Show us your natural shelters.

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Jun 9, 2008
Here's one I did a few weeks ago. Made during a '5 items only' night out (I took a machete, sleeping bag, firesteel, paracord and billy can) - all carried in the bag in the foreground. Sorry about the poor quality - it was taken on a phone camera and the battery died after taking it so I couldn't take any of the completed shelter. The leaves were surprisingly comfy. It was made in an area of old coppice woodland about half mile from where I live (what a woose - I chose the location so that I could go home if it got too cold. But it didn't, so I stayed).


Grey Owl

Nov 26, 2006
On a slightly different but related subject, Mors and myself did some research on the concept of putting an 'air hole' in the roof of quinzees as described in the majority of 'survival manuals', our reasoning being that the Inuit didn’t normally have 'air holes' in the roof of their iglus because ample fresh came in though the doorway which was traditionally left open and a 'air hole' in the roof would just let the bubble of warm air near the roof escape though it, defeating the whole object of the domed shelter with a low entrance and a high sleeping platform; So it seems nonsensical to have an air hole in the roof of a quinzee which works on the same principle.

Air holes should therefore probably just be left to 'snow holes' in which it is common practice to bock up the entrance to reduce draft.
I do not disagree with your experience that a 'air hole' is not needed and in fact release much of the heat that you are indeed hoping to retain in the structure. However, let me provide a couple of reflections of my own. Most of the quinzhees that I build are as group efforts with students, as a result we will sleep 3-8 people in a quinzhee. In these situations we will place a couple of airholes to release hot air.

With proper design features like low entrance and high sleeping platform we find that there is inadequate air circulation to make the conditions pleasant inside. Humidity sky-rockets makeing clothing and sleeping equipment feel a little damp and condensation drips frequently occur from rough portions of the ceiling. And to make matters worse, any smells seem to be captured extraordinaly well. Just imagine that combined odours of 4-5 sleeping bags being unzipped in a very small space with very little air circulation. The combined stench of body odour and gas is remarkable, so strong, that reentering the quinzhee several hours later one is still aware of its presence.

To summarize: for 1-2 people sharing a comfortably sized quinzhee I would not feel it necessary to add ventilation holes. As the number increases and you find yourselves lying side by side with several other human heaters, it becomes a necessary luxury to 'waste' a little heat.

Just my experience!
Stuart, His Royal Chubbiness has nothing on you. That shelter and fire look like the comfiest natural shelter I have seen.

At least I will not have to buy a thousand quid's worth of kit to make myself look like you:

Hmm, issue boots and DPM trousers, black Fjällräven or similar technical base layer, keffiyeh. If we laundered our kit in once wash we'd have no way to separate them, except I've more or less HRC's physique.

Even your jungle kit looks like mine.

A Jungle pole bed shelter design that I am fond of using, its the result of some experimentation I did with making simple rattan beds, inspired by a much more complex Iban design for a rattan hammock:

here is the detail of the rattan structure, I normally covered it with a deep layer of palm leaves to make a it more comfortable, but here its removed here so you can see how it works, the poles are not lashed to the A frame, the weight keeps them in place and pulls the mattress tight:

Now that looks like a good alternative to the Aeta shelter I was taught to make. Those bamboo shafts are hard to sleep on. The Aeta shelters are designed to be built in a couple of hours and last a month using the minimum of vines and cord, which in their jungles is scarcer than bamboo.


Full Member
Jun 3, 2004
Hers my winter shelter that Ive just finished today

Time for a well deserved brew :D

Its tucked away in my local woods it still needs a little work but I think its starting to look good :D

cheers Russ :D
Jan 7, 2009
Here is my attempt at a Debris hut a while back....

the walls had about two feet of insulation on there...I made the door too big
so I learned my lesson
Mar 1, 2009
Hi guys, some nice shelters here! I'm only 14 but me and my mate are starting to make small shelters together, nowhere as good as these but hopefully we will get better. we just built a one person mini tipi today but I have no pictures at the moment but when I get some in the next couple of days i'll post some


Full Member
Jan 10, 2009
rochester, kent
Natural shelters,just been looking at this thread and very impressive are the shelters to.Has any one made one at the root end of a fallen tree as i saw one the other day and thought it would be perfect for it, only a little effort would be needed to make a very cozy shelter.Pics would be great...


Full Member
Jun 24, 2008
St. Helens
Some fantastic looking shelters on this thread! Really inspiring. I'll have to have a bash at some of those designs.

This is a little one my son and I knocked up in about half an hour last autumn.