Category Archives: Bushcraft

Bite Sized Bushcraft – Finding Water

Finch in water

Bite Sized Bushcraft – Finding Water

As I child I would often watch Cowboy and Indian Movies and movies about people surviving in the wilderness. It would amaze me how a character would be in a bad way and suddenly see something that showed them the way to water, food or help. As I got older I would learn more about how we can use nature and what is around us. Whether it was from books, TV or people around me I was hooked from an early age. This Bite Sized Bushcraft Article is about one of the snippets of information I learned, that has stuck with me. It is about  birds helping us finding water.

Birds Finding Water?

Finches are a bird that eats grain. They can eat a lot in a day especially if there is Flock of them. Other birds that are similar are doves and pigeons. Birds that eat a lot of grain also need a lot of water. There is little or no water in the grain. Birds higher up the food chain that eat meat need less water, because they get most of what they need from the flesh that they eat.

The first thing to do is identify any birds you may find locally that eat grain. Then you can start looking. It is easy to

Finch in water

Finches Getting the water they need. Finding water using birds

think well they will eat grain during the day then fly off to get water before they rest up for the night. So you will look for them later in the day. Sadly this isn’t the best method. they could be going backwards and forwards all day long.

So you need to learn to track these birds in some way. You cant track then in the convention way we would track an animal due to a lack of ground sign (Spoor). So you need to know which way they are going, are they going to or from their water source. You needto observe the bird and you will see it doing one of two things.

  1. Flying fast and low in a direct route.
  2. Flying in a general direction but flying from tree to tree.

The grain eating birds that are flying low and fast in a direct route are usually going towards water. The birds flying in a general direction but flying from tree to tree are more likely to be returning from their water source. The reasoning is quite logical when you think about it. After these birds have got a belly full of water they are more sluggish, so they are more vulnerable to other animal hunting them as prey. So it is safer to go the shorter distances from tree to tree trying to remain in some sort of cover. The birds flying towards the water are more agile and can fly faster, keeping themselves safer. So they can fly in a more direct route.

As with all natural sign look for otherinformation to clarify what you have learned. In the meantime when you are

ut if they are going to or from water or doing some other task.

Have fun learning more about the outdoors and how you can work with it. As some martial artists say.”Bend like the willow don’t stand stead fast like the Oak” Work with nature, list and observe what it is showing you, don’t try and fight against it.

Follow us Bushcraft4kids on Facebook

Bite Sized Bushcraft

Bite Size Bushcraft

Bite Sized Bushcraft

You may have heard the question “How do you eat a mountain of ice cream?” Answer “One spoonful at a time.” Learning Bushcraft can be daunting. There is so much to learn, where do you start? How can you learn all this? The answer is “One Spoonful at a time.” That is manageable pieces, Bite Sized Bushcraft are small articles that give information about a topic. These might be something easy to practice or try by yourself or with your child, if you have a few minutes to spare, or it maybe something to lookout for whilst out on a walk. The first post is going to be some information that could help you find water. This is something you can practice any time any where. I find little things like this great to pointout to children when out on a walk. Alternatively you may ak the child or children to look out for a variety of things. Here are a few example of what I often use to keep children interested and enjoying walks.

Bite Size Bushcraft

Bite Size Bushcraft, Making outdoor activities fun and learning at the same time.

  • Indicators of a water source,
  • Something that would assist in natural navigation
  • Finding and identifying plants and trees.
  • Looking for and identifying plants, berries and roots that could be foraged for food or medicine.

By learning from these Bite Sized Bushcraft Posts you will learn More and learn it quicker. I hope you will also find ideas about how to incorporate it into outdoor activities with your children. Most important enjoy yourselves whilst you are outdoors and enjoy quality time with young people outdoors.


Follow Bushcraft for Kids on Facebook

Fun Survivalist Quiz-Which Famous Survivalist Are You Like

survival quiz

Fun Survivalist Quiz.

Which Famous Survivalist Are You Like.

Four Questions to find out who you are like? Water, Fire, Shelter and Lost are the scenarios you will be asked about. Have a few minutes fun. You may be surprised. Dont forget to share it with your friends. They may be surprised.


Welcome to Bushcraft For Kids Learning Bushcraft

Bushcraft4Kids Helps children learn to take risks and have adventure in there lives

Welcome to Bushcraft4Kids-Learning Bushcraft.

