Gone Outdoors

How to Make a Fort in the Woods

by Christina Sloane

Forts provide shelter when sleeping, hunting, playing or hiding out in the woods. Children like building forts in the woods to hide in when playing paintball, socializing with their friends or enjoy personal quiet time away from adults. Hunters often construct forts to provide camouflage and block the wind when searching for deer and geese. You can construct a simple fort with a few common tools and some natural materials already available in the woods.

1. Look for two trees located as far apart as you want the length of your fort to be. Measure the distance from one tree to the other.

2. Find a dry, sturdy branch about a foot longer than the distance measured in the last step. Strip smaller branches from the branch with a hatchet or knife.

3. Place the branch horizontally across the two trees, as high up as you want the fort to be. Securely tie one end of the branch to one tree with rope, and tie the other end of the branch to the other tree.

4. Measure the diagonal from the horizontal branch to the ground. Make the angle steep to provide enough room inside, and also to allow proper drainage.

5. Collect dry, sturdy branches slightly longer than the diagonal length measured above. Strip the branches with a knife or hatchet to remove smaller branches.

6. Lean the branches side by side on each side of the horizontal branch to make a tent-like fort. For a lean-to fort, only lean branches on one side of the horizontal branch.

7. Collect moss and wedge it between the gaps in the branches to provide protection from the elements.

8. Collect dry boughs and use rope to tie them to the underside of the branches inside the fort. Continue collecting and tying boughs until there is a 1-foot layer of padding and protection inside.

Items you will need
  • Hatchet or knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Rope

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images