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Sons of the Forest building guide - how to build your base

Sons of the Forest building can be tricky to hammer down, but it's easy to build your base and defend it once you get into it. Here's our guide to how it works.

Sons of the Forst building guide: A skull lamp stands alone in front of a base.

Sons of the Forest building can be a bit tricky, especially for players not familiar with the base-building and survival genres. The building in this game works differently than it did in its predecessor, The Forest, and there’s a nuance to it. We’ve been through many cycles of building bases and protecting them from hungry cannibals, so whether you’re a seasoned survival game enthusiast or are new to the genre, we can explain those quirks to you and provide a thorough breakdown of how Sons of the Forest building works.

As you can imagine, building is a crucial element of the survival game as you need somewhere to rest your head, protect yourself from the harsh weather – and hide from those dangerous Sons of the Forest mutants. As we discuss in our Sons of the Forest review, the game sees a drastic hike in difficulty during the winter season, so while those basic tarp tents are fine for a while, you need something more substantial fairly quickly – so here’s everything you need to know to get started with Sons of the Forest building.

Sons of the Forest building modes

Building in Sons of the Forest has two modes. One , which we’ll call ‘classic mode,’ is similar to construction in The Forest. In this mode, you’ll made ‘ghost’ structures that serve as pre-built templates, allowing you then to drop in the materials needed to complete the build. The other mode, which we’ll call ‘free build,’ is more flexible, enabling players to develop custom bases and fortifications. Both have utility, so you’ll want to experiment with both for different needs.

You can open your build guide with a keypress, which is set to ‘B’ unless you’ve changed it. This defaults to the new, more flexible mode, which is more of a reference to show you how, exactly, to build what you want to build. As you build, the game will offer a number of visual guidelines as you begin your construction. You can then switch to classic mode with a keypress, which defaults to ‘X.’ This will give you a number of options, which we discuss below.

Sons of the Forest: An image of the build guidelines as they appear in the game.

Sons of the Forest building: classic mode

Sons of the Forest defaults into giving you tons of build options, providing outlines for animal traps, birdhouses for feather collection, and even entire housing structures. Here’s a breakdown of everything you can build in this mode.


  • Hunting shelter
  • Small log cabin
  • Lean to
  • Look out tower

Tree shelter

  • Tree platform (1)
  • Tree platform (2)
  • Tree shelter (1)
  • Tree shelter (2)


  • Stick bed
  • Stick chairs
  • Bone chair
  • Bone chandelier
  • Wall torch
  • Ceiling skull lamp
  • Bench
  • Table


  • Stick storage
  • Rock storage
  • Log storage
  • Bone storage
  • Drying rack
  • Mannequin
  • Shelf
  • Wall shelf


  • Rock path
  • Stick path
  • Bird house
  • Scarecrow


  • Standing planter
  • Wall planter


  • Small animal trap
  • Fish trap
  • Bone maker trap
  • Fly swatter trap

Here are a few highlights that are helpful from a survival game perspective.

Shelter: Base building is fun and it’s easy to indulge yourself, but realistically, you’ll want to get a base up and running as quickly as possible. Premade structures come in handy here to save you time, which is essential in preparing defenses against cannibal raids.

Stick bed: A stick bed will act as both a sleep and save location. Build it in a safe place, and remember to save often.

Storage: The game boasts numerous storage options for sticks, rocks, bones, and more. Because you can only carry so many of these items, build storage options and then put Kelvin to work amassing sticks and logs to save you time.

Planter boxes: You’ll find seeds throughout the wilderness, which you can use to grow crops such as blueberries, twinberries, and chicory. Some plants are essential in crafting things, such as energy mixes when you’re tired and health mixes for when you’re low on medicine.

Sons of the Forest building guide: A planter box under construction.

Animal traps: Catching small animals can be a pain, so setting up a small animal trap in locations where there seem to be quite a few can ensure a steady food supply in the warmer months. The same goes for fish traps.

Enemy traps: The longer you survive, the more aggressive cannibals and mutants will become. Therefore, you’ll want to protect yourself and your base with traps, which can disrupt and weaken enemies, making them easier to take on.

Sons of the Forest: free-build mode

The other building mode is much more flexible, allowing players to exercise their base-building creativity. Note that the build guides can be finicky in this mode, so give yourself time to play and experiment to figure out why you may or may not be able to see guides or have specific options appear as the building guide says they should.

Here are all the elements you can build in this mode.

  • Tent
  • Basic fire
  • Reinforced fire
  • Standing fire
  • Skull lamp
  • Stick structures
  • Reinforced structures
  • Fence
  • Floor
  • Wall
  • Door
  • Window
  • Single step
  • Basic beams
  • Roof
  • Struts
  • Stairs
  • Ramp
  • Defensive wall
  • Defensive wall gate
  • Rope
  • Rope bridge
  • Firewood

Typically, if you have the base structure down, the game will offer a visual guide to show you what you need to do to get the pieces you want. For example, if you build a wall of logs as a base for a defensive wall, the game will immediately show you a red guide allowing you to chop the logs to give them sharp edges, making your base harder to infiltrate.

Sons of the Forest building guide: White guidelines show how to build a roof.

Here are a few elements and tips to help you build a safe, secure base.

Tent: Your tent acts as a portable save spot, so once you’ve built a permanent base, you should never forget to carry your tarp and two sticks with you. These items allow you to save your game no matter how far you wander. If you really want to be safe, don’t override existing saves but instead create new saves so that if you accidentally save in an unsafe location, you don’t have to go so far back in your game.

Defensive wall and defensive wall gate: This is an integral part of a safe base. While it not only protects your home, it also prevents cannibals and mutants from being able to see you, which renders them far less interested in attacking your base. You can also add a Defensive Wall Gate with this option, which gives you an easier way of getting in and out of your base, while still keeping cannibals and mutants out.

Stick structures and reinforced structures: Throughout the Sons of the Forest world, you’ll come across various wood structures with body parts affixed to them. These function as a signal of dominance to potential enemies. Surrounding your base with these is helpful because it can scare off enemies that might otherwise help attack your base.

Firewood: Adding firewood to a fire will significantly extend its life, so cut some each time you build a fire.

And, one last thing to to remember is that if you do suffer a cannibal or mutant invasion, your repair hammer is your friend. While total destruction will mean you have to completely rebuild, the repair hammer can quickly repair minor structural damage.

That’s everything you need to know about building in Sons of the Forest. If you’re as addicted to this multiplayer game as we are, you’ll want to check out our Sons of the Forest tips and tricks, our Sons of the Forest weapons list, and our numerous other guides to this amazing game.