All children, parents and families benefit from being outdoors. Learning bushcraft gives everyone skills that will help them have a greater understanding of nature and the world around them. Learning bushcraft is more than learning new skills. It builds stronger bonds between family members and improves communication between everyone.

Bushcraft, A Way For Adults, Children And Families Develop New Skills And Start On A Journey Of Personal Development And Healthy Living

As Individuals learning bushcraft skills increases knowledge of children and adults, plus it helps take them on a journey of personal development. Everyone seeing improvements in confidence, motivation, self belief, the ability to

Bushcraft4Kids Helps children learning Bushcraft

Bushcraft4Kids Helps children learn to take risks and have adventure in there lives

make decisions and deal with stress. Additionally there are the health benefits of being outdoors and being active.

Society is becoming obsessed with Risk and at an early age children are told things are dangerous. If it is dangerous or there is any perceived risk children told they must not attempt the activity. We need to educate out children to assess and manage risk and see challenge as a good thing as long as we minimise the risks involved. This is something Bushcraft is excellent at helping people understand.

Put Adventure Into A Child’s Life Experience Bushcraft

Let’s take our children into the amazing world there is outdoors, all around us. Step out of their front door into a world of adventure where they can have fun whilst learning about the world they live in. We can all start to make a difference. Take the first steps and encourage your children to have an adventure.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter And Start Something New, Now.

Follow us on Facebook

Bushcraft And Life, The Lessons Are The Same.

harrison Okene Under water survivor

Bushcraft And Life, The Lessons Are The Same.

Five incredible stories of human survival.

Bushcraft and life both provide challenges. It is good to teach children and even remember ourselves, Bushcraft and life, the lessons are the same. It has been shown time and time again, it isn’t the person with the best skills, it is there survival mindset and the decisions they make. These individuals have pushed the boundaries far beyond human expectations and lived to tell the tale. let’s begin with the awesome Steve Callaham. In 1982 Steve took part in a transatlantic race which started in England and ended in Antigua. Unfortunately Steve’s boat became mercy to the giant waves and he was out of the race. He fixed up his 20-foot homemade boat and decided to complete the race on his own. Reading these stories you will hopefully learn some Bushcraft and life skills.

Steve Callaham, Survivor of the Sea

On the 29th of January, Steve set out from the Canary Islands destined for the Caribbean. During the first week the sea was calm with a steady wind, food supplies were good and he was enjoying his solitude, surrounded by ocean.

After a week of ideal conditions the weather took a turn for the worse, the wind picked up and a storm was brewing.

steve callahan, survivor of the sea

steve callahan, survivor of the sea

Steve decided to sit it out till morning when suddenly a massive  noise ripped through the boat. To this day he does not know what it was, but believes it must have been a whale. The boat began to fill with water and he was going down.

He had to abandon ship or he would be pulled down into the depths of the ocean. He managed to inflate and board the emergency raft, but all his food supplies were still on the sinking boat. His survival instinct kicked in and he re-boarded the sinking boat to retrieve his supplies. All he managed to crack was a cabbage, a box of eggs and a tin of peanuts barely a day’s supply.

As morning grew Steve was lost, alone and had no way of getting help. He wrapped himself in his drenched sleeping bag causing his already sore salty skin to erupt with boils. His back, knees and arms were also covered with cuts and bruises. He had eight pints of water that was in his emergency raft and rationed himself to a Med floor every six hours.

Days passed and water supplies were low. Steve managed to create a makeshift a solar still, that produced a small amount of fresh water. However food was non-existent, apart from a few fish he managed to catch.

After two weeks adrift, he spotted a boat, after firing several flares he watched the boat disappear into the distance. 40 days in,it became a battle to maintain the raft, due to constant punctures. Steve was exhausted, he had no meat on his body and his cuts were infected and effecting his nerve endings, sending horrific pains all over his body. 76 days in and his body and mind was shutting down.

Fortunately, he had been throwing inedible fish guts overboard and a crowd of birds were following him. Miraculously a group of fishermen saw the birds from the distance and thinking they must be fish nearby set out to see what was going on. They found Steve and after 67 days at sea he had lost over a third of his body weight and it would take him six weeks before he could walk again. Steve Callaham was finally safe

Harrison Okene, A Survivor From Below The Sea.

