Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

TresMon

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Tres MonCeret
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Naked into the wilderness Chapter two: The Debris Hut.


Here is the basic method of making a great survival shelter than can be made in most places with nothing but bare hands, good effort and what the landscape provides.
A Debris Hut when made to the proper dimensions & depth will keep you comfortably warm in SUB bitter cold conditions & totally dry in a day after day down poor. And it can be made when standing naked in the woods with nothing practically as efficiently as if you had your “survival kit.” And it does not rely on any auxiliary heat source unlike the totally inefficient lean-to of outdoor lore does.

There are only two deal breakers for this shelter:

Size: SMALLER is better. We are using the word “shelter” but you need to be thinking more along the lines of “permanent, waterproof, immobile sleeping bag.” The only heater warming the square footage will be your tired, fatigued and hungry body. Do your body a favor by making the space it must warm the smallest feasible. Yes you can get away with a little roomier accommodation in summer (or maybe three seasons if you have managed to get lost with some warm gear. But anybody can manage with gear, the scope of this article is getting by pretty good “naked” or with –nothing.-)

Depth: of debris/insulation. Here is where I see the vast majority of students nullify the shelter as well as make a total waste of their overall effort. In a deciduous forest we use leaves as depicted in the following photographs. In other geographical areas you simply use the litter and duff found on the ground. Regardless of the material you use the most important part regarding your insulation material IS YOUR ARMPIT. I will teach you how to layout the arrangement and proportions of the frame in the coming pages- but let it sink in from the beginning that regardless of the insulation you use, it must be so deep at -A MINIMUM-, did you get that? MINIMUM, as in AT LEAST, as in MORE IS BETTER… that if you carefully worm you hand down into/through the insulation towards the underlying framework you quickly find yourself extended armpit deep into the debris but CAN’T reach/touch the frame with the tips of your fingers. You must have this much insulation +++ over the frame- at all points of the shelter.


Site:
It’s hard to describe the site one should choose for their primitive shelter and associated new home in The Great Lost. I see many armchair survivalists merely cut & paste text on how to go about picking the perfect “camp spot.” But we are not camping. We do not have three liters of water & a backpack full of calories. Also when was the last time a backpacker factored in “there’s a mother load of limbs and leaves on the ground here to use in shelter construction!” ?

So the best I can boil it down to is to pick the greatest combination of several decent averages. For example: We don’t have the caloric surplus to hike all God’s creation to find a perfect spot. We don’t even have a container (made yet) to even put water in so we are better off to be in a so-so spot near a water source than in a perfect spot way away from water. Or there may be a ready made cave that is perfect and cozy, but it’s a killer of a scramble to get to it. Three trips in to our bed and we’re fresh out precious calories with no more in the pot. See? So we cannot afford for all the criteria of “the perfect spot” to be demanded. Use your head and go with the spot that offers the crude best of ALL averages.

Having said that there are ideal settings; the most overlooked is elevation. Middle elevation is ideal. Camp at the very lowest elevation next to your serene babbling brook and you will chill far quicker and burn all the more calories as the cold air descends and pools all around you during the night. And like every wanna-be ”expert” writer mentions- the danger of flash floods. Yes a true threat in a FEW areas, but it needs to be “touched on” not given it’s own entire chapter for Pete’s sake.

Camp on top and every venture & task results in all the more caloric burn as you head back UP to camp for every time you stepped away. Not to mention you’ll have less protection from the weather, be blasted by the wind and perhaps catch a widow maker (standing dead tree) with your sternum as you sleep away the wee hours of the night.

So middle elevation or good walking ground is ideal for our new Lost Camp.

In the survival situation you need to use the logic of the Trout. The typical places trout live is an environment of constant current. He is a master of judging caloric investment in regards to caloric return. He rests behind a rock in it’s calorie efficient eddy. With each morsel that he see’s coming his way he has to quickly decide if it is worth him kicking out into the full-on calorie consuming current to retrieve it, which will carry him down stream, only for him to have to kick back up to his calorie efficient eddy.
Now do you see, though you have been matching the hatch of #18 Adams flys coming off why your not catching anything? Simple- Your not offering him enough calories. You need to think not in dollar cost in this new life, rather calorie cost & caloric income.


