The great outdoors can be so much fun and enjoyable, until an unexpected disaster happens and you find yourself without shelter to protect you from the scorching heat, harsh winds, or biting cold. Having knowledge about basic survival skills when you get stranded in the mountains or deep in the woods could save your life, as well as your companions’ lives. One of the most essential things you need to know is how to build an emergency shelter.
It is very important that your shelter keeps you warm and dry. One of the most basic shelters that you can build is the triangle shaped crawl-in leaf hut which is built using only objects that you can find in nature like branches, twigs, and leaves.
What you need in an emergency shelter
A sturdy framework is of utmost importance. You will need to find a solid branch or wood to serve as your ridgepoles. They should be as long as your body, including your arm extended upwards. Both ridgepoles should neither be too heavy nor too thick, since you must be able to lift it into place. Next, you need two forked branches, each forming a Y on one end. These should be strong enough to support your poles. Then, you will need a lot of sturdy branches that will serve as your hut’s ribs. Their length should depend on how high your ridgepole is off the ground. Finally you need to gather heaps of leaves, grass, ferns, and other vegetation, as these act as insulators for your hut.
Start building your emergency shelter
The main framework
Prop up one end of the ridgepole on top of a small log or rock to make extra room for your feet. Use the two Y-branches to support the other end of the poles, creating your triangle-shaped entrance. Check if you could fit your body through it. If it’s too low, then you have to find longer Y-branches.
The leaf bed
It is important that your back does not touch the ground to maintain your body heat. A leaf bed will insulate you from the ground. Make it thick enough so that even if the leaves compress once you lie down, your back will still be off the ground. Usually 8-10 inches.
The ribs of your shelter
Take the sturdy branches and lean them against the ridgepole at an angle. Each branch should extend just slightly above the ridgepole to prevent water from seeping in once the debris is placed on top and to prevent winds from dropping it below the edge of the ridge pole. Place them as close together as possible. Notice that as you go towards the back end of the hut, the triangle gets smaller and smaller, so you will need to use smaller branches as well.
The vegetative covering
Now it’s time to place the vegetation that is going to insulate your shelter. Add enough leaves, grass or ferns so that the covering is thick enough to keep water and cold air out while trapping the warmth inside.
Your crawl-in hut is now finished! Enter by crawling in feet first, on your back. Now you can survive the night in your warm and snug shelter.
When the entrance is left open, the warmer temperature inside will escape. You can opt to use your bag to cover the opening. Alternatively, you can create a doorway using more twigs and Y sticks covered in vegetation to make a smaller, tunnel-like entrance.
You can also adjust the size of your crawl-in hut if you want to make it a two-person shelter. Just look for a longer ridgepoles and longer branches then place the ribs and Y sticks at a broader angle.
The crawl-in leaf hut is not only very easy to make, it can also withstand the rain and cold winds, providing you with great protection as you survive in the wild.