In the early morning of May 26 2013 Harrison Okene had just gotten up. He was about to go into the bathroom when suddenly his ship was hit by what a spokesman later called a sudden ocean swell. Okene could only watch, helplessly, as his daily life turned upside down.

harrison Okene Under water survivor

harrison Okene Under water survivor

The tug boat capsized and plummeted a hundred feet below the surface, with him still inside, trapped in the dark abyss. With no one else in sight and wearing nothing but his boxers Okene waded through the ship’s corridors which was slowly filling with icy water.

He managed to locate a source of light some coca-cola and a few tools and he made it to a relatively safe corner of the sunken ship. He ended up bunking in a for for air pocket under the surface, holding back the water as best he could. He stacked mattresses as the cold water rose to keep dry.

To make things worse sharks and barracudas soon started roaming the ship’s interiors. He could hear them fighting for the remains of his shipmates in other rooms and swimming in the water just below him.

He had no food and the saltwater and the bumps from the accident were wearing his skin raw but miraculously the lethal cold water aided Okene by absorbing the deadly carbon dioxide he was breathing out. So CO2 never built up to toxic levels.

When recovery team was sent down they expected no survivors and Okene gave a diver the shock of a lifetime, As soon as he heard human sounds he announced his present by pounding the wall with a hammer. The divers fled and returned with backup.

After almost three days of desperately hoping praying and reminiscing about family and friends Okene was finally brought to the surface in a decompression chamber by salvage divers. He had no idea how much time had passed, but made a full recovery.

Joe Simpson And Simon Yates, Survivors On The Mountains.

In 1985 Joe Simpson and Simon Yates successfully climbed the Siula Grande a 2,000 foot mountain in the arms of Peru. Their ascent was a great success, they completed the mountain on time and the weather conditions were looking good. But this story of survival was during the descent.

Joe Simpson Mountain Survivor

Joe Simpson Mountain Survivor

They were both exhausted and decided to rest up for the night and continued the following morning. As morning rose things were already looking bad. Simon’s fingers had turned black from frostbite and their supplies had been used up.

They were both wrote their families and began climbing down a sheer section of ice. Suddenly, Joe slipped and was free-falling. He smashed into the base of a cliff and his tibia drove itself into his right knee joint. Somehow, Simon managed to drive his ice axe into the mountain to prevent them both from falling.

They were now nineteen thousand feet up and could not see each other. At either ends of the rope, Simon and Joe both knew they would not get down together. But, Joe knew Simon needed to cut the rope in order to save himself but he didn’t, he began slowly lowering Joe down the mountain.

He would descend a small distance and then lower Joe down, refusing to leave him behind. Suddenly, Joe began sliding down a mountain, fast. He shouted up to Simon, but he couldn’t be heard. He was now free falling in the air and came to a halt. Joe was now dangling 15 foot below the lip of a cliff, with over a hundred foot of darkness below him.

Simon was now hanging on with the full weight of Joe below him. Simon used his pen knife to cut the rope as he knew they were both dead he stayed there. Joe was now falling into the dark hole. He hit the ground and realized he wasn’t dead, but was sliding into an ice glacier.

He came to a stop and realized he had no food no way of letting Simon know he was alive and had a completely shattered right leg. He knew the only way out was if he slid further into the glacier, hoping to find an exit at the bottom of the mountain.

Joe promised himself there and then that he was going to get out alive and kept crawling down the glacier. When suddenly he’s seen a light at the balm. Finally, he reached it and was amazingly at the bottom of the mountain. He could see footprints in the snow which he knew were Simons. He crawled and crawled for hours following Simon’s footsteps back at base camp.

Simon was in his tent, when he heard howling outside. He went to look and could see Joe crawling towards him.

That feeling must have been absolutely incredible. They both returned home and recovered well knowing that if Simon hadn’t have cut the rope they both had died there and then.

Aron Ralston, Wilderness  Survivor.

In 2003 28 year-old Aron Ralston was cycling through a national park in Utah. He left his bike and began to hike the rest of his journey. Coming to a 65 foot drop, he decides to rappel down as he has come prepared with all his climbing gear. During the rappel he reaches a Ledge that has a large boulder below it, just nine feet from the canyon floor.

Aron knows he can reach the boulder then drop down onto the floor. He lowers himself onto the boulder and

bushcraft and life the lessons are the same

Aron Ralston Bushcraft and life

carefully grabs hold of it lowering himself down. Suddenly the bowler shifts and he immediately falls, he raises his right arm in an attempt to protect his head. He comes to a halt, utter silence fills the canyon and he feels a deep burning in his right arm.

