If you’re anything like me you might have a huge passion for the outdoors and adventure. You might like to push your boundaries to understand your limits. I’m a very enthusiastic outdoorsman and I feel comfortable surviving in the wild for a few days with nothing but my hands. I started pushing my limits when I was a lot younger and very broke. I live in an area known for having some of the most amazing outdoor activities in the world within minutes of the big city. I decided to take advantage of the outdoors because I couldn’t afford to go out every weekend. I took to the mountains for something to do because it was free. I might have had a little larger ambition than I was prepared for because I decided to make my own trail one day and ended up getting lost in the mountains without anything except a lighter, a light jacket, a half empty bottle of water, an energy bar, and the shoes on my feet. Needless to say I was very unprepared and paid the price. I got lost as the sun went down and knew it would be best to wait for the light to come back before making any decisions on what to do. I nestled up against a tree and wrapped myself in my jacket. I lit a small fire at my feet and tried to sleep. I think I was able to get about 20-30 minutes of sleep before the sun came up, and I was exhausted and terrified. The sun welcomed me with its warm rays and I felt a little better about my situation. I found the nearest river and started following it down. The mountains I was hiking in are very close to the city and I knew that all the mountain rivers feed the city below. Because the brush was so thick it took me a few hours before I was able to get any distance behind me. I was too far off the original trail to consider turning back. After about 4 hours of hiking down the river, I finally came upon a trail that I knew headed down to the road. Exhausted and all scratched up from the thick bush I had to make it through, the road was such a welcoming sight. I had to hike about a mile up the road to get back to my truck but I was elated. I was pretty upset that I let myself get into that situation in the first place. I was mad that I went into the wilderness so unprepared with no gear on me for such an event. Most of all though, I was so excited that I had actually gotten lost in the wilderness, pushed through the cold night, and navigated my way out. Granted the whole experience wasn’t too life threatening, but it taught me so much about myself.
From this experience I learned to always be prepared and trust your instincts. I never head to the woods without my backpack full of gear. A lot of people make fun of me for carrying a knife, two bottles, a blanket, multiple lighters, food, first aid kit, compass, etc. for just a simple two-hour hike. You never know what you’re going to get into so it is best to be prepared and I had to learn that the hard way. Ever since then, I’ve been studying and learning ways to make survival, first of all possible, but most of all, easy. The more comfortable I get with my skills, the further I push my adventures and the cooler stuff I get to see. I have more fun out in the woods now and don’t stress about getting lost as much or running into a situation. I’ve spent years learning ways to adapt and overcome. I came across this video and knew I had to share it. Primitive Technology has put together a short video on how to make one of the best outdoor survival shelters I have ever seen. It is called a Wattle and Daub structure and has been used by civilizations for over 6,000 years now. Now this might be a bit much for an overnight stay but you never really can say how long you will need to wait for rescue if there is no plausible way out of your location. Trust me it happens more than you can imagine to people who you would never expect it to. Take a look at these step by step instructions on how to make a wattle and daub shelter with your own two hands.
First things first, you need to find yourself a good level ground with plenty of resources around. This type of shelter won’t work in most desert areas due to a lack of resources, but anywhere with trees and leaves will provide everything you need. Clear the area you will be working with and make sure it is about 10 feet by 10 feet.
I always carry a good knife but if you are caught stranded with nothing to your name, you’ll need to find something that will cut down small limbs. A good flat rock can be chipped at in order to make a sharp cutting tool. Make sure it’s a larger rock in order to let the weight and momentum do most of the work, saving those precious calories you are going to need to ration.
After a little chipping using a round rock against a flat rock, a good heavy blade can be made, which with enough effort will cut down the trees you’ll need.
You want to find branches that are between 2 and 3 inches thick. Cut them by hacking at the base with your sharp stone. Break them off and clear them of the limbs.
Use the stump from one of the trees you cut down as a sturdy base to cut your pieces to the proper lengths.
Using a digging stick, you should pound some holes into the ground that your base columns will stick into. Use a large rock to pound the stick into the ground. This will create some holes to insert your main support poles.
You’re going to need some vine. You can find this almost anywhere in the woods. From very small branches to roots, almost anything thin and pliable will work.
Insert two poles about 7 feet tall on the outside center border of your area. Lash a cross beam between the two, holding them together and upright. You will need to make the same thing only about half the size toward the edges of your area on both sides of your main center beam.
Using smaller branches that have been lashed together at the two ends you can create the roof structure that will simply lay into place. The roof branches are tied together where they meet at the top. If you gather 4 or 5 of these, it will provide more than enough support for the roof.
Next you will need to gather a bunch of leaves. It is better to gather leaves that have already fallen because they will not change shape as they dry.
Gather some long straight twigs and fold the leaves in half with their natural bend. Pierce the top of the leaf with the twig and spread them apart evenly. This will create your roofing.
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