The frame:
So you got your spot. You were wise to choose an area that had a decent natural cache of ready materials. The first thing you need to do is scribe you dimension in the ground. For this you will need a stylus. A pointed stick will fit the bill. Rake off the litter on the ground to bare dirt. This is a great time to remove any items that will torment your back during the night. Get centered up in your spot and sit down, legs crossed and straight out before you. Use your stick to scribe a line, right up against your body starting at your hip, down your legs around your foot and back up the hip on the opposite side. Now lie back and scribe as best you can around your torso to your shoulders. Finally with one arm stretched out as far as it can reach above your head scribe around that as best you can.




Now stand up and connect any gaps in your scribed line.





Next you will need a ridge pole long enough to more than cover the length of your scribed template. You will also need at least some forked branches to prop up the high end of the ridgepole. The ridge pole will be on the ground on one end and needs to be crotch high on the other. A crotch high stump or rock, etc. is really handy but not always around. So finding lying forked branches that can be broken to length is the norm and will suffice to elevate the upper end of the ridge pole.

In the following picture I have my ridgepole set up at the proper length and height.
Remember for the duration of this article and pictures, NO TOOLS nor “STORE BOUGHT STUFF” we’re used. For the creation of this shelter We used bare hands and what we picked up off the ground only. Not a knife, not a string, notta.






Next we add on our ribbing. This is just upright sticks & heavy branches to add strength and to keep our insulation material from falling through. Make sure you stay just on the outer edge of your scribed line with the ribbing.



 

Lastly we add “lattice.” This is just (longer the better) fine sticks thrown over the heavy ribbing this way & that to further keep our insulation from poking through our framework. Think “woven wall” when adding the lattice but it is neither art nor needs to be a tedious task.

In the following picture you can see we started adding lattice.

[Note: this is not enough lattice really. And in the final picture there is not enough insulation. I recruited two willing child slaves from my neighborhood to help me build the shelter. They had to be home for a soccer game, and I did not get into the woods quite as early as I needed too to do the actual shelter to full scale. As I say, the great thing in a survival situation is at least you got plenty of time! ]




Lastly we pile UP (not “on”) our insulation material. Grab handfuls of litter from the floor of your area and carry it over to your frame. The trick is to pile it on from the bottom up. Sure you can hold it over the ridge and let it fall down, but this only makes progress deceptive and leads to skimping on quantity of insulation all the more.




So now we have a wind, water & cold proof shelter. But we need to add on the final fixins. If we attempt to sleep on the bare earth, all night long there will be a war of you trying to warm up planet earth, and earth trying to suck the heat out of your body. Guess who will win…every time? So at the least we need to PACK tight/solid the sleep area of the hut with more insulation material. I have slept warm & wooly this way several nights. I lay down with my feet pointing to the opening of the hut. I point my toes and do a little flutter kick while squirming my way into the CENTER of the packed insulation as best I can, opposed to worming in UNDER the insulation. This manner is “adequate.” You will not get hypothermia, but you’ll not be roasty toasty.

An upgrade is to line the floor of the sleep area with non compressable layer: bark & twigs over light limbs, etc. Establish a comfortable layer that will keep you entirely off the ground, if only a fraction of an inch. Then pack in your insulation and you’ll be comfortably warmso long as you did a good job.

The ultimate set up I have ever used was tall grass. I made a shelter and slept in it two nights made in the above format. While out exploring for groceries to eat and goods to make utilitarian items I discovered about a 1.5 or 2 acre patch or waist high grass. I pulled up three “bear hug” loads of the stuff and took it to my shelter. I sawed off the roots from the stems (with a jawbone & attached teeth I had found) and lined the floor of my shelter HEAVILY with the hollow stalks of the grass. I laid it “log cabin” style or warp & weft to you survival weavers. The overall grass floor mat was a full three inches thick & quite dense. Violin! All natural Dupont Hollowfil just like in a real sleeping bag. This was amazing. It was –totally- comfortable, and protected me from the ground so well I had to sleep in an EMPTY debris hut to keep from waking up hot.
If a person is creative and observant it is not hard to come up with a good insulating & comfortable floor mat such as this. Even a quarter bazillion little sticks & twigs tightly laid in lattice style would work amazingly well. Top that with a bazillion pine needles etc and you’ll be needing to vent your shelter to keep from being too hot.

