How to Build a Rustic Wood Shelter

Written by keith dooley
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How to Build a Rustic Wood Shelter
Use a knife or axe to construct a rustic outdoor shelter. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Shelter is a necessity along with food and water when in the outdoors. Knowing how to make a shelter can provide an escape from wind and rain when other protective cover is not available and is especially valuable when attempting to survive or wait on rescue. Wood is a common building component for making a rustic shelter and is often readily available in many outdoor settings.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Knife or axe
  • Two 4-foot lengths of wood with Y fork on end
  • 6-foot length of wood
  • Eight 1- to 2-inch diameter pieces of wood, 6 feet long
  • Cord, twine or small diameter rope

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  1. 1

    Clear an area on where the shelter will be constructed. Remove leaves, limbs and debris from the ground. Choose a location that is out of prevailing wind if possible.

  2. 2

    Locate standing tree or limb with a 4-foot-straight length and a Y fork on the end. Cut the tree or limb to length with a knife or axe. Locate a second 4-foot-length with a Y fork and cut to length. Use these lengths as side supports for the rustic shelter.

  3. 3

    Insert one of the side supports into the ground at least 1 foot deep. Sharpen the end of the support opposite the Y fork with the axe or knife and push into the ground.

  4. 4

    Place the second support in the ground 6 feet from the first support. Insert the end opposite the Y fork in the ground 1 foot deep.

  5. 5

    Cut a 6-foot limb or small diameter tree with the knife or axe to be used as a cross support or ridge pole. Lay the ridge pole in the Y fork of both end supports so that it is evenly supported on both ends by the end supports.

  6. 6

    Cut 6-foot lengths of limbs or saplings with the knife or axe. Choose 1- to 2-inch diameter lengths to use as framing supports for the rustic shelter.

  7. 7

    Place the 1- to 2-inch supports on the back side of the shelter. Prop the supports with one end on the ridge pole and the other end on the ground. Angle the supports back away from the shelter to form a lean-to. Space the small supports evenly across the ridge pole.

  8. 8

    Tie the ridge pole to the end supports with small diameter cord, rope or twine. Tie the small diameter supports to the ridge pole with cord, rope or twine. Cut the tying material to length with the knife or axe.

  9. 9

    Place evergreen boughs, limbs, grass, leaves and other materials on the small diameter supports to make a roof for the rustic lean-to shelter. Weave the materials in and out between the small diameter supports to further strengthen the shelter.

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