Good snow cover represents one of the best sources of shelter in a wintertime survival situation. Snow, despite being cold to the touch, has strong insulating properties in addition to providing excellent protection from the wind. Making emergency shelters out of snow is also pretty easy, requires minimal tools and resources, and they don’t take that long to build either. Let’s take a look at three examples that illustrate how easy it is to build one in a crisis.
Build a wall with your hands that is around 3 feet high and long enough to fit you and your supplies. Construct it in the shape of an upside-down fish hook, and position the wall so that it faces into the wind. This will create a wind-free zone that is a couple of feet high and a few feet wide, and this can be just enough to protect you as you lay on the ground.
You can also attach a poncho or tarp to the top of the wall to create an improvised roof. While this shelter will provide minimal protection, it can buy you time until you figure out what to do next.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in deep snow, say at least 3 feet, then you can easily dig out a hole around a tree and make an improvised shelter. Make the hole as wide as necessary, and lay some pine branches or soft forest debris along the bottom for some insulation and padding. Next, take a few long and full pine or evergreen branches and place them over the top to create a makeshift roof. One of the advantages of this shelter is that it can blend in with the surrounding terrain, and this can be advantageous when you are trying to keep a low profile.
Building an A-frame shelter is not always easy, particularly when it’s cold and windy outside. However, it can provide you with greater protection than a wall, and you don’t need a shovel to carve out a hole in the snow pack. Create the frame by using a long and thick branch to serve as the main spar, and then use a series of shorter ones to serve as support ribs. Make sure that the shelter is a couple of feet longer than you are tall.
Once you’ve built the skeleton, cover it up with a layer of branches before packing a few inches of snow on top of the structure. All you need to do now is construct some type of plug that you can use to cover the entrance after you’re inside in order to protect you from the elements.
While these are very rudimentary designs, they are very-effective at serving their intended purpose. Remember that time is not your friend in a cold-weather survival situation, and resources may be scarce as well. These shelters can be just what you need to get yourself established and buy time to decide what to do next.