How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shelter

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Creek Stewart, Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft.How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shelter

This past winter (one of the coldest winters in US history, I might add) I filmed 8 episodes of a new survival show called Fat Guys in the Woods. In the show, I take 3 different guys each week deep into the wilderness to prove that if they can survive a week in the woods with me, then they can do anything they put their minds to when they get back home. Even though the title says “fat guys,” it’s not a weight loss show. It’s a wake-up call and ultimately a kick in the pants to bring about positive change. It’s all about men becoming better men by connecting with the wilderness and ultimately themselves. I literally take three guys off the couch and into the weather for a week with practically nothing but a knife and a canteen. It gets crazy real quick after that.

Seeing that it was one of the coldest winters on record, shelter became our #1 survival priority week after week. We built all different types of shelters to take refuge from the snow, sleet, rain, wind, and bitter cold temperatures. Below are two different shelters we built in two of the episodes:

In all but one episode, we built a group survival shelter similar to one of the styles above. One particular week, however, I decided to mix it up a bit and build individual shelters. We were in a wet, cold river valley. I was already tired on day one and really didn’t feel like crawling into a group shelter with three guys for another snoreapalooza. I decided to pull out the big guns and build the warmest, most comfortable shelter I knew.