Primitive Skills

Living in the Wilds


Ray & Jenny Jardine

Using Primitive Methods in the Wilds page 1 of 1

A debris hut

Using primitive methods in the wilds

Ray Jardine

The debris hut shown above is one in which Jenny and I built and lived in for a week. This was during one of our wilderness excursions, this time in the North Cascades of Washington state.

On these type of trips we use debris huts in lieu of a quilt or sleeping bags. Basically it is the sleeping bag, having very thick walls made of natural materials to keep us warm. It is covered with bark shingles to shed the rain. The shingles are in turn covered with poles to prevent the wind from blowing them away.

When traveling between fixed camps, we slept in a bed of insulating oak leaves or other forest material.

What appears to be a sleeping bag around Jenny's shoulders is actually a small piece of buckskin. Note her feet sticking out of the leaves. When a person shifts during the night, the leaves are shoved out of position.

We use this method only when traveling longer distances. typically we hike until late at night, then early the next morning we rise, disperse the leaves, and get moving again.

Tillering a self bow.

Here I am tillering a "self bow" made from a tree branch. The tillering process is done with a knife, either metal or stone, and insures that both arms of the bow pull evenly.

We have made several bows but use them only for target practice. We would not want to actually shoot an animal.

Roasting acorn meal

Natural cooking implements are very hard to come by in the wilds. Even a simple thing like boiling water can be difficult. Here, Jenny is roasting acorn meal on a hot rock.

Before discovering the many benefits of the raw lifestyle, we considered fire to be very important in our primitive outings. In winter we heated our home with a wood stove. So for two years running we lit the stove every morning and evening using the bow drill or hand drill.

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