Shelter Contest

May 25, 2007
********Shelter Contest************
Do Not Talk or make comments in this Thread ! Entries Only !

Shelter building contest .. shelter will be judge on how well it is built, how warm it would be, how waterproof it appears to be.:thumbup:
****Can be made from debris/snow/whatevers in your location***

Do not Rehash any old photo's from previous contest or you'll be DQ'd !

Contest will run about a month or so from posted date 3/10/11

must be a Gold membership or higher to enter contest :D

1st Junglas and Wallet E&E kit

2nd ESEE-4P and Izula-B-Kit

3rd ESEE 4-P
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Randall's Adventure & Training
Feb 4, 2004
Let me add that the previous debris shelter contest was the best we have ever run here on BFs. If you need an idea on how to do this then read my article here: Whatever you do, don't be lazy! If your shelter appears to be haphazardly thrown together without much thought or sweat equity then it will not get far in the judging. Basically what I'm saying is if you're not going to put your best effort into it, then simply don't do it at all. In our last shelter contest there were some damn awesome entries. Let's see a repeat of those who go, do and learn something in the process.
Apr 8, 2009
My son and I, 12 years old, went out this afternoon to attempt our debris shelter. We took my small pack that I have on me during hikes or hunting trips and used only tools that were in the pack. A detailed list of the pack and information on what I carry is located here. PACK LINK

A picture of the pack.


A picture of the only knife used during the construction of the shelter.


If you're not familiar with North/Western Washington, it's extremely thick and covered in blackberry brush and sticker bushes. There is also mostly evergreen trees and the foliage that is on the ground deteriorates extremely quickly. This was very challenging.

Here is a photo of the location we were in.


A machete would have made this a lot easier. We had walked for an hour, fighting the blackberries and underbrush, and never found any sort of clearing. We finally got near the top and found a power-line clearing. Near the power-lines, Ashton found a tree and small opening that he thought he would use. So we went for it at that location.

It was also raining hard the entire day. The tree that Ashton found was a large Cedar which protected the shelter from the majority of the rain. It stayed dry at the shelter location, even through a heavy rain that never stopped.

Before we left for this adventure, I had showed him some examples of debris shelters and asked him his opinions on what he saw and what he would do differently. He said he thinks the majority of your body heat is lost through your head, so he would move the door and use a tree as the base to help insulate his head area. I don't know any better, and it sounded like a good idea to me, so we took his design and ran with it.

The spine branch fit securely into the tree, however we went ahead and found a forked branch to secure the spine.


Here is a close up of the spine into the forked branch and into the tree for strength.


Inside the pack we had 20' of paracord which we used to tie off supports every 4 feet or so. This thing was extremely strong and not going anywhere.


Ashton working on a support. You can see the clearing cut for the power-lines in the distance. That was the only clearing we found the entire day. This place was thick.


We continued to stack wood up against the spine. Since we had no problems with strength, and the one natural resource we had a surplus of was wood, we really took our time and built up a few layers of supports.



Inside the pack was a cheap plastic parka. Even through rain was not an issue due to the location, we decided to split the parka (This will end up being a huge mistake) and put it over the shelter towards the head location. The thought was, it would help keep additional body heat in the shelter.


In this picture you can see where Ash wanted to put his door. He also liked the idea of being able to have a fire going outside of the door.


Now we just continued to collect leaves and build up the shelter. This task took an extremely long time due to the lack of deciduous trees and material on the ground. The majority of the material on the shelter is actually mud. We found ourselves walking farther and farther to collect leaves. We were getting extremely soaked when leaving the dryness of the Cedar tree.



We built up the shelter with a substantial amount of debris, covered the floor area and stuffed the attic area. Here is a picture inside of the shelter looking towards the head area.


And towards the feet.


At this point, we finished the door. We had decided we were going to construct a door frame and use one of the survival blankets to cover the front and back. Ashton climbed into the shelter.



Closing the door. (I did not help him get the door closed in securely, or straighten out the material. I wanted to see if this would work or if we had failed.



Completed and totally shut and locked down for a long night.


Here are a few miscellaneous shots from our day.




Here is what my son and I learned.

-Not all forests are created equally. Over in Eastern Washington, around Colville, this would have been a lot easier. The thickness of the underbrush in our area made this very difficult.

-Sacrificing the poncho was our biggest mistake if we would have had to survive. As my son observed and pointed out, we were soaked to the bone. If we were really in a survival situation, we would have had to worked at staying dry. Preserving that poncho.

-The lack of foliage on the ground really made this difficult. I would imagine that we would have continued to collect additional material if our lives really depended on it.

-Most importantly, getting out and practicing and teaching our kids is great way to spend the day.
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Feb 4, 2010
So this is my first time as an adult that I've ever built a debris shelter. When I was in grade school my friends and I would build shelters but there were usually a couple of us working at it. Doing it by yourself is a lot harder then I thought it would be. I had two of my friends come along with me since I was using their land. I figured to add to the senario of this being a survival situation I wanted to use land that I had never been to before. I told them that no matter what they couldn't help me at all.

So, this was my second attempt of the day. Halfway through the first attempt one of the branches I was using as a ridgeline snapped in half. It was disheartening, but I wasn't going to give up. I seemed to have picked the "best" day to do this.:grumpy: It was raining off and on the whole day. I was hoping that it would let up until I was done but thinking it over I think it added to the urgency of the situation.

So first off the pictures of what I took with me. This is what I EDCed.
for some reason I forgot to throw my flashlight in this picture.

This is the kit I brought with me. I figured I'd set it up as a single night in the woods. Minus food though.

And this is everything in the tan pouch.

So We walked out into the woods looking for a good spot to start. I found a tree that had fallen down between two other trees. After the first mishap I made sure the tree was nice and sturdy. I decided to use a mylar blanket as a drop tarp seeing as the ground can leech a lot of heat from you at night.


Now comes the garbage bags and the sticks


At this point its pouring rain and I started to gather leaves using the last trashbag I had.


And the finished product.


And then me inside and snug as a bug.

What I learned:
-Its horrible to build a debris shelter in the rain. But worst comes to worst I can do it.
-I definately need to work on my woods skills.
- Even though soaked to the bone I had a ton of fun.

And last is the ESEE knife shot.

Thank you ESEE for caring so much about your customers and putting these contests on.

Joe Grimace.
Jul 22, 2009
This was my first ever attempt at a debris shelter and I learned a lot from it. The shelter was constructed in a wooded area behind my house using only a few tools and natural resources.


I began construction by trimming fallen trees and branches to approprate lengths to use as sides with a wire saw and hatchet.



I then laid these out forming a loose frame on which I constructed the shelter.


Next, I trimmed thin branches and soaked them in water.


I wove three to four of these through each side of the shelter in order to hold the walls togeather and to catch and hold leaves in place.


Next I began to gather leaves and place them along the edges of the shelter. I found that the best way of doing so was to button the top button of my Magellian shirt and then pile leaves on it. Once full, I would grab the shirt by the collar and fold the bottom up and carry it over to the shelter.


After four hours and a lot of sweat, the shelter was complete. I learned more building this shelter then I did reading the last shelter contest. Thank you for providing such a great opportunity to develope my survival skills!