The Boulder which he was standing on is now pinning his arm against the canyon face. The pain hits him like a lightning ball. But he knows he needs to act fast, while she is filled with adrenaline. He tried pulling his arm out with his left arm but it’s stuck. He only has 1 liter of water left and consumes 1/3 of it in one go.

Luckily his arm is not bleeding. he uses a tool on his penknife to try and chip away at the rock, but to no success as night falls and the temperature drops.

Aron is struggling, three days later he is still wet and he knows he will have to amputate his arm, in order to survive. He drives his pen knife into his forearm. But can’t cut the bone he gives up and accepts the fact he is going to die. He begins to hallucinate he carves the 30th of April into the rock, as he does not expect to last another day.

On day 6 Aron said he had an epiphany. He has an idea, if he can get enough tension on the bone he could snap it in two and then all he would need to do is cut the remaining flesh. Without any hesitation he yanks his right arm and hears a crack echo through the canyon. For the next hour Aaron cuts through his skin and tendons using a blunt penknife.

He comes to the nerves, he knows it’s going to get painful as just touching it with his penknife causes immense pain. He grits it and cuts through the nerves. He’s free, he somehow begins staggering across the desert, when he’s spotted by a family. A helicopter arrives and after 127 hours since the accident Aron is safe.

Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor. (Lone Survivor.)

In the summer of 2005, Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his companions  Mike, Danny and Axe were dropped into the Hindu Kush of Central Afghanistan. Their duty was to carry out surveillance on a group of buildings used by the local Taliban commander. During their ascent up the mountain they stumbled across a small group of Afghan goat herders. Not knowing if they were local, civilians or Taliban, they decided to let them go. This was the mistake that changed their lives forever, they were Taliban and quickly reported the Seals to other Taliban members. A few hours

Marcus Luttrell survivor

Marcus Luttrell 3rd from Right

later the team entered a small area that had high grounds on three sides, a perfect location for the Taliban to attack. Moments later some 100 Taliban fighters were aiming down at the team with machine guns, assault rifles, RPGs and mortars.

All havoc began taking place, it was a hundred versus four and there was a sheer drop behind the team. They had no choice but to take the fall they all hit the ground hard. One soldier Danny, was shot twice. He heroically continued to fight, but was shot a third time in the throat and then the face. Four had become three. Thousands of bullets rained down on them. Mike took a shot in the chest and Axe in the head but they continued to fight.

Mike Murphy knew in order to call for support he needed to go out into the open and get a signal. He ran out into the open ground and called for support. He managed to call them, but he was shot dead moments later. Axe was now dying fast and after their two-hour firefight Marcus was on his own. Axe’s last words to him was “Stay alive.” and that’s exactly what he would do.

An RPG came crashing down on Marcus. He was knocked unconscious and blasted over the edge of a ravine. He woke up upside-down with a broken nose, broken shoulder and a broken back. An American Army Chinook helicopter flew overhead, this was Marcus’s ticket out of there. However, the helicopter was shot down by the Taliban getting all members on board.

Marcus was completely alone with no sign of backup. He could barely even crawl and the Taliban were hunting him. He was so thirsty that his tongue had stuck to the roof of his mouth.

A shot rang out, Marcus was hit in the leg by a Taliban sniper. The force knocked him back down the mountain, that he had been crawling up the past few hours. Three Taliban soldiers caught up with him, but he managed to shoot the one and throw a grenade at the other two. He continued to crawl for hours, when all of a sudden he could see three Afghan men looking down at him. He was prepared for his final stand, but these were not Taliban they were local civilians who helped Marcus. Against all the odds he decided to trust them. He was carried to a village where the local civilians had no time for the Taliban.

There was an American base camp 40 miles away, but Marcus knew he couldn’t make it there. Amazingly one of the locals volunteered to make the journey and alerted the American troops of Marcus’s whereabouts.

Marcus was rescued and returned home a hero. If it wasn’t for the kindness of those civilians and the heroic bravery of his team, Marcus would have surely died, that day.

Bushcraft And Life The Lessons Are The Same

That’s it! Five incredible survival stories. My heart goes out to all those heroes who have proven that anything is possible. When we are in a survival situation it isn’t always the tools we have, or even the survival, bushcraft skills we know. It is How we think and being strong. We all face challenges during our lives. They are often the same in relation to bushcraft and life. Whether it is mental strength, motivation, confidence, determination, the list goes on, you will find you need them and use them in situations you find in Bushcraft and life, the lessons are the same.

