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How to Make a Lean-to Shelter

A lean-to shelter is one of the most basic and easiest to build. If you're stranded in the forest or need to rest before you continue on your way, a lean-to shelter probably is the best option. Creating a lean-to shelter may take a hour or so, but once finished it will provide protection by keeping you out of the sight of animals and by providing shelter from the rain.

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  1. Look around the area where you intend to set up your shelter. Look for any signs of predators, insect infestation or areas prone to flash floods (near rivers or lakes). The area should be on flat land.

  2. Gather two branches, about four feet in length, that have forks on one end. Find two more branches, about six feet long, and other strong, straight branches of different sizes.

  3. Dig a hole into the ground, about one foot deep, and place one stick y-side up into the ground. Fill in the hole with dirt and make sure the branch is secure in the ground. Do the same with the other stick about six feet from the other branch.

  4. Place a six-foot branch across the top of the two y-shaped branches. The stick should rest on top of these y-shapes, creating a bridge between them (see image).

  5. Place six-foot branches on this bridge at about a 60 degree angle (see image).

  6. Place sticks on the sides of the shelters vertically (see image). This is the basic structure of the lean-to shelter. You may cover the sides with broken logs, large pieces of bark, or small sticks if needed to help keep heat inside.

  7. Cover the lean-to structure with large leaves, grass or ferns. Be sure to start layering the brush from the bottom and work your way upward. This will allow water to fall off your shelter instead of in.

  8. Tip

    Build a fire in front of the shelter if needed.

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Things You'll Need

  • (2) 4-foot y-shaped branches
  • (6) 6-foot straight branches
  • 12 branches of various size
  • Brush (leaves, ferns, sticks, grass)

About the Author

Since 2007, Emilia Lamberto has been a professional writer specializing in home and garden, beauty, interior decorating and personal relationships. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Lamberto owns two blogs, one which provides readers with freelance job opportunities and one which covers beauty advice and product reviews.

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