The debris hut is a shelter that can be made with a variety of materials and provides significant warmth. For these reasons the debris hut is a good type of shelter to fall back on.

To make a debris hut —

  • Build it by making a tripod with two short stakes and a long ridgepole or by placing one end of a long ridgepole on top of a sturdy base.
  • Secure the ridgepole (pole running the length of the shelter) using the tripod method or by anchoring it to a tree at about waist height.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add light, dry, if possible, soft debris over the ribbing until the insulating material is at least 1 meter thick–the thicker the better.
  • Place a 30-centimeter layer of insulating material inside the shelter.
  • At the entrance, pile insulating material that you can drag to you once inside the shelter to close the entrance or build a door.
  • As a final step in constructing this shelter, add shingling material or branches on top of the debris layer to prevent the insulating material from blowing away in a storm.

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