Building a natural shelter:

To start building our natural shelter, first, we’re going to find a sapling that will bend over without breaking. I like to use a sweet gum tree in Mississippi because they bend easily without breaking, and this process will not kill the tree. Select one in a good location as defined before and ensure it is at least 8 feet tall. Next, we’re going to sharpen the top end of the sapling to a point and push this point into the ground as deep as we can. Now, you should have an arch made from a live tree. The tree will continue to grow and is not harmed. Once we are done with the shelter, we can disperse the building materials and remove the tree from the ground. 

 

Next, you will gather fallen branches and sticks to lean against this arch. The longer the sticks, the more angle you will have for your shelter, allowing more room to lay down and for your gear. Place as many sticks as possible on your arch, trying to close as many gaps as possible. Use larger branches first, then fill in the remainder with smaller ones. The larger twigs should run vertically from the top of the arch to the ground, and this will act like ceiling joists similar to those in your house. The smaller branches should run horizontally from side to side; this will help trap more debris onto your shelter.  

 

Now, You have to collect lots of leaves to cover up all the sticks you leaned on the arch. Thatching is defined as a material used to cover roofs, such as straw, rushes, leaves, or the like. All these leaves and pine straw that I am collecting will act as the thatching and help block the wind and rain and, in hot environments, provide shade from the sun.

Repeat the steps on the opposite side to turn this into an A-frame-style shelter. An A-frame or opposing lean-to offers more protection and warmth and is better for colder environments. In my geographic location, a lean-to is all I need, even on colder nights.

If you have made a natural shelter to camp in, collect more leaves for use as a mattress pad or bedding. This method is really for people who do not have any sheltering system with them. 

 

Natural shelters can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You can use rock overhangs and caves if you wish. A shelter protects you from the elements during bad weather or cold weather conditions.

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