Christopher Nyerges teaches his students how to be prepared for building improvised structures in nature for protection, sleeping, and more.
A shelter is a basic architectural structure or building that provides cover.
An example of outdoor survival shelters is a bivouac shelter. A bivouac shelter is any of a variety of improvised camp sites such as those used in scouting and mountain climbing. It may often refer to sleeping in the open with a bivouac sack, but it may also refer to a shelter constructed of natural materials like a structure of branches to form frame may be utilized, which is then covered with leaves, ferns and similar for waterproofing and duff for insulation.
Christopher Nyerges is the codirector with his wife of the School of Self-Reliance, where he has taught classes on wild foods and survival skills since 1974. He is an associate editor of Wilderness Way and west coast editor of Wild Food Forum. He has published hundreds of articles on wild foods, gardening, self-reliance, and survival skills in American Survival Guide, Whole Life Times, Mother Earth News, Herbalist, and many other magazines.
Single sided designs allow easy access and allow the heat of a fire into the shelter, while full roofed designs have much better heat retention. As a general rule the roof should be at least a foot thick and opaque to bright sunlight. Artificial bivouacs can be constructed using a variety of available materials from corrugated iron sheeting or plywood, to groundsheets or purpose-made hootchies. Although these have the advantage of being speedy to erect and resource efficient they have relatively poor insulation properties and are relatively easily damaged by the myriad sharp objects usually found in camp.