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Offline woodsorrel

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Have you built a debris hut?
« on: October 29, 2017, 09:32:56 PM »



As winter approaches, shelter becomes much more important.  Fall is a great time to practice building improvised shelters.  The cooler weather and precipitation will quickly find your faults.

Below is an article that summarizes my experiences building debris huts.  You can make these simple shelters from natural materials.  And they don't require any special tools or equipment to construct.  Although, having some cordage on your person goes a long way.

A primary feature of this shelter is that it works without need of a fire to warm it.  The goal is to trap air around your body and insulate against heat loss. 

Many times, I see pictures of shelters on the Internet where sunlight is poking through the insulation.  It makes me think that the builders do not really sleep out in them.  I've heard tales of one survival instructor who threatens to place his students in their shelters while he urinates on the roof.  I'm sure his students never skimp on roofing material!   :D

Here's the link to the article:

http://www.natureoutside.com/how-to-build-a-debris-hut/


What is your experience building debris huts?  Do you have any tricks you use to build them?  What are the coldest temperatures you think they will function?  What local materials do you use for roofing and insulation?  Have you spent the night in one?

Cheers!

- Woodsorrel


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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2017, 08:00:37 AM »
  I've built a few when I was a kid playing in the woods and long before I knew anything about bushcraft or actual debris shelters,  they were fun to build and a great place to hang around, back then we kids didn't call those places camps, they were forts,  they ended up being good dry places to store stuff like a few tools (machete, hatchet, some clothes line, and a borrowed pot and skillet from Mom's kitchen).
  Back then before I got into Boy Scouts, my backpack was an old pillowcase,  when I joined the BSA my folks bought me an official BSA ruck, it was easier to carry than my pillowcase, and much cooler, but it was still small, so being able to keep stuff safe and dry at the fort was handy.
  I did sleep (or tried to) in it one time, my cousin and I (both about 11 yrs. old) decided to do an overnighter at the fort, we cleared it with our folks, made some PB&J sandwiches, filled our USGI canteens and grabbed a couple of old bed blankets and off we went.
  The debris shelter was about a few months old by then and pretty well rain proof,  it was dry, comfy, and had room for three kids to huddle or sleep in,  it was also (as we were about to find out) home to about a million spiders who only made themselves known when the sun went down, needless to say we didn't get any sleep that night.
  I'd suggest to anyone deciding to make one to actually use as a base camp or regular shelter that they should think about getting to their camp early and making a smug fire inside their debris hut to drive out any bugs that have adopted the shelter as their new home, a small fire in the center of the hut that puts out allot of smoke for a few hours will usually do the trick,  too bad I didn't know this "back then".   
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Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2017, 08:21:06 AM »
Moe, you make a good point about creepy-crawlies.  Ants were a problem in one of the shelters I built.  I look for them now.  :)

I don't know that a debris hut is the best solution for long-term shelter.  As you mention, creatures will eventually use it as a home.  Smoking it out may work.  But in my area having a fire among all that dry, dead plant material is very dangerous.  Perhaps changing out the bedding?...

The indigenous people in my area built wickiup-like shelters or thatched huts for use as long-term shelters.  They had more enclosed volume and could safely have a fire.

- Woodsorrel
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Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2017, 09:15:54 AM »
Here in NEBRASKA we have a lot of cedar, oak & cottonwood trees (State Tree) and those are what we utilize for materials to build ours.  A typical cone-shaped framework with steep sides to aid in shedding rain in the warmer months and a shallower, dome-like framework in the colder months.  If you plan on a small fire, then the taller cone is best year round.

We got a nearly waterproof, insulated roof by piling fresh, green cedar boughs on the pole framework first, followed by a thick 1-2' layer of cottonwood and oak leaves.  The crowning layer consists of cottonwood bark slabs that are easily peeled from an old downed & long-dead cottonwood. We found that if we put the first layer of slabs on top of the first two layers with the inside of the tree bark facing up.....this gives you a trough for the rain to run into, rather than off to the sides of the slabs if they were stacked the other way with the convex side up.  The last layer of bark is laid over the first with the convex or exterior surface of the cottonwood bark up.....but, it really doesn't make THAT much difference, since the cottonwood bark is deeply-channeled anyway and sheds water naturally as it does on the tree.   This method provides long-term additional water and wind resistance.....thin k 'board and batten' or 'tile roof' construction.  With some annual maintenance, we've had one of these things last for 5-6 years!  :tent:
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 09:24:44 AM by wolfy »
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 10:05:31 AM »
did build a igloo a couple of times
really was quite warm.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2017, 10:51:00 AM »
Moe, you make a good point about creepy-crawlies.  Ants were a problem in one of the shelters I built.  I look for them now.  :)

I don't know that a debris hut is the best solution for long-term shelter.  As you mention, creatures will eventually use it as a home.  Smoking it out may work.  But in my area having a fire among all that dry, dead plant material is very dangerous.  Perhaps changing out the bedding?...

