Long term woodland shelter

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Full Member
Jun 29, 2004
Looks like a good wee shelter but i am thinking it will turn out to be a swimming pool with snow melt or rain!!!!


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
Looks like a good wee shelter but i am thinking it will turn out to be a swimming pool with snow melt or rain!!!!
You'd think wouldn't you? But oddly no. Similar dugouts did very well in the great plains where both snow and heavy rain were quite common.


Full Member
Jun 29, 2004
not that i know of,I do know if u dig a hole in wet,snowy conditions it will fill with water.Maybe not where this is built as i think this is Siberia or somewhere extremely cold so maybe the ground is gripped with permafrost.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
North Yorkshire, UK
You'd think wouldn't you? But oddly no. Similar dugouts did very well in the great plains where both snow and heavy rain were quite common.
It wouldn't work in the UK. We have very wet ground, year round.

Root cellars? nope. veg used to be stored on racks in buildings, well raised off the ground.

With the surplus of wood available in that photo (but located in the UK), I would be going for stacked stone foundation, raised floor and a timber frame. Walls could be wood planks, wattle and daub or similar (depending on location in the country).

I imagine you could make a pretty good wall from cut heather in a manner similar to thatching.


Aug 9, 2005
Me? I think I would try for an iron age round house type shelter? Twin walls made of posts and wattle and daub stuffed with dry leaves /grass between. Pitched roof with hole in middle for fire smoke to escape...
Not a million miles off the build I fancy trying. Something like a 2/3 scale Tay Crannog would do nicely.

Only trouble is that the wall material coppices are at the farm but the site is 100 miles away by car and boat. Making the hurdles before transporting will be the order of the day.
Most of the other materials are on site. Alder for posts, birch for structure and bracken stems for thatching(although probably a lot of roof lattice will also come from the hazel coppices at the farm - anything too long for the boat can be lashed between canoes and towed out).

How long it'd last should all be down to maintenance and how good a job was done on the thatching. While birch wouldn't be my first choice for outdoor use it's the abundent wood on site - over half of the project will come from trees that have taken over the pens by the cottage, they need to come down anyway.


Aug 30, 2006
Nr Chester
Would be dependant on the ground water level and the soil type for flooding. Tamokos thread was a great read if you haven't read it yet.
If you are looking for stealth its going to be hard to make something nice to save your sanity more than your life. No doubt with the most basic of shelters you could "survive" a year but would it just be miserable and just.. survivable? If stealth and material is no matter then think big and comfy!
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New Member
May 3, 2009
Weston Super Mare Somerset UK
When my youngest 2 girls were at junior school one of thier friends was very evasive about where he lived. he was from a traveller family that had stopped traveling while they got enough money together for another vehicle. I quite often talked to his dad while waiting for the kids after school he eventually told me in confidence that they lived in the woods that were owned by a farmer near by. they lived in what he refered to as a bender. A lot of modern travellers tend to give the real travelers a bad name by their mess and destructive ways but I was impressed with the low impact camp which you almost fell over before you saw it. they used a large tarpauline which was once used to cover loads on flatbed lorries but that was covered over with leaf litter partly for camoflage and part for insulation (the biggest give away was the well worn paths to and from camp) They were there for nearly 2 years before moving on
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Aug 13, 2009
Well I could always do what I have been doing on the allotment. Scavenge, doors, bits of fencing, corrugated iron, whatever is around and gradually build myself something that would be improved over time. Start with a framework and fill it in with whatever you can get. It's what they do on the outskirts of many of the worlds major cities. Who says it has to be either pretty or built from chopping down the trees?


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2004
Think I'd just cash my first dole cheque, head to Argos or blacks or go outdoors and buy the biggest and best tent my money would allow me...I'd prob get a three man one and live in that....with a little tent heater from Argos I'd be happy as larry....iPad with 3G connection and away I go. Any hassle and I pack up and move on.

That protest chap that's just died spent over 10 years I believe living in a tent outside parliament and he wasn't very well...I'm sure a year in millet's finest wouldn't do me any harm....and it'd save me cutting down stuff to make a shelter.

In a self imposed retreat on land that I owned (I don't own any land other than my garden btw lol) then there all sorts I'd like to build from benders to full on log cabins but in term of the scenario in the OP I think a half decent cheap tent would be best.


Bam. :)


Sep 24, 2008
New Hampshire
What I would build depends on location, tools and materials available, etc. Friends and I have put up a few benders, some quite large. With breathable canvas for the sides, and the tops covered with clear plastic for solar gain and waterproofness, they're comfortable and light inside. A woodstove will keep them very warm and dry all winter. Haven't tried it yet, but I think one covered in the shrink-wrap that boats are stored with might work out nicely.

Here's a 10' x 11' dugout I built as a chicken coop. I've often thought that with a woodstove it would be a cozy little cabin. You wouldn't have to worry about falling trees on windy nights, and your things could be made fairly secure from theft, which has been a problem with even my most hidden shelters. But it was a lot of work:

Once started a shelter by pounding stakes in the ground, weaving saplings between them, and covering them with mud from a beaver pond. It was turning out nicely, but the weather turned cold and I got lazy and never finished it. I think that mud is a good building material that's often overlooked, though.

A surplus military tent might be the best option of all. With a woodstove, a cot and some shelves, it's essentially an inexpensive cabin that can be put up in a couple hours. Spent a Korean winter in one when I was in the service, and the only discomforts were that it was chilly near ground level, and it was difficult to sleep when the wind was blowing hard.
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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 7, 2007
off grid somewhere else
I think a tipi would be perfect after all people have been living in them for years,
I have lived in both for extended periods and would have to say the yurt is more suited to the British climate, they are also much easier to heat, the tipi we lived in on a permanent basis was 19ft and was difficult to heat in the winter we did things like close the smoke flaps before going to bed to retain some of the heat and as we were sleeping at the same level as the fire smoke was never to much of a problem.
The yurt was so much easier to get cosy although I did have a small log burner in it but it was just a much better space to manage, so I would go yurt.
I saw a tarp/wood combination made by instructors when I was on the campcraft course run by woodlore.
If memory serves it was based on a New Zealand hunting lodge or lumber jack cam(was a fee yrs ago now)
If I can dig out photos I post some at some point.
It was an A frame of wood with tarpaulins over them clear plastic as a door and at the rear was a very large chimney area which also acted as a storehouse (which makes me think it was based.on hunting lodge)

I wouldn't want to build a half buried shelter in my permission woods the water table is so close to the surface I'd probably find myself swimming before my morning brew.

I fancy building (at some point) the group shelter in essential Bushcraft (p131) that would be good for living in even solo as you could use the space to store kit, firewood, food and still have space for company. Although heating it wouldn't be so easy on your own