Natural Survival Shelters

Survival – Survival is emerging from natural or manmade disaster in a better position than the average person.

Preparedness – Preparedness is making preparations before disaster or disasters strike to improve your chances of survival.

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Shelters are made to stay out of the wind, rain, and sun. Shelters are also used to live in and get plenty of rest. There are many types of shelters. The shelters are classified in to two categories, natural and man made.

  • Natural shelters are shelters that you can find naturally made or not man made. There are many natural shelters. Here are some examples of natural shelters, caves, rocky overhangs, thickets, and many more. You can also find some other types of natural shelters.
  • Man made shelters are shelter that you make. You may be lucky and find an abandoned building or some type of shelter. There are many types of man made shelters like lean-to’s, igloos, brick shelters and many more. Here are some examples below that you can make. You can also create and make your very own shelter for your specific needs.

Lean -To shelters are shelters that you lean branches or some item onto another. You just need branches or trees, leaves and ferns. Ferns will help waterproof the roof and any other areas that you want waterproofed.

Mud brick shelters are sturdier but may take longer to build. You cut the turf in to the size of bricks you want. Then you can build the walls for the shelter. Next you need to build a roof (ferns would work well).

Igloos can be made if there is snow. You need a snow pile. First put a backpack or some object in snow at top. Then, dig out an entrance that is big enough for you to get in and out. Next, dig until you find backpack or object, then pull it out carefully. Finally, excavate or shape the inside.

Here are some ideas of shelter that you may be able to build. To build a fire you need three types of materials. The three types of material are tinder, kindling and fuel.

  •  Completely rooted parts of dead logs
  • Milkweed, dry cattails, bulrush
  •  Fine, dried vegetable fibers
  •  Lint from pocket and seams
  •  Pieces of wood removed from the inside of larger pieces
  •  Wood that has been doused with highly flammable materials such as gas, oil, or wax
  •  Dry, standing wood and dry, dead branches
  •  Dry inside (heart) of fallen tree trunks and large branches
  •  Green wood that is finely split
  •  Dry grasses twisted into bunches
  •  Peat dry enough to burn (this may be found at the top of undercut banks)
  •  Coal, oil shale, or oil lying on the surface

Building a fire may take some time, but in the end it is worth it. There are for main ways to build or lay a fire. They are Teepee, Lean – To, Pyramid, and Cross – Ditch.

Teepee – Arrange the tinder and a few sticks of kindling into the shape of a teepee or cone. Light the center and the outside logs will fall inward, feeding the fire.

Lean-To -Push a stick into the ground at a 30  angle, with the end of the stick pointing into the wind. Put tinder far under the lean-to stick. Lean some kindling against the lean-to stick. As the kindling catches fire add more wood or fuel.

Pyramid- Place two larger logs parallel on the ground. Place a solid layer of smaller logs across the two logs. Add 3 to 4 more layers, each layer smaller than the last. Make a small starter fire on top, as it burns it will light the logs below it.

Cross-Ditch- Scratch a cross about 12 inches in size on the ground, and about 3 inches deep. Put a wad of tinder in the center, then build a kindling pyramid above it. The ditch is a draft for the fire.

Lighting the fire can be easy if you have the right equipment, if you don’t have the equipment you will have to improvise. Light your fire from the upwind side. Make sure you have all the tinder, kindling, and fuel needed before you start.

Convex Lens – The lens can be from binoculars, cameras, telescopic sights, and magnifying glasses. Angle the lens to concentrate the sun’s rays one dot on the tinder. Hold the lens over the same dot until the tinder begins to smolder.

Metal Match – Place the tip of the metal match on the tinder, hold the metal match in one hand and a knife in the other. Scrape the knife against the metal match to produce sparks. The sparks will hit the tinder and start to burn.

Gunpowder – Carefully take the bullet from the shell casing, and use the gunpowder as tinder. A spark will ignite the powder but it may have very small explosion. Be very careful.

Battery – Attach the wires to each terminal. Touch the ends of the bare wires together next to the tinder so the sparks will ignite it and start fire.

Matches – Make sure the matches are waterproof, if not keep them dry. Store them in a waterproof container along with a few dependable striker pads.

Flint and Steel – The flint and steel method is the most reliable method and probably the easiest. Strike a piece of flint or a sharp-edged rock edge with a piece of carbon steel (stainless steel will not produce a good spark). This method requires practice.

Fire-Plow – Rub a hardwood shaft against a softer wood. Cut a straight groove in the base and plow or slide the blunt tip of the shaft up and down the groove. The plowing or sliding action of the shaft pushes out small particles of wood fiber. Then, as you apply more pressure on each stroke, the friction ignites the wood particles and it will then burn.

Bow and Drill – Place a bundle of tinder under the V-shaped cut in the fire board or softwood board. Place one foot on the board. Loop the bowstring over the drill and place the drill in the precut V depression on the fire board. Place the socket, held in one hand, on top of the drill to hold it in upright position. Press down on the drill and saw the bow back and forth to twirl and push the drill. Apply downward pressure, spinning it and work the bow faster. This action will grind hot black powder into the tinder, causing a spark to catch the tender then it will burn.

Food is very important to survival. Meats are more nourishing than plants. Meat is usually easy to find. You can eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, and reptiles.

Never eat mushrooms unless you’re sure there edible. Here are some plant that you can eat.

  1.  Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
  2.  Separate the plant into its basic components – leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers.
  3. Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible or inedible.
  4.  Do not eat for 8 hours before starting the test.
  5. During the 8 hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.
  6. During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part you are testing.
  7. Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
  8. Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.
  9. If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes.
  10.  If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. DO NOT SWALLOW.
  11. If no burning, itching, numbing, stinging, or other irritation occurs during the 15 minutes, swallow the food.
  12. Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.
  13. If no ill effects occur, eat .25 cup of the same plant prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.


Test all parts of the plant for edibility, as some plants have both edible and inedible parts. Do not assume that a part that proved edible when cooked is also edible when raw. Test the part raw to ensure edibility before eating raw. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.

The human body is made of more than 70% water. It takes less than a 1% reduction in body water to make you thirsty. A 5% loss or reduction causes a slight fever. An 8% loss causes the glands to stop making saliva and the skin turns blue. A 10% loss or reduction and you can no longer walk, and a 12% loss will kill you.

Here are some tools you may find useful. Not one list of survival equipment is all inclusive or will cover every situation. These lists are only intended to be guidelines to start you toward the right direction. Each list must be tailored to you, the individual and the environment you expect to find yourself in and when. Size and weight are also important factors to keep in mind when packing

  1. Gauze Squares, Sterilized, assorted sizes
  2. Plain Absorbent Gauze Pads, assorted sizes
  3. Water Purification Tablets Plastic Bags


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Natural Survival Shelters. (2018, Sep 24). Retrieved from