DIY Shelter – British DPM Basha

Posted on May 06 2015

DIY Shelter - British DPM Basha

DIY Shelter

Shelter is one of those critical aspects of survival you cannot ignore. Apart from fire, you have to have shelter in order to stay warm and dry. There are more than a few options for shelter on the market, most obvious of which is the classic tent. I remember the tents we used when I was a child, sure they seemed to work fine but in the long run they proved to have more than  a few downsides.For starters, you have to find a good flat clear area in the forest and if you’ve been out enough you know that can be tough! I recall one camping trip when the tent slide down a steep embankment, with everyone inside. Needless to say it was a rude wake up call on a cold rainy night. Secondly, tents always seem to have enough pieces and parts to require two people to setup and more than a few curse words to get the job done.

Now I don’t know about you, but when it comes to a real survival situation, I have people relying on me. A single person bivy shelter isn’t going to do the trick. I need a shelter that is easy to setup by one person and it has to be a shelter that can be setup in a number of different configurations. Enter the British Basha. I started seeing this setup a few years back, had a few friends using them and at the time I needed a new option for a shelter. So I poked around some on the internets, found a good deal and a few weeks later it arrived at my door.


The basha is currently in use by British Army, the Australian Army, the New Zealand Army and the Singapore Armed Forces as a shelter. The word “basha” is a Malay word meaning a “shelter” or “hut”. It’s been in use with the British since the 1950’s and is basically a giant waterproof tarp with tons of eyelets around the perimeter. They are extremely low profile and many (not all) are IRR (Infra-red Reflective) which basically means that when you are inside the shelter, people using infrared detection gear will have a harder time seeing you. If that wasn’t a big enough bonus, the basha also comes in various camouflage patterns, enabled you to blend your shelter right into the surrounding trees and flora, making it the perfect DIY shelter.


When it comes to setup, there are about as many configurations as you can imagine. I have few favorites that I use, each one is dependent on the season and the mission at hand. Typically in spring or summer I go with a lean-to that provides shade and cover for myself and my gear.  When autumn and winter come around, I go with an A-frame configuration that gives me maximum coverage on both sides leaving only the ends open. At that point it is easy enough to fill in the exposed areas with debris, leaves, etc.

Here’s a few of my favorite setups that I’ve done and some from friends, just remember, the basha is truly only limited by your imagination!

DIY Shelter - British DPM Basha DIY Shelter - British DPM Basha DIY Shelter - British DPM Basha width= DIY Shelter - British DPM Basha

You see from the photos that there are more than a few ways to anchor the basha once you have figured out what setup you want to use. I prefer carrying some USGI tent stakes and bungee cords with me. It’s very easy to stake out the corners and run the bungee cords as needed. For anchoring the top corners I use paracord, but in all reality, you really only need paracord and stakes. You can carry your stakes with you or just make your own from natural materials. It’s really up to you and that is another aspect of the basha that is great, the flexibility of the setup. You don’t HAVE to have a specific set of poles and stakes. You can go light and just bring paracord or go a little heavier with the stakes and bungee cords which makes setup much faster. The choice is yours.

Where To Purchase

Now that you’ve read how awesome the basha is, you obviously want to run out and buy one right? So here’s a list of links, you can find various versions of the basha online, ranging from actual British Military issue basha to civilian versions.

Military Issue:—Used-Army-Surplus.html

Civilian Versions:


I have to apologize for not having a bigger writeup on this subject, but hey, what more can you say about the basha? It’s lightweight, easy to setup and cheap to purchase. In a survival situation having a quick and efficient way to setup and takedown down a shelter is a must, so check out those links and while you’re not doing that, check out the video!

As always thanks for the support, comments, likes, shares, all that good stuff!

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