Search Results for: How to build a cold weather survival debris hut

Survival Infographic: How To Build a Cold Weather Debris Hut

FRIGID: Winter Survival Course


You’ve made a wrong turn.  Your car runs out of gas on a remote logging road in the dead of winter.  You have no cell phone reception.  You didn’t tell anyone where you were going.  You’ve done everything WRONG!  This is the scenario in which a group of 12 people will be presented with upon arrival to FRIGID.

With just a few items that you might have in your car and a little trash that can be found along most roads, you must survive the next 2 nights in freezing temperatures.  Do you have the SKILLS to SURVIVE?

Hypothermia is the #1 Outdoor Killer in the United States!  Overexposure to the cold is even a threat in temperatures as high as 50 degrees when you are wet and in the wind.  COLD WEATHER survival skills are important!  There is no better time to learn Cold Weather survival skills than in the dead of winter here in Indiana.  We only offer 1 FRIGID date and it is  Friday, February 8th – Saturday, February 9th.  We limit this course to 12 attendees for a more personalized survival experience.

FRIGID is an extreme survival course and unlike many of our other courses, survival skills are learned by ACTUALLY MEETING basic survival needs such as shelter & fire.  The entire FRIGID experience is OUTSIDE with access to our lodge only for bathroom breaks and a couple of meals.  This is not an entry level survival course.


LOCATION: Anderson, IN – our 21 Acre Survival Training Property
Arrival & Set-up: Thursday 12 noon – Friday 10am (You can stay in our lodge Thursday night if you arrive early.)
Survival Instruction: Friday 10am – Sunday 10am
Departure & Tear Down: Sunday 10am.  
  • Adult Price (18+ yrs old): $300 Each (plus applicable local and state taxes)
  • Minor Price (age minimum is 16 yrs old): $150 Each (plus applicable local and state taxes)
  • You can cancel for a FULL REFUND up until 14 days before the event.  There will be a $100 cancellation fee per person after that.


What can you expect to learn at FRIGID?

  • COLD WEATHER PRIMITIVE SHELTER: Learn how to construct primitive cold weather shelters and how to effectively use an Emergency Survival Blanket.  You will SLEEP in the shelter you build.  We will demonstrate how to make Cold Weather Lean-Tos, Debris Huts, Naturally Insulated Post Beds and also how to heat and use rocks for added radiant heat.
  • SURVIVAL FIRE: We will teach you how to make fire in even FRIGID conditions.  You will start and build fires using several primitive methods including Bow Drill, Flint & Steel, a Car Battery and a Modern Ferro Rod.  You will learn all about finding natural fire tinder in the dead of winter and what plant/tree resources you can use to make survival fires in cold weather conditions.  Also learn how to use modern trash as fire tinder and many other survival fire TRICKS!
  • COLD WEATHER FIRE SETS:  Not only will you learn how to make fire but you will learn how to DESIGN your fire to compliment your chosen shelter for maximum warmth.  You will also learn several methods for constructing a FIRE REFLECTOR to reflect heat toward your body and shelter.
  • ICE FISHING: If the pond is frozen, you will learn how to properly ice fish using make-shift fishing sets.  Make fish hooks from naturally found objects such as thorns and bone and also from trash such as pop cans and nails.  Learn how to source live bait even in the dead of winter!  Then, learn how to process fish and cook over an open fire or in an Earth Oven.
  • WINTER EDIBLES: Discover what wild plant tubers are available for harvest in the cold weather months.  Learn how to prepare and eat these with limited tools.
  • ANIMAL SIGNS & AWARENESS: Learn how to track animal movements in snow and cold weather environments.  Identify small game animal trails, burrows and water holes.  Also learn how to make an incredibly effective BIRD TRAP that works amazing in snowy conditions!
  • SURVIVAL WATER: Learn proven methods for melting snow to drink and also several other primitive COLD WEATHER survival water sources.  Find nature’s Cold Weather ENERGY DRINK right under your nose!
  • SIGNAL FOR RESCUE:  Learn important RESCUE SIGNALING TECHNIQUES including signal fires, signal mirrors and other ground to air rescue signals.
We will be staying INSIDE Saturday night and will be having an awesome celebration dinner while we recap the skills we’ve learned in a classroom setting.  There will be a survival movie inside on Saturday night as well.