And finally:
The door. Again the crudest door plug is a pile of insulation you drag over to plug the entire opening of your shelter as best you can once inside. A multi forked limb used as a rudimentary rake helps.

In the past I have propped up bark and rotted half sections of logs to form a door opening that I could barely slither through- these too of course covered to the pit in insulation material. This makes it all the more easier to completely seal the opening by dragging up a door plug.

My ultimate door I had ever made was where there was a downed tangle of poplar trees. Inner bark of poplar trees has an abundance of awesome fibers, [as well as giving up huge sheets of intact bark: think shelter, quivers, bowls, work sheds, crude clothing{buff the hound out of it} etc.]

I gathered a lot of fibers and basically made me a 3’ x 4’ net. I fixed one end of the net to the opening of the door. I pulled it out horizontally and propped it up on sticks. It kinda looked like a net awning on the side of a camper so to speak. On top of my net I piled A BUNCH of insulation materials. When I was in my hut for the night I would kick out the prop sticks dumping a mountain of insulation over my door sealing me in TIGHT & 100% draft proof for the night.

Again, not that you need to precisely repeat a grass bed or a net door, rather it’s just to illustrate that if you are creative and have a open mind you can fair far better than you’d initially think if you use what’s on hand.

Do take time to make you a full scale debris hut, and of course SLEEP IN IT!

Coming in the next chapter we will look at a couple ways of starting a friction fire. More to come.

A last note: Take a kid(s) into the woods, and teach them to shoot, fish,hunt, track, trap & rub sticks together for fire. Our heritage & subsequently our freedoms are being lost to Nintendo Wii (etc.)



Addendum:
Debris huts are wonderfully camouflaged. Sometimes this is a good thing. And with additional large limbs/small downed trees added on (in a self supporting way, don't mash the loft of your insulation) to further break up the moundish silhouette the things really do become invisible.
However, within the scope of this article, the average person would REALLY APPRECIATE being FOUND.
So it's a good idea to make large mobiles like over a baby's crib out of very bright materials and hang them all around your camp. In the naked theme, bright white wood works: poplar in my area. The movement of your mobiles in the wind are quite eye catching. IF you find trash/litter, polish any pieces you can with creek sand and make wind driven noise makers out of the others.

In a "kit" context: When I was search ground team commander I made all my guys carry a 50 cent K-Mart (I just dated myself) bright orange disposable poncho. The things were so frail I imagine rain would damage them, but they were "air weight" , took up practically no room in the ruck, and made great signal markers. Of course all our military gear blended in the woods nicely. But oddly enough there is a freakishly high incidence of the rescuer becoming a rescuee as well. The old saying is "if you don't want to get lost, stay on the trail." But EVERY searcher/rescuer must bushwack. And accordingly they get snake bit, injured & yes LOST.
So our SOP was to sit tight in shelter beneath a tree you wrapped your orange poncho around, and drum your time away on your pack frame or canteen- if it came to that.

So unless you don't want to be found, construct visual & audible attention getters. But you say, "I got a huge signal fire ready to torch, or I'll just walk up to them, or.." That's great, unless your dehydrated, hypothermic, snake bit or ______ and practically comatose in your invisible mound when the rescuers pass through.




 
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Krav69

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Dude nicely done!

I just picked up a hypothermic mountain biker this morning after a hike, and it reminded me to keep an eye out for shelter. The poor bastard was purple and shivering like you wouldn't believe. Lucky for him a 10 year old Ford still has good heating!

Great Post!!
 

TresMon

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Cool story Krav, reminds me of one exception I have in the woods:

Fellas:
Always remain calm when the the chips are down...
EXCEPT for hypothermia.

I have had uncontrollable shivers in the woods a few times, which is proported to be the first real sign of hypo.

Once I was freezing my rear deer hunting, and I noticed the shivers STOPPED. I think "Finally! my thermostat kicked in"
A while later I felt really warm and was about to pull off a few layers. I was SO sleepy too.

