Shelter is one of the most primal of human needs. Our bodies are actually fairly fragile, and unless you live on a South Seas island, you’ll likely need something to protect you from the elements. The most basic shelter can be constructed with nothing more than a GI-issue poncho and some trotline.

The basic poncho hooch is a soldier staple. The GI poncho is a classic multi-functional tool that can be used to keep you dry on guard duty, float your gear across a lake or river, or improvise shelter depending upon how you configure it. With a little planning and careful execution, your hooch can be constructed so that it keeps you dry through most any reasonable inclement weather.

Pick a spot with good natural drainage in all directions or grab your entrenching tool and ditch around your hooch to facilitate water runoff. Keep the hooch flush to the ground when it is cold to help keep the heat in, or raise it up off the ground when it is hot to let the breeze pass through. Here is a step-by-step guide to building your own.

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