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How To Build Various Types of Huts

Aug 17, 2007
When building huts the bush hut is the simplest kind of shelter to build in the woods. It may not look like much when you start it, but it improves from year to year. Look for a bush that has long, pliable branches and thick foliage. Bend the branches down in an arch, and fasten the ends to the ground.

You might use strong rope on leather thongs attached to pegs. While you are doing this try not to crack any twigs or branches. Now weave other leafy branches in between the arch so closely that the wind will be efficiently kept out. This hut has the advantage of actually growing. The network of branches will get thicker and thicker and will soon look so natural that anyone not in on the secret will not guess the existence of the hut.

Unfortunately, the foliage does not completely keep out the rain, and the hut is a useful shelter only in the summer. Nevertheless, it's a fine secret hiding place.

If you don't want to wait years until your hut gets roomy, and if you want a shelter that will protect you from the rain, you can erect a pyramid hut. Find some long, solid branches, and set them up in the form of a pyramid.

Weave smaller branches horizontally around the framework of the poles. Then weave branches with heavy foliage over this. Beech leaves are the best, for the branches from coniferous (cone-bearing) trees such as pine or fir are not able to keep out the rain. Work from the bottom up, and extend every succeeding layer over the one below it.

Only this way can the rain run from the peak down to the ground without leaking in. Be sure the opening of the hut faces away from the storm side. Don't forget to dig a ditch around the hut so that the rain water will run off. You can line the inside with dried moss, and add a couple of thick pieces of log to serve as stools. If you want additional furniture, look around you for ideas. There are many primitive but serviceable things you can build from materials you'll find at your camp site.

Setting up a hut is often time-consuming because you have to search for the suitable poles and weaving materials for the rough framework. Therefore, experienced hut builders always carry a net of tarred or waxed cord with them. You can easily weave a net for yourself. The meshes have to be about 8 inches apart, and the whole net should be about 6 feet by 12 feet. With a net like this, you can build a gabled hut very quickly.

Weave leafy branches between the meshes, or use grass, hay, straw, ferns, or large leaves if you are camping in a field -- and, again, work from the bottom up and extend each layer over the previous one. This forms what we call a gabled hut.

You can make both the pyramid hut and the gabled hut out of reeds. Reeds have the advantage of being rainproof and very warm as well. To be sure, you do need a great many reeds to make a good covering. The method you use depends on whether summer (green) or winter (dried) reeds are available.

If you have pliable summer reeds, take a handful with the cut edges toward the top and the tips pointing down, and bind them, once again starting at the bottom, over the first horizontal support, under the second, over the third, and so forth. Since the fresh reeds shrivel quickly and leave gaps, dry winter reeds are much better.

Gather bundles of reeds by the armful, tie bunches together at the end, and then fasten them on the framework of the hut like roof shingles, pushed close to each other and overlapping. Huts covered with dead leaves or reeds dry out quickly in the sun and become parched. Therefore, it is dangerous to have a fire in the hut or even to light a fire nearby.
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