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HomeSurvivalShelterThatch

Grass Shelter

by Keith Gerwing

(Text and Photos by Keith Gerwing, with some additional commentary by Walter Muma)

  
This shelter started off as a "house" that my three children (aged 6, 4, and 3) created in the course of their explorations.  They showed it to me and I thought, "perfect teaching opportunity"!!!

We built it bigger than necessary for a survival shelter -- it's their summer home! 

The frame is of drought-killed trembling aspen, aka poplar - very brittle when sun dried for 3 years!   Over this framework we piled on hay from the nearby hayfield. The height of the grasses before they were cut was approx. 16 - 18 inches. We picked up what the baling machinery left behind.

The first night was a little cold for the boys (-1C) (but its a dry cold out west!!), so the next day we scrounged more hay to give a thicker layer.  I added the heavier branches on the outside to help pack it tighter to cut the drafts.

All in all, a cozy little shelter with room to sit or even kneel in.  Future plans are to build a debris wall enclosing a campfire pit - a full blown primitive camp!!  (no campfires when dad's not around though!!!!)

[This is a great example of how to engage children in the techniques of wilderness survival!]

  

Son peeking out of the doorway.

  

This photos shows the branches laid on top to hold down the grass, and also to compress out some of the drafty areas.

  

Inside. Note the stick framework, similar to a debris hut.

  

Beautiful prairie sky over the shelter!

  
A final photo of son in doorway.
  
Photos and text Copyright 2004 by Keith Gerwing.