How To Build A Squirrel's Nest

A Squirrel's Nest is a survival hut that can be built in just about any climate and will protect you from any sort of weather (though, I can't guarantee it in some heavy storms, like a tsunami). It's probably the easiest survival unit to make, it doesn't require too many materials, and it is very easy to survive in, even during some of the colder days. The reason it's so easy to survive in is its compact size, it helps keep the heat in during the night, cold, and/or wet weather. The squirrel's nest is made for one person, but because of its small size, increased durability, and lack of need for hard to find materials, it becomes very useful and you can make three or four within a two or three hour time span. Just one last note, this should not be attempted in a desert or a tundra. The materials are easier to find in a forested area.

Now, let's get building. The first step to building this is, get one big log, a foot or two longer than you are tall, this is the only really big piece you'll need. So, say you're five feet tall, you want to get a log that's seven feet or longer. This is the back bone of your nest. You want this to be sturdy, but don't cut a tree down for this, because, unless you're lacking in the already-fallen-tree department, you can find many nice and sturdy logs around. Next, find a relatively sturdy living tree (make sure it's living). Of course, before you make your squirrel's nest watch out for widowmakers. A widowmaker is a dead tree that's still standing. If there are any fairly close to where you're building your nest, there's a chance you might not survive the night (albeit small, but still a chance). This goes for pitching a tent as well, for all you outdoors people. The reason dead trees are so dangerous is that they aren't as stable as real trees and a strong wind could topple them over and kill you or at least severely damage you. And while you're at it, make sure you're not setting up your nest on top of any hidden rocks or animal/insect homes (for safety's sake and comfort).

Now, find yourself that nice sturdy tree, or a tree with a notch in it (but only if the notch is low to the ground), it should be fairly wide so that you can set the log you just found against it. You don't want to have to worry about it being unstable. Make sure the ground you're building your hut next to the tree is relatively flat, because you're going to make this hut a tight fit. The idea for the log is to place it about two feet up the tree. Now get under the log. You should be able to lay completely straight under it and have your body not touch the log at all. The feet is where this is hardest, because they are right near the bottom and traditionally stick up (unless you plan on sleeping on your side, if so, build accordingly). If the log isn't high enough for your feet or is made unstable by your feet, either put it higher up along the tree, or find a longer log.

Once you're comfortable with the position of the log so that you'll be able to feel safe and stable in your squirrel's nest, you can start setting up the ribcage of your nest. This is done by finding sticks of varying size and placing them against the log diagonally. Make sure they are quite close together so there is only about a half an inch of space between each branch. Like this:

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log ------------------(tree)
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That one blank space is the opening. This is required for you to get in and out of the nest. Don't forget it! It's a relatively easy mistake to fix, but if you're in a rush, you'll feel kind of stupid for making it.

Now you have a rib-cage type of layout. It should look very bare. The last step is adding the cover. If you're in an area with pine trees, it's very easy to make this camouflage as well as a warm environment. To do this, pull as many pine needles off the ground as you can. I've made a squirrel's nest with a covering of pine needles, and even at five feet away it was completely invisible to anyone not knowing what they're looking for. Not only do pine needles help cover the nest very well (and you can return a week later and the nest will look exactly the same, surprisingly pine needles stay where they are on the nest) but they also, if enough is layered on, keep warmth in very well, so if it's late fall/early winter, there's a good chance of staying warm. However, just about any foliage will do for the squirrel's nest. A good check for quality craftsmanship is to go inside and make sure there's no light shining through the cover. If the squirrel's nest is completely dark when you're inside it, there's a huge chance of never having to deal with rain or other precipitation.

If you did all this correctly and layered the foliage/covering on thick, this nest should last you a long time. It's compact, easy to build, and perfect for survival because of its ability to withstand most precipitation if built correctly. I don't know why it's called a squirrel's nest (squirrels don't build structures like this), but I assume there's a good reason.

Good luck on building and surviving!

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