The indigenous people in my area built wickiup-like shelters or thatched huts for use as long-term shelters.  They had more enclosed volume and could safely have a fire.

- Woodsorrel

   In my area of the country there are two prevalent native tribes that include smaller minor tribes, those are the Abnacky and Wampanog, both use the similar shelter styles of the Wigwam,  it's a branch framed domed hut usually covered with bark, hides, or thatching, usually built to accommodate a family plus a few guests,  some had fire pits in the center and a smoke hole in the roof,  others had a fireplace type affair built onto the side of a wall,  the fire was on the inside yet the chimney was vented outside and a few feet away from the hut, kind of like a Dakota fire pit.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 11:18:15 AM »
Moe, you make a good point about creepy-crawlies.  Ants were a problem in one of the shelters I built.  I look for them now.  :)

I don't know that a debris hut is the best solution for long-term shelter.  As you mention, creatures will eventually use it as a home.  Smoking it out may work.  But in my area having a fire among all that dry, dead plant material is very dangerous.  Perhaps changing out the bedding?

- Woodsorrel

  If you're considering a long term or semi permanent camp I'd suggest a lean to shelter with a raised bed,  make it deep enough for your bed to be fully covered and have a few feet in front of the bed for dry firewood on one side and your pack and gear on the other.
  Make the bed at least 9" off the ground, and close in the sides of the lean to against wind,  frame the roof with a patchwork of 1" thick limbs and top it off with a tarp, then use debris and bark on top of that for insulation, weather proofing, and protection for the tarp.
  You can use a second Tarp rolled up and tied to the ridge pole that can be used as an awning or as a front wall to block off bad weather,  you can also build a lined fire pit and reflector a few feet in front of the lean to for cooking, heat, light, and company.
  Keep a few good sized stones next to the fire pit,  in cold weather you can heat them in the fire and place them under your bed for additional heat and to warm your bunk before turning in,  the bunk also makes a neat bench to sit on while doing crafts, prepping and cooking meals, and just watching the fire.
  If you have any Cedar in your area, Cedar boughs and or bark will tend to keep bugs away from your shelter, if you do get ants and spiders they'll probably live on the outside of the roof tarp in the debris and not in your shelter or bunk. 
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Offline Dano

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2017, 05:50:21 PM »
When my boys were in Scouts, we did an annual survival camp and really emphasized the shelter building importance to the new boys.  Here in Indiana, most areas have a lot of Oak and Maple trees and very few trees with any type of boughs to be found.  Like Wolfy said, it really takes 1-2 feet of debris on the top and sides to keep the heat in, cold out and retain a level of water-proofness.

If we allowed an open shelter design with a long fire, that would have been my choice.  But we wanted them to experience a "worst case" scenario, mostly to help develop their mental state, meaning that they have done this before, I can do it again if I really HAVE to.

What I found worked best for ME was to lay down on the ground and place a few small sticks in the ground to outline my general "foot print".  Then I added only about 6-8 extra inches all around, and allowed about a foot above my chest.  6-8 inches of dry leaves on the floor to keep off the ground, and a moveable cover at the entrance.  With a really good sleeping bag, I have done down to the mid 20's in temps.   Not the most comfortable, but we went along and followed the rules!

If I could change the rules or had to do it for more than an overnight, I would probably work on a wikiup design with a small fire inside and heat rocks to place around the outer perimeter to radiate even more heat.  That is, if I could find decent size rocks, had enough energy to move them and wasn't worn out by the time the shelter was done lol.


Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 06:25:22 PM »

 Dano,
 
  Two very good videos to watch about that type of cocoon shelters are by Lonny at Far North Bushcraft and the other is by Terry Barney at IA Woodsman survival/bushcraft,  both did a winter overnighter with a small survival kit and a knife.
  Lonny built a debris shelter just big enough to crawl into and made a door to pull closed after him, Terry built a shelter similar to the one you describe, he made a frame the size of his body then cut green thumb sized willow branches and bent them to fit the inside of the frame kind of like the ribs on a conestoga wagon.
  He filled it up with dry grass for insulation, used a space blanket for a cover then piled debris on top of that, then he crawled into the middle of the piled grass.
  Both shelters looked good in theory, both men near froze in the +30 F. cold,  both were up by midnight making fires to keep warm.

