Many survival scenarios will require you to abandon your home or “bug out”. The next goal should be to get to an area you feel safe enough to stay in for an extended period. Now if that area already has a shelter for you, all the better. But what if you have to make your own? If you’re looking to build a long lasting structure, one of the best ways to do it is with survival cement.

Survival cement is a combination of mud and grasses that can be set. The ingredients are easy to come by and everything can be done without tools. The method has been used for ages and some structures dating thousands of years old can be found still standing today!

The key is to find mud with a high clay content. A good clay can be rolled into a ball and it stay that way. The next vital ingredient is grass or straw, cut to length to fit the shape of the cement mold. The only other ingredient needed is water.

After you’ve harvested enough mud/clay for the project you’ll want to hydrate it with water. Again, you’ll want the mixture to be pliable but still be able to hold a shape. Once you’ve started this process you’ll want to see it through while the mud has the proper moisture content. If you have to pause while working be sure to cover your “cement” so it doesn’t fully dry out.

Next comes putting the grasses in the mud. Align them to run in one direction, this will help them reinforce the structure like adding rebar to regular cement.

The next step is to thoroughly combine the two agents, and the easiest way to do this is to stomp on them! Add a portion of your straw to the mud – about a quarter of the mixture should be grass to start – and walk in place on the mixture, pushing the grass into the mud. It will become thoroughly entwined as it flattens out. At this point, roll the mixture back on itself (keep the grass in the same direction) add more grass and repeat. You’ll want to continue until you mixture is 50-60% grass.

As soon as you’ve added enough grass and mixed it, it’s time to mold it into the desired shape! Don’t dawdle at this part of the process as you’ve now made survival cement. Once it dries it will become hard and won’t mold well. A simple method to start with is to make simple bricks.

Now you have your very own cement to build a shelter that will really last!