Top 4 Emergency Shelter Ideas

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Editor/Contributor: Joshua Garcia

Shelter is generally #2 on my list (#1 is water). However, it’s still important. When we think about shelter, we need to keep in mind that the clothes on our back and our surroundings can help us with shelter. For instance, the hat on your hat provides some good shelter from the sun. Or that big coat provides shelter from the rain or snow or wind. The trees that surround you can provide protection from the sun. Caves can provide some temporary shelter (just make sure no vicious critters are living in there!).

And so on. Shelter can come from many different places. Think outside the box!

However, sometimes the scenario is so rough and you absolutely need to hunker down in some shelter, or maybe it’s about nightfall and you need shelter to get through the night. Here are some ideas for emergency shelter:

  1. Poncho – I’m not talking about the cheap $1 ponchos that you can get at any gas station. I’m talking about a sturdy, military type poncho. I have a LOOGU and have used it several times. It’s a beast! Everyone should have a good, solid poncho in their gear. It comes in handy not just for rain, but for building shelter as well.
  2. Tarp – Generally when people think of a tarp, they think of big, beefy, heavy tarps. But you can find some lightweight and inexpensive tarps. Sure, the lightweight ones may not be as big as you may want, but they’ll certainly give you the shelter that you need, especially if you get creative with how you place it.
  3. Emergency Blanket – Everyone needs at least one emergency blanket in their gear. They’re cheap, lightweight and take up practically no space. They are, however, quite loud. That’s basically the only downfall. But sometimes loudness isn’t an issue. You can also get one of the SOL Emergency Blankets  which I really like because they’re a little quieter and they seem to be a little stronger, too. Making a shelter out of an emergency blanket is quite simple.
  4. Wilderness shelter – Building an emergency wilderness shelter is an important skill to have. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, sometimes you’re up sh*t creek and need shelter! So what do you do? Look to nature! There are many types of wilderness shelters based on regions and I recommend getting outside and testing out some different types of shelters. Try not to cut down any branches or anything, either. Try to find all that you need from the ground, that’ll help expand your mind on how to build a shelter without the “necessary” tools.

Trash bags can also be used as quick, emergency shelter if need be. It really does depend on the circumstances and sometimes you may need to use your imagination. If you don’t have the proper gear, then you’ll have to use what nature has provided. Do you know how to build wilderness shelters?

Here are a couple videos that I’ve done on shelter:


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