Wilderness Survival: Learn To Love The Lean-To

Yeah, it’s breezy and wide open to the bugs, and there’s no privacy. But you’ve still got to love the lean-to shelter. Here’s why.

It’s A Quick Set Up
With just a few stakes in the ground, ropes and poles, your flat tarp can transform into a shady shelter known as a lean-to. I always thought lean-to was a Native American word, but some linguists claim that it’s an old English word for a flat roofed shed that literally leans against some kind of support. It sounds plausible enough to me. And did I mention that it sets up quickly?

There Are Great Views
Why close yourself off from the wild? The lean-to’s open side allows you to bask in the beauty of nature, from the time you open your eyes to the time you close them.

It’s Fire Friendly
As long as your fire is burning, the lean-to acts like a large heat trap. Of course, for safety, you don’t want the fire too close. But even a few yards away, the radiant heat warms up your lean-to and keeps you out of the weather.

There’s Versatility In It
Tried to cover your woodpile with a pup tent? It wouldn’t work very well, would it? Since most lean-tos are simple tarps, you can use it for other things when you’re not using it as a shelter.

It Looks Great
Ever been to a rendezvous? The rows of lean-tos give you a full view of all the neat accouterments and camp gear of the attendees. But even if you’re not a buckskinner, the lean-to makes a great backdrop for survival videos and pictures. When the bugs aren’t forming clouds yet, and the wind isn’t changing direction every ten minutes, the lean-to really is a nice shelter.

These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – How To Survive Anything – the Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook – and How To Survive Off The Grid

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.

Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a huge selection of survival gear >

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