If you’re on the road, strapped for cash, and in need of shelter, building a fort is one of your best options. In the following guide, I will present an overview of fort building techniques that may one day save you from the elements.
The hardest part about building a shelter is finding the right material. It often takes an entire day of scouting until you find those perfect branches and boxes. One of the simplest fort designs is the construction horse. It requires two sets of congruent boards, branches or bamboo and one long piece to secure across the top. See below. Fort Skeleton, Albanian-Montenegrin border.
This is one of the easiest and strongest designs to build. The more weight added to the sides, the more sturdy the structure becomes. In this particular case, I made the mistake of building to close to the sea. When high tide came, I had to build a wall for protection. Always take into account the tides when building near water.
When I completed her, my German friend Angie and I, and our rucksacks were able to fit comfortably inside. With a relentless sun and temperatures around 111F or 44C this fort saved us from dehydration and heat stoke.
This next fort is very similar in design to the last but is illustrative of the need to be resourceful and creative in the building process.
Here, almost all of the main support branches were curved which presented a bit of a challenge and I could not find a long board for the roof. So, I wandered the streets of Alexandropolis until I came across some police tape and bamboo drapes. These items proved more useful than I initially thought.
To sum up, when fort building, you must weigh the opportunity cost of potential exhaustion and the need for shelter. It generally takes a lot of time and energy to build a fort, so if you won’t be staying at least a few nights, it’s probably not worth it. On the other hand, if refuge from the elements is a must and you’re nowhere near civilization, your fort may just save your life.