  In my opinion (I'm not always right) after watching their videos I think a small lean to with a good bed of insulation and closed in sides with a long fire built in the front would be better,  you'd still have to feed the fire so sleep would be at a minimum, but at least you'd stay warm enough to keep your pump going.
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2017, 07:45:02 PM »
if i do build one it'll be one a squirrel would be proud to live in.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2017, 09:08:03 PM »

 Two very good videos to watch about that type of cocoon shelters are by Lonny at Far North Bushcraft and the other is by Terry Barney at IA Woodsman survival/bushcraft,  both did a winter overnighter with a small survival kit and a knife.
 

Lonny does excellent videos and gives great advice, but Terry Barney doesn't even know how to tie a a clove hitch, a tautline Hitch or two half hitches correctly! :P
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Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2017, 10:41:51 PM »
Here in NEBRASKA we have a lot of cedar, oak & cottonwood trees (State Tree) and those are what we utilize for materials to build ours.  A typical cone-shaped framework with steep sides to aid in shedding rain in the warmer months and a shallower, dome-like framework in the colder months.  If you plan on a small fire, then the taller cone is best year round.

wolfy, I've seen shelters like you describe up the coast from me.  The Coast Miwok made the conical ones from redwood bark.  They called them ?kotca? (place where the people live).  There's a re-created village near me. Here are some pictures of the shelters (http://www.natureoutside.com/kule-loklo/).



   In my area of the country there are two prevalent native tribes that include smaller minor tribes, those are the Abnacky and Wampanog, both use the similar shelter styles of the Wigwam,  it's a branch framed domed hut usually covered with bark, hides, or thatching, usually built to accommodate a family plus a few guests,  some had fire pits in the center and a smoke hole in the roof,  others had a fireplace type affair built onto the side of a wall,  the fire was on the inside yet the chimney was vented outside and a few feet away from the hut, kind of like a Dakota fire pit.

Moe, that's very interesting.  I remember that Ray Mears showed a half-shelter covered in birch bark on one of his "Bushcraft" videos.  Is that similar in construction to the ones you describe?


  If you're considering a long term or semi permanent camp I'd suggest a lean to shelter with a raised bed,  make it deep enough for your bed to be fully covered and have a few feet in front of the bed for dry firewood on one side and your pack and gear on the other....

I agree with you, Moe.  I use debris huts for worst-case field-expedient shelters (and fun practice). 


... What I found worked best for ME was to lay down on the ground and place a few small sticks in the ground to outline my general "foot print".  Then I added only about 6-8 extra inches all around, and allowed about a foot above my chest.  6-8 inches of dry leaves on the floor to keep off the ground, and a moveable cover at the entrance.  With a really good sleeping bag, I have done down to the mid 20's in temps.   Not the most comfortable, but we went along and followed the rules!...

Dano, very interesting!  Shelters like this illustrate an important point.  We don't need the Taj Mahal to make it through a night out.

I'm really enjoying reading everyone's posts about natural shelters.

- Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline Unknown

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 12:05:56 AM »
Not really. I've made things similar to your picture with tarp, visqueen, e blankets and such using debris for camouflage.

I guess if caught in an emergency I'd have to take a look at what I had available and set to work with the idea of a bivvy tent. Maybe a good place to start with the choicest insulation I could gather would be stuffing my clothes

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2017, 08:01:55 AM »

 Two very good videos to watch about that type of cocoon shelters are by Lonny at Far North Bushcraft and the other is by Terry Barney at IA Woodsman survival/bushcraft,  both did a winter overnighter with a small survival kit and a knife.
 

Lonny does excellent videos and gives great advice, but Terry Barney doesn't even know how to tie a a clove hitch, a tautline Hitch or two half hitches correctly! :P

  Agreed,  Lonny does some great stuff and he's easy to watch,  although I wish he'd prune that facial hair of his, it's getting to the point where he's liable to go up in flames when he bends down to get his kettle off the fire, or get it ripped off the next time he springs one of his primitive trap sets.
  ROTFLMAO,  I think you're being a little too hard on Terry though,  in my opinion he knows his stuff and has a practical way of doing things,  I don't hold his knot tying disability against him,  I've been tying knots since I don't remember when,  but I still don't know the names of most of them, don't know if I'm doing them according to the book, and I really don't give a schitt as long as they hold and are easily untied they're good enough for me.
  That one with the rabbit coming out of the hole, running around the bush a couple of times and then ducking back in the hole still has me confused after fifty years of trying and tying,  maybe if I really cared about mastering it it would come easier, but I guess I don't.
  My view about knots is If you can't get it done with a square knot, truckers hitch, prussit, or Granny knot,  just take a few more wraps, make a bow and draw it tight, and hope for the best.  (Grin) 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2017, 10:02:30 AM »
Well, I have to disagree with you on the merits of Terry Barney's knot tutorials AND his CHARACTER!  If you recall, he came over HERE to view my comments on his incorrect knot-tying tutorials over THERE and got me whacked with the ban-hammer!  P.O.S.!! :soap:
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2017, 10:11:53 AM »
Yes but thank God you wound up here.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2017, 10:42:05 AM »
Well, I have to disagree with you on the merits of Terry Barney's knot tutorials AND his CHARACTER!  If you recall, he came over HERE to view my comments on his incorrect knot-tying tutorials over THERE and got me whacked with the ban-hammer!  P.O.S.!! :soap:

