Primitive Survival Shelters – Enclosed Shelters

Niedbalski Wickiup

Enclosed Shelters

These take more time to build than open shelters (at least three hours), but your efforts will be doubly rewarded. Not only can the shelter be warmed by a small fire, reducing the need to collect a huge pile of wood, but the firelight reflects off the walls, providing cheery illumination for sitting out a long winter night.

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Wickiup

This forerunner of the tepee remains the quintessential primitive shelter-“sturdy enough to blunt prevailing winds, weatherproof, quickly built for nomadic hunters, but comfortable enough to serve as a long-term home. It can be partially enclosed or fully enclosed and vented to permit an inside fire.
 
 Niedbalski Wickiup
 
Step One
Tilt three poles together in tripod form and bind them together near the top. If you can find one or more poles with a Y at one end, tilt the others against the crotch, eliminating the need for cordage.

Step Two
Tilt other poles against the wedges formed by the tripod in a circular form and thatch, leaving a front opening and a vent at the top for smoke.

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Wigwam

A complex version of the wickiup, this is built with long, limber poles bent into a dome-shaped framework to maximize interior space.



 Wickiup
 

Step One
Inscribe a circle and dig holes at 2-foot intervals to accommodate the framing poles.

Step Two
Drive the butt ends of the poles into the holes and bend the smaller ends over the top. Lash or weave the tops together, forming a dome-shaped framework.

Step Three
Lace thin green poles horizontally around the framework for rigidity.

Step Four
Thatch the framework, leaving entrance and vent holes.



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Salish Subterranean Shelter  (Our favorite )

Used by Pacific tribes from Alaska to present-day California, pit shelters are impractical unless you have a digging implement, but they offer better protection from extreme heat and cold than aboveground shelters.
 

Salish Subterranean Shelter

 
Step One
Dig a pit the circumference of the intended shelter to a depth of 3 feet.

Step Two
Build a supporting tripod of poles, strengthening the framework with horizontally laced limbs.

Step Three
Thatch the shelter, leaving a hole at the center to serve as both a laddered entrance and a smoke vent. Use earth removed from the pit to sod and insulate the shelter walls.

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