Shelter Pathway

Shelter Pathway

(shelter patch)


Welcome to the Shelter Pathway. Shelter is a core skill necessary for survival. Below are the skills requirements to lead youth through this pathway. This course is designed to lead students through a 6-10 week program (ex. after school), though you can also combine all of these skills into a weekend or week-long (ex. summer camp) program.

Skills Requirements

  • Tarp knots/pitching a tarp
  • Carving wooden stakes/ghost grommet/knots/reuse plastic shelter (knife safety skills)
  • y sticks/debris shelter/head shelter water test
  • Food hang/cooking on fire
  • fire/smudge sticks, Cordage
  • Make a hanbo
  • Hanbo skills

Student Experience/Covering the Basics

If you have new students we recommend that you teach the 4 Level 1 NiN skills and Knife Safety to the new students throughout your sessions. This is a great opportunity for experienced students to become teachers to the new students.

Introducing Shelter to Students

Here are some ideas for introducing the theme of shelter:

  • Why do you need it? The risk of exposure (hypothermia or heat exposure).
  • What types of shelter do people build in nature (debris, scout pit, sun shade, hammock/above ground, snow/quinzie, etc.)
  • What could you use in an emergency in the wilderness of your region to build a shelter?
  • Personal instructor stories of sleeping in a shelter

Shelter Skills

Skill #1: Tarp knots/pitching a tarp

Supplies needed: tarp, cordage

Tarps are a great way to introduce a quick shelter and knot tying. Below is a link for three helpful knots to teach.

Demo tarp- it can be helpful for kids to see an example tarp that you set up together or before class so they can see a correct set-up.

Ninja mission: Break kids into groups. Give each group a tarp and enough rope to set up a tarp. Give them a designated amount of time to pick a site and set up their tarp. After tarps are up, do group tours to compliment/critique their tarp designs.

Optional activities

  • Use the group tarp as a location for flags for playing capture the flag
  • Give them the challenge to set up a water catchment using their tarp to capture rain (they will need a container to catch the run-off). When visiting each tarp, pour water onto the tarp to see how well their rain catchment works.
Scroll to top