Bushcraft is a great way to teach children and adults these skills, whilst having fun, getting fresh air and learning about nature.

Visit our facebook page and dont forget to join our newsletter

Benefits of Bushcraft

Bushcraft words and images

Some Of The Benefits Of Bushcraft

The benefits of bushcraft are many. They impact on most areas of an individuals life and on that of groups.

Bushcraft words and images

Bushcraft words and images

Brereton Bushcraft For Kids Day

bushcraft for kids day jamboree

Bushcraft For Kids Day

bushcraft for kids day jamboree

bushcraft for kids day jamboree

We are pleased to announce that there will be a special Bushcraft for kids day to raise money to send some young people to the World Scouting Jamboree 2019 in USA.

A great Christmas gift for kids. get them outdoors learning new skills whilst building their confidence. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. Book a place on the bushcraft for kids day, whilst there are still places available.

The day will introduce young people to essential bushcraft, survival skills. These will include water collection and purification, fire starting, shelter, cooking. The day aims to help young people learn new or develop skills they already have and to have fun.

Bushcraft For Kids Day Event Details

The Venue is Brereton Scout Hut, Brereton Park, Brereton Green CW11 1RY

It will run from 09.00hrs to 16.30hrs

Cost is £15

You can download a form here.

If you have any questions please contact me

Email nic @ (Remove Spaces, it is like that to stop robots spamming me)

Through Bushcraft4 kids Facebook page 

Text or phone. 07979646754



Building Bushcraft Shelters for kids and everyone

Lessons in build a shelter

Building Bushcraft Shelters From Tarpaulin or Natural Materials

Type of Survival Shelter using a Tarp or Poncho.

If you have read the previous articles about selecting a shelter site and the first lessons of shelter building, you will realise it isn’t just about starting to build bushcraft shelters. Once you have answered the question posed previously you will be ready to start looking at what type of shelter you are going to build and how to build bushcraft shelters.

If you are lucky you will have some resources at hand to create a simple shelter. It is a piece of kit that is versatile and has been used over time for many uses. It is the Tarpaulin “Tarp.” Or as was used and still is by some soldiers the poncho.

The Lean-to Shelter.

The lean-to on one of two simple and effective shelters that can be erected quickly and provide effective shelter from the elements (Sun, wind, rain and or snow) One benefit is that you don’t need any tools and minimal resources.

Lean To Tarp Shelter Building shelters

Lean To Tarp Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

The Lean-to is the most basic shelter and all that is needed is a tarpaulin and 2 to 3 meters of some sort of twine/cordage (Paracord is often used for this purpose and is recommended to be carried when outdoors because it is versatile and strong.) Ideally you also need three or four stakes approx. 30cm (one foot) long. These can easily be made by sharpening one end using a knife or large rock. The final element needed is two trees two or three meters apart. You can use poles for this either improvised ones made from fallen branches, walking poles or tent poles.

Prior to starting to construct the center you should have selected a suitable area. With this shelter you should consider the wind direction. You want the back pointing towards the incoming wind. Some people have suggested you can have the wind coming from the side and the side will be blocked off by some other means. What ever you do don’t have the wind blowing directly into the front of the shelter. It will make it un comfortable sleeping in it, cold and wet if it rains. Plus, your shelter might be blown away at any time.

If using a poncho remember to tie off the hood or you might have a leaking shelter.

  1. Cut your Paracord/cordage into two and tie one piece to the corner grommet of the Tarp and the other piece to the other adjacent grommet.
  2. Tie a “Drip stick” approx. 5 to 10 cm from each grommet. These sticks should be approx. 10cm long. The purpose of these is to stop any rain water from running along the paracord/cordage back towards and into the lean-to. This technique can be used along any grommet on the shelter. Tying a drip stick to a short length of cordage can help control the water caught on the tarp flowing back into your shelter.
  3. Tie the cordage at the corners to the trees around waist height. It is good to get into the habit of using quick release knots for this. It makes it easier when breaking camp. Keep the tarp taut between the two trees
  4. Spread the tarp out tight and fasten it down using stakes through the grommets.

Additional tips.

If instead of using trees you use stakes in the ground, you will need to use additional guy ropes to keep these tight.