Then in my fogginess I remembered all the countless stories/cases
I had read of rescuers finding a trail of discarded clothing leading to a person that died of hypothermia. Oddly enough, when hypo gets really bad, you get the sensation of being roasting hot. While I did not feel HOT I felt uncomfortably warm, pretty quick. I then had a moment of clarity...

Fortunantly in my moment of clairity I puposed in my heart to ENRAGE MYSELF. I thought of a mugger snatching my moms purse and her falling and breaking a hip. I thought of a (sterotype, mother blanking sterotypes) gang raping my sister and beating her senseless. etc, etc, etc. I took off running, cursing, shouting, punching at every single limb I came by as if it were a rapist, kicking at every thing in my path, etc.

Who knows if I saved my own life that days through this means, but in any event in a several hundred yard hissy fit run my temp was back up and I had broke a sweat. I slowed my pace but gathered my stuff and called it a day.

I hope if any of you have a moment of clairty, you'll act ravenously on it as well.

 

triplecelectric

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Chapter 3 How to Build a Trebuchet Naked in The Wilderness!?!?

That is some great stuff. You just never know..........
 

TresMon

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Next up is fire! Trebuchet is a utilitarian skill- they come in last-after a person has themselves established.
 

Pok

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Good stuff.

On hypothermia: I was hunting years ago with my father and uncle. It was a little cold with light rain. Early on I saw my uncle calling it a day because he was cold, and I chucled to myself at him being a P***y. About an hour later I got a little cold myself and couldnt stay out any longer. I reached camp , got into my bag and shivered uncontrollable for at least a half hour till passing out. Its amazing how things can go south fast.
 

Juan Valdez

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TresMon</div><div class="ubbcode-body">yeah, but it will not protect you from a Trebuchet.... </div></div>

My kids and I built a trebuchet last summer. Bitch next door called the HOA.
Fun while it lasted though.
 

TresMon

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I bet had you slung gas boated disease infested, maggot riddled cat carcasses at the HOA prez's home, you could have sieged & kept your trebuchet longer.

Go to your room and stay there for 2 hours! I can't believe you'd not appreciate such a fine insturment more than you obviously did.
 

TresMon

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut


Now thats funny!

I'm the world's coolest internet commando ever: I Hijack MY OWN threads!

Back to shelter: I'm adding an addendum to the original article at the top.
 

Tburkes

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Tres, in your experience finding lost dudes or dudettes, have you ever found anyone who had done everything you are talking about and was all nice and comfortable, with a good shelter, adequate food gathered, fire all squared away, not scared, just waiting on you guys to show up cause they knew you eventually would?

Someone with the intelligence to know that they'd gotten in over their head, and it was smarter to do what you've been talking about during this discussion.

If so, how long were they in the situation, how long did it take them to get their camp site squared away?
 

Lindy

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Someone with the intelligence to know that they'd gotten in over their head, and it was smarter to do what you've been talking about during this discussion.</div></div>

Someone with that much intelligence and knowledge doesn't <span style="font-style: italic">get</span> lost, or, if they get temporarily misplaced, they know how to get out, assuming that they can walk.

I've heard it claimed that there is no place in the continental U.S. more than 50 miles from a road.

Unfortunately, in my experience it's the total clueless morons who most often get lost, not people with the skills to handle the situation.
 

TresMon

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Tburk,

Yeah, some people look like they barely fought their way out of a wood chipper when lost for 18 hrs. Others like find and dandy, as if they were sitting on a becnh just waiting for their ride to show up. They stand, walk up and hug you,thank you for coming, apologize for getting mispaced and offer to carry your pack back out. (I used to wish I had as much faith in me/my crew as that type persons had in us!) and there have been all types in between.

The guys used to joke and say if I was immobilized in the woods and they had to come for me I had better have a buffet waiting on them, with choices of mint or Sassafrass tea piping hot, and fresh porch chops just off the hot grill rock in my fire ring. Lol..

But interestingly enough it all goes back to mental state. I'd rather be looking for someone with NO woods savvy & immense self control rather than a person with brilliant IQ or a "hard core" operator. You'd think soldiers would fair the best. But soldiers are 100% gear geared from bootcamp on. Like the USMC "Rifleman's creed: ""This is my rifle, there are many like it but this one is mine.""

