Introduction: Build a Simple Shelter

Picture of Build a Simple Shelter

Alright, your stuck in the woods with no shelter, no compass, no cell phone, all you have is the clothes on your back, a c.amp saw, and your knife. It's almost 5:00 in the afternoon, nobody is going to find you before morning, and it's getting dark fast It's the middle of February and it gets pretty dang cold where you are. This instructable will tell you how to build an easy-to-build shelter out of pine trees. It is fairly simple, as shown below.

Step 1: Find the Trees

Picture of Find the Trees

The best trees are medium sized, so that you can carry them by yourself, and has as many branches as possible. You need atleast 3, but I personally would go for 5. They all need to be pine, except for one, which can be another, harder tree.(This will go in the middle of the other 2 or 4 trees) You need one tree to set all of your other trees on. I recommend a forked tree, but as you can see, I didn't use one.

Step 2: Prepare the Trees

Picture of Prepare the Trees

Now that you have your trees, you need to prepare them. The way that I do it, is to cut all the limbs off. I guess hypothetically you could just leave them all on the tree, but this way is much more efficient. Once you have cut all the limbs off, save them. You will need them to cover your shelter.

Step 3: Prepare the Base

Picture of Prepare the Base

Now that you have prepared your trees, you need to set up the framework, or base, to your shelter. First, you need to set the one you have chosen to be the middle, in the middle of the tree, or in the fork, if you chose a forked tree. Then set the others on top of it, crossing them over the middle tree. You need to have either 1 or 2 on each side, if you used 3 or 5. If you left any stray branches, tuck them under one of the other trees. You have just built the base to your shelter.

Step 4: The "Roof"

Picture of The "Roof"

Now that you have the base, you need a "roof". This is fairly simple to do. You need to put branches across from one tree to another. You should have enough to make a thick layer. This should provide some insulation from the cold.

Step 5: What Next?

Picture of What Next?

Congrads buddy, you just built a shelter with pine trees in the middle of the woods. I suggest next that you build a fire near your shelter. Not in it, unless your shelter is HUGE, or its a really small fire. Or, you could build a little pallet from leftover pine branches, if you have any, and just go to sleep. What you do after this is no concern of mine. Think about it this way, I just saved your life.

And yes, I added a side when you weren't looking, because i'm a ninja.


angelaroberts (author)2016-05-18

Hi. If you want to be prepared for this situation just google for 'ShepherdSurvives' . I know you'll find good solutions for your idea.

Jackoffmanytrades (author)2013-10-05

Lol wow looks like everything I was going to touch on was said. Yeah definitely not much of a shelter.

FubarFrank (author)2011-11-17

Honestly, this instructable has gotten a little bit of a bad rap but what some may not realize is, what may not work for you in a survival situation may work for someone else. The shelter is not perfect, seems to have taken a lot of time to construct, is not so weather proof and at 5:00pm in February would take longer than the sun would be giving light, but...... Just one person that may have read this, remembered and actually used it to there advantage is one person that survived because they saw something somewhere once by someone about how to make a lean-to shelter. All it takes is one life to make ANY bit of survival advice, no matter how it was learned, important and respected.

punkhead58 (author)2011-10-11

Now, the next step would be to cover it with those dead leaves. The point of a debris shelter is to have multiple layers of material to ensure both water run-off and thermal insulation.

kterr (author)2009-09-15

Well, before you make anything else, you should actually finish the shelter. If you can see sunlight through the cieling of your shelter, and it rains (or snows, since it's February in this scenario), you're screwed. royally.

KittyF (author)kterr2010-11-16

actually, if you know much about snow, you know how it usually goes. it will fill in the small holes, and then make the bigger ones small enough to fill them too, and pretty soon you have to worry about ventilation. LOL

sammel (author)KittyF2011-01-19

with that little support, snow that would cover those holes would make the ceiling collapse.. just sayin'

KittyF (author)sammel2011-01-19

I don't know, it'd be interesting to try. maybe wet show would collapse it... maybe powder show wouldn't.

killer wasp (author)2009-08-26

what if you live in hawaii with NO pine trees

gmyers2112 (author)killer wasp2010-02-26

then it's unlikely that you will get stuck in a forest with pine trees.  Great survival tactic for Hawaii, go down hill.  You'll probably find a beach and if you find a beach you find a tourist and then probably a hotel.

Beside, and not to pick to fine a point here, but Hawaii has conifers.  They're of a more ancient type than the kind you're used to but they are there and you can build a shelter with them.

sharlston (author)killer wasp2010-02-16

make something with coconut shells

a_traceur (author)2009-09-28

Honestly, this would suck to sleep an hour in, let alone a night. For a suitable, not necessarily warm but it will last you, shelter to be built you need a few things. 1. You want a small shelter, a little larger than yourself on the inside. 2. You want to pile on layers of debris. LAYERS! 2-3 feet of it at Least. 3. Put layers of debris on the ground of the shelter to sleep on. You lose a ton of body heat through the ground. 4.Be smart, dress warm and follow the procedures to staying and you might survive a night.

batman96 (author)2009-09-09

That roof is not going to keep out rain or cold. Also how do you have instructables so you can build this if you are lost?

geekazoid (author)2009-05-29

yea good 'ible.

A good name (author)2009-04-19

I shall have to try this sometime...

Wafflicious (author)2008-03-13

i made one of these we call it the "bunker" cause we always say were going to play paint ball with it............... but the demensions are 20' by 10' by 5' high

dont think thatll hold up to paintballs

You'd be surprised.

wat ever man.

Wafflicious (author)Wafflicious2009-03-21

We used big sticks for cover not the pine things.

hungry munchies (author)2009-02-12

if you had to you could just dig a hole inside and build a fire in that. if it's raining or cold a fire outside wouldn't do you any good.

it would set the roof on fire. if u could even call it a roof. i gess u could be carfull but still

bylerfamily (author)2009-02-20


lukeyj15 (author)2008-11-21

I always carry a tarp in the car for emergencys I'm working on the matches in the glove box

so_simple98 (author)lukeyj152008-11-21

If you have a car you won't be lost in the woods and you wouldn't need a shelter, you could just sleep in it.

Notbob (author)2008-03-17

where did you take the pictures? the area looks like one I've seen before.

so_simple98 (author)Notbob2008-03-17

My Backyard, near asheville, North Carolina

Notbob (author)so_simple982008-03-18

It looks like one of the local scout camps in my area.

Scrubsfan1234 (author)Notbob2008-11-19

what scout camp? I think i recognize it too, but in the woods, they all look the same.

Eccles2003 (author)2008-06-26

It's a good start but it isn't waterproof. To help with this you need to pile leaves on the top. I see there are plenty lying around. The thicker the layer of leaves the warmer the shelter and the more waterproof. I'm talking really thick at east a foot but preferably more.

WilderLust (author)2008-02-29

good idea... i would strip the branches only on one side of the trees thereby leaving the outer side fully branched. this should help hold the additional branches on and keep it from sliding. as you mention, it is better to use more trees to cover all sides but one. also try to gauge the wind direction and ensure your opening is not facing it! i would make it a bit taller so you can have fire inside and i would take more branches to cover the walls denser. also if there are fibrous plants around, you can make some string to tie things together. i have built semi permanent shelters out of living trees. just go to a patch of the forest with young trees, cut trees to desired radius say... 10 ft, shave inner limbs from the trees, tie them together on top, add cut trees and limbs to the outer wall. then your shelter cannot collapse even in windy conditions, and if you stay there... your shelter keeps growing! cheers :-) wl

Gjdj3 (author)2008-02-29

Awesome instructable! I'm surprised more people haven't seen it.

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