29 responses

  1. Sean the survivalist
    May 31, 2011

    i made 5 shelters in the rain like this and i was bone dry i used the info from here as a guide and i used these shelters when on my 20 day get a ways in the woods of newfoundland i rate this info 5/5 stars

    • Kenneth
      March 2, 2014

      Really? Wow! That’s bad azz. I enjoyed the article and really hope I never have to build one of these, but it’s pretty cool. Laura, thanks for sharing this info.


  2. Brett (Mudpuppy) Barnes
    June 5, 2011

    This is vey helpful to me as a FCF Frontiersman, as Sean did i rate this 5/5 Stars!

  3. Rickba
    July 15, 2011

    Nice Job. I call this shelter a double lean-to. I use it quite a bit when I spend a couple a days in the mountains. I never take a sleeping bag or tent. I always build my shelter. I like to build mine against fallen tree roots. The root and dirt wall make an excellent starting point and cuts down on build time. Also you can build your campfire right against the dirt wall and the heat will be reflected into your shelter keeping you nice and cozy. I like the fact that you mentioned covering thickness. This is the mistake made the most by rookies. In too big of a hurry to get finished and skimp on wall thickness. Like you said, when it rains it pours.

  4. Allen Hobbs
    September 3, 2011

    I also have used this shelter several times before. I am getting ready to live in the woods and have been for a while now. I often go stay in the woods for a week at a time just to keep up on my survival skills. I give this article a 5 star plus. It is one of the easiest and quickest shelters to throw together. Be sure, and I never see this mentioned, to not grab the little weeds with little flowers on them for bedding. If you do, you may be living in chigger hell for the next 7 to 9 days. I recently made that mistake a few days ago and it made me cut my trip short and come home.

  5. John Rose
    October 15, 2011

    Greetings, The debris hut here is in my opinion among the finest shelters for wilderness shelter. I spent a week in one some time ago in some of the worst weather conditions I have faced in the wild. I was three miles from the coast and weathered a hurricane quite well. Location of my shelter prevented me from harm, and the breathability of the shelter itself prevented it from blowing away. I awoke one morning to find tents washed into a pile while I was high and dry.

  6. Eureka Thomas
    October 25, 2011

    What do you use for ribbing?

  7. D
    November 29, 2011

    very useful

  8. Chad
    December 16, 2011

    The first time I tried this I ran out of daylight, and did not make it thick enough. That was a cold night, luckily it was not raining, but I still went back to the truck to get warm. Anyway the rest of the second day added plenty of insulation and top debris, that worked a lot better stayed fairly warm. Thanks Laura this was a great learning experience.


  9. Eric
    October 13, 2012

    Thank you so much. I have to do a research paper for a college class. Our paper can be on any subject from the book Into The Wild. I chose wilderness survival skills. Your step by step instructions for how to build a shelter was a great addition to my paper. I would like to thank you again for writing a great article.

  10. Autumn
    November 16, 2012

    Cool!I might actually try this down at my new house!

  11. PJ
    November 28, 2012

    I love these shelters. They are easy to build and serviceable in most any weather.

    HELP! My Daughter lives about a mile and a half from me. We live in rural GA and both our homes have adjacent woods. I wanted to teach my grands to make this shelter and spend the night in the woods. It would only be less than 100 feet to the house, but my daughter is afraid to even let them in their woods because of snakes. she is afraid one would crawl in on them/us during the night. What can persuade her to let them learn outdoor skills?

  12. Woodsman
    January 2, 2013

    I have used this type of shelter for years. Debris works in none snowy situations. When the snow is deep I shove snow off of a spot about the size of a pool table set my ridge pole then add bows to the ground about a foot and a half thick putting in nothing with big limbs. they poke into my tender parts at night. Then it is Rib and lattice sides and a layer of bows on that. Over this I scoop snow lots of snow and it is a great place to stay for a night in the deep cold of Northern Maine. with a fire at the door opening it can keep you toasty all night. Or skip the fire and close the door hole off with bows after you crawl inside.