If you are going to be using the shelter for more than one day you need to put a center support. If this is a poncho you can tie cordage around that and over a branch. This will stop water pooling in the center of the tarp. Some people suggest using large rocks to cause water to pool at the bottom of the tarp and cause it to wear quickly.


Tent Style Shelter.

There are benefits and disadvantages to the tent style shelter. The low profile gives increased shelter and traps the air around you in the small area. The disadvantages are it has less storage space and is restricted when getting in and out.

To build this type of shelter you need a tarp or poncho, two lengths of paracord or suitable cordage each 1.5 to

Tent type Tarp Shelter Building shelters

Tent type Tarp Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

2.0meters (5 to 8 feet) long. Six sharpened sticks approx. 30cm long and two trees approx. two to three meters (7 to 10 feet) apart

Again, start by tying off the poncho hood if using a poncho, as you would with a lean-to shelter.

Tie a 1.5 to 2.0meter length of paracord/cordage to the center grommet on each side of the tarp. The opposite ends need to be tied  to the trees creating a tight ridge line for your tent style shelter. The sides of the tent style shelter should be pulled tight and pegged down using the wooden stakes through the grommets in the corners of the tarp.

If you are going to be using the tent style shelter for more than one night you should use a center support. This could be the same as with the lean-to shelter, tie a piece of paracord/cordage around the hood and over a low branch.

An alternative is to build an additional A-frame outside, over the center of the tent. To do this use two stakes approx. 120cm long, one with a forked end. These rest together forming an A-frame for the center line to attach to. The only issue here is stability of the A-frame. To improve this you can use additional lines tied from the a frame to the trees.

The tent style shelter, can be made using stakes instead of trees. A pole should be put from the ground to center grommet along one side of the tarp. The same should be repeated on the opposite side. As with the Lean-to style shelter you will need additional guy ropes to make this stable. If this method is used it reduces even further the room available for accessing and exiting the shelter.

Survival Shelters From Natural Materials

Bushcraft Shelters using What nature provides.

The following shelters can be made in a wooded area using materials that can be found or made from what nature provides. All you need is a knife or blade tool (Even this can be made.) In this article I won’t be going into making cordage. When starting to build these types of shelter I would suggest using Paracord and learn to make cordage as a separate task. Then you can concentrate on making a good strong structure. When working with young people I would recommend the same course of action. These types of shelter take a lot of time, effort, energy and resources over shelters made using a tarp.

Lean-to Shelter

To get started you will need the following.

Lean to Shelter Building shelters

Lean to Shelter Building Bushcraft shelters

  • Two up trees (or strong upright poles) about 2 meters (7 feet) apart.
  • One pole approx.. 2 meters (7 feet) long At least 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter.
  • Five to eight poles approx.. 3 meters (10 feet) long 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter
  • Cordage/Paracord for lashing horizontal beams to the trees
  • Saplings to cover/crisscross the beams.

How to build a lean-to shelter.

  1. Lash the 2 meter (7 foot) pole between the two trees or support at approx. waist height. This will form the horizontal support.
  2. Place the 3 meter (10 foot) poles on one side of the horizontal support. As with the lean-to made with a tarp ensure the shelter is facing with the front exposure facing away from the incoming wind.
  3. Alternatively if you have access to many long poles, put a 2 meter (7 foot) poles on either end of the horizontal support. Then lash an extra 3 meter (7 foot) horizontal support half way up between the two poles you have placed at either end of the top supporting pole. Then prior to moving onto the next step place more 2 meter (7 foot) poles next to each other creating a solid lean-to shelter roof. The continue to step 5.
  4. Crisscross saplings or vines across the beams
  5. Cover this with Brush, leaves pine needles or grass. Start at the bottom and make your way to the top.
  6. The thicker this final covering the better the insulation above you.
  7. For additional warmth at night some people recommend heat deflectors. There are arguments as to whether there is any benefit from these deflectors given by these. Personally I would recommend if you have a tarp hang it over the front of the lean-to creating an enclosed sleeping area, with the option of having it open. I believe that this along with additional insulation is the best way of keeping dry and warm.

Adaptations Of This Lean-to Shelter.

Once you have mastered this technique of building structures it is possible to make more adaptations. The Obvious one is to make it into a design similar to the Tent style shelter made with a Tarp. These structures if made well can last years and with a little maintenance will be as efficient as the day you built it. But the time effort and materials needed to make these means it is worth taking time to start making what you want from the beginning with the view to expand. For example, instead of building a straight forward tent style Shelter I would consider a design with a small log wall to give a little more head space.