I'm as patriotic as they come. But the training should be geared "These are my two fists, there are many like them but these are mine, hopefully I will have my rifle, but I will certainly have these two fists.""

All in all kids OFTEN fair the best. They have not got their thinking stuffed in a box yet and their still very creative. Once a little boy was found after several days/nights in winter in the mountainous national park near me. He had NO gear.
He was found hanging out in a hollow log. Searchers heard him singing to himself.

Upon interview later the boy basically communicated that he was walking along and a "critter" ran out of the log. He said he figured that a home good enough for a critter was good enough for him. And it was. He did not have any frost bite. He said "he felt better" when he sang. And there you go, self control regardless of the means, saves the day more times than not.

20/50 miles from no-where:
EVERYBODY walks in a circle. That is everybody that is not totally ambidextrous. Here's a great way to make bet $ off a woods savvy buddy. Ask them if they walk in circles. You'll get a hearty "NO!" Bet them they can not start in the middle of an endzone of a football field and walk into the other endzone blindfolded before going out of bounds.
The average person will be out of bounds well before the 50 yards line.
If in turn they challenge you, just carry about a three pound weight in your strong side hand. It's 50/50 if you'll make the endzone, but you'll get way further than they did before going out.

I guess the main word in my reloading article was consistency. In this it's "mental or psychologiccal"." I read of a older guy that was born/raised in the Appalachian mountians. A bonafied real deal mountain man, that got lost, and got so rattled he -crossed- TWO paved roads trying to "walk out." He finally sat down in exhaustion. Two dogs ran up to him and began barking. The owners came out to see what the cause of the commotion was. They asked the guy if he was oaky and why he was sitting in the woods behind their house.

I once had a buddy that was working on some wooded lands for TVA by a very large lake. The guy is woods savvy and has good mental control. He guided a surveyor way off into the woods to get the backcountry surveying done to satisfy a portion of the contract. I was out at the parking area with him. He was to meet me back at his truck in a couple hours after the surveyor had done his thing. It was early in the day.

He & the surveyor did not show up until just before dark. He reported that somehow he did not back track correctly. And thought he could see exactly where he needed to be, he kept getting cut off by the lake. and each time they tired to figure out what lay of land they hand snaked around to get where the where, it got worse and they kept running into the lake. By the time they got back to the truck, they were uncomfortably dehydrated, tattered and weary. Odd things happen regardless of the mileage to a road. Had he not maintained mental control, that likely would have became an embarassing (for him) search mission.

Sorry for the mizpellins and what not, I got a mighty fine case of strep and I'm just gonna let them ride this time.
 

sickbugs

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

i first came across these shelters on bladeforums (the ESEE forum, formerly rat knives) and they are great... living where i do, id rather not make one because they are perfect conditions for centepedes and i would probably get bit before the end of the first night, but in a colder climate, its good to have the knowledge to set up one.
 

ArcticLight

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

During Brimfrost 1989 - temperature was hovering about 67 BELOW zero - and the cheap ass lowest bidder contract gasoline for the Yukon stoves had LONG since frozen.

We had a full bird, bunch of captains and a LOT of kiss ass leuitenants standing around shivering.

Now from a previous experience with Bravo company in SPRING when it can get down to 30-40 at night and 60 in the day I learned to start packing the extra weight and got me a one burner coleman stove and some paste for winter time lighting.


It is amazing how a single burner coleman stove can heat up from 67 below zero to about 40-45 degrees in a GP MEDIUM tent...



But wait - prior to that, the lesson I learned is that CANDLES ARE YOUR FRIEND - ALWAYS CARRY ONE ....


I was in that 30 degree weather with nothing but a poncho and poncho liner (Had to carry 2 spare PRC-77's) - so I hunkered that poncho over my head and sealed i upt and lit the candle.


That candle can save your life - it brought the temp up inside my one man poncho tent to about 60 degrees...just leave an opening for air to escape and enter...

Go to Arctic Survival school and you will NEVER doubt yourself in the woods, fire can be had from the wettest of rain forests by finding a downed tree and digging in for hte punky material - it's always dry....

