These take more time to build than open shelters (at least three hours), but your efforts will be doubly rewarded. Not only can the shelter be warmed by a small fire, reducing the need to collect a huge pile of wood, but the firelight reflects off the walls, providing cheery illumination for sitting out a long winter night.
This forerunner of the tepee remains the quintessential primitive shelter-"sturdy enough to blunt prevailing winds, weatherproof, quickly built for nomadic hunters, but comfortable enough to serve as a long-term home. It can be partially enclosed or fully enclosed and vented to permit an inside fire.
Step One Tilt three poles together in tripod form and bind them together near the top. If you can find one or more poles with a Y at one end, tilt the others against the crotch, eliminating the need for cordage.
Step Two Tilt other poles against the wedges formed by the tripod in a circular form and thatch, leaving a front opening and a vent at the top for smoke.
Photo by Steve Sanford