4 Ways to Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle

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4 Ways to Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle
4 Ways to Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle

If you're lost or planning to spend time in open woods, shelter is crucial to keeping you dry and safe from the elements. Even if you don't have any tools at hand, you can work with the natural resources around you to create a robust space where you can rest. When you find the right place, you will be able to make several shelters in no time!


Method 1 of 4: Finding the Right Location

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 1

Step 1. Make your shelter on a flat, dry patch of earth

Any moisture present in the soil will easily penetrate through your clothes, leaving you cold overnight. Feel the ground to see if it is dry or muddy before you decide. A flat area also ensures that rain will not cause landslides on the shelter.

If you cannot find flat areas, dig trenches in the ground to divert the water's path away from your desired position

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 2

Step 2. Stay on high ground and away from bodies of water

While it's important to stay a short distance from water sources, avoid taking shelter beside a river or lake. In case of rain or flooding, you and the shelter could end up wet or dragged. Also avoid camping in canyons or low ground for the same reason.

Don't stay in deep valleys, as that's where cold air settles at night

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 3

Step 3. Find an area surrounded by trees blocking the wind

If there are cold winds in your area, the trees will help to soften you up to keep you warm. Try to find a place with dense foliage to hide it and protect it from the elements.

If you want to be found, stay close to open areas where you can attract passing planes

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 4

Step 4. Look up for signs of danger

Check if there is anything aloft that could harm you or the shelter. Look for dead branches, loose rocks or mud, which could easily break off and fall towards you.

Method 2 of 4: Building a Support

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 5

Step 1. Find a rock or fallen tree to use as support

Look for an object that is equal to or longer than your body. Lie down on the floor beside you to check this measurement and determine if there is room to spend the night comfortably. In addition to being the main support of your shelter, the fallen rock or tree will also serve as a protective barrier against the wind.

If you can't find something like this, attach a long branch to two wooden logs for support

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 6

Step 2. Support long fallen branches on solid surface

Keep them close together and at a 45° angle that allows you to lie down comfortably. It is important that there are no gaps or gaps between the branches, or wind and rain can easily enter.

  • Use smaller branches to fill in the gaps.
  • For added stability, make a trench in the ground to secure the trunk bases.
Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 7

Step 3. Cover the structure with dry leaves and bark to protect it from the weather

Continue until this insulation is approximately a foot thick. This helps to fill in the smallest gaps and provides even more protection from the elements.

You may have to walk a bit to find enough dry leaves and bark to cover the structure completely

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 8

Step 4. Place more branches on top of the insulation to prevent it from being carried away

Use heavy and resistant branches that can firm up the insulating layer. Keep adding new branches until coverage is complete.

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 9

Step 5. Place three to four inches of dry leaves inside the shelter

Collect as much dry foliage as possible and use it to charge the soil. This will bring some comfort to the shelter when you lie down.

Avoid using green leaves, as you may end up crushing them and dampening your clothes with the resulting moisture

Method 3 of 4: Building an 'A' Support

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 10

Step 1. Place two sturdy 'A' shaped logs

Use logs that are at least 50 to 60 centimeters long. Join them together at one end and tilt them until the tops overlap. Use grass, rope, or shoelaces to tie them together to form a small 'V' with the upper portions.

  • You can also use tall logs for this step.
  • Secure the logs so that the bottom opening is facing upwind.
Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 11

Step 2. Tie a log 60cm taller than you to the top of the 'A' frame

It is important that it be as straight as possible. Rest one end on the small 'V' on the 'A' frame and the other on the floor. Make sure there is enough space to lie down completely under the shelter. Tie it over the two smaller logs to prevent it from moving or slipping.

For added stability, dig a small hole and secure the end resting on the ground

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 12

Step 3. Cover the ground under the structure with grass and dry leaves

Be at least 15 to 25 centimeters deep in the cover to prevent you from sleeping on the floor. Avoid using dry leaves, which could easily transfer moisture to your body.

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 13

Step 4. Support solid branches on each side of the main trunk to secure the structure

Lay them on each side at a 45° angle to the main trunk. Break or cut those that reach beyond the main trunk, keeping the shelter compact. Fill in the gaps between them as well as possible.

Use smaller logs to cover any holes or gaps to prevent materials from passing through

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 14

Step 5. Place dead branches and dry leaves on top of the structure

Start from the base and proceed in layers over the created support. The thicker the insulating coating, the warmer and more camouflaged you will be. Try to make it two feet deep or more.

Cover the opening of the 'A' structure with more branches if you want to close the shelter completely when outside or sleeping

Method 4 of 4: Making a Tent

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 15

Step 1. Place three long logs on each other to form a tripod

Get them in equal lengths to make the process easier. Tie them at one end with vegetable fiber, rope, shoelace or a belt before standing them up. Leave them at equal distances from each other.

  • The size of the trunks will depend on how many people will be held inside. At the very least, move them far enough away for you to be able to lie down comfortably.
  • Rest them in a circle against a tree trunk for added support.
Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 16

Step 2. Support more logs of the same length on the tripod frame

Find more logs of similar length to form the rest of the tent. When supporting one of them, go to the opposite side and place another one, to always keep it balanced.

Remember to leave a free space on one side to allow entry or exit

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 17

Step 3. Fill in the gaps with smaller branches

Once the main structure is built, look for gaps or holes along the tent. Use smaller, thinner branches to fill them to prevent wind and rain from penetrating. Try to cover as many gaps as possible.

Build a Natural Shelter in the Jungle Step 18

Step 4. Cover the outer portion with hardwood branches for added insulation

Look for sturdy, leafy branches to further insulate your tent. Spread them evenly around in order to get the best possible result.

Dried leaves and other dead materials will end up being blown away by high winds unless you use more logs to keep them in place


Make your shelters the smallest size that is comfortable in order to retain as much heat as possible


  • Many of these structures are temporary and will need to be repaired or rebuilt after a severe downpour.
  • Beware of poisonous plants and insects on the floor before going to bed.
  • Also look for any dangerous objects above you or the shelter, such as broken branches, rocks or mud.

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