I was pretty gung ho in the day, from HuckleBerry Creek to Alaska, up through the Yukon, Glaciers....and a lil desert survival (Ugh)...I suck in the desert but everything else is about attitude and the will to survive - if you want to survive you will - and as guys above mentioned, sometimes it requires getting angry and getting the blood moving and getting your ASS moving ..

<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">C</span></span>lean - keep everything clean
av <span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">O</span></span>id overheating as it causes sweat
<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">L</span></span>oose- wear looser clothing so there is an air gap to warm up
<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">D</span></span>ry - doh. See O for avoid overheating...
 

TresMon

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Right on buddy- all good stuff.

I once won a bet that I could sit on a 5 gallon for a half hour in the snow wearing only flip flops and my BVD's with aid of only a candle and a "piece of plastic." I did it in near comfort. I did not tell them my "piece of plastic" was a disposable space blanket. It was not super cold-the snow was melting...

I learned I should have bet higher stakes. I turned the bucket on it's side and sat down at the closed end, curled & hunkered down so as to make the space "tent" as small as possible- and the candle just flickered on and on with us snugly inside....
 

_DE_

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Keep a typin Tres.... GOOD stuff!
 

PLeighton

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

FWIW,

I have had the opportunity to be exposed to quite a few real life survival situation in the Coast Guard.
(Both land & sea.)
It always amazes me how people are unable to rearrange their priorities to focus on water, food, shelter, and recovery.

Throughout my travels, I have also had escape and evasion training + aircrew survival.
Good stuff, but it doesn't hold a candle to what I learned in the Boy Scouts.

Being a Boy Scout growing up wasn't always the coolest thing, but I very glad that I did it.
A good troop can instill values, discipline, and priceless survival skills.
(You can learn alot about the outdoors when you go on camping trips once a month for 8 years.)
It is also where I got my start with marksmanship.
Learned all the fundamentals of shooting on a .22lr 40X at Boy Scout Camp.
 

BAMCIS

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Articlight,,it's amazing how one candle warms up a snowcave ain't it.
 

hankpac

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

About 5 years ago, the boy Scouts used the back country of a friend's ranch to spend the night, and part of the tasks were to make a shelter like the one you described, with no adult help.
I rode my quad up there (at about 7800 ft altitude), last summer, and the shelter is still standing. Throw some leaves and fresh branches on it, and you are back in business. Taking the time to build it well, will make it tight and snug.
My son and his girlfriend, were on a mountain bike trip, all downhill. It was a steep and long run, and about 15 miles into the ride, they came to a creek. It had rained the night before, and although the trail was good, the creek was swollen far too high to cross. 15 miles UPHILL to go back would have taken them far into the night, it had begun snowing, so they elected to spend the night.
They were dressed lightly, (biking clothes, shorts and singlet).
Using his knife, he cut branches, piled up big sheets of bark (near yellow pine belt in Colo), then built a fire with wet wood, by using a box of tinder he always carries (An Altoids tin, full of various dry stuff, and a magnesium/striker bar). He shaved half the bar into a pile of magnesium. Big hot flame.
They huddled, snuggled, and stayed warm, and watched it snow all night. In the morning, they started the long ride back up, and made it in fine shape.
I later told him the best thing he did was to take a warm female with him.
 
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TresMon

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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut



Thanks flash,
Next installment coming real soon!

Tres
 

MistWolf

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May 29, 2010
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lindy</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Someone with the intelligence to know that they'd gotten in over their head, and it was smarter to do what you've been talking about during this discussion.</div></div>

Someone with that much intelligence and knowledge doesn't <span style="font-style: italic">get</span> lost, or, if they get temporarily misplaced, they know how to get out, assuming that they can walk.

I've heard it claimed that there is no place in the continental U.S. more than 50 miles from a road.

Unfortunately, in my experience it's the total clueless morons who most often get lost, not people with the skills to handle the situation.
</div></div>Let me tell <span style="font-style: italic">you</span> about getting lost. I grew up in the outdoors hunting & camping with my father all over California, mostly in the Mojave Desert. I have hiked many miles with nothing more than a pocket knife a rifle and a pocketful of bullets while hunting rabbits. I'd take off in the morning and not come back to camp until evening. No water, not even a hat. I never got lost and never had any trouble. (Just a little background. When I took my kids out we all packed water & wore hats among other items.)

