DIY Emergency Survival Tarp Shelters

Emergency Survival Tarp Shelters

Tarp Shelters are probably the most basic and easy structures you can build. You need only a tarp or sheet of plastic and usually some rope. As you can see in the picture, the cord has been tied between two trees and the plastic sheet draped over it. Rocks are used to hold down the corners.


The Tepee tarp structure is extremely simple to construct.

It only uses a single tie-off point at the top and wraps around like a tepee. This is probably better in cold, wet or windy environments where you may want to be able to close it off from the elements.


It requires very little cord (or even none at all if you can tie the plastic itself to an overhanging branch). I don’t recommend a center pole as it can easily tear. If you do not have any rope and trees around you, drape the tarp over a shrub or rock as a center support.

A quick tip, be careful that you do not tear the tarp when making a shelter, as they WILL continue to tear.

If you want a fire, it’s best to keep it outside or near the mouth of the shelter. In extreme conditions, you can bring the fire inside, but it should be well-ventilated, and the flames should not be near the shelter walls.

  • Heat up rocks in the fire and stack them inside the shelter for extra warmth.
  • Always turn off your stove or gas/oil lantern inside your shelter — Carbon monoxide¬†gas can kill you.
  • Found metal isn’t good to use for roofs. It will deflect rain and wind, but also reflect sunlight needed for warmth.


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