How To Build DIY Survival Shelters To Survive Through The Night

Knowing how to create survival shelters for different environments is a valuable outdoor skill. These 9 DIY survival shelters could just save your life when the sun is getting low and you’re out of luck!

Survival Shelters 101 So You Can Survive Through The Night

If you find yourself in a situation where your knowledge about survival shelters matter the most, but you only have limited equipment to use, would you be able to do it?

If you’re an outdoor person, this topic should be interesting as I’m about to show you the different survival shelters you can build in a particular environment with the available resources you can find. One of the important things to know is to pick a location free from any natural hazard if possible. Anyhow, check out the different survival shelters below and how to build each one.

1. Tarp Shelter

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If you have a tarp or a poncho with you, then you can set up a tarp shelter in just two minutes. These are the steps to make one:

First, anchor down the back side of the tarp facing the wind to ensure your tent won’t be blown away. Second, set up a stick on the other end which will act as an entrance, then tie the tip of the stick with a string or rope with the other end anchored down at a 45-degree angle. This is also a fairly easy shelter to break down if you’re always on the move. Or you could just tie a rope in between two trees and place your tarp over it anchoring all sides on the ground.

2. Debris Shelter

Hobbit hut debris shelter coming up to its 1 year standing , here are a few pics , had many a cosy night in there , great build guys ???? #debrisshelter #bushcraft #woodland #naturalshelter

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The word “debris” itself explains the material you need. Find a ridge pole and elevate one end with two sturdy forked branches or a small pole forming an elongated triangular form. Place branches on either side of the pole down to the ground from end to end. When done, cover the ribs with debris to keep yourself insulated when inside. Cover it again with more branches if you want to.

3. Spider Shelter

How to Build A Spider Shelter | A Survival Life Guide #lifehack

— Survival Life (@Survival___Life) June 13, 2017

This shelter is similar to a debris shelter but has an extra dome-like structure at the front. It gives you extra room for you to sit up, cook, or more space for your gear. It is also the type of survival shelter for medium to long-term use because you can actually upgrade it depending on the situation. This is a great wilderness survival shelter and place to store survival kits and other items since it’s enclosed.

4. Wickiup Shelter

Constructing a quick mini “wickiup” shelter to use as an observer (blind). I’m way off trail and it’s a quiet place to create in nature. All this type of shelter requires is a tripod arrangement of leaned limbs, sometimes around an existing tree. If I were to use it for more than a 360 blind, I would insulate it with smaller debris and leaves. #shelter #primitiveshelter #wickiup #nature #naturalist #outdoorsman #woodsman #outdooradventures #outdoorlife #adventurer #rewild #rewilding #fieldnotes #bushcraft #bushcrafting #wildcrafting #naturalshelter #outdoors #woodlands #october #fall #harvesttime #autumn #newengland #newnative

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This is close to a teepee-kind of shelter if you look at it. You initially start with a tripod to build your base then continue on with more poles as you deem best. The gaps will be filled with debris, such as leaves and small twigs, starting from the bottom working your way up. This is great in keeping you warm, and you can actually light a fire inside it if you want to.

5. Dugout Survival Shelter

This one requires tons of work but this is needed if you need a mid to long-term shelter. A sandy type of soil will be ideal for digging a ditch and this will be your basis for the area of your dug-out shelter. Avoid dry wash basins.

Dig about 2 to 3 feet down and line it up with grass for your mattress. Line the top with branches and place vegetation, which will serve as a roof. Leave enough room for you to get in or out.

If an underground shelter is a bit hard to accomplish, this may be your next best bet. Also, this may be the best option if you’re planning to create a bomb shelter. You can also store your survival gear here with the amount of space available.

6. Juniper Tree Shelter

Juniper Tree Shelter | The DIY Survival Shelters You Need To Know To Survive Anything

This shelter requires very minimal work because of the way the tree is formed. Build the door of the shelter at the backside where the wind is blowing. Pile long branches to form the framework “wickiup” style using the trunk of the juniper tree as your base.

The rest of the tree and its leaves will act as cover for strong winds and moisture. Cover it with vegetation and you can actually build a fire right in front of the doorway and you can keep yourself warmer. Since it’s sturdy, this wilderness survival shelter also proves to be among the best storm shelters out there. Click here for the step by step instructions for building a Juniper tree survival shelter.

7. Rainforest Treetop Hammock

Tentsile Hammock Tents Make a Treetop Adventure or Outdoor Oasis #cad

— CADinfo Net (@CADinfoNet) August 8, 2016

Sleeping on the rainforest floor at night can be very dangerous as there will be nocturnal predators out for the hunt. Choose a spot high up in between the closest trees or with big branches and tie both ends of the hammock on each branch or tree. A strong tarp, blanket, and even a tent can be used. Tie your waist with a rope secured to a branch a bit higher of your hammock in case you roll off.

8. Bamboo House In The Wild

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If you can cut down pieces of bamboo, then you can actually make any kind of shelter you want depending on its abundance. You will need ropes or from a paracord grenade or any paracord project for that matter, and tie each bamboo stick together. You can also bury the basic foundation into the ground and work your way around it by laying more bamboo around and on top. If you have materials to spare, you can also add a storage to contain your survival kit,

9. Igloo

Igloo | The DIY Survival Shelters You Need To Know To Survive Anything

You can build an igloo shelter in 30 minutes by using hard, compact, and dry snow. With the help of a saw or a long knife, you can cut the snow blocks into the right sizes and weight which will serve as the walls of the igloo. In a blizzard, this can mean a matter of life and death. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build an igloo.


No one wants to be in a sticky survival situation. That’s why we need to be extra ready for the worst-case scenario. The best way to do this is to learn as many survival tips or skills as you can and practice them on a regular basis.

You can even make it fun for you and your family. Whatever the odds and wherever in the world you might be, if you’re prepared, you can build your own shelter.

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