September 28, 2022

How to Build a Lean-To Shelter – Complete Preparedness Guide

Table
of
Contents

A
disaster
strikes
and
you
are
left
with
no
home,
or
you
get
lost
in
the
wilderness
and
you’ve
got
nowhere
to
sleep.
You
need
shelter
before
the
elements
turn
on
you.
What
do
you
do?

What
you
need
is
a
survival
shelter.
One
of
the
easiest
survival
shelters
you
could
make
is
a
lean-to.
But
do
you
know

how
to
build
a
lean-to
shelter
?
This
post
is
all
about
helping
you
build
a
lean-to
for
shelter
from
the
elements
and
to
keep
you
warm
and
safe. 

By
the
end
of
this
post,
you
would
have
learned
the
most
important
preparedness
skill.


What
Is
a
Lean-To
Shelter?

This
is
a
versatile
outdoor
survival
shelter
that
can
be
used
in
different
locations
and
seasons. 

This
unique
survival
shelter
gets
its
name
from
its
design.
A
collection
of
materials
leaning
against
a
uniquely
made
structure.
You
can
make
a
lean-to
shelter
in
different
configurations
and
sizes,
such
as
open
or
closed,
depending
on
the
season
and
weather. 


Parts
of
a
Basic
Lean-To
Shelter

A
basic
lean-to
is
made
up
of
several
parts,
including:


Uprights

These
are
the
most
important
part
of
the
construction
because
they
provide
the
much-needed
support
for
the
shelter.
The
ideal
uprights
can
be
two
naturally
growing
trees
in
the
woods
or
two
poles
made
using
lashing
techniques. 

The
distance
or
length
between
the
two
trees
or
poles
is
an
extremely
important
measurement.
It
should
be
a
little
bit
longer
than
your
height. 


Ridgepole

The
ridgepole
is
the
main
beam
that
is
attached
to
the
uprights
of
a
lean-to.
It
supports
all
other
structures
of
the
shelter.
It
needs
to
be
fairly
thick
and
strong
to
provide
the
support
needed
by
other
structures
without
collapsing. 


Spars

Spars
refer
to
the
poles
that
rest
on
the
ridgepole
and
the
ground.
Apart
from
deciding
the
depth
of
the
lean-to,
the
spars
also
define
the
framework
of
the
shelter. 

Some
lean-tos
are
made
of
closely
packed
spars
to
reduce
the
number
of
materials
needed
for
roofing.
Although
the
spars
need
to
be
strong,
they
don’t
need
to
be
too
thick
to
avoid
collapsing
the
ridgepole. 

The
number
of
spars
you
need
for
your
shelter
depends
on
how
far
apart
the
uprights
are
positioned.


Ribs

Ribs
refer
to
the
flexible
branches,
twigs,
or
sticks
that
are
woven
on
the
spars
horizontally.
The
number
of
ribs
you
need
for
added
strength
and
structure
depends
on
the
material
you
will
be
using
for
roofing.
You
may
need
lots
of
ribs
that
are
closely
packed
if
you
are
planning
to
use
leaves
for
roofing.


Roof

This
refers
to
the
structure
that
extends
from
the
ground
to
the
ridgepole.
It
includes
spars,
ribs,
and
insulating
materials.
Some
of
the
most
recommended
materials
for
insulating
the
roof
include
palm
leaves,
tree
boughs,
pine
needles,
moss,
ferns,
and
grass
among
other
things
that
can
be
sourced
naturally
from
the
surroundings.
You
could
also
use
a
tarp
if
you’ve
got
one
in
your
backpack.


Wall

You
can
place
a
wall
made
of
poles,
twigs,
and
palm
leaves
or
grass
on
one
side
of
the
lean-to
as
a
windbreaker.
A
wall
can
also
be
used
as
a
heat
saver.
You
could
also
choose
to
place
a
wall
on
both
sides
of
the
shelter.

Foot
Log

This
is
an
optional
part
that
you
can
choose
not
to
include
if
you
don’t
want
to.
It
is
a
pole
positioned
directly
below
the
ridgepole.


Fire
and
Firewall

Every
lean-to
no
matter
how
basic
it
is
needs
a
fire
pit
for
keeping
warm.
The
fire
is
usually
positioned
at
a
safe
distance
from
the
front
of
the
shelter.
A
firewall,
on
the
other
hand,
is
a
wall
that
is
built
on
the
outer
side
of
the
fire.
Its
main
job
is
to
break
the
wind
and
reflect
heat
and
light
towards
the
shelter.