  Again, ROTFLMAO, I remember and I kind of agree with you that the whole incident got blown out of proportion,  but it ain't like you didn't make it a bit worse given the climate over there,  and I'm not sticking up for "over there",  just saying,  when you know a bee's nest is alive it's best you don't go poking it.
  Anyway, to be honest I've never seen his knot tying tutorial, but his general bushcraft videos and gear reviews are generally pretty much on the money, and you don't have to go near that other site to view them.
  Given your tendency to argue at the drop of a hat it's a wonder you lasted there as long as you did anyway. (BIG GRIN)
   I guess the taste of sour grapes can take a long time to dissipate.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2017, 10:46:02 AM »
Yes but thank God you wound up here.

  LOL, He won't talk to me now for a week or better. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2017, 12:44:50 PM »
Moe, you & I have been friends for a good number of years now, but I take issue with your assessment of me being argumentative. :lol:    I am most definitely NOT argumentative, but when I see outright WRONG information being touted as 'truth,' I try to provide CORRECT information in its stead.....ESPECIALL Y when it's in a nonsensical tutorial that could cause injury or even death!  An incorrectly tied knot is a prime example.  When I provided all manner of known knot-sites (including the ABOK and the BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK) that showed the knots tied CORRECTLY, I was still chastised and subsequently banned over THERE, but I don?t care. :coffee:  That's just fine with me because I wouldn?t want to be associated with with a site that intentionally provides outright misinformation and bullschidt anyway!  :rolleyes:

The forum here at B&B is as it should be....a FORUM where opposing viewpoints and methods of doing things can be aired and discussed freely & openly.  I only know a couple of people that have been banned HERE so far, and amazingly enough.....I haven't been one of them! :shrug:
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2017, 01:38:39 PM »
Moe, you & I have been friends for a good number of years now, but I take issue with your assessment of me being argumentative. :lol:    I am most definitely NOT argumentative, but when I see outright WRONG information being touted as 'truth,' I try to provide CORRECT information in its stead.....ESPECIALL Y when it's in a nonsensical tutorial that could cause injury or even death!  An incorrectly tied knot is a prime example.  When I provided all manner of known knot-sites (including the ABOK and the BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK) that showed the knots tied CORRECTLY, I was still chastised and subsequently banned over THERE, but I don?t care. :coffee:  That's just fine with me because I wouldn?t want to be associated with with a site that intentionally provides outright misinformation and bullschidt anyway!  :rolleyes:

The forum here at B&B is as it should be....a FORUM where opposing viewpoints and methods of doing things can be aired and discussed freely & openly.  I only know a couple of people that have been banned HERE so far, and amazingly enough.....I haven't been one of them! :shrug:

  A couple of things that really piss me off is that my spell check and my smileys don't work, they do on all the other forums that I use,  so when I'm busting you I can't signal you if I'm kidding you or not.
 
  Actually you're right, we have been friends for years and I can't ever remember a time when either one of us aggravated the other, and yes, you do take issue. (grin)
  But since we are on a forum in which we can speak freely and openly, I'd suggest that when you say that you are NOT argumentative you use lower case letters when typing "not", if you want to be completely honest. (still grinning)
  In my opinion you are right in being concerned that the wrong information was being passed along, right again in saying that those in authority were bias, unfair, and flat out wrong in treating you the way they did,  and right again for taking the attitude that you won't let it bother you and are better off at B&B.
  All that said,  one thing that I've learned in my long life is that you should pick your fights wisely,  if those that you are going to argue against are closed minded asswholes that don't care if they are right or wrong then it's usually best not to waste your time on them and risk unwanted retaliation,  but (there's always a but). I know what it's like to be passionate about something to the point that you don't always use common sense when you decide to jump into the fray,  been there and done that more times than I care to admit myself.

 'Nough said.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2017, 01:41:33 PM »
I like both of you....... what does that say about my judgement of people?   :-\   :lol: :lol:
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2017, 01:49:10 PM »
That is a pitiful tale of inflated conceit to be sure. Discussing it further would imho detract from the OPs effort to create some bushlore related content. Allow me to play MoDerAtor if you will.

