There’s camping, and then there’s camping. Forget the £400 canvas tent with fold-out patio and communal dining area. Jason Ingamells, chief instructor at Woodland Ways, breaks down the basics of building a comfortable shelter for nowt.

FIND THE RIGHT PIECE OF GROUND

“Here’s what to avoid: stay away from the bottom of hills, because cold air sinks. And don’t set up at the top of a hill, because you’ll be exposed to the elements. Don’t settle in a dip, as it’ll gather water. And you want to avoid sleeping on a slope, as you’ll never get a good night’s sleep if your head is below your feet.”

USE NATURE’S STRENGTH

“Don’t be tempted to try and dig poles into the ground in the middle of a field or hillside, as this saps your energy. Instead, harness nature’s strength by using a tree as one side or your shelter.”

WEATHERPROOF YOUR COVER

“When building the other sides of your shelter you need to think ‘angle’, ‘material’ and ‘volume’. Collect a load of logs and prop them up against the tree at an angle of about 50 degrees. This is your inner framework. Plug up any holes with a thick layer of dead leaves on the outside of the wood. In terms of volume, the depth of the leaf wall should reach from your fingertips to your elbow and be dense enough to block out the sun.”

INSULATE YOUR SLEEPING SURFACE

“There is a reason scouts use roll-mats and homeless people sleep on cardboard boxes. It’s because your body heat conducts through to a colder surface (like bare earth or pavement) very fast. Want to stay warm through the night? Find some insulation to sleep on. Dry leaf material will work, but avoid moss as it’s cold and damp.”