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.
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.
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.