Survival Shelter: 5 Instant Solutions That Don’t Involve Tents, Tarps, Trees or Creepy Crawlies

Let me share a story with you. A member of my family was in New Orleans when Katrina hit. After a while, it came down to minutes to decide to leave or not. And when it was time to leave, the car could only hold so many people and their belongings. They got out of town with their lives without even a survival blanket, and that’s about all they got out with. Think you’re going to fit a whole bunch of camping gear for survival shelter in there too? Forget it.

My goal is to share with you some options about survival shelters, and give you some key items about survival shelters that you maybe didn’t know before.

And if you like what you see, check out some of the other links to other articles on this site that can add to your experience once the shelter is in place.

The real trick to getting a survival shelter in the middle of a disaster….Is to travel light.

Listen, your ability to build a the best survival shelter has to be lickety split. If the sun is about to go down, there wont be 4 hours to lolly gag around. There’s no time to chop trees down and create complicated survival shelters. You need something fast, before it gets dark.

But not only that…..another critical item is protection against the elements of wind, rain, cold and creepy crawlies. Once you have the shelter going, you want protection against snakes, small animals and insects like spiders.

A common belief is that you have to carry bunches of heavy stuff around. But the opposite is true. By having one or more of the lightweight items on hand that I’m going to share with you, at all times, you wont need to chop down trees, and you’ll always have a shelter no matter where you go. If you want alternative ways of getting shelter, think about..

When disaster hits, you may not be prepared. And if that’s the case, then you’ll have to improvise. That means finding whatever you run into … And using that as your shelter. Let me show you 3 examples of what I mean.


First, knowing how to use home items as emergency survival shelters is essential, because you might be bugging out, needing survival protection, but have nothing in your hands. As you travel, you’ll encounter different things on the ground, and chances are much of what you find will be common household items. Might as well make the best of what you got… Right? So here are a few examples of what I’m talking about when it comes to instant survival shelter.

TRASH BAGS – as a potential shelter and protection, trash bags have no equal. You can punch holes in it to make a poncho. You can cut the end and lay the bag out flat as a ground cloth or a tarp. With the end cut off you can also have a tube tent. The larger the bags the better and more flexible.

Construction trash bags are especially strong. The kind that work best are the heavy duty 4 mm orange bags. They are about 3’x4′ in size. Used as cheap portable survival shelter, these things are inexpensive, easily pack up and are durable.

BED SHEETS – with a good thick bed sheet you can make a hammock emergency survival shelter. Here’s a link to show you how to make it work.

But you know, common items like bed sheets and trash bags are just a start. If you are open to just a small amount of preplanning you might get even better options. Here’s what I mean.


This second option for shelter is a little different. This could pay off nicely in terms of lightweight shelter for you.

TYVEK– this is some amazing material. A Tyvek emergency shelter just make sense. Its waterproof, strong, durable, reliable and breathable. Its very lightweight and is used on for residential home building as a protectant for walls. Its not that expensive either. If Home Depot or Lowes wont sell it to you by the foot, there are people who will do it. Also you can find roll ends at construction sites. What’s cool about considering a Tyvek tent build for emergency survival protection is that you can use it for making tarps, shelters, ground cloths and more. Dupont says that Tyvek is water repellant when the wording is facing outward. It allows moisture/water vapor to pass from the inside to the outside, so its breathable. Also, it is tougher than even visqueen or most tarps.

SPACE BLANKETS – are great but dont just wrap up in it, unless you have something like heatsheets. It wont serve as a long term survival shelter. But if you have a mylar space emergency survival blanket, use it as a reflector/shelter in combination with a fire.

This will reflect the heat back onto you and keep you warm.

I remember in 1969 going on my first campout. I discovered the "space blanket". It was made out of mylar. As it turns out, we were living in Rhode Island, and the campout was in the middle of a frigid winter. I thought at that young age that with a space blanket, I couldnt go wrong. And I’d never have problems staying warm. Well I was in for a brutal reality check. Even with the space blanket… I froze. Since that time, new technologies based on the same concept have continued to come out.

