To make an emergency shelter from scratch, use all natural materials and save your man-made items. I usually use rope or parachute 550 cord to secure the limbs for the frame, but vines could be used. I have found this shelter to be more stable if at least one end (two is better) is a tree. Wrap and secure the top cross-beams (1) and there are two of them. Next do the rest of the frame (2) to hold the frame up. Then use bark or logs to make the covering itself (3) and if you use bark, reverse the curves to allow water to drain. It can then be covered with pine boughs or tree limbs . If you have snow, cover the shelter to insulate it against the wind and cold.
Construct your shelter out of wind as much as possible and insulate the ground with pine or cedar boughs if they are in the area. If not, you may have to use leaves. But, be sure to "stir" the leaves well with a stick to make sure no snakes are in bed with you. You can improve on this shelter by adding limbs or brush on the top and sides to reduce the wind blowing through it. To me, this shelter is much more work that using just a limb shelter or using a small piece of trap, which I usually have with me on outdoor trips. However, if you've a sharp knife with lots of time on your hands, this shelter works.
Gary Benton has over 45 years of outdoor experience in camping, hiking, fishing, and other activities. He's no armchair survival man, he's walked the walk from the arctic to the desert and all the area in between. Gary has an associates degree in Search and Rescue, Survival Operations, a B.S. in Industrial Occupational safety, and all but his thesis completed for a M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
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