Survivor School: How to Build A-Frame Shelter in Wilderness

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A VERY fast A-frame, open on both ends, made with a tarp and chordage

I will visit a commonly known shelter, of which there are several ways to build.  It is called the A-Frame shelter.  There is a lashed version (uses a tree for stability) and a free standing version.  A-Frame shelters are a very useful type, because they are quick and strong. It is useful for keeping dry in hot, rainy weather.During any wilderness expedition (or considering my audience, bug-out scenario), learning to build even the crudest of shelters will assist you in success.  If you got off course, or had your primary shelter destroyed, or even found yourself trekking without a tent, it is a good idea to have some basic preps to help your endeavors.

First way to make one is to tie cordage between two trees pretty tight.  Then drape your tarp, emergency blanket, or poncho over the cord.  and secure the bottom with rocks, logs, or stakes to make it in the shape of an “A”.  Once you have done this, you can place whatever bedding you want on the ground for warmth.  Evergreen (Pine or Spruce) boughs are pretty useful as insulators and can be used to make tea with in the morning.  You can also choose to brace the middle with cord to a branch or 2 branches lashed together to make an A in the middle of the tent if no branch is available.

A similar design employs freestanding A-frames on both sides with poles attached to both ends for stability.  You can then build the cage or use a tarp as stated above.  If you build the cage of branches, you can cover the tent with evergreen boughs for insulation and broad leaf branches, from bottom to top, in order to have natural shingles to keep the rain off.

A Frame Wilderness Shelter

A Frame Wilderness Shelter

For insulation, it is beneficial to add a pine or spruce “bed” in the bottom of the tent, since the majority of body heat is lost to the ground, while sleeping.  And for stability, you can secure some diagonal branches on both ends that will keep the a-frame from flexing each direction.  You could also use some cord tied to the top, and staked diagonally into the ground.

There is about a million ways to fix up an A-Frame Shelter.  If you have any cool ways, let me know in the comments.

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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