Survivor School: Build Debris or One Man Shelter in the Wild


In our attempt to find the perfect shelter, we must discuss how to build a debris shelter (aka One Man Shelter).  The Debris Shelter is a surprisingly warm shelter, probably because how close it is to the body.

The Debris Shelter starts with attaching a ridgepole made of a long branch to the trunk of a tree.  Then, either using a tarp that I discussed having in your bug out bag, or a RIBCAGE for the walls of the shelter.

You can stretch the tarp over the ridgepole and attaching the three corners to the ground.  One ground attachment is at the bottom of the ridgepole and the other two is at the entry of the frame, which is near the tree, and the tarp will create an “A” due to the 2 front ground attachments and the ridgepole in the center.

To make a ribcage on the ridgepole, you will add a branch on each side about every 6 inches to a foot the full extent of the ridgepole.  Then you can lash branches of pine or spruce for insulation on the ribs, and place the tarp or broadleaf branches over that for weatherproofing.

What does one of these look like?  Like this…

Debris Wilderness Shelter

I have said it when discussing A Frame shelters and Lean To shelters, but I want to reiterate for those that haven’t read those that using spruce or pine as the bedding, and on the sides, will add some insulation and warmth.  It is called a debris shelter, because once the frame of the shelter is built, many people just pile the debris all over it and it is a suitable shelter.

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