Bushcraft weekend in Sweden: Building a natural shelter

posted in: Bushcraft, Knowledge, skills, Survival | 0

Last weekend I went to Sweden to test a few of my bushcraft skills.

Weather forecast said rain and snow with temperatures near the freezing point. I didn’t bring any sleeping bag, tarp, tent or rain gear.

Inside my backpack I had my Swedish Officer’s Wool Blanket along with my axe, my knife and a few other items such as a headlamp, some paracord, and some dry tinder. See my complete gear and clothing list here. For food supplies I brought some water and my homemade beef jerky as well as two small Snickers bars.

After leaving Denmark and Kronborg Castle behind, my friend and I headed towards the small town of Perstorp in Scania. Or rather the lakes on the outskirts of Perstorp.




It was already raining when we left the car and started heading into the forest. Everything was wet and on top of that we had to be really careful not to get our feet wet in the numerous waterholes and small streams we had to pass. It wasn’t really a hike. More like a short walk before we found a suitable spot to build our camp: A mix between young birch forest and spruce forest. Right next to the lake “Store Damm” which translates from Swedish into “Big lake”.

I immediately started building my lean-to as I was depending on some shelter from the rain. Underneath my M-65 Austrian Mountain Jacket I was wearing a lot of wool layers so even though I got very wet, I was still keeping warm. If not from the wool I guess from my level of activity.




Making the shelter:

I picked a spot between two trees with a deadfall lying right next to one of them. I decided to use the deadfall as support for my elevated bed in one end. The other end I supported by tying three thinner logs together.

After that I started collecting logs for my bedding. bringing them back to camp and cleaning them there so I could later use the left over material for sealing off my roof.

I put up the crossbar that was going to hold my roof up. Had I been completely true to my natural shelter I should have used spruce roots for lashing I guess. But being wet and with only little gear I used my paracord for this. At first I rested the crossbar on a branch to one side but I had to raise it further up in order to get a steeper angle on my roof.







The rest of the work was more simple. Not much thinking needed. Just hard work. I went back and forth in the rain so many times in order to find enough branches for weaving my roof together.

Then I started working on the roofing. I didn’t have enough fresh branches, so once again I had to go back into the forest and find some more materials. I supplemented with some dead spruce branches until I wasn’t able to see the sky through the roof. (Please note that you need to add a very thick layer of branches to your roof in order to properly seal it off.)




That was it. My lean-to was done and I was able to get out of the rain and allow myself to relax a bit. At that point it stopped raining of course.

It was still a good thing though. Being all wet it gave me a chance to dry up a bit by the fire. My pants were steaming.




Look out for part 2


My backpack: http://www.fjallraven.com/kajka-65

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