9 Natural Shelters To Look For When Bugging Out

December 17, 2015

Bugging out should be a last resort. In most situations bugging in is the safest option. But, if that rare circumstance rears its head, it pays to be prepared! These are natural shelters to keep your eyes peeled for when trying to survive in the wild.


A Cave

Probably the best natural shelter that you can find! A cave will protect you from the elements as well as provide a nice hiding place from potential attackers. You will need to use caution entering a cave you are unfamiliar with, though, since wild animals often make their homes in these easy shelters.


An Undercut Bank

An undercut bank is great for protection from one side, and because of this it makes building a shelter much easier. If you have a tarp or poncho, constructing a shelter is even quicker. One thing to be careful of is water. If there is a heavy rain, you may be in trouble.


Rock Formations

Rock formations come in all shapes and sizes. If you are lucky you may find one that already forms a perfect shelter, but hopefully with some searching you can find one that will at least make the work of building a shelter easier.



A fallen tree with exposed roots can be a great support for a shelter. Often a deadfall’s trunk is raised off of the ground due to the large roots. Throwing a tarp over the trunk and staking it to the ground in each side makes creating a shelter easy. Also, similar to the undercut bank, the root structure can provide a solid wall. Constructing a basic lean-to against the root base can provide sound shelter.


Animal Dens

Animal dens vary in construction and size, including cleared brush and dug out holes. You can use some of these to your advantage. You may just need to enlarge or add on to the den to make it sufficient for shelter. Always use caution, though, in case the den is still inhabited!


Large Shade Trees

In a pinch trees can be used as a shelter. Search for a tree that is dense with branches and leaves, and preferably one which has branches close to the ground. Trees can be surprisingly effective at keeping you dry.


Under a Pine Tree

Pine trees often have branches that extend out to the ground or close to it, and many are dense with branches and needles which make it perfect for quick shelter.


Hollow Trees

If you are fortunate to live near a forest that has large trees, you may be able to find a hollow tree that can be used as a shelter or a partial shelter. Again, if you have a tarp with you, finishing out the shelter should be quick work.


Abandoned structures

Abandoned structures can be found in some surprising places. Most of the land across the nation has been inhabited at one time or another. An abandoned structure can be a huge find when it comes to survival. Even an old stone wall or fence can make constructing a shelter much easier.

Natural shelters not only provide the opportunity for a quick temporary shelter but can also be a huge help in constructing a more permanent one. Many ancient inhabitants used caves, rock overhangs, and outcroppings as permanent homes. In a survival situation make sure to keep your eyes out for these possibilities!