Bushcraft in your garden: Setting up shelters at home

Cumulus Outdoors bushcraft specialist, Ian Purdey, explains the different ways you can set up camp in your garden.

Despite the situation we all find ourselves in with the ongoing lockdown, it would appear that more and more people are dusting off our tents, tarps, hammocks and teepees and donning the wilderness lifestyle. Granted, we’re restricted to camping in our back gardens, but the notion is there nonetheless.

I think I speak for us all when I say how great it is to see the resilience in the public in spite of circumstances and how inspiring it is to see families coming together with a little garden camping.  As such, I’ve put together a few illustrations to help those yet to take the wild camp plunge in the hope they will try it out for themselves.

If you decide to give these bushcraft basics a go in your own garden you’ll only need a few items, some of which you may already have lying around the house or garage. 6 tent pegs, 2 guy ropes or 2 lengths of string will suffice, 2 adjustable walking poles or bivvy poles and a square tarp. Oh and probably some marshmallows for the kids!

bushcraft shelter equipment

Setting up a tarp tent

This first example is known as the tarp tent and is the more complicated of the 3 setups. Firstly, lay the tarp flat on the ground and peg out the 2 rear corners. Then bring the front 2 corners into the middle and peg them down so the tarp looks like a triangle from the top. Enter the tent and extend the length of the walking stick from the ground to the centre of the tarp to raise it up. You’ll then be left with a door flap which you can overlap and peg down. You now have a waterproof, windproof tent.

Building a Basha shelter

This second example is known as a basha and commonly used in the military. Firstly peg down all 4 corners allowing a bit of slack front and rear. Then, using your walking pole, extend them hooking the front and back middle tags of the tarp. They will probably flop over but using your guy lines or string, hold and secure each pole, pull tight and peg down. Pulling it tight will give you more height, stop the tarp flapping in the breeze and will better allow water run-off.

basha shelter


Constructing a ‘lean to’ shelter

This 3rd example is known as a lean to and is ideal if you have a campfire. Firstly turn your tarp upside down and peg front and rear end corners. Then peg front and rear centre tags of the tarp. Next fold the loose half over making the roof and extend your walking sticks to meet the front and rear tags. Again, using your guy lines hold and secure each pole and peg down. Make sure the roof is nice and tight without any sag spots. building a lean to shelter

lean to shelter in the gardenHere is a link to some quality products I’d recommend if you’re in the market from DD Hammocks.

As ever please stay safe, look after one another and happy camping. We’ll see you for one of our bushcraft sessions in the woods soon.