How to Create an “Outdoor Survival Shelter”

A debris hut is one of the most accessible survival shelter types when camping. This is because aside from a few simple tools, you can take all of your building materials for survival from the surrounding area. Creating a debris hut is also something you can do in a relatively short period to have safe shelter if you unexpectedly have to set up camp due to inclement weather.

How to Make a Debris Hut for One Person

You will need a long sturdy branch to make an efficient shelter part of your survival training. Typically, if you create an outdoor survival shelter for just one person, you will want to locate a piece of wood approximately 1.5 times your height. This allows for ample coverage at either end of the shelter and makes getting in and out of the survival shelter easier than if you made your debris hut two times your length. You will also be using your body heat for warmth, so the closer the shelter to your size, the better. You may be fortunate in finding a fallen branch, but it is more likely you will need to cut the branch with a survival knife to create the main support beam for your survival shelter.

Creating a Stable Foundation for Your Debris Hut

Once you have collected the main branch, you will need to support it. Be sure to set the branch at a height approximately two to three inches above the top of your head when you are sitting. You can prop the branch between two trees or use natural formations such as rock outcroppings. You want this branch to be secure to prop shorter branches, dead leaves, branches from evergreen trees and other insulating materials against and over it. Once your foundation is in place, then you can begin the real work of building your outdoor survival shelter. Use materials such as dead leaves, tree branches, grasses, and ferns to create a thick covering for your debris shelter. Ideally, you want to create a 3-foot covering of material laid in a crosshatch pattern to create a sturdy shelter to prevent wind and rain from entering your space. Firm up the final layer using your survival knife to cut evergreen branches to hold the debris in place.

Creating a Floor and a Door for Your Survival Shelter

To stay warm and dry, you will also need to create a floor for your survival shelter. Typically, pine and grasses make an excellent insulating floor and dried leaves and ferns. A one-foot-deep layer of debris will normally be sufficient, but you want to ensure that the material you use is dry as your body heat, and the tight confines will not allow for excess air movement and drying. You will also need a door for your survival shelter. You can leave both ends open or close one of them off with crosshatched debris. However, to truly secure your environment, you will want to use larger evergreen branches by cutting them with your survival knife so that they can be easily moved to cover the opening to your shelter and camouflage the entry. Now you are ready for any outdoor adventure!

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