One night while looking for a camp we always used, I took a different road into the Mojave Desert than I normally do. No problem, I know the lay of the land better than my own backyard and we were in a Jeep. 15 minutes later, I had no idea where I was or how I got there and we were on the Powerline Road a wide dirt road that followed the powerlines. I was tired, as I'd been working all day and drove late into the night. I knew if I kept heading north, I'd find a land mark I recognized. It was a moonless night and there must have been cloud cover as I couldn't see the stars. If could see the outline of the mountains to the west, I'd know exactly where I was, but it was too dark. I drove in different directions trying to find a landmark I knew. Nothing. Finally, I remembered the overhead console had a compass. When I switched it on, north was pointing in the wrong direction! After spending another hour trying to reorient myself and get the compass to give me accurate reading I stopped and decided to trust the compass though I <span style="font-style: italic">knew</span> it was wrong and followed it north. 5 minutes later, I thought I knew where I was. 5 minutes after that I knew for sure where I was and was able to find my way to the campsite. It wasn't the compass that was wrong, it was my sense of direction.

Another time, my kids & I went out in our Jeep in the Kaibab National Forest. The following morning I had to take them down to Phoenix so they could fly out to visit their mother but we figured we could do a bit of exploring in the area around our new home. We traveled further & further seeing where this road & that goes. Before we knew it, thick clouds covered the sky and night crept up on us. Fine, I thought, I'll just re-trace out route. An hour later we were still deep in the Arizona wilderness. No stars, no mountains for a landmark and still no matter which way we went, no pavement. One of my sons reminded they had their compass I told them to keep with them at all times. Problem was, in the dark I could not make out which end of the needle was pointing north and which was pointing south. (This was a different Jeep and didn't have the overhead console.) We had enough gear to spend the night if needed but that option was out because I had to take the boys to Phoenix to catch their flight. Finally I used the compass to travel in one direction until we hit the pavement. Fortunately, the road we found was the one that led to the Grand Canyon and home.

Luckily, I had enough gas that I was able to find my way. Both times my kids asked me if we were lost, I told them "Naw, we still have at least a half tank of gas" and it's been our joke since.

I learned and invaluable lesson from these two incidents. Though I'd never been lost before, I discovered how quickly it could happen. Fatigue, thirst, hunger, heat cold, weather, a moments inattention- any number of things can get you twisted around.

Maybe there is no place in the US that is more than 50 miles from a road or even 20. Don't kid yourself. Many off those roads are in desolate areas and aren't even paved. At night they are dark and wander through territory that will kill you with no effort and less thought
 

Enoc

Private
Minuteman
May 24, 2008
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

These threads have been priceless. Great info and very practical applicability.
Thanks and keep 'em coming.
 

VITA per Veritas

AKA - Eatindirt
Belligerents
Oct 31, 2009
116
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Tornado Alley
Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

This is some of the best information I have come across on simple to understand, very beneficial data.

Thank you
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
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Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut



LSU,

If your just needing some attention, here's a free pat on top of the head with a side of "good boy."
 

JBHelix

Private
Minuteman
Jan 4, 2011
16
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0
40
WA
Woman found Naked in the woods.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Tburkes</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Tres, in your experience finding lost dudes or dudettes, have you ever found anyone who had done everything you are talking about and was all nice and comfortable, with a good shelter, adequate food gathered, fire all squared away, not scared, just waiting on you guys to show up cause they knew you eventually would?

Someone with the intelligence to know that they'd gotten in over their head, and it was smarter to do what you've been talking about during this discussion.

If so, how long were they in the situation, how long did it take them to get their camp site squared away? </div></div>

This question reminded me of a SAR case I worked as a tracker some years passed. In my experience No. You usually don't find that guy sitting in his bivy camp right as rain, roasting wild edibles over a camp fire.

