How to Survive Anything: Choosing where to build your shelter

If you find yourself stuck in the wilderness, one of the first things you’ll want to do is prepare a shelter — but before you can do that, you need to choose where you want to built it.

Choosing a good location for your campsite is extremely important, not just in terms of comfort, but survival. You’ll want to pick a location that’s both high and dry — avoid valleys and paths that look like water flows through them when it rains, or you may find your carefully constructed shelter washed away in the middle of the night.

Keep an eye out for insect nests — you won’t want to make camp anywhere near one, and if possible, try to set up near a source of fresh water and an ample supply of dry wood for use in both building your shelter and your fire. Look for threats commonly referred to as “widow-makers,” like large dead branches that could fall on your camp while you’re sleeping and make sure to avoid them.

Making camp near a rock wall can be dangerous (widow-makers) but it can also protect  you from the elements on that side and help keep the warmth from the fire near you as you sleep.