Irrelevant posts deleted. Consider this a warning.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2017, 01:59:34 PM »
I like both of you....... what does that say about my judgement of people?   :-\   :lol: :lol:

  Well Stan, since you are a member of the original clan it could be assumed that your judgement is irrelevant since your objectivity is obviously influenced by your loyalty to the group, but as far as I'm concerned your judgement is spot on, you are definitely in good company.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2017, 02:00:40 PM »

  Hey, where's OP ?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2017, 03:23:30 PM »

  Hey, where's OP ?
He is around.....I think he last replied in my short thread on the BOWLINE REVISITED.  It must be working so well for him that he can't quit playing with it!      BTW.....since your spellcheck is not working for you, ALLOT is not a word in the context that you are using it.  A lot of people that use it a lot think it IS! :lol: :cheers:   
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 04:58:10 PM by wolfy »
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2017, 03:30:22 PM »
oh gosh wolfy THEY can actully ban you,  wow i'd better watch it then.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2017, 05:06:55 PM »
oh gosh wolfy THEY can actully ban you,  wow i'd better watch it then.

 Normally it takes "Allot" of mischief to get thrown out of this forum (but there have been exceptions),  the forum that Wolfy got bounced from not so much,  just a political utterance, or talking back to a moderator, or mentioning Dave Canterbury's name will put you out in the cold faster than you can put on your coat.
 Many of our plank members here were victims of Thor's hammer from that place.
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2017, 05:14:42 PM »
geez i'm glad i'm not politcal anymore so to speak anyways.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2017, 05:32:15 PM »
geez i'm glad i'm not politcal anymore so to speak anyways.

  We have a place for that kind of chat,  it's a locked closet in the basement where you can go to chat with like minded members that won't offend those up above with weaker constitutions (no pun intended), it's called "The Private Section",  you can gain access by asking the boss for a key.   
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Dano

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2017, 05:35:00 PM »
  P.O.S.!! :soap:


FINALLY!  I've been waiting for you to let your guard down and tell us how you REALLY feel for as long as I can remember.  That brought a HUGE smile to my ugly mug!!

Another thing to add to Moe's list of how to get banned....well never mind, I think we're supposed to stop talking about the a$$hats anyway.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2017, 05:46:11 PM »
  P.O.S.!! :soap:


FINALLY!  I've been waiting for you to let your guard down and tell us how you REALLY feel for as long as I can remember.  That brought a HUGE smile to my ugly mug!!

Another thing to add to Moe's list of how to get banned....well never mind, I think we're supposed to stop talking about the a$$hats anyway.

      LOL
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2017, 05:55:48 PM »
Oh Boy!!! :banana:   This is like the OLD B&B....we?re havin FUN again! :banana: :banana:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2017, 06:22:30 PM »
Oh Boy!!! :banana:   This is like the OLD B&B....we?re havin FUN again! :banana: :banana:

     Nice ain't it
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2017, 06:37:48 PM »
BTW.......as I recall, woodsorrel mentioned something about debris huts WAYYY back in his opening post and I forgot to mention something that came to mind in viewing his link.  That 'sweat lodge' bares a striking resemblance to the Mandan earth lodges that Lewis & Clark visited on the Great Bend of the Missouri River during the first winter of their voyage of discovery. :thumbsup:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2017, 07:01:01 PM »
BTW.......as I recall, woodsorrel mentioned something about debris huts WAYYY back in his opening post and I forgot to mention something that came to mind in viewing his link.  That 'sweat lodge' bares a striking resemblance to the Mandan earth lodges that Lewis & Clark visited on the Great Bend of the Missouri River during the first winter of their voyage of discovery. :thumbsup:

  AhHa, I saw what you just did,  you are a cagey old curmudgeon, in one thread and just a few posts you've touched on most of your passions,  Knot tying, the other forum, busting my chops, and Lewis & Clark,  just how were you going to get BP cartridge rifles and compasses into the discussion ???
 