How
to
Build
a
Lean-To
Shelter

These
are
the
most
important
steps
you
need
to
follow
to
build
a
lean-to
shelter.


Step
1:
Find
a
Suitable
Location

Although
you
are
in
dire
need
of
an
emergency
lean-to,
you
must
find
a
suitable
location.
After
all,
a
well-built
emergency
or
survival
shelter
in
a
risky
location
is
a
bad
shelter.
Finding
that
suitable
location
doesn’t
have
to
be
a
difficult
proposition.
You
just
have
to
consider
the
following:


Resources

We
can’t
stress
enough
about
resources.
A
location
without
leaf
litter,
twigs,
branches,
and
trees
will
not
be
of
much
help
when
it
comes
to
constructing
a
lean-to.
A
mixed-wood
woodland
would
be
the
most
ideal
place. 

In
addition
to
building
resources,
you
should
also
consider
an
area
with
access
to
a
natural
source
of
water
like
a
stream,
if
you
can
find
one.
A
suitable
location,
however,
may
be
a
challenge
to
find
in
areas
that
are
covered
by
snow.
So,
you
might
have
to
be
more
creative.


Terrain
and
Grade

You
wouldn’t
want
to
be
waterlogged
when
it
rains.
You
also
wouldn’t
want
to
set
your
shelter
on
a
rocky
terrain
that
would
be
difficult
to
sleep
on.
Also,
make
sure
the
grade
of
the
terrain
isn’t
inclined.


Drainage

Drainage
is
an
extremely
important
consideration
if
you
are
in
a
region
that
receives
rainfall
most
of
the
time
or
if
it
is
a
rainy
season.
The
ideal
spot
that
will
provide
good
drainage
is
always
higher
ground.


Safety

We
recommend
you
thoroughly
explore
the
area
to
uncover
any
possible
scenarios
that
could
put
you
in
harm’s
way.
Are
there
dead
trees
or
branches
on
the
higher
ground
that
may
fall
and
hurt
you?
Is
the
soil
easily
eroded
by
running
water?


Step
2:
Setting
Up
the
Uprights

The
uprights
are
basically
the
foundation
of
a
lean-to
shelter.
They
need
to
be
as
strong
as
possible
to
be
able
to
support
the
other
structures
of
the
shelter.

The
most
ideal
uprights
would
be
the
trees
that
are
growing
naturally
in
the
woods.
Trees
with
a
high
canopy
are
the
most
ideal
ones
because
they
have
a
higher
part
of
the
trunk
exposed.
The
trees
need
to
be
far
apart
(around
6
to
8
feet
apart)
and
in
alignment.
We
recommend
a
distance
of
around
6
to
8
feet,
assuming
that
you
are
a
6-foot
tall
individual.

But
the
measurement
can
vary
depending
on
your
height
and
preferred
sleeping
position.
If
you
are
the
kind
of
person
who
likes
to
stretch
out
when
sleeping,
then
you
will
need
the
distance
between
the
uprights
to
be
as
long
as
possible.
But
a
shorter
length
would
do
if
you
like
sleeping
in
a
fetal
position.

If
your
preferred
location
or
site
doesn’t
have
trees
that
are
suitably
aligned
near
to
each
other,
then
you
can
use
logs
to
create
your
own
uprights.
You
just
need
two
logs
of
the
same
height
and
two
holes
on
the
ground
that
are
properly
aligned.


Step
3:
Setting
Up
the
Ridgepole

The
ridgepole
is
one
of
the
most
important
parts
of
the
shelter
because
it
supports
the
other
parts
of
the
structure.
The
log
you
choose
to
use
should
be
longer
than
the
distance
between
the
two
uprights.

If
the
uprights
are
6
feet
apart,
for
example,
then
the
ridgepole
should
be
around
8
feet
(considering
the
thickness
of
the
uprights).
Then
you
have
to
decide
how
far
up
you
should
set
up
the
ridgepole.
We
recommend
a
height
of
about
4
to
6
feet,
depending
on
how
far
apart
the
uprights
are
from
each
other.
If
you’ve
got
ropes
with
you,
then
you
can
tie
the
ridgepole
to
the
uprights.

But
you
will
have
to
be
more
creative
if
you
don’t
have
ropes.
You
can
use
y-shaped
branches
(spars)
of
equal
length.
Apart
from
holding
the
ridgepole
into
place,
the
two
y-branches
on
the
outer
ends
will
be
the
first
two
spars
of
the
shelter.