The Debris Shelter.

This shelter in its basic form is one of my favourites to build with young people. Although they are quite small they are very efficient at keeping in the heat and keeping you dry. The principles involved in building this are simple, the key to success is building it well. It is time consuming but worth the effort.

To start building this you need.

  • A ridge pole, between 2 to 3 meters (7 to 10 feet) ideally over 4cm diameter
  • Two poles to make a Bi-pod to hold the ridge pole up at the entrance. One with a forked end.
  • Sticks of various lengths to stand against full length of ridge pole.

Building A Debris Shelter.

  1. Take the two pieces for the entrance and place them together. They need to provide a support for the ridge pole.
  2. Place the remaining sticks along both sides of the ridge pole. These need to be able to support some weight. As seen in the picture. These need to be relatively close together. Gaps will be closed in the next stage.
    Debris Shelter Building Shelters

    Debris Frame Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

  3. Take finer sticks, weave them along the sides, starting to fill in gaps and make the sides stronger. Continue weaving these sticks until stop small debris like pine needles, leaves, grass etc from falling through.
  4. Start adding fine, ideally dry debris to the structure. Although the lattice is to stop this debris falling through, I would recommend trying to start with larger debris. Try and start with dry leaves, a layer of dry leaves will close most smaller holes. There is nothing more demoralising to put effort in to collecting debris to then watch the majority fall through gaps to the floor of your shelter. It is like taking two steps forward one back.
  5. Debris Shelter Building Shelters

    Debris Shelter Building Bushcraft Shelters

    After you have your initial layer on the shelter continue putting the debris until you have at least 1 meter (3 feet) of debris on the shelter. It is a case of more the better. A good judgement is that it should be as thick as the length of an adult’s arm, hand to shoulder.

  6. For the entrance make a lattice door that can be pulled over the door when you are inside. The thicker the better. Once you have you lattice door weave thin saplings into the door. Keep as many leaves on as possible. You can also push leaves or grass into the structure. The thicker the door the more insulation it will create.

Additional Insulation for Shelters

When we are outside we need to remember the importance of keeping warm.  the rule of 3 in survival is an innovative formula, it prepares you to fight with the incapacitating power of nature and give life a fair chance to live. It prioritizes your basic needs in order of priority.

You cannot survive:

3 minutes without air

3 hours without shelter

3 days without water

3 weeks without food

As you can see shelter is second in the list, stating you can only survive approximately three hours without shelter. This statement is based on the assumption that your core body temperature can fall without action being taken to a level you will cause you to die. This can happen day or night to anyone, it is important you are aware of your environment and take action to keep warm. At night it is important that you take precautions before you sleep.

Most heat is lost at night through the ground when people are sleeping. There are two things you can do. First and most important is to ensure you have insulation between you and the ground. The best way to do this is put a layer of material under you like a mattress. Use thin branches, pine needles, grass and dry leaves. Ensure the material is dry and is approx. 30cm thick. Do not use bracken as it often has ticks which can lead to Lymes disease. Saying that, if it is all you can find it is better than hypothermia.

Items of use for building shelters and den building.





Follow Bushcraft4kids on Facebook

Selecting A Shelter Site

Selecting a Shelter Site

Selecting a good shelter site is the first step to a great shelter

In a survival situation shelter is a high priority, it is important to select a good shelter site as soon as possible. Whilst doing so, bear in mind what you will need at the site.

In relation to the site there are two priorities that initially come to mind, when selecting a shelter site.

Lessons in build a shelter

Lessons in shelter building

  • Contain material to make the type of shelter you need.
  • Be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably.

In addition when you are selecting a shelter site you may need to consider the following:

  • Provides concealment
  • Has escape routes, from animals or people.
  • Is suitable for emergency signalling, if necessary
  • Offers protection against wild animals, rock fall and dead trees that might fall.
  • Free from insects, dangerous reptiles, and poisonous plants.
  • You must remember the problems that could arise in your environment. For instance, avoid:

Flash flood areas in foothills.

  • Avalanches in mountainous terrain.
  • high-water marks.
  • the season of the year has a strong bearing on the site you select. Ideal sites for a shelter differ in winter and summer because you have different needs. During cold winter months you will want a site that will protect you from the cold and wind, but will have a source of necessary fuel and water. During summer in the same area you will want a source of water, but you will also want the site to be almost insect free.