  Hey, eer, you tricked me into doing it for you, no fair.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2017, 07:16:25 PM »
 8)
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline OffGrid9

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2017, 07:34:21 PM »
Was over at the Lazy B (our off-grid "ranch") for three weeks. Just got back ? saw this thread.  Dredged up a couple memories, one pretty good, one not so good.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (I was maybe twelve) I packed up everything I could carry.  Yeah, I know...I'd already started reading Old Nessmuk, but come on, I was only twelve, ignorant...still thought more was better.  I hoisted my pack and hiked down the valley to the old boy-scout lean-to shelter for a solo one-night camp-out (my parents were cool, let me have all the freedom I'd shown I could handle).  When I got there it was occupied.  #%&@!  I went down the road a half mile to the creek, found a spot a hundred yards from the road, and tried to set up a pup-tent from two shelter-halves.  I'd just bought them at a local surplus store.  Never did a trial set-up.  Ignorance!  One had button-holes, the other was SUPPOSED to have buttons.  #%&@%^&@!!!  They both had button holes!  It was too late to go home, and anyway, I'd have been embarrassed.  I tried to figure a way to connect the two halves...to no avail.  I didn't have a sewing kit, safety pins, or string.  Ever since I've carried all three.  When it was getting dark, I found out I'd made another slight error...I hadn't packed my sleeping bag!  [sigh] I piled up a boat-load of oak leaves, spread the two pieces of canvas on the leaves, and piled another boat-load of oak leaves on top.  After eating a cold Spam sandwich, I carefully lifted the top piece of canvas and crawled in, wearing both my coat and my rain-jacket.  Luckily it didn't rain, and there was no wind.  Bugs weren't too bad.  I didn't freeze.  It was only about 40 degrees.  But I don't think I got much sleep that night.  It was a good lesson -- plan ahead, do trial tent-setups, don't take stuff you don't really need...and don't forget your razzenfratzer sleeping bag.

My second debris hut was in a more serious situation.  Got lost in the mountains in northern Utah on a windy afternoon, late autumn of 1966.  When I realized I was going to have to get through the night without a shelter, I started to feel panic creeping up...I wasn't dressed all that warmly, the daytime temp had been about 40, I thought I'd be back in camp before dark.  But as the sun went down it was freezing.  There were aspens galore, but I had no flashlight, and no time to gather enough wood to last through the night.  I'd had no instruction on debris huts, but I figured leaves were my best available insulation.  I clambered deep into a dense grove of aspen trees to get out of the wind.  I finger-raked leaves from a large area into a single huge pile, and just crawled into it.  Once again I was lucky, it didn't rain.  I don't know how cold it got, but it was bad.  I thought I was going to die, I lost feeling in my fingers and toes...but at dawn I could still stand up, and staggered out to the open sage, and walked and walked downhill...until I found a road, and made my way back to camp.  I'm very happy I've never had to repeat that experience.  I know more about making a better debris hut now.  But I prefer a warm bunk and a huge steaming mug of coffee, cream, brown sugar, and rum.
The older I get, the better I used to be.  --  I thought my Dad coined that...but he stole it from Lee Trevino

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2017, 07:56:57 PM »
OffGrid9, thank you for sharing those terrific stories! 

  - Woodsorrel
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2017, 09:07:00 AM »
Was over at the Lazy B (our off-grid "ranch") for three weeks. Just got back ? saw this thread.  Dredged up a couple memories, one pretty good, one not so good.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (I was maybe twelve) I packed up everything I could carry.  Yeah, I know...I'd already started reading Old Nessmuk, but come on, I was only twelve, ignorant...still thought more was better.  I hoisted my pack and hiked down the valley to the old boy-scout lean-to shelter for a solo one-night camp-out (my parents were cool, let me have all the freedom I'd shown I could handle).  When I got there it was occupied.  #%&@!  I went down the road a half mile to the creek, found a spot a hundred yards from the road, and tried to set up a pup-tent from two shelter-halves.  I'd just bought them at a local surplus store.  Never did a trial set-up.  Ignorance!  One had button-holes, the other was SUPPOSED to have buttons.  #%&@%^&@!!!  They both had button holes!  It was too late to go home, and anyway, I'd have been embarrassed.  I tried to figure a way to connect the two halves...to no avail.  I didn't have a sewing kit, safety pins, or string.  Ever since I've carried all three.  When it was getting dark, I found out I'd made another slight error...I hadn't packed my sleeping bag!  [sigh] I piled up a boat-load of oak leaves, spread the two pieces of canvas on the leaves, and piled another boat-load of oak leaves on top.  After eating a cold Spam sandwich, I carefully lifted the top piece of canvas and crawled in, wearing both my coat and my rain-jacket.  Luckily it didn't rain, and there was no wind.  Bugs weren't too bad.  I didn't freeze.  It was only about 40 degrees.  But I don't think I got much sleep that night.  It was a good lesson -- plan ahead, do trial tent-setups, don't take stuff you don't really need...and don't forget your razzenfratzer sleeping bag.

