Self-Reliance Handbook/Debris Hut Construction

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A strong ridge pole and a good location are the first steps to the debris hut. Make sure the area is high and dry to avoid any problems with water drainage during a storm. The area was checked for abundance of material and possible hazards. (i.e. poisonous plants, insects, deadfalls, widow-makers, etc.) Direction is noted for the door. Look closely; you may find my tracks in a thin layer of debris under the ridgepole.


Next, sticks are placed as ribbing along both sides of the ridge pole. This is done after I have laid down and measured the interior. Note the door opening near the sapling facing east or slightly southeast.

A good alternative to starting this method that is even easier to make is just to lean sticks against a big long log, fallen tree or rock.


Still more sticks are placed to hold the debris up. More dry debris is also stuffed in the interior for comfortable bedding that lifts you off the cold ground. This is also a good time to roof off your entryway by placing four forked sticks into the ground at the desired height, and ribbing the top with a network of sticks.


Start piling on debris thick and high. Note the steep walls for shedding water.


The finished product! The walls are about 2 feet thick, good for a 20 degree night. This was probably my 10th debris hut. It took about 2 hours from start to finish. The rather speedy time (for me anyway) was no doubt due to the extraordinary abundance of material in this beautiful transition forest.



Debris Hut Construction

Article originally written by Matt Pinkham