    I Have never had anyone say they slept cold in a debris snow hut.

  13. chris allen
    January 7, 2013

    I want to build one of these with my grand kids. Looks like fun.

  14. dion jones
    February 14, 2013

    OMG this is a great shelter and im only 13 year of age i went with my little bro in the woods and spent the night so i built this shelter and it worked great i was cosey and he was so thanks very much for this piece of shelter upload more please.

  15. Suzan
    May 5, 2013

    I just bought some land on a small lake. The municipality does not permit camping, no tents, no mobile campers until a house plan has been approved and building commences. Do you think that a survival shelter would count as camping? It isn’t a tent after all.

  16. Matt Hintz
    May 17, 2013

    hey, im fifteen, and this guide was well written enough that i was able to glance at it before i left for the weekend to northern michigan, and i slept better than i do now back in my bed! took little or no preparation, this is a very easy and comfotable way to rest.

  17. SJeanine
    May 24, 2013

    I would also like to know how you keep snakes and/or other bugs from joining you in your huts?

  18. Chas of Alaska
    June 1, 2013

    Like Woodsman says, these work in the winter too…

    I have spent several nights in these at 20 below zero and have never had a problem staying warm.

  19. Cozette Teague
    June 1, 2013

    I am doing a project for school, and the first place I came was here. this is an awesome place to get information about surviving. And of course I’m giving you credit.

  20. BKaiser
    July 30, 2013

    I built these types of shelters when I was younger, central Indiana. Spent many winter nights (<30 degrees) in them and slept in my t-shirt! Nature is awesome! I did, of course, have my fire next to my entrance. When spending an extended period of time, I always put a tarp down on the ground first, and a tarp over the debris roof, then added more debris on top of the tarp….this decreased the shelters breathability, but man, was it warm and waterproof!

  21. Survivalist
    August 21, 2013

    I never built a survival shelter but when it will come I will be glad I have read your article! :)

    August 27, 2013

    With the overwhelming probability that FEMA Region III will be affected by something of a power grid outage in the coming months, what is the possibility of making one of these for a family of 6??? and if so how big would it have to be?… I have watched many survival videos on how to make shelters but none in great detail like this…if you can make a video of building a 6 person shelter like this one and post it to my email I would really enjoy watching it…have a wonderful day…and remember Keep your powder dry we are in for a rainy day ahead!

  23. jeff
    September 11, 2013

    Awesome information ! Many thanks.

  24. Dee Thunder
    December 3, 2013

    RL, A family of 6 suggests 2 parents and 4 children. If this is right, don’t try for a large one. I’d be building 2. 1 adult and 2 children per. It would require a slightly larger shelter but would work the same. When picking a site, you look for a site where you can build 2 shelters near each other.
    If more adults are involved, then each adult per might be what’s needed and spread the children accordingly. Think small and cozy.
    I have never tried this one, but do know small is easier to keep warm and supporting the whole works better. This one is what I will be using next time I’m out in the wild. :)

  25. Pablo – how to build wood shelter
    February 11, 2014

    Life is so precious and along with first aid there should be lessons on building survival shelters. Very good articles and tips, good job!

  26. SnowHowl
    February 26, 2014

    For my EPQ project I am doing forest survival and was wondering would it be okay to include this method in my survival guide? It will never be published or anything but would be printed out in a pocket guide to go with a pack I am putting together, it’s all going towards my grade this year and would be helpful in the future. :)

  27. JS
    May 28, 2014

    That was very useful Laura. I hope I will never have to use it! Thanks

  28. michael
    July 3, 2014

    Agree this is a good design. though most of us don’t ever plan to be in an emergency situation, a little planning ahead can make all the difference between surviving comfortably or not. If you aren’t going to pack an emergency tent, I would suggest either bringing lightweight tarps (Wal Mart ) or heavy duty contractor bags (Home Depot) with you on to make this design a little more water and wind proof.

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