You should be sheltered from the wind, near water but clear of any risk of flooding - with a plentiful supply of wood near at hand (in forest areas, keep to the edges where you can see and be seen). Check above your head for dead wood in trees that could crash down in a high wind. Don't camp across a game trail. Bear in mind that the sound of running water can drown out other noises which might indicate danger, or the sound of search parties.
TYPES OF SHELTER
For immediate protection, rig up a makeshift shelter while you construct something more permanent. If walking to safety, build temporary shelters at each halt; if sufficiently light, they can be carried with you.
Where no materials are available for constructing a shelter, make use of natural cover. In completely open plains, sit with your back to the wind and pile any equipment behind you as a windbreak.
Branches that sweep down to the ground or partly broken boughs can provide shelter, but make sure they are not likely to fall off the tree. Make a similar shelter by lashing a broken-off bough to the base of another branch where it forks from the trunk (a).
The spreading roots and trapped earth at the base of a fallen tree make a good windbreak. Fill in the sides between extended roots for added shelter.
Even a shallow depression will provide protection from the wind, but you must deflect any downhill flow of water if it is a hollow on a slope.
Make a roof to keep rain off and warmth in. A few sturdy branches laid across the hollow can support a light log laid over them, against which shorter sticks can be stacked to give pitch to the roof and so allow water to run off. Consolidate with turf, twigs and leaves
A log makes a useful windbreak if it is at the right angle to the wind. With a small trunk, scoop out a hollow in the ground on the leeward side. A log also makes an excellent support for a lean-to of boughs
DRAINAGE AND VENTILATION
A run-off channel dug around any shelter in which you are below, or lying directly on, ground level will help keep you dry. Do not try to seal all gaps: ventilation is essential.
A shelter is more comfortable if it is high enough to sit in, so increase its height by building a low wall of stones round your hollow. Caulk between the stones with turf and foliage mixed with mud
If suitable growth is available, select two lines of saplings, clear the ground between them of obstructions and lash the tops together to form a frame for sheeting. Weigh down the edges of the sheeting with rocks or timber. A similar shelter can be made from pliable branches driven into the ground
If you lack sheeting, choose or place saplings closer together, weave branches between them and consolidate with ferns and turf.
With a waterproof poncho, groundsheet, plastic sheeting or canvas, a number of shelters can be made.
Make use of natural shelter
(a) or make a triangular shelter with the apex pointing into the wind
(b) Stake or weigh down edges. If it is long enough, curl the sheeting below you, running downhill
(c) Use dry grass or bracken as bedding. Do not lie on cold or damp ground
A closely woven fabric will keep out most rain if set at a steep angle. Fit one shelter within another
(d) - rain will rarely penetrate both layers. Avoid touching the inner surface of woven fabric during rain - this draws water through
The quickest type to erect has three or more angled support poles, tied where they cross to make a cone. They can be tied on the ground and lifted into place before covering with hides, birch bark, or sheeting. Leave an opening at the top for ventilation.
Wider angles will give greater area but shed rain less easily
A parachute, suspended by its centre, makes an instant tepee. Peg out bottom edge.
Even simpler, suspend a parachute tepee from a tree. Steep-angled sides will allow water to run off. Fold a segment of the chute double for a door flap, slit along a seam and make a tie fastening to close it.
Stick walls and screens
Build walls by piling sticks between uprights driven into the ground and (if possible) tied at the top. Use to make one side of a shelter, to block an opening, or for a heat reflector behind a fire.
To make a very sturdy stick wall, increase the space between the uprights, use two stacks of sticks and fill the gap with earth
Use springy saplings, plant stems, grasses and long leaves to make wattle and woven coverings for 'roofs and walls. First make a framework from less pliable materials, either in situ or as a separate panel to attach later. Tie the* main struts in position. Weave in the more pliant materials
If no ties are available, drive vertical stakes into the ground and weave saplings between them. Caulk with earth and grasses.
If suitable firm cross pieces are scarce, weave creepers between the uprights. Very large leaves, lashed or weighted down, can be overlapped like tiles or shingles to keep out rain.
Long grass can be bunched and woven, or use birch bark to make tiles. Ring a birch tree with even 60 cm (2 ft) cuts and remove bark (a). Fix pairs of canes or creepers across a frame (b). Upper ends of tiles are gripped between the canes; lower ends rest on those below (c).
OPEN LEAN-TO SHELTER
If there is nothing to lean a roof against (and no need to keep out heavy rain or blizzards) use panels of wattle or grass-covered frames.
Erect a horizontal cross-piece between trees or on simple supports. On the windward side lean a panel of wattle, or lean saplings at 45° to make a roof. Add side walls (a). Site your fire on the leeward and build a reflector (b) on the other side to prevent
Follow the methods outlined for the lean-to structure (p. 164). Extend it with a less angled roof and a front wall, or build vertical walls and roof them over with deep eaves to give extra shade and to ensure that rain runs off. In hot climates the walls can then be fairly open lattice to allow air to pass through. Grasses and mud will seal cracks. In climates with heavy rainfall, use leaves or bark like tiles on top.
If you have bamboo or other strong material to build a firm frame in tropical climates, raise the floor of your shelter off the ground to keep out other creatures.
Cut sections of turf 45 x 15 cm (18 x 6 in) and build with them like bricks, overlapping them to form a bond. Keep the structure low - big enough to sit but not to stand in. One side could be open, facing your fire. Slope the sides to give pitch to the roof, which will be supported by spars of wood. Lay turfs on the roof as well, or cover it with grass