Here Is How to Build a Long Term Survival Shelter

A cheap family tent in the woods might not make it through a storm. Or a poncho shelter won’t definitely last too long either. Maybe if only for the summer, it might be okay, but what if you had to stay in a survival shelter for months or years. So if your home collapsed and which damage looks irreparable, you’d definitely need to learn how to build a long term survival shelter, and it’s exactly what you will discover in the following guide.

A word on survival shelter plans

Depending on the location where you’re building the shelter and on the supplies available, source materials either from nature or on hand supplies.

And given that during a survival situation you’re going to build a shelter on the spot, the more that you need to be as flexible as possible. That is why you also need to make adjustments to your designs as you deemed fit to suit your requirements and needs.

How to Build a Long Term Survival Shelter

When building a shelter meant for long-term survival in the woods, for instance, you must first consider the environment around you along with your supplies so that you can build a wide range of shelters. (Did we say that again?)

The tools

The main materials you will need for the shelter are logs, tree branches and so on. You will also need manmade materials, such as a tarpaulin, Paracord and other things.

Also, as you need to do some slicing, chopping and digging, you will need tools, including a multi tool, a knife, a hatchet, a shovel and more. You will also need heavy-duty gloves and sack that can help you in the building process.

Nevertheless, you should also test the tools to find out if they’re working well or not before you start using them for the long-term survival shelter.

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Building a Long-Term Survival Shelter Using Your Natural Resources. Bushcraft!

Choose the location

Location is the most essential aspect of the shelter because it can make or break your strategies for survival. Select one that will let you sleep soundly and in peace. You should stay away from wet or muddy surfaces as well as from bumpy grounds.

  • The ideal location should not also be lower than the ground or just below a cliff. Otherwise, a heavy downpour could deliver flash flooding to the lower ground and destroy your shelter. If you’re left with no choice, you might want to consider digging drainage trenches.
  • It will be nice to choose a place near a source of water, but do not ever attempt building your shelter next to it. Or else, your shelter will be flooded fast if the water rises.
  • You must consider building the shelter on a flat ground, which is covered by nearby terrains.
  • Avoid the high grounds, too. It is not a good place to build the long-term shelter that can be blown away by strong winds.

Video tutorial: Choosing a Survival Shelter Location How To

What are your needs and requirements?

What is your current situation? The answer to this question will help you decide on the shelter’s characteristics.

You also have to determine how much time it will take you to build the shelter considering the weather condition and temperature as well.

In addition, you should know if you needed to set up the fire inside/outside the long-term shelter. You need to be thorough on this matter to avoid the risk of exposing your body to dehydration or hypothermia.

Decide on the shelter’ design

Know that shelters come in many kinds – each with unique qualities meant for specific conditions.

  1. You should decide on the type of shelter based on the current situation and surroundings. But then, you must decide on a design, which won’t require you with too much effort and time.
  2. Then, you must look for two tall trees, which are all it takes to build the sturdy shelter. You will also need strong branches. For the trees,   find two, which are ideally up to eight feet apart, and then begin collecting branches.
  3. Tie a long branch across the two trees using a Paracord to form a U shaped frame.
  4. Arrange the branches along the frame’s bottom and secure them with a Paracord.
  5. For the shelter gaps, cover them with additional debris, branches, bushes or anything you can find around you or on hand.

There you have the basics of building a long-term survival shelter, which won’t require much time and effort.   Definitely, you can make a shelter with a few survival skills!

Survival Shelters In the Woods: Pro Tips


It can provide you with vitamin D, heat and light.

When setting up camp, you might want to use an induction compass to know the four directions. If you don’t have it, you can make use of natural methods.

If you’re building the long-term survival shelter in the summer, ensure that it can shade you from the sun.

In the winter, make sure your shelter would be facing the sun for the day (southeast). You should also check that the mountains and trees wouldn’t be blocking the sun.


When choosing where to set up the camp, pick a location that is not more than 60 yards from water source because you will need to take a trip to it at least once a day, and you will not want to  waste energy during  this tough, survival situation.

Insects and bugs

Do not settle near stagnant water if mosquitoes, bugs and other insects thrivein the area. Avoid any place like it when setting up camp; instead, select a breezy spot, but not if it is winter. That is why you have to consider it very carefully and be ready to make a compromise.


What is the prevalent wind in the area? Are they coming from the west? Is there breeze coming from the valleys and mountains?

  • Know the direction and source of the wind. That will help you determine if the smoke and rain is going into or away from the survival shelter.
  • The wind will also steal your shelter’s warmth, so seal your shelter from the sides.
  • Be ready and plan accordingly.

Trapping and Fishing Line

  • It would be great to find a camping location near a fishing spot, including waterfalls or rapids.
  • It is an important aspect of long term survival shelter that you should look into carefully.
  • You must also find a location near foraging and trapping areas.
  • For building a trap line, you can use a loop, which must be near your campsite.


Is the shelter near its sources? Your long-term survival strategies also need to include the planning for how to find and collect firewood that is one of the aspects you need for ultimate survival.

For one, you must calculate the amount of wood you will need for a day, but then you must triple that amount, too.

Make sure that firewood sources are near your camp.

There must also be an abundance of it to make your shelter durable. You won’t want to be hauling wood too far away from your camp.


Stay away from potential hazards – falling debris, landslides, floods or avalanches, and so many more.

The camp must be away from the elements, such as strong winds as well as falling branches and trees because dead ones might fall and ruin your shelter.

It will be a huge mistake to build your wilderness shelter near these potential hazards.


Either by a river or trails, the shelter should be easily accessible for better mobility. When choosing a location, do not build in a very secluded place that is also far from sources of food and foraging materials.

In short,   your camp must be accessible so that you can get in and out of the area without a hassle.

Essentials for your long-term wilderness shelter

If you’re looking to stock a shelter or if you want to have a bug out bag ready for the survival situation, a few items you need include but not limited to the following,

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sewing kit
  • Lighter
  • Emergency food
  • Pellet gun
  • Tinder
  • Tarp
  • Flint
  • Compass
  • Metal cooking pot
  • Portable stove
  • LED light
  • Canned food
  • Shortwave radio
  • Toolkit
  • Poncho or rain suit
  • Maps
  • Water bottles
  • Slingshot
  • Gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol

Remember that utilities and power are not or might not be available in a survival situation, so it might be helpful if you would also have cooking tools, such as a solar oven, which can give you peace of mind knowing you can use it for cooking in the wilderness.

Final Thoughts

No one will be sufficiently prepared for an emergency, disaster or survival situation because of unknown and unexpected variables. Also, some things can go wrong suddenly, catching you unprepared.

So the best thing to do before disaster strikes is to ensure you have the basic essentials for building a long-term wilderness shelter, which lacks the convenience features your home sweet home.

But with the above guide on how to build a long term survival shelter, you will have the necessary knowledge in building one based on the location – nearness to firewood, water and food source, away from harsh and hazardous elements and accessible and convenient to get in and out of the area.

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