How to Make a Survival Lean-to and Fire Reflector

This post was last updated on July 16th, 2021 at 11:37 am

Making a Lean-to Shelter

The lean-to shelter is very easy to build and will offer pretty good protection from the elements. If properly constructed it should keep you dry and out of the wind. Follow the detailed images below and you can easily learn this important survival skill. To make this shelter you will only need a few items such as:

  • A machete, saw or hatchet
  • Knife
  • Rope or cordage
  • Conifers (pine trees) or live green vegetation for the roofing material.
  • Wood
Place your ridgepole at your desired height between the two trees. Attach it securely with cordage.
Fill in the roof of your shelter with logs and put in support sticks on the sides.
Intertwine smaller sticks in the roof of your shelter. This will prevent large gaps and allow for a solid roof. You should also weave several saplings and sticks around your side wall support sticks. This will tighten up your walls for security.
Cover your shelter with live branches. You should begin at the lowest portion and work your way up. This will cause a shingle type of layering to help shed water. Also lay a bed of soft material on the ground for added comfort and warmth.

Fire Reflector

Once your lean-to is completed you could also build a fire reflector in the front of it. This will bounce your fires heat back into your shelter and also serve as a secondary wind block. (See instructions below to build a fire reflector).

Making a fire reflector wall. Step 1). Drive the four support logs into the ground. Step 2). Slide horizontal logs into place. Step 3). Tie the tops of your support logs with rope or parachute cord. It would be best to use only live logs for this. Living logs are less likely to catch fire if it gets too hot.


These shelters can be constructed using any type of wood in any type of habitat. With a small fire and proper roofing insulation, these can keep you alive in nearly any type of weather. If you learn to make only one type of survival shelter this would be the one to know.