Course FAQs:

Do I need to have any Survival Experience to attend a Primitive Hunter Clinic?
No, you do not.  Whether you are new to the concept of survival training or have years of experience – everyone will learn survival skills.  There are also no special physical requirements, except you must be able to go for extended periods of time without eating.  This is NOT an ENTRY LEVEL survival course.
Do I need to bring my own food for the meals not provided?
We will provide dinner Friday and Saturday night.  This will be a hot meal prepared in our outdoor camp on Friday night and then a excellent indoor celebration meal on Saturday night.  You will need to bring all other meals.  The town of Anderson, IN is only 5 miles away and it has many grocery stores and restaurants.
Can kids come?
Minimum age for this course is 16 yrs of age.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Can I camp?
We will all be sleeping in shelters that we build from natural and improvised materials on Friday night.  You can stay in our indoor private 2-person bunk rooms on Saturday night.
 Do you have shower and restroom facilities?
Yes, we have indoor shower and restroom facilities.
Do you provide any evening entertainment or activities?
You will too busy meeting your own basic survival needs.
Do I need to bring and gear or items with me?

SURVIVAL – Basic Skills Course 101

Course Location: Willow Haven Outdoor, 2867 N. 200 E., Anderson, IN 46012

Need a 1-Day CRASH Course in Survival Skills?  Look no further!  Our 9am-5pm Saturday SURVIVAL Basic Skills Course is just the ticket you need.  Whether you are NEW to survival or an EXPERIENCED survivalist, this course will be a great addition to your survival knowledge base.  LUNCH PROVIDED!!!  All course attendees receive a Willow Haven Sling Pack stocked with several survival kit items that we will be using throughout the day.

What will you learn?

Survival Shelter

  • Learn survival shelter basics
  • Build a Cold Weather Survival Debris Hut
  • Learn about Lean-To Shelters, Fire Reflectors and Survival Insulation

Survival Water

  • Learn how to source AND purify water from nature
  • Learn how to build a solar still
  • Source water from plants and trees

Survival Fire

  • Learn important fire building principles
  • Learn how to find, harvest and process natural fire tinder
  • Start fire with just a spark!
  • Learn the ABCs of survival fire building!

Survival Food

  • Learn Creek’s TOP 5 Wild Edible Plants
  • Build a Small Game Hunting Gig
  • Learn about Primitive Hunting Weapons
  • Learn how to construct a Small Game Twitch-Up Snare
  • Learn natural CAMO techniques

Natural Cordage

  • Learn how to source cordage from plants and trees
  • Learn how to make USABLE rope from plant and tree fibers
  • Weave your own natural fiber cordage!


  • Learn how to build a SIGNAL FIRE
  • Learn how to use a mirror for signaling rescue


This course is taught by Creek Stewart – owner of Willow Haven Outdoor.  The ticket price is $115 per student.  Minimum age limit is 12 years old.  Completing the on-line reservation form will reserve your spot for 7 days.  Shortly after completing the on-line registration form, you will receive a payment invoice.  Full payment must be received within 7 days to officially register.  You will have the option to pay on-line with a credit card or mail in your payment with a check or money-order.  Once payment is made you will be e-mailed a FULL COURSE PACKET with all the details approximately 1 week before your course date.  This packet will include everything you need to know about taking this course.  If you have any questions e-mail us at  We look forward to training with you!

Wilderness Survival Debris Hut

Survival Debris Hut

Survival Debris Hut

I’m not sure exactly who came up with the name”Debris Hut” but it is a term used quite often within the wilderness survival community.  In essence, a Debris Hut is a shelter style that consists of a basic stick built framework that is then layered with branches, vines, and smaller sticks. 

Step # 1 is to build a basic framework using solid sturdy hardwood sticks, saplings or limbs.  In the photo below I’ve built a very simple “SPINE” style framework using a 2 forked sticks to make a A frame opening which will be the door and a long sturdy limb for the peak of the roof.  No lashing of any kind is required in this style framework.

Survival Shelter Debris Hut Stick Framework

Survival Shelter Debris Hut Stick Framework

Once you’ve got a basic framework and have added some “RIBS” to the each side of the shelter, your next step is to weave a tight latticework of branches and vine that can hold all of the leaves, grass and debris that you will be piling on top.  You can see a top view of the lattice work I’ve made in the photo below.

Wilderness Survival Debris Hut - Mid-Stage

Wilderness Survival Debris Hut - Mid-Stage

Ultimately, once a pretty solid lattice work is built, the final phase is to pile as much debris on top to help insulate and water proof the shelter.  “Debris” in the wilderness can be a variety of things: grass, hay, cattails, leaves, bark, etc…  In the shelter that I built for this demonstration (photo below) you can see that I used a lot of cattails.  Under this outer layer of cattails is probably 1-2 feet thick of leaves and grass.  The thicker the outside layer of leaves and grass the better your shelter will insulate you from the outside weather.  On the flip-side… the colder the weather is, the more debris you will need.  Even with 2 foot think debris on this shelter I was still pretty chilly in the upper 30 degree weather that night.  I did, however, only have a  wool sweater to wear.

Survival Shelter Debris Hut Using Cattails

Survival Shelter Debris Hut Using Cattails

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