Exposure to the elements will kill you quicker than dehydration (if the elements are nasty that is) so a basic survival skills must include the ability to create a makeshift shelter. Depending on what type of terrain you are in, what animals or dangerous people might be around you, and how long you intend to use your shelter, there are a variety of techniques you can employ to build, conceal and fortify your shelter.
There are a wealth of videos, how-to posters and articles about building shelters. Here are some of the essential templates worth studying:
- A shelter built around existing trees / structures
- An “A frame” shelter – the most popular and easiest. You can also build an even easier one with a tarp.
- Underground dugout
- A primitive “hut“
- A teepee
- In the snow, how to make a quinzee and a cool fast motion video of one being made
- Fortify your lean-to into a “super shelter“
While knowing how to build a structure is critical in many disaster scenarios, the key is to understand the basics and be able to improvise with whatever materials you have on hand. From a Go Bag perspective, your best bet is to pack a tarp and cordage, which can keep you dry and protected from the wind in a wide variety of situations and settings.