To select a good shelter site follow B.L.I.S.S.

When you are selecting a shelter site you should use the following acronym. B.L.I.S.S.


Blend in with the surroundings.

Low silhouette.

Irregular shape.


Secluded location.

The next step is to start building. To do this you can find all you need outdoors. If you are doing this activity with children you may want to be prepared and have some items that may be useful.Pieces of wood, tarpoline or paracord.


Follow us on Facebook.

Prepared to Build a Shelter-First Lessons Bushcraft

Build A Shelter – First Lessons

Are you prepared to build a shelter?

The initial thoughts people have when asked the question “Are you prepared to build a shelter” is “Yes of course I am.” But in reality there maybe questions you haven’t thought about previously. When we teach young people about Shelter building we need to do more than teach how to build a shelter or tie a knot.

Lessons in build a shelter

Lessons in shelter building

It is looking at what our needs are and are we able to meet those need in the time we have. Planning is one of the most important skills you can have to be able to survive. When planning to build a shelter in a survival situation you need to plan more than where should I build it.

Many articles have been written about shelters. Very often the focus is the environment you find yourself, for example a snow hole when there has been heavy snow. Although this may be a factor when considering a shelter, there are many other factors to be considered. Some of these are more important considerations an individual may have to consider.

In my opinion, the most important consideration to be made is what are your needs. Although shelter is a priority in a survival situation, it is also a task that can take a lot of valuable, energy, time and resources. So, your first thoughts should be to answer questions surrounding the following areas.

  • Purpose of your shelter. Build what you need
  • Time, A valuable resource.
  • Resources, Building with what you have not what you want.

What is the reason to build a shelter?

This is where most people make a mistake and a point that many articles fail to cover. So, before you decide to start building it is important you stop and think about what you need. If you are planning to stay outdoors for a long period of time it may be a idea to build a substantial shelter that one that will take more time, energy and resources in the near future. Once you have decided what type of shelter you need you can then consider other critical issues. You might not need a water proof shelter, but you may need one that provides shelter from sun and or wind. Creating the wrong shelter can cost you a lot of time effort and energy.

Time. A valuable resource.

Time is something that has an impact on everyone, no matter what situation we are in. Whether it is our busy everyday lives, at home or at work or a survival situation where your life could depend on it. The first “time question” should be “Why do I need a shelter? You might be thinking that’s obvious, to keep you warm and safe. The problem is you don’t gain anything from that. You need to change your perspective on “Why you need a shelter.” Is it to survive a night or possibly two or are you planning on using your shelter long term. The answer will have a huge influence on what type of shelter you need.

Secondly, how quickly do you need the shelter and how long do you have to build it. If it is getting late on in the day and you need shelter it is unlikely you are going to build a shelter that will last days let alone weeks or months. So, you may have to build an initial shelter that

time prepared to build a shelter

time to shelter

is temporary, until you are able to build a shelter suitable to your needs. That simple shelter may be all you need if you are in a situation where you believe you are only going to need it for a night or two at the most.

I would rather spend a brief period of time to build a shelter that will meet my needs for one night in a limited amount of time than attempt to build something that is half finished and leaves me vulnerable during the night.

Resources, you can’t build with what you don’t have.

You may have decided on the type of shelter you need, but do you have access to the materials you are going to need. Initially you may look around and think “Sure I do, I am in a forest” But collecting sufficient quantities of materials that are suitable for what you plan to do can take a lot of energy and time. There may be plenty of resources but collecting it may take longer because you don’t have enough energy or time. You may need a temporary shelter to enable you to get the resources you need.

When making these decisions you also need to bear in mind do I have necessary tools to coolect the resources needed to build your shelter.

As you can see when it comes to building a shelter it is important you take time to plan what you need, what resources you need, how you will collect them and what shelter you may need in the interim. Planning is important in a survival situation as much if not more than everyday life. Your life may depend on it.

When doing activities with young people you may start with simple den building activities and make the activities more difficult as they build on their skills. To make the activities varied for young people you can add scenarios to the activities. These can be…

  • Providing them with limited resources
  • Limited resources
  • Time limits
  • To build a shelter for a designated environment or situation.

Adding these variations lets the young people learn new skills but also how to develop skills that are useful in everyday life. Plus, it can make the activity much more fun.

We all need to have the practical skills to survive, we also need to have the skills and abilities to use those skills in a way that you meet your needs when you need to.


Follow us on Facebook.