How to build an
outdoor survival shelter
The debris hut is an example of a good outdoor survival shelter. A debris hut is just a pile of dead leaves, branches and whatever else is around. If done correctly, there is enough space under it for you to lie under the pile comfortably - and still breathe. It should take about 1-2 hours to build a hut, so don't wait until it gets dark to start building.
To make a debris hut:
- Find yourself a long sturdy pole of a length about 1.5-2 times your height. This will be the main beam of your hut.
Another option is to find a fallen tree that will fit to build this hut. Look for something to hold the main beam of the hut off the ground. A rock, stump, tree with a forked branch, or anything strong enough can be used for this support. The height should be a little taller than you are where you are sitting.
Make your shelter just large enough to accommodate you, especially in cold climates, because you are going to have to heat it with your own body heat.
Lean smaller poles against both sides of your main beam at about a 45 degree angle to make a framework. Place them close together and fill in around them with smaller branches.
Cover this framework with materials at hand such as dead leaves, dry fern, evergreen branches, or grass. Use whatever you can find. Once you have sufficient debris in place, at least 3 feet (1 m) thick, you will need to place a layer of small, light branches over the outside of the hut to keep all your insulation from blowing away.
Depending on how thick your insulating layer is, and that your debris is reasonably dry, a debris hut can keep people dry and warm in frigid temperatures.
Place a 1 foot (30 cm) layer of debris inside the shelter. Try to choose stuff that you would like to sleep on. Your body heat can be lost very quickly lying on the bare ground.
At the entrance, pile insulating material that you can drag there once inside the shelter to close the entrance, or build a door. Try to place the entrance away from the wind. Wind and rain blowing towards or into the entrance will take the heat away from your shelter.
You can make a door by gathering finger size dead wood and lashing it into a grid pattern. Make two grids and place debris between the two grids. Lash the grids together and you have an insulated door.
This simple outdoor survival shelter can make the difference in a wilderness survival situation.
Learn more how to
take care of yourself and others when traveling in the wilderness.
Return from "...outdoor survival shelter"
to: "Building a survival shelter"
Back to: Wilderness survival skills homepage