My second debris hut was in a more serious situation.  Got lost in the mountains in northern Utah on a windy afternoon, late autumn of 1966.  When I realized I was going to have to get through the night without a shelter, I started to feel panic creeping up...I wasn't dressed all that warmly, the daytime temp had been about 40, I thought I'd be back in camp before dark.  But as the sun went down it was freezing.  There were aspens galore, but I had no flashlight, and no time to gather enough wood to last through the night.  I'd had no instruction on debris huts, but I figured leaves were my best available insulation.  I clambered deep into a dense grove of aspen trees to get out of the wind.  I finger-raked leaves from a large area into a single huge pile, and just crawled into it.  Once again I was lucky, it didn't rain.  I don't know how cold it got, but it was bad.  I thought I was going to die, I lost feeling in my fingers and toes...but at dawn I could still stand up, and staggered out to the open sage, and walked and walked downhill...until I found a road, and made my way back to camp.  I'm very happy I've never had to repeat that experience.  I know more about making a better debris hut now.  But I prefer a warm bunk and a huge steaming mug of coffee, cream, brown sugar, and rum.

  I had a similar experience and luckily walked away from it with a hard learned lesson, that being that all the reading and watched videos don't guarantee a comfortable survival when Mother Nature decides to throw you a curve ball.
  Now I carry a day bag with just enough tools, shelter, cordage, first aid, water, and food or the means to get it to carry me for an extended time in the woods on my own, it only weighs 12 pounds and every pound worth the trouble and expense.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline xj35s

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2017, 07:37:02 AM »
Moe M, Did you ever do a break down of that day bag? I'd be interested.

 I only made one debris shelter. I use two Y branches and a cross stick. Then  I laid a bunch of branches from there to the ground. On top I laid golden rod bundled up in the depressions on the roof. It took 3 day's of gathering goldenrod but I was cutting them one at a time with my swiss.

I am now more educated. If I was stuck overnight in foul weather simply because I ran out of time and daylight I'd palmer furnace it and make a make shift recliner bed next to a huge tree. I always have my UCO with beeswax candle and some form of coverage. 9 to 12 hours of burn it could get me through a couple nights used sparingly.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline abo4ster

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2017, 02:49:06 PM »
Have built a few and found that at roughly 3 to 4 hours to built a decent one with enough insulation to sleep during a cold night, why anyone would want to use one if fire is an option does not make sense to me -- even in wet weather.  Would you rather be dry and cold, or wet and warm?

Last one I built was with my son and it was just so he learned the importance of a warming fire.  He is sitting next to me as I write this of which I reminded him; he just moaned at the memory. Ha!






Offline xj35s

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2017, 03:07:04 PM »
This is not a palmer furnace. I guess I need to do a video showing the right way? Anyway, scan up to the 6 minute mark as he likes to talk...

pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2017, 04:11:12 PM »
Have built a few and found that at roughly 3 to 4 hours to built a decent one with enough insulation to sleep during a cold night...

This point is often overlooked, abo4ster.  Besides the drain on calories, you need to make your "stop for the night" decision four or five hours in advance of darkness.  I think many people who have not built this type of shelter underestimate the amount of time and energy it requires to build a good one.

As the article mentions, it's why I carry modern lightweight waterproof materials and several means to start a fire.  :)
But it doesn't negate the usefulness of the knowledge if you need to resort to a natural shelter.

- Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2017, 06:08:28 PM »
Moe M, Did you ever do a break down of that day bag? I'd be interested.


  I've mentioned it a time or two but never did a  run down of the contents,  First off my most used bag is my regular mild weather day pack, it's a Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack shoulder bag, very compact and comfortable,  the body of the bag has the main compartment and in back of that is another that's made for carrying a handgun, there's a zippered compartment on the top of the bag's cover, and there are two outer pockets, one on either side, a pocket on the front outside, and another in the inside of the lid, it's simple but has a lot organizational properties.
 
 
 List of what I can remember.
 
 Stainless 38oz. Nalgene in left side pocket.
 Mics, small tools and bacho folding saw in right side pocket.
 My head lamp and spare batteries and Sawyer mini filter with rolled up water bag in top pocket.
 First aid kit, bug wipes, TP, wet ones, and two Mylar blankets in front zippered pocket.
 Compass in small pocket on shoulder strap.
 Spare fire steel in the opposite strap pocket.
 A construction sized HD Trash bag and vinyl cutting board, and small blue foam sit/kneeling pad in the rear pocket of the bag (handgun pocket)
 
 In the main body of the bag.
 Spare fixed blade knife (Mora #2 classic)
 Flashlight, eye glasses, pen/writing paper, SAK Farmer, all in small pockets on the inside.
 My .750ML Toaks Ti cook pot and small bowl, alcohol stove, stand, windscreen, pot chain, two 2oz. bottles of fuel nested in pot and cased in a mesh bag.
 5'x7' Tarp or 5'x7' poncho with ridge line and cordage and six Titanium stakes.
 Utensils for cooking and eating in small bag.
 Mesh food bag with enough dried food, coffee, tea, seasonings, cooking oil, a small vial of dish soap and a couple of power bars to last for 72 hours if rationed.
 Small leather camera case containing shaved fat wood, candle stub, ferro rod, and several types of tinder, and a few fish hooks,  fish line can be made from gutting the spare paracord cordage.
 
