Free Tips & Easy "How to" Instructions
So, you are lost in the wilderness, you are pretty sure the Blair Witch is chasing you and night is about to fall. You need a shelter and you need one quick. The fastest way to get shelter is to build a lean-to, and lucky for you, you don't have to have an advanced engineering degree to build one, either. All you need are the natural materials that surround you on the forest floor, but you can build one even faster if you prepared for this little jaunt out in the woods. Look around and see if you can gather some loose branches, some leaves, and something to tie with, preferably some roots or vines of some kind. Of course, if you happen to have a blanket and some rope, you can use that, as well.
Start by taking two of your larger branches and stick them in the ground about three feet apart. You would be better off here using two trees that are close together, but if you can't find any that are positioned that way, simply use the biggest sticks you can find and bury them in the ground. Now, take another large stick and tie both ends to the two sticks you buried in the ground. You are going to need to use your ties here so that you have one stick positioned horizontally tied to the two larger sticks positioned vertically. What you are left with at this point should look something like football goalposts.
Now it is time to play scavenger. You are going to need to round up all of the small sticks you can find in your general area. Luckily, the forest floor tends to be littered with them, so you should be alright. Grab as many as you can find and lean them against the cross stick so that you have some kind of protection against the elements. You want to use dozens of sticks because once you have your sticks in place, you want to begin adding leaves and dirt on top of your stick lean-to to provide extra protection, especially if it is windy.
Now that your lean-to is almost finished, you can try to build a fire in the protected area, but remember to use a circle of rocks, otherwise, your fire could get out of control and you could burn down your lean-to or the entire forest, and wouldn't that be embarrassing.
If you came out to the woods with the intension of building a lean-to for the night, you can easily substitute the vine ties with rope or actual twine and you can even substitute the lean-to sticks with a blanket or tarp of some kind. I think it is safe to say that if we ever found ourselves in a situation where we needed to build a lean-to, we would have the necessary tools with us for such an occasion.
You can also use the random items you find throughout the forest to help you build your shelter. If you can find a large enough rock that can protect you from the wind, you can use that as the basis for your shelter, or you can use a downed tree that is resting on its side to begin your lean-to. The key is to start thinking like an animal. Where would a lost, scared animal who wants nothing more than to be in front of a roaring fire with a glass of brandy sleep in the middle of the forest at night? If you can answer that question, you'll likely survive your night in the wilderness.
How many ways to make a camp-fire do you know?
Would you know how to behave if you come across a wild animal?
Care to brush your teeth as our ancestors did?
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Know your bushcraft! Skills, tips and advice on how to survive and prosper in nature.