With all of the chaos of recent years, an apocalypse has never seemed like a more real possibility.
This article will give you all the knowledge you need to build a basic long term survival shelter to safely house you and your loved ones.
So if you're wondering "how to build a long term survival shelter?" then this is the resource for you...
DISCLOSURE: DisasterShelters.net is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.
Location Of Your Shelter
Location is arguably the most important factor to consider when building a long term survival shelter. It should be a level and dry surface.
Wet and bumpy terrain will be very uncomfortable to sleep on and could be difficult to build a stable structure on.
You should look for an area close to a water source as this is one of the most basic needs of humans. Experts advise a distance of around 60 yards.
It should not be too close, however, as you run the risk of your shelter flooding if there is a lot of rain and the water levels rise.
It also should not be at the bottom of a hill or cliff, as this can lead to water damage in the rain. It should not be at the top of a high point such as a hill either.
This is because winds are stronger higher up and your shelter will be massively exposed.
Look for a flat surface surrounded by proximity terrains and with a water source close by. It should also be close to your home so that you can easily make it there in case of an emergency.
If your area is susceptible to extreme weather such as hurricanes, try to ensure the shelter is outside of the hurricane zone.
You should make a shelter that faces S during summer and SE during the winter to maximize the sun exposure your shelter will get.
Ensure the sun will not be blocked by trees or other landmarks.
Take into account the wind direction. You do not want to leave your shelter exposed to the wind as this can cause a lot of heat loss.
Material Needed To Build A Long Term Survival Shelter
You will need to look for durable and scavengable materials, and being able to make use of naturally sourced materials is highly advantageous.
People have used all sorts of materials to create shelters, from more basic tarp and wood designs to more durable steel shipping container compounds.
The materials you need will depend on many variables.
These include location, weather patterns, availability and cost of materials, and many more things.
You will also need materials to sustain your life.
These include firewood, food, and other necessities. Look for a campsite in an area where these things are easily accessible.
Design For Your Shelter
There are many different designs for survival shelters. The most common are an A-Frame (or lean-to), Wicki-Up (or teepee), and a Quinzhee (or snow cave).
A-frame shelters look similar to a tent with one of the sides removed.
Find 2 trees close together to act as the bracing pillars for the shelter. These should be sturdy to prevent your shelter collapsing.
Take a thick log of wood and tie parallel to the 2 tree trunks at chest height. This forms the stabilizing beam for the shelter’s roof.
Lay some long, thin sticks on the ground of the shelter to form rudimentary flooring.
This may seem pointless but will help to insulate your shelter and keep it dry for longer.
Lean lots of long sticks against the roof support beam at a 45 degree angle to create a roof.
Tie them on so that they don’t fall during the night. Cover the roof with tarp if you have any, or pack leaves and other vegetation into the sticks. This insulates the shelter further and prevents rainwater coming in.
Make a bonfire in front of the shelter to produce heat, and construct a basic wall behind to keep draughts away from the fire.
Teepee shelters are also a longstanding design in the outdoor shelter sphere.
They are very simple to construct, all you need is a lot of long sticks and some string. Lean the sticks against each other to form a large triangular structure, and tie at the top to hold them in place.
Reinforce this with 3 small sticks at the side of the pyramid at the top of the teepee. Gather a lot of smaller sticks and tie them in and around the longer ones.
Continue to layer the sticks until you have proper walls formed. Reinforce with packed layers of vegetation to provide insulation.
Quinzhee shelters are essentially a very rudimentary igloo and are only suitable in very cold and snowy climates. Build a large pile of snow.
This should have the space to fit you inside comfortably but does not need to be much larger.
Allow the pile to sit and settle for at least 90 minutes - use this time to look for firewood. Dig the opening, slightly lower than the floor will be.
Hollow out a flat space for the ground, and create domed walls by hollowing out the top of the mound.
Keep checking to ensure the walls are thick enough to not collapse.
The thicker the walls are, the better the insulation of the shelter will be. Cover the ground with vegetation or tarp to keep you warmer.
Size Of Your Shelter
When making survival shelters, we advise keeping them as small as possible.
This is because they will be much easier to heat. You will also need a storage area, so be mindful of this.
You could even purchase or build a separate, secure food storage shelter from something like a shipping container.
These do not have to be heated like your living space but do need to be secure so that wildlife can’t get in.
You should also consider building an outhouse for when nature calls.
We suggest keeping it at a distance of at least 100 yards from your water source and where you are cooking.
How To Build A Long Term Survival Shelter Summary
We hope that this article has been informative and you feel confident in your knowledge of how to build a long term survival shelter now for when SHTF.