Step
4:
Setting
Up
the
Spars

You
will
need
several
poles
for
spars.
They
should
be
slightly
longer
than
the
two
y
branches
you
used
to
support
the
ridgepole.
Setting
up
the
spars
is
probably
the
easiest
part
of
the
construction.

The
number
of
spars
you
will
use
depends
on
the
type
of
material
you
can
source
naturally
for
roofing.
You
can
space
them
out
at
an
equal
interval
or
pack
them
closely
together.
The
spars
will
shape
out
your
lean-to
shelter.
So,
try
as
much
as
possible
to
use
poles
of
equal
length.


Step
5:
Ribbing

This
step
will
help
strengthen
the
shelter.
You
will
need
sticks
that
are
either
thumb-thick
or
wrist-thick,
depending
on
how
far
apart
you
spaced
the
spars. 

You
can
do
the
ribbing
under
or
over
the
spars.
But
over
the
spars
is
more
suitable.
Make
sure
the
ribbing
isn’t
too
high
or
else
you
may
invite
the
possibility
of
water
running
down
the
ribbing
and
into
your
shelter.


Step
6:
Roofing

If
you’ve
got
a
tarp
in
your
backpack,
then
you
can
simply
set
it
up
over
the
ribbing.
But
if
you
rely
on
nature
for
all
your
building
resources,
then
you
will
need
lots
of
leaves
or
moss.

Leaves
are
usually
in
abundance
on
the
forest
floor.
Use
your
fingers
or
a
pole
like
a
rake
to
move
leaves
close
to
the
shelter.
This
shouldn’t
take
you
more
than
half
an
hour
to
do.
Before
using
the
leaves,
make
sure
that
you
check
them
for
ants. 

Cover
the
entire
shelter
with
piles
of
leaves.
The
most
effective
packing
technique
is
to
slide
the
leaves
down
along
the
ribs.
All
you
need
to
do
is
reach
up
to
the
top
of
the
pile
and
bring
your
hands
downward
in
the
same
direction
as
the
ribbing.

Chances
are
that
the
leaves
are
dry.
So,
they
could
easily
be
blown
away
on
a
windy
day.
We
recommend
you
lay
dead
branches
or
loose
bark
over
the
lean-to
to
keep
the
leaves
from
blowing
away.


Step
7:
Setting
Up
the
Wind
Breaker

The
shelter
is
technically
ready
by
now.
But
you
can
make
it
more
reliable
by
adding
a
windbreaker
(a
wall).
You
can
use
anything
resourceful
to
set
up
the
windbreaker
wall.

But
we
recommend
you
attach
poles
to
one
of
the
y-shaped
branches.
Insert
the
poles
into
the
ground
and
attach
them
to
the
y
branch.
Pack
them
closely
to
create
a
wall.
You
can
create
a
similar
wall
on
the
other
end
of
the
structure.


Step
8:
Setting
up
the
Fire

Any
survival
shelter
in
the
woods
needs
fire
for
keeping
warm,
lighting
up
the
place,
and
keeping
animals
away.
It
is
best
to
set
up
the
fire
about
1
to
2
feet
from
the
entrance
of
the

lean-to

shelter.
It
is
also
advisable
to
create
a
wall
behind
the
fire.

The
wall
will
act
as
a
windbreaker
as
well
as
a
reflector
of
heat
and
light.
You
just
need
about
five
to
10
poles
to
create
a
wall
behind
the
fire.
You
need
to
build
a
traditional
fire
pit
by
placing
stones
in
a
circular
shape.
Place
logs
in
a
cone
shape
inside
the
fire
pit
to
create
a
fire
that
will
last
longer.
Make
sure
you’ve
got
enough
wood
to
fuel
the
fire.


Step
9:
Finishing
Touches

Get
a
thick
pole
that
is
the
same
length
as
the
ridgepole
and
set
it
up
at
the
bottom
of
the
uprights
directly
underneath
the
ridgepole.
You
can
also
choose
to
build
a
raised
bed
by
placing
poles
or
logs
of
similar
length
and
width
inside
the

survival
shelter
.


Final
Thoughts

In
any
survival
situation,
your
means
are
very
primitive.
It
is
up
to
you
to
have
the
wit
and
ability
to
create
a
reliable
survival
lean-to
shelter
for
yourself.
We
created
this
guide
to
help
you
learn

how
to
build
a
lean-to
shelter
.
This
way,
you
can
always
be
prepared
for
the
worst-case
scenarios.

Original Source