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

How to make a tinder pouch for bushcraft

posted in: Bushcraft, Equipment, Gear, Knowledge | 0

Last night I decided to make tinder pouch for the fun of it. It is really easy to do. The whole process took me a about an hour to finish. Here’s how you do it.




First of all you need the following:

– A piece of hide. I used suede but any kind will do. I would probably recommend leather but you can actually use any material if you want to (plastic will give you a waterproof pouch).

– A string of some kind. Could be leather, paracord, or twine as I used in this example.

– A pencil, pen or something to mark the hide with.
– Something round to use as a template. Preferably about 40 cm in diameter. I used a wok lid.
– A folding rule or measuring tape of som kind.
– A small screwdriver or Multi-tool with a reamer, screwdriver or the like.
– A pair of scissors or a sharp knife.


– First you place the hide on a flat surface.
– Then place your round template over it and draw a line along it. Preferably it should be about 40 cm in diameter. (If you want to extend the diameter of your template, simple add the amount of cm all the way around it that you want to add and mark it with your pencil).
– Using the scissors you cut out the hide along your marks. This will give you a perfectly round shape of hide.
– Next you have to decide how far from the edge you want you string to be. I measured 4 cm from the edge as I like to have a little bit more hide in the top when you close your pouch. I’ve seen other people recommend about 2,5 cm (1 inch).
– Now you mark where you want your holes to be all around the edge. The way I did this was to simply fold the hide down the middle and make a mark in the fold 4 cm from the edge. Then I did the same in the diagonal direction. And after that I folded the hide half way between the four marks I already had. If you did this correctly you will have 8 holes marked.
– Next you mark where  the rest of the holes go. The way you do this is by measuring the distance between the marks you already have. Then divide it into something close to 2,5 cm, but no less than that. In my case the distance was 12 cm, so I made 3 marks with 3 cm between them. That left me with 32 holes.
– Now all you have to do is puncture your marks with your screwdriver (I pre-drilled mine with a point knife to avoid using to much force and accidentally destroying the hide).
Make sure your holes a big enough to allow your string to slide easily.
– Put the string in the holes and tie the ends together.
That’s it.

You can just tie the extend twine around your pouch or use it to fasten it to your belt. You could also make a cord lock if your prefer that.