One proven example is the Blizzard Survival Blanket. Why? The 2007 PreHospital Trauma Life Support Military Version book recommends this as the first choice in keeping people warm who have experienced a casualty. US Army medics now train with these emergency survival blankets in preventing hypothermia in trauma cases.

What’s unique about it and what makes it better than its predecessor the mylar space blanket, is the Reflexcell material. Its 3 layers of technology that insulate with a honeycomb structure that traps air and core body temperatures. The best part as shelter survival is that its compact, durable and withstands all kinds of weather.

Another alternative to the mylar space blanket is the HeatSheets emergency bivvy. It is more durable and quieter than the older mylar space blanket material. HeatSheets keeps your own body heat from escaping by reflecting 90% of your body heat back into the blanket. It is also very effective as a wind blocker and a lightweight and compact temporary shelter that can be used repeatedly. Be sure to check it out at http://preparedness.Com/heatsheetems.Html.

Now, what if you don’t have time to get anything at all. What if all you have is the clothing you are wearing? Then what?


Lets face it… Sometimes all you have is the clothes on your back, and that’s it. A simple hat can at least keep your face dry. But if its raining, and you want to start a fire, you can use your hat as a shelter from the rain as you protect your initial fire building, tinder lighting efforts. The clothes you are wearing are important. Don’t underestimate a simple shirt or hat. Let me give you some examples

SELK BAG – this is an emergency sleeping bag that’s wearable. Put this in your survival kit, and when the time comes, put it on and use it as your "shelter". It has a polyester shell and is made out of rip-stop water resistant material. The SelkBag has been updated with a quick release exit system so you don’t have to operate zippers to get in and out. Http://www.Ccoutdoorstore.Com/selk-bag-4g-lite-sleeping-bag-sleep-system.Html

PONCHO – while you are making an ad hoc survival shelter building, a simple poncho can serve many uses. But if its large enough it can serve as a makeshift tent, covering or wall against a strong wind.

HAT – especially a Filson Bush Hat. Its got a wide 3" shapeable brim that you can shape to fit the situation. This is a rugged hat and can stand up to pretty much anything you can throw at it.

Here’s a list of accessories that are small, and inexpensive that can help you put your shelter up quickly.

GRIPCLIPS – With many of these items, you’d have to punch holes in the corners in order to attach string or rope to the sheet, bag, blanket. Another dea is to have some grip clips on hand. These are easily obtainable at WalMart. Just clip these onto the corner of the surface and you can attach it to trees and other fixtures nearby. GripClips can prove very valuable in making your survival shelter.

PARACORD BRACELET – by having this on hand, you have at least 50′ of "rope" to work with. Just unravel the bracelet and you have cord to work with.

Some parabracelets even have fire tinder inserted into the bracelet, so it can double as a source for cord to attach to your trashbag tarp and a way to start a fire.

Ok, maybe this next one isnt so small or cheap…. but check it out.

TENTSILE – I know i said that these options didn’t involve tents, but this one I couldnt resist. Its not a tent .. But it is. Its a tent that hangs from trees off the ground. Check it out here.

After you read this article, you should now know how to build a survival shelter. Now you know how to deal with things like travelling with lightweight shelter, and build a survival shelter in very short time. Instead of assuming you have to carry heavy loads of stuff. You’ll know about very handy items that provide plenty of shelter in the short term. And no matter what time of day, even if the sun is about to go down, you’ll be ready to quickly get setup, and be ready for a good night sleep

None of these can serve as a nuclear survival shelter. The closest option might be a shipping container survival shelter. But that’s not the same as a emergency survival shelter.

And now that you know about the importance of lightweight 2012 survival shelter producing materials, its time to step things up. Check out my article on fire making. Combine your shelter with a good fire and your chances of survival go way up. Even if you are relying on home survival shelter, don’t ignore these alternatives. At one point even your home may be in jeopardy. And these options may save your life.