour provided you are in an area with downed timber-“less if you find a makeshift ridgepole such as a leaning or partly fallen tree to support the boughs.


Pole and Bough Lean-to

One of the most ancient shelters, the single wall of a lean-to serves triple duty as a windbreak, fire reflector, and overhead shelter.

Pole and Bough Lean-to
Pole and Bough Lean-to

Step One Wedge a ridgepole into the crotches of closely growing trees (one end can rest on the ground if necessary), or support each end of the ridgepole with a tripod of upright poles lashed together near the top.

Step One Wedge a ridgepole into the crotches of closely growing trees (one end can rest on the ground if necessary), or support each end of the ridgepole with a tripod of upright poles lashed together near the top.

Step Two Tilt poles against the ridgepole to make a framework. To strengthen this, lace limber boughs through the poles at right angles.

Step Three Thatch the lean-to with slabs of bark or leafy or pine-needle branches, weaving them into the framework. Chink with sod, moss, or snow to further insulate.


A-frame

The pitched roof of the A-frame bough shelter offers more protection against the wind than a lean-to and can still be heated by fire at the entrance. One drawback is that the occupant can’t lie down parallel to the fire for even warmth.

A Frame Shelter
A Frame Shelter

Step One Lift one end of a log and either lash it or wedge it into the crotch of a tree. Tilt poles on either side to form an A-frame roof.

Step Two Strengthen and thatch the roof as you would a bough lean-to.

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