So this case I worked was an odd one. The missing party had driven her car a good 10 miles off the pavement, perhaps more as it was pointed back to civilization when she ran it head-long into the highside of the road on a fairly gentle curve. I was called in to assist on this case which was actually in the next county to the north. Searchers had been looking for the woman around the area her car was found for over 24 hours at this point. When we were briefed by the incident commander we found out the the woman's husband had reported her missing 48 hours before and that she had some kind of infection on her chest like boil and that the medics believed it had gone septic and she was literally out of her mind because of it.

We started from the place she had wrecked her car and worked our way along the mountain road looking for places she may have headed off the road. Within a half mile we came to a gated spur road. This was obviously not the woman's way home and at the gate we had a short discussion about checking this area that had already be searched. We decided that if the woman was making good choices about getting home she would have made it home by now so we took the spur road.

No tracks were visible at this point that we could reasonably attribute to the missing party. We went down the road about a mile to where it ended, passing a hunter dragging a small black bear he had just harvested with a compound bow. We asked him if he had seen our missing party, no such luck. We continued on to the end of the road which became a trail and at that point my partner and I picked up some faint tracks which we followed for about another half mile. They became very clear in some loose sand near a swiftly running river where they appeared to walk right in. It was pretty clear to us that someone went right in the river there and likely had not made it across. We called it in and headed down stream expecting that we would see the subject's body face down in the water.

Another search team was directed to the area to work upstream ahead of us as we worked out way down stream. At about this time we found one of the subject's flip flops in the river. We called it in. A minute later we heard over the radio that the team working upstream toward us saw movement on the other side of the river. We double timed it ahead and soon caught a glimpse of our subject hiding behind a rock on the opposite bank BUCK NAKED! Our subject had jumped in the river intending to end her life but somehow had washed up on the opposite bank. The water had been only a few degrees above freezing and the night time temps while she had been out had been below freezing, daytime highs in the upper 50s. It is my belief that this woman survived her dip in the freezing cold water primarily because she stripped out of her wet clothes and dried off upon washing up. She did not however dry her clothes and dress again. She survived that way in reasonable condition for at least 36 hours. After locating her we had a female team memeber approach and offer her some clothes and we called for air support which was iffy due to incoming weather. Because we could not be sure if the bird woudl come, we prepared an alternate plan of rigging a highline over the river to get her out on. The bird was able to make it and a navy crew ended up hoisting her to safety.

The main lesson I took from that incident is that when trying to guess what a lost person did don't guess that they made the choice you would make. If they had they would probably be home with their family instead of still being lost.
 

Gritty

Private
Minuteman
Sep 18, 2010
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Re: Woman found Naked in the woods.

Nice shelter. Building those with just the basic necessities makes for a great 48 hour weekend event!
 

sbmsp

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Mar 16, 2011
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Awesome thread! I took a survival living course in high school and have already started sharing the lessons learned with my 6 yo daughter on our "forest walks". Great stuff and kids really dig it!
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
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Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut


Thanks for the input everyone. I'm trying to get the next series of this chapter finished and up. In the past I had used this and a few other websites to post up my articles on the web, but alas they will have a final home on my own website which is currently live but far from finished or perfected. It was launched but a week ago. Also I'm hopefully only a couple months away from restarting my wilderness training classes I used to offer.

WildernessMeans.com
 

Glock30

Private
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Oct 21, 2011
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Love the thread and all the comments and stories
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
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Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut



Hope to get going on this series again this winter!
 

Eric B.

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Nov 6, 2011
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Re: The Debris Hut (One Sugestion)

Good photos. Nice construction.

One suggestion:
Fill the interior with dry leaves (before building the outer sides) for colder nights. Crawl into the center of them for insulation above and below you. It's musty smelling but you <span style="font-style: italic">will</span> be warmer.
 

Csolson987

Private
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Sep 15, 2011
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

Once again great info! I have built many debris huts in my time so far and I have many more to come. I do have to warn people that when you think you have enough debris your not done that just means that you half way there. You should be able to stick your arm into the outside wall and not hit ribbing until your up to your armpit. if you don't have enough debris you in for one cold night(thats the voice of repeated experience talking).
 

fnberzerker

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Mar 14, 2012
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Re: Naked into the Wilderness 2: The Debris Hut

This is great stuff! Thank you for putting these up! Any more to follow? All I was able to find were these first 3. Please let me know if I am just looking in the wrong place!