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Today I’m going to teach you how to
build one of the simplest yet strongest
and most protective all-weather survival
shelters
my name is Thomas Coyne owner and chief
instructor at Coyne Survival Schools, home
to some of America’s most realistic real
world outdoor survival training.
Once someone becomes injured or lost in the
outdoors, the number one killer is
outdoor exposure – being too hot or too
cold for too long until you die. That is
why it is critical to know how to build
a shelter that will stop any weather.
Today I’m gonna teach you how to build
the A-frame or tripod shelter the
A-frame or tripod shelter begins with a
bed. The bed that you see here is meant
for ground insulation to keep you off
the cold ground. In most forests we can
simply rake piles of needles or leaves
off of the ground. I’m gonna make sure I
fit on this bed and then I will build
the shelter over this bed and I’ll know
I’m building the shelter to the
appropriate size for my body. I’m now
going to begin the tripod. This is a
quick and easy process that requires no
ties or gear. I have two sticks, one forked.
I cross them about hip high, leaving
them wide enough that my shoulders will
fit inside. I then lean a third pole down
Now I have a tripod. If I have any slippage, I
can dig a small hole to put the bottom
of the tripod in or small rock for
support. The next step in building the
tripod shelter is placing your frame
poles down. We need enough strong poles
to go every 18 inches down the side of
this shelter. You want to make sure that
everything is at a 45 degree angle or
steeper so that it sheds rain and snow
appropriately. It’s time to add the
latticework or small forked branches that
we’ll place all along this to make sure
that our vegetation we’re using as
covering does not simply fall through.
Now that we have the tripod, the frame
and all the lattice support work done,
we’re going to go ahead and
add on all the vegetation that we’ve
covered. If you’re able to gather piles
of debris directly from the forest floor,
it requires no tools. It’s the quickest
and most effective. If not you’ll have to
cut the most dominant vegetation. If
we’re using green vegetation, we apply it
stem up to the shelter. If we’re using
debris, we simply grab the thickest
densest piles we can, squeeze on together
tight and then place them down. We’re
gonna go along the whole bottom row and
then overlap just like shingles on a
roof so we get a cascading effect and it
sheds the rain. Now many people wonder
how thick the vegetation should be to
make it waterproof. We apply our
vegetation until we can see no light
coming through from the outside. Once
it’s light proof it’s waterproof. Since
it’s all overlapped and locked in
together, it just takes about five
branches like this on each side to make
sure that it doesn’t blow away. Now if it
can hold my weight in one spot like this,
it’ll hold snow off or rain or anything
like that. It’s a very very strong
shelter. A shelter like this can take
time that you don’t have to build. Be
sure when you go out in the outdoors you
have everything you need to spend the
night without succumbing to exposure.
Thank you for watching and more to come.

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