How do you build a shelter without tools?

The primary objective of constructing a survival shelter is to protect you from the elements. Many individuals believe that they can just create a fire and call themselves prepared in a survival emergency.

While it is true that establishing a fire is critical for keeping you warm (among other things), it is also true that a fire cannot protect you from the wind and rain. This is why you must learn how to construct a shelter, and also why you must learn how to construct a shelter without using survival equipment (since you may very well find yourself in a situation without such tools).

Here are three easy-to-build survival shelters that do not require specific survival tools:

How do you build a shelter without tools?

Leaf Shelter

This shelter is really simple to construct and one of the simplest: all you need to do is form a large pile of dry leaves and then crawl into it to sleep.

There must be enough leaves beneath you to keep you safe from the moist ground, as well as enough leaves above you to shelter you from the wind and rain.

Is this the greatest shelter you’re capable of constructing? Not at all. However, it is a quick and simple shelter to construct and one that can give adequate insulation. All you need are a large number of leaves.

If you have a tarp or blanket with you, you may use it to help keep you covered or as a mattress-like structure to keep you off the ground.

Lean-To Shelter

The lean-to shelter is a very traditional type of survival shelter. All you need to do is locate two trees that are around six feet apart. Between the two trees, attach a pole with vine, shoelaces, thread, or rope.

Following that, lean poles against one of the original pole’s sides to build a wall (this wall should face the direction of the wind to help keep you as protected as possible).

Following that, you’ll need to arrange leaves on the ground to act as bedding and to insulate you from the ground. Additionally, you should lash the side poles to the original pole for added security.

Build a fire on the open side of the shelter to provide warmth. A space blanket placed on the inside of the wall will assist in reflecting the heat back to you.

The A-Frame shelter is a variant on the lean-to shelter that you may construct for further protection. This is the same type of shelter as the lean-to, only that poles are leaning on both sides of the shelter, rather of just one.

Additionally, you may insert leaves, grass, and moss into the crevices in the walls to add warmth.


The wickiup is the most complex and time-consuming of the three shelters to construct; nevertheless, it does not need the use of survival equipment.

The wickiup is a dome-shaped shelter that should take between three and four hours to construct. You’ll need to locate a few poles and sharpen one end. These pointed poles should be driven into the ground and then stacked on top of one another. Utilize vine, shoelaces, twine, or rope to connect them.

Lean more poles against the initial poles to form a wall around the dome, leaving one side open for the entryway. As with the lean-to, you may stuff leaves and grass into the crevices to add warmth and insulation, and you should also make a ground bed to further insulate you.

If you have a tarp, you may wrap or drape it around the wickiup to create an effect similar to that of a teepee.


Each of the shelters listed above can be simply erected without the use of survival equipment. All you need are the appropriate natural resources.