Wahkin D.

Beau and I had one of the best, if not the best, shelters. We contemplated our design for a bit, but ended up going with our original plan of building a tipi. We walked around the mountainside looking for a good spot, and found a great one. The only problem was it was on kind of a slope. We started by gathering large solid logs to be our base around a tree, and then wove thin, flexible pine boughs through the structure so we could add insulation for warmth. It was extremely time consuming, but well worth it. After that, we built a three-and-a-half-foot tall firewall to direct heat from the fire into our shelter. We added four to five layers of leaves on and around our tipi to ensure the heat would stay in our shelter throughout the night. Our shelter was the best because it was unique, and it retained a lot, if not all, the heat from our fire. The only flaw was that we slept on a little bit of a slope.

Beau M.

On Expedition Three, we built our own shelters with our tent partners, and slept in them for two nights. Once Wahkin and I got back to our camp site after rally, we decided to build a teepee. The first thing we did was gather eight good-sized logs, with a diameter of 4-5 inches, and attach them in a circular fashion to a tree using parachute cord. Next, we wove thin tree branches through the log structure to provide more stability and structure for insulation. On top of that we added branches which had leaves and boughs, and over that we added a thick layer of leaves. We found some old wire fencing material in a tight grid shape, which we then formed over the top of the structure to hold the first layer of leaves in place. Finally we added more leaves and branches over the whole thing.

Next we set about building a fire wall to direct the heat from our fire into our teepee, so we would stay warm at night, and, because our shelter was built on an incline, we dug trenches to keep embers from getting away.

Overall, our shelter turned out to be pretty warm, and successful. Some pros and cons of our design are:


Well insulated and warm

Larger firewall

Strong frame and structure

Living trees put off a small amount of heat, and we incorporated one into our design.

It was very satisfying to see what we could build on our own.


Building on an incline meant that during the night we kept slipping down the hill, and in the morning Wahkin was stuck inside the shelter frame, and I had to help pull him loose.

It took a long time to build.

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