 Tied to the outside of the bag.
 pair of leather gloves.
 a kirska drinking cup.
 a Whistle, compass, thermometer, and magnifying lens.
 A heavy cotton wood carrier with handles is tied to the bottom of the pack, serves as wood carrier, sitting, kneeling pad, and whatever.
 
 Note: my first aid kit contains supplies plus medications, a spare Bic lighter, hand sanitizer, and a signal mirror.

 The whole 'kit' except for water weight weighs about ten pounds give or take a few ounces, I'm sure I may have forgotten some small things, but that's about it, if you have any questions just ask.
 
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Offline xj35s

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2017, 11:53:50 AM »
That's not far off what I have. I have a much larger tarp though. Add my hammock and insulation and it's everything I camp with.

I Joined the drop for two Mora 511's because they're carbon steel. I received one in an envelope. I e mailed massdrop asking if the second one was coming in a separate envelope. I got an immediate response and they offered my money back or to send mE a knife. I got the second knife within 2 weeks. $18.73 for two 511's. I've bought a lot from massdrop.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2017, 04:42:08 PM »
  I have three different packs,  two are my day packs, the shoulder bag is for mild weather,  the Condor ll is a backpack, it holds the same load out as the small bag with the exception of a bigger 1.1LT. Mors bush pot and some extra clothing, and a bigger folding saw, for the cooler fall weather, my third pack, an LL Bean waxed cotton continental ruck is a bigger backpack, that one again has all the same stuff but also holds more food, a 10'x10' tarp, a WB Blackbird hammock, a reflector pad and my sleeping bag, I have a trade working for two of my MLL knives for a like new Frost River Isle Royal Mini,  so that may replace my Traditional LL Bean pack.
 My main focus of going to a smaller day pack was to cut weight and bulk,  while I'm not an ounce Nazi, I have worked hard to come up with a minimalist pack that still allows me to be both comfortable and safe and yet light enough for me to haul around, I've found that my 5'x7' tarp serves me quite well for day trips or as an emergency over night shelter if the need arises,  my poncho is the same size but has tie out tabs every couple of feet and on each corner just like a regular shelter tarp, it only weighs a couple of ounces more than my shelter tarp.
 To see how it would work for me I bought one of the Walmart 5'x7' blue Ozark Trail tarps and tried that first, it worked out well so I bought the better quality ones to replace it, however, the Walmart tarp has held up surprisingly well for a $10.00 nylon and coated tarp,  I'm still using it as a ground cloth when I need one.
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #46 on: November 12, 2017, 08:20:35 PM »
hey wolfy how's this Darn those moderrators don't they know that
dave canerbury and bear grylls are like gods, yeah that's the ticket.
and now for my political rant were all the lumpen prolitariat,
ok back to reality. over this week i'm going to build a giant squirrel nest,
aka a brush shelter. will post a photo when done.

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #47 on: November 13, 2017, 08:32:18 PM »
I've never made a debris shelter so my knowledge of them is purely academic, but I think the idea is that they're very tight with the leaf litter being in contact with your body.  It was just a video but I saw an instructor demonstrate one and when it was built he dumped a five gallon buck of water on top and none soaked through. The claim was that you could sleep in reasonable comfort down to below freezing.  I dunno, it seems plausible but I've never tried it.  Certainly three feet of leaf litter and boughs should have pretty fair insulating value.  A space blanket in the mix would probably help with waterproofing especially if you had to rush construction.

Offline woodsorrel

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #48 on: November 13, 2017, 09:48:01 PM »
Phaedrus, the first night I slept out in one I was worried about being cold.  The air temperature was in the mid 50's and dropping.  Would the pine needles insulate me?  Or would they conduct heat from my body?

The pine needles trapped warm air around my body and I spent a comfortable night.  It was a learning experience and an impressive demonstration of the effectiveness of natural insulation.  It rained (briefly) the second night, and the interior remained dry.

  - Woodsorrel
The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
Bushcraft tips and tricks:  www.NatureOutside.c om

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: Have you built a debris hut?
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2017, 09:09:14 PM »
I've used pine boughs to build an insulated bed/pile to sleep on so I know they insulate.  I will have to experiment with debris hut construction when I am able.