It’s raining on my house and none of the others” (Nick Cave)

It’s comforting to know that you can put together a rainproof roof in the jungle using nothing other than the plants and trees around you…although plastic sheeting makes the job both much quicker and a lot easier.

The techniques needed to use the common types of leaves found in the jungle are not difficult to learn and the same basic principles apply: you need a structure to start with and a lattice to support and bind the leaves in place.

Building a shelter-roof in this way is something that can also be useful if the rain is making fire starting difficult – leaves don’t melt, but your expensive tarp may do just that if you use it to shelter a fire.

In this video I show various methods that can be used – some are quick and easy, others are more time consuming (but create more permanent shelters).  With some basic knowledge of lashings, knots and how to split and weave, you will be able to put together a shelter from the materials around you…just don’t expect to do it too quickly!

The first time I ever slept in a natural shelter in the jungle I used bertam leaves heaped onto a roof structure – it was, I admit, crudely done and the end result was not something I was proud of….luckily it didn’t rain that night as I doubt that the roof would have proved very water tight.  In fact it wouldn’t have taken much more work to have made an excellent roof from the materials I’d collected – but, back then, I didn’t know how to do it.