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Practical Plants - Shelter and Bedding


A shelter is, simply put, a barrier between you and the harsh outdoor conditions. Keeping you safe and comfortable, we think it can make all the difference in your survival episode.

Your first priority in building a shelter should be keeping yourself dry and warm! Tips and instructions we listed below will help you build quick, practical shelters and beds.



Place of Construction: When building your shelter or bed, you should pick spots that are next to trees and/or shrubs, giving you a more extensive protection. Watch out, though, avoid tall trees due to their higher risk of lightening, and make sure there are no objects around you (dead tree parts or rocks on cliffs) that can fall.
If it is raining, or if there is a risk of rain, the water will naturally go downhill… Make sure you are building your shelter on relatively high spots then the surrounding, or dig a trench around your shelter area.

Direction of Construction: While building your shelter, keep the backside of the shelter to the direction of the prevailing wind.

lean-to shelter

Eastern Hemlock

You can use Eastern Hemlock boughs for building the main skeleton of this easy set-up shelter, and then strengthen it with pine boughs. You can have one or both of the open sides of your lean-on shelter next to a tree trunk or a wall, so as to provide better protection.

Step1Step 2

Step 1: Try to find rather straight and stout branches for the construction of the support skeleton. Construct the set-up in figure one, pushing the branches firmly into the ground. As depicted, you can either use a branch with a Y end, or two branches crossed to create a Y end.

Step 2: On the Y supports, place branches that run to the ground.

Step 3Step 4

Step 3: Onto the branches that run to the ground, place 3 main branches that are, again, relatively stout. If they do not stay put and roll down, you can make use of cordage and tie them up.

Step 4: Now add more branches (straight or crooked, stout or not) on your ‘roof’. If it’s rainy, adding on more foliage helps keep the water away.



It’s always worth to try and optimize your comfort in nature. Extra bedding will not only make your sleeping/camping experience more comfortable, but it will also serve as an additional shelter.

Leaf Litter Bed:
With the lowest effort and resources, you can simply clutter leaf litter in lieu of a sleeping bag. If the ground is not wet or damp, leaf litter will keep you comfier and significantly warmer than lying out in the open.

Trunk Bed:
This is a life saver especially in the snow. Look for dead cottonwood trunks, which are easy to break apart and lie on the snow for a bed. Cover the trunk with pine branches for insulation. You can add Milkweed down (inside the pod) or Cattail fluff for extra insulation and comfort.

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