link to Home Page

Debris Drawbacks

If you have enough time and dry material to make a good debris hut, you have enough time to build something better. I had one experience about 25 years ago in what I call a debris hut. ... We built an elaborate lean-to, 8 ft x 8 ft and 3 ft high. This we completely packed with dry leaves, mainly oak. Build time about three hours.Come bedtime we retired to the hut and wormed in, short sleeves and all. My partner came completely unglued after about 2 minutes, where I myself could have probably stayed in the hut another 15 or 20 seconds, but there no hut left to stay in. All the little spiders and ticks took their toll. We exploded from the hut and were left with nothing but a scattered pile of sticks and leaves. Total destruction time: about 5 seconds.

Next day we built a small "dome" using mostly remnants from the first hut. We put leaves on Top and on the SIDES only. We cleared the floor of all debris and put down a layer of dry grass (foxtail type) about 10 inches thick. We actually got a couple hours sleep. Short sleeves didn't go well with the comfort factor. Later in life I've built similar structures and camped in them down to 23 below zero. Of course I took the sleeping bag at that temp, but all things equal, the wigwam type shelter is far more comfortable (to me) and takes about the same time to build.

Max Warhawk