Building a Shelter

The right time for a lost hunter to decide on a campsite is during daylight hours. There is no point in thrashing around in the dark. If you are lost, and daylight is running out, make camp.

Building a shelter

It is important to keep warm and dry. Selecting the site for your shelter is very important. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Which way is the prevailing wind?
  • What are the weather conditions?
  • Is there a chance of rain or snow?
  • What natural structures are present?
  • What is available for insulation or comfort?
  • Are there dead trees or logs that might fall in a strong wind?
  • Where can I safely build a fire?


You may want to build a small shelter or lean-to. You can also snuggle in behind a bank of earth or tree trunk. A piece of plastic can be used to waterproof your shelter. Make your shelter comfortable. Lay your insulation materials out so you can rest comfortably. If you don't rest, it will become difficult to stay calm and think clearly.

Snow can be an excellent insulator. You can use it by itself to build a snow hut. Snow can also be banked and even used as a cover on your lean-to to provide extra warmth and protection.

Starting a Fire

Starting a fire
  • Select an area sheltered from the wind. Clear the area of all leaf litter, sticks, and other debris. Arrange your fire to reflect as much heat as possible toward your      

  • Gather a good supply of tinder material. Small twigs, dry grass and leaves make excellent tinder.

  • Gather a good supply of wood. Small dead branches from evergreens make excellent kindling. Also gather large logs. Dead trees still standing or leaning against other trees are usually drier than those on the ground.

  • Once your fire material has been gathered, arrange the tinder in a small pile with the most flammable material at the bottom.

  • Using a match or flint and steel, light the tinder heap. Blow lightly on the burning tinder to increase the heat intensity.

  • Once the tinder burns readily, add pieces of kindling, one by one, until the fire is crackling.