Debris Hut

For warmth and ease of construction, the debris hut is one of the best. When shelter is essential to survival, and time is of the essence, build this shelter.

Debris Hut shelter using natural debris

Follow these steps to build a Debris Hut shelter.

  1. Make a tripod with two short stakes and a long ridgepole (pole running the length of the shelter) or by placing one end of a long ridgepole on top of a sturdy base (such as a log or stump).  Secure the ridgepole using the tripod method or by anchoring it to a tree at about waist height.
  2. Prop large sticks along both sides of the ridgepole to create a wedge-shaped ribbing effect. Ensure the ribbing is wide enough to accommodate your body and steep enough to shed moisture.
  3. Place finer sticks and brush crosswise on the ribbing. These form a latticework that will keep the insulating material (grass, pine needles, leaves) from falling through the ribbing into the sleeping area.
  4. Add light, dry, if possible, soft debris over the ribbing until the insulating material is at least 1 meter (3 feet) thick. The thicker the debris later the more insulated the structure will be.
  5. Place a 30-centimeter (1-foot) layer of insulating material inside the shelter.
  6. At the entrance, pile insulating material that you can drag to you once inside the shelter to seal the entrance.
  7. As a final step in constructing this shelter, add shingling material, heavy branches, or other weighted material on top of the debris layer to prevent the insulating material from blowing away in a storm.
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