Dubree huts are structures that are built by piling branches, sticks, rocks, etc., into a pile to make a shelter. You use what’s available in your immediate environment and create a shelter from what nature provides.
The benefit is that you don’t have to have any gear to do it, so if you learn this method, no matter where you find yourself or what you have, you can always build a shelter. That said, there are a few things to learn that will make this method much easier.
3 Components of a Dubree Hut:
1. Frame (strong, natural & easy): In the winter, we use the arch, but in the other climates, we use the triangle; besides the turn, the triangle is one of the strongest shapes and can be easily made.
You also want a strong frame made of solid sticks.
Natural means using existing things so that you can save time and energy. Taking a few minutes to walk around and find a better spot can save a lot of time and energy (calories) in the long run.
And when it comes to easy, you want to find an area that already has all the material you need. Dragging logs and Dubree around is not a wise use of calories in a survival situation.
2. Door (small, header & plug): For the door, you want the opening as small as you can get it and still climb in so as not to let out all the heat.
The header is so that the door doesn’t collapse every time you go through it.
And the plug can be a branch, backpack (as seen in the photo), or anything that will plug up the door and trap in heat. You’re not looking for air-tight, just something to stop the heat loss and wind.
3. Bedding (level, insulating & dry): One of the biggest mistakes I see is when shelters are built on uneven ground, then the person rolls downhill and blows out the whole side of their shelter in the middle of the night.
Studies show it’s more important what you have under you than on top of you to stay warm through the night. If you build a great shelter and then lay on the cold ground and lose all your body heat through conduction, it’s a waste. Remember, your body will conduct heat to a cold surface to warm it to your body temperature of 98.6 degrees (a losing battle with the ground even in warm weather).
Below is a picture of a student using pine bows. One trick is to lay them down before you build, making it a lot easier. You can also use grass (like above), pine needles, a backpack, the foam seat off your ATV, etc…
Finally, staying dry from above and below is important; if you’re wet, you’re cold.
To recap, the 3 Components of a Dubree Hut are:
- The frame (natural, easy & strong)
- Door (small, header & plug)
- Bed (level, insulating & dry)
These 3 Components are the components of a good Dubree hut; if you learn and follow them, you will be dry and warm. In my next post, I’ll talk about diffrent coverings or roofing materials for your Dubree huts.