For awhile now, my father and I have been experimenting with different styles and methods of shelter building. Over the years we have tried many different designs. Last year we decided to build a wickiup by using our tomahawks for most of the work. A folding saw was used for the pole above the doorway and we did recycle a few pieces from a previous shelter for our beds. For this project we used our SOG Tactical Tomahawks. We rarely go into the woods without them, as they are lightweight and versatile.
A wickiup is a shelter that is very similar to a teepee. However, instead of being covered in birch bark, hides or a fabric like material the frame is covered with boughs, branches and debris. Often more frame is required for the wickiup than the teepee requires. To start we chose our site, which was a small clearing we had camped in two years before with our tarp. This clearing was positioned in a softwood stand and was on even terrain that would not be prone to flooding. We chose hardwood saplings for our frame, some of which had sturdy forks at the top, and we interlocked three of them together to form a tripod. Then we proceeded to place more saplings against this tripod all around while leaving space for the door. Once we had a good circle with a short distance between each pole, we began to fill in our framework. Rather than weave thinner hardwood saplings in to make a lattice work, we chose to begin weaving in long spruce and balsam fir boughs instead. This way we still had our wall foundation, with the added benefit of already having some insulation in place.
Before we finished filling in the bottom of the wickiup, we framed out our doorway. For this we used spruce roots to lash a pole across the space between two poles to form an opening at the front of our shelter.