What you need: Tarps, Cordage, Rocks  

A - Frame: 

This is the classic tarp shelter, it is easy to make and secure. It can be used in all types of weather including heavy winds. Make sure if you are using it for snow to raise it more off the ground to account for the weight of the snow. 

1.  Tie a taut-line or ridge line from two trees. Make sure the line is tight (use a truckers hitch to pull out all the slack if you need to).

2.  Fold a tarp over the top of the line. Use as many tarps as you need to extend the shelter. 

3.  Tie all corners down with rocks or stakes. Make sure the tarp is even, it helps if you tie down opposing corners first to keep the tarp tight and even. If you are using rocks remember that you need to compensate for the air catching the tarp like a parachute so use lots of rocks! 

A - Frame without two trees

If you don't have trees in the spot you want to build your shelter you can use dead branches to create a tree. Place two branches and cross them like you would a teepee. lash the branches together using a figure eight lashing technique. Attach your tautline to the branches. Then attach a piece of cordage from the branches to the ground leaning away from your shelter. The opposing forces of the tautline and the line tied to the rocks will keep up your shelter without needing a perfectly placed tree! 

Sting Ray 

Sting Ray's are great if you have a large tree which provides a good deal of shelter already. It can be great for snow and rain but is not recommended for heavy winds. They are one of the easier shelters to make. 

1. Tie one corner to a tree fairly high. Make sure that the opening is not facing the wind! 

2. Secure all other corners to the ground with rocks or stakes. It should look like a diamond. Pulled tight it will look like it has a natural crease showing that it is tight and secure. 

3. To extend the shelter, take another tarp and tie the corner so that it overlaps your first tarp and there is not a gap even at the opening. 

3. Overlap the tarp over the first and tie down all edges with rocks. Now you should have two diamonds with a large opening facing the tree. 

4. The end result can be a circle around an entire large tree or more of a flat spread of tarps with a tree that has a lot of coverage. 


This one person shelter is easy and secure. It is similar to a stingray except the sides are tucked in with rocks so can not be open for a large shelter with multiple people. 

1. Tie the top of your diamond to a tree realtively high

2. Tie the opposing corner to the ground tight. (You can also use a ridgeline tied to the ground if you prefer). 

3. Tuck the two other corners under and place rocks on the inside of your shelter so that the dart is secure.