The 2 Warmest Survival Shelters Anyone Can Easily Make (With Pictures)
Let’s get this out of the way straight off the bat, survival shelters are not rocket science. Anyone can make them.
BUT, it takes calories to make survival shelters. So keep that in mind when deciding if you need to make something elaborate for possible long term (3 days or more) situations, or if you just need something quick to get yourself out of the rain.
It typically takes two scenarios where you’d want to make a survival shelter.
1) You have to: You are in a real life survival situation and you need to make something to affect your survival out of what you have on you, what you have around you, or what is closely beyond your current line of sight.
2) Because it’s fun: Thankfully, throughout my life I have fallen into this scenario. I have made tons of shelters over the years because duplicating things I read or see on television is interesting to me and fun.
In doing this though, I now know that if I absolutely NEEDED to get something up quickly with what I have, whether it’s down and dirty and gets the job done, or setup quite nicely for long term survival, I could do it. And the reason I know I could do it is because I’ve practiced it.
Now, I preached 2 things to the high hills in Survival Camping – 5 Things A Normal Person Learns Quickly.
1) Sleeping on the ground is absolutely awful and cold due to conduction.
2) It gets really cold at night, no matter what, even in the summer.
With those 2 things in mind, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, any survival shelters you make; if you have the means and time of course, should be somewhat built for cold weather and to get you off of the ground. I can’t say that enough, GET OFF OF THE GROUND. Not because you’re in the Amazon jungle and you will be bit by fire ants and god only knows what else, but because it’s bone chillingly cold on the ground. It sucks the warmth right out of you and replaces it with soul crushing coldness.
That aside, the two survival shelters I am going to talk about today were made by me on a few different occasions on survival camping excursions where I mimicked a couple different scenarios from stories I read or saw. I will lay out the equipment you need for each one of these shelters.
These are the two warmest shelters I have made and have produced the best sleep in the wild by far. As we all know, sleep is one of the most important things you need in a survival situation, and also one of the hardest things to achieve.
The best ways to achieve sound sleep in the wild I attribute to a few things:
- Protection from the elements.
- Elevation from the ground.
- Sustainable and proximity to warmth
Those qualifiers out of the way, let’s take a look at the survival shelters that worked best for me.
Modified Kochanski Super Survival Shelter
I’d say I was most excited to try this one out when I read about it.
For my purposes, this scenario was duplicated by mimicking a sustenance farmer setting up greenhouses at the best spots in the woods, only getting lost.
What you’ll need:
- A roll of greenhouse plastic or plastic conducive to the penetration of radiating heat. $4.99
- A mylar survival “space blanket” or also known as a “0 degree blanket”. $1.99 (we used 2 actually)
Total cost: $9
How it works:
Heat gets reflected from radiating wall behind the fire -> into the shelter through the plastic via radiation -> bounces off of the space blanket draped over the wall behind us -> reflects down onto the platform and gets trapped inside by the plastic.
I’d like to preface by saying this; as far as survival shelters go, this one was incredible. Let’s take a look at another image first to better illustrate what we’re looking at:
To orient yourself on this photo, we will examine this from bottom -> up, so furthest from the survival shelter to closer in.
At the bottom of this picture you see the fire pit, with a radiating reflection rock wall behind it, to direct the heat of the fire towards the shelter.
BUT ITS NOT TOO CLOSE, as we don’t want the fire too close to the shelter otherwise it will melt the plastic.
Then you see a raised platform of logs which gets the person or people using the shelter off of the ground. On top of the logs, we put a layer of bark, followed by a layer of pine bows, then a layer of tall grass we cut down. We also put one of the space blankets (shiny side up) underneath us on top of the platform to reflect the heat coming through the shelter back into us. This was not absolute necessity, rather just an improvement.
Behind us, is a wall made out of a massive stump we found that made a great backing wall. We supplemented this with other downed trees we piled on to get it high enough. I’ve also seen this done by using the root system of a fallen tree as a backing wall. We then draped the other mylar blanket over the backing wall behind us to reflect the radiating heat entering the shelter through the plastic back down on to us and to keep it inside the shelter instead of leaving out behind us.
As you can see, draped over us is that greenhouse plastic we talked about.
Why is it in front of the fire? Isn’t it blocking the heat?
The plastic draped over front is actually sucking in the heat and allowing it to penetrate into the shelter, then traps the radiant heat of the fire inside the shelter, instead of it escaping through leaves or sticks.
A better look with the shelter “unwrapped”
Here is the back:
Here is the side, which also functions as the entrance:
Now, we experienced a pretty stark temperature drop at night and not only that, but it RAINED and very heavily starting at about 4am.
This shelter kept us entirely dry, and kept us arguably too warm.
The platform below, along with the several layers of insulation eliminated conduction.
Then, the heat was kept trapped inside and remained there, even long after the heavy rain put out our fire.
Raised Platform Modified Lean To Survival Shelter
I couldn’t easily find the exact name of this shelter anywhere, but that’s likely because it’s a heavily modified version of a few other survival shelters.
What you’ll need:
- Some cordage. We used twine. ($1) but you could use free materials you find in the woods.
- Some 8×6 tarps. All you need is one, This was made for 3 people. $4.99
Total cost: $6
NOTE: You don’t even necessarily need the tarps, you could just build a Lean To Survival Shelter atop the raised platform and use debris to weather proof it.
How it works:
This is one is a 3 bunk raised platform, which raises the bunks / sleeping platforms off of the ground via lincoln log style overlapped logs. We lash these together for stability but you don’t need to.
On top of the logs, we put debris and pine bows as insulation and comfort.
It is built into four trees, which act as support to lash the top logs to, creating the faux roof for the tarps to create that slanted Lean To style cover.
The three tarps do not meet in the center, rather leave a hole for smoke to leave through.
The reason for this is because the three bunks / platforms leave a hole in the center of the shelter to walk around and to put your fire pit with a reflecting wall behind it creating a square.
The reflecting wall sends the heat back into the shelter and it is trapped by the tarps behind you and the slant above you. The smoke escapes through the center.
A closer look at the center pit / fire pit:
Here is a closer look at the right bunk / platform:
And here is the side profile:
And a little more angular view of the left and back bunk / platform:
This shelter was great for a lot of reasons and didn’t take very long to make.
It gets you off of the ground, but not only that, heat rises, so the heat was coming up from underneath our bunk, warming our sleeping platforms, and then also towards your side profile, keeping you very warm. Also, due to the lean to style tarp behind us, the heat wasn’t escaping.
Also, it kept you out of the rain. It rained while we were there for awhile and we were bone dry.
It also kept our fire from direct exposure to the rain, thus keeping it going when it rained. Although the tarps didn’t cover the fire directly, they surrounded it from rain blowing in sideways, and the fire was also sheltered from directly above for the most part because we made sure when selecting the shelter location that we had a lot of limb canopy cover from above.
The best survival shelters for sleeping that I’ve been in.
I can tell you, these two survival shelters gave me the best sleeping experiences I’ve had. They were warm and very comfortable.
Anyone can put these shelters up in no time and as you saw, it doesn’t take very much money.
So, if you liked this post, comment below and let us know. Are you going to try making these? If so, give us a shout! Maybe I’ll share my story about accidentally setting my friends bunk, and thus my friend, on fire. Don’t worry, he was okay.
We make a high quality and affordable Paracord Survival Bracelet you could check out as well. Enjoy!