Building a shelter on your own in the middle of the woods is one of those skills that you never know when it might come in extremely handy. Want to know how to build a shelter? Check out our guide!
When can the skill of building a shelter be useful?
In the Polish mountains it is not difficult to meet a tourist, hiker or local inhabitant. An exception may be the south-eastern regions of the Bieszczady Mountains or still half-wild Beskid Niski, especially the area bordering the Bieszczady Mountains. These areas to some extent have not yet been too contaminated by human activity, and buildings are much less frequent there than in other areas of our country.
Mountains can be unpredictable. Even a seemingly safe place can turn out to be very treacherous when the weather suddenly breaks. It is enough that a dense fog descends on the trail, and you momentarily lose orientation in the terrain. You may also twist your ankle and not even make it out of the woods before darkness falls. There can be many more unexpected events. Sometimes it is a coincidence that you decide to spend the night in the forest, because you think that such a decision will be more sensible than wandering around in the dark. It is worth being prepared for such an eventuality.
Is building a shelter in the woods difficult?
As a beginner in survival and outdoor adventures, you are probably wondering what you need to do to build a shelter by yourself. This is not an extremely difficult task. Anyone with the right knowledge can do it. First of all, you need to choose a suitable place to build a temporary shelter. Think carefully about whether the area you have chosen is free of potential hazards. On the one hand, proximity to a stream means access to water, but too close to a river, especially during a downpour, can result in flooding.
What will you need to build a shelter?
You can use all the richness that the forest bestows on you. Branches, sticks, leaves – you can find it all around you. The exception is in winter, when the entire area has been covered with a thick layer of snow. In that case, the only sensible solution is to dig a snow pit.
Start building your hut by creating a basic structure. You must first build a skeleton. Use the longest branches you can find for this. This structure should resemble an old tent. On both sides of the structure, put up the racks made of branches and on top of them, place the ceiling. Add additional branches in such a way as to create a truss. Once you have the basic structure in place, you’ll need to work on the exterior of the tent. You can use branches and leaves for this purpose. If possible, avoid cutting down live trees. Look for branches that are lying on the ground. Choose wood that will dry well. Do not light a campfire in your shelter under any circumstances! If you want to get warm, light a fire on a specially prepared hearth, but take care not to expose the forest to fire.
If not a shelter, then what?
You don’t always have to work hard to build a shelter in the forest. If you want to avoid strenuous work and at the same time you want to protect yourself and your belongings from possible rain, you can pack a shelter in your backpack. It is a sheet, a piece of waterproof material. It is light and very handy. If you need to, you can stretch it between the trees to protect yourself from the rain.
Is it legal to spend the night in the forest?
As a general rule, it is not permitted to spend the night in the forest. It is not permitted to camp in the forest. However, in an emergency situation where your own safety is threatened, you must somehow survive the night. Interestingly, regulations for camping on national forest land are slowly changing. Until now, there was a pilot program that allowed wild camping in designated regions of the state. Starting this year, the list of allowed places may grow longer. This is great news for all survival enthusiasts who want to get a taste of wilderness overnight camping under a cloud.
Featured photo: Pixabay