Survival Tips: Winter Shelter, Part 2

An outdoor hunting trip during the winter can be unforgettable. The weather may chase others inside, but you know there is a lot to enjoy during the cold season. There is also a lot to worry about if something goes wrong. Copper Ridge Outdoors is dedicated to helping you spend more time doing what you love with high-quality outdoor hunting gear, but we also want to help you stay safe. In this ongoing series, we offer advice to help you make it back to safety, and in today’s blog entry, we’re focused on how to build an effective shelter in the colder months.

In part one of our series on emergency winter shelters, we discussed not only why finding shelter is important, but also how to find the right location to settle in for the night. We also mentioned how to preserve your body heat, and what to do if you have nothing but natural materials at your disposal. Today, we dive into more details on how to build an effective winter shelter. Read on to learn more, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our survival tips on the Copper Ridge Outdoors blog!

Creating Your Own Shelter

Building a Natural Lean-To

One of the simplest shelters you can create for yourself is a lean-to. A fallen tree can create the backbone, or you can find a small overhang or a large rock to be one wall of your shelter. Lean large branches against this feature to create the leaning wall, and use progressively smaller sticks to close the gaps. You can also use evergreen boughs, and other materials like leaves and bark to seal up the walls as well as you can. Keep in mind our advice from part one of this series: you want your shelter to be as small as possible to preserve your body heat! With a lean-to, you also have the option to build a fire in the open side of your shelter for added warmth. Check out our article on building a fire in an emergency situation for tips and gear recommendations!

Using a Tarp

If you have a tarp or sheet of some kind and a length of rope or cord, you can create a makeshift tent. First, find two trees with enough space between them for you to lie down. Tie the cord between them and stretch your sheet over the line. If it’s snowing, tie the cord high enough to create steep tent walls that will shed snow. Otherwise, tie the cord low to create a small space. Next, weigh down the edges of your tarp with rocks or heavy logs. To better enclose your shelter, use your pack or whatever other gear you have to close one of the entrances.

Utilizing Snow

Creating an emergency shelter during the winter means most of us in the U.S. have to contend with snow. It can make the previous ideas we listed impractical or even unsafe. There are ways to build a shelter with snow, of course, but there are many different options and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. In most cases, creating a shelter with snow is time-consuming, and therefore can put you in danger.

If you are concerned that you may someday find yourself in a situation where you will need to create a snow shelter, we encourage you to do your research. Find a reliable source with details catered to your location and climate, and learn what kind of snow shelter may best fit your situation.


One thing to keep in mind when creating an emergency winter shelter is insulation. You want to have several layers of material between you and the outside world. This includes a layer between you and the ground. If there is snow, clear as much of it away from where you will build your shelter as you can. Then, create a layer of insulation with evergreen branches or other debris about six to eight inches thick to prevent losing body heat to the cold ground.

Here at Copper Ridge Outdoors, we are dedicated to creating outdoor hunting gear and other supplies to help make every expedition a great experience. We hope these survival tips, as well as those we’ve included in other installments of this series, give you added peace of mind. For more, review our posts on navigating, finding clean water, and building a fire.

To find equipment you can depend on, you’ve come to the right place! The team here at Copper Ridge Outdoors prioritizes your safety, comfort, and satisfaction, and we ship straight to consumers from our manufacturing center to keep prices low and quality high. Explore our inventory to find the supplies you need, from hunting shelters and targets to ATV gear, and place your order today!