How to Make a Wikiup (Ultimate Guide)
Want to know how to make a wickiup? You can learn the basics of making this survival shelter right here.
Now, during the olden times, Native Americans used wickiups for warm, roomy shelter. Today, we still use it for the same purposes!
It can keep you warm because you can safely build a fire in it without suffocating. To add on, if you build this right, it can be roomy.
You can use these shelters for both long and short term. Now, this is a very solid structure that doesn’t require any tools – which can be good in various situations.
A couple of years ago, I went out camping with almost nothing – just a few core tools and a phone. I had a task to build a wickiup before it rained.
I failed several times because it fell out with a gentle push. Now, scrambling to find out what I was doing wrong, I was looking up everywhere and finally, I connected some points, and five minutes into the rain, I had finished up. The problem was that I was wet and inside was wet.
I hope you won’t have to be in a state like I was, so in this article, I will describe to you exactly how to make a wickiup.
Let’s jump right in.
What is a Wikiup
A wikiup is a type of teepee shelter made from forest debris. This was originally used by the Native Americans and came from the word “wikiyap.” That means “dwelling house.” This shelter was used for survival and shelter and is still used for survival and shelter today.
So, what’s so special about this shelter? It allows you to keep dry and allow for a safe fire at the same time. This is meant to be roomy and can allow for over one person to sleep if designed properly. The wikiup was meant to be built in the forests and is both a short and long-term shelter.
Location and Materials
First, you have to find a suitable location that would be best. Since wickiups are built in forests, it would be best to find an area with lots of trees to reduce bad weather such as winds, rain, and too much heat.
You should also check for animal tracks to avoid late-night visits and other potential dangers like beehives or snakes.
Now, as I said before, for the materials, you need forest debris. This includes branches, twigs, leaves, moss, vines, rocks, and dry material for your fire inside. Once you’ve collected these things, you can start building!
Wikiup Base Frame
The base frame is the main structure of the wickiup and will help your shelter stay firm.
Now, before you do this, you want to prep your area. You can do this by first clearing out the forest floor a bit.
Next, you can get into the actual construction. You should have at least three main support poles that are big (7-11 ft), depending on how much room you want to give yourself.
These support poles must also be thick, so it can be strong enough to withstand the extra weight and bad weather conditions. Now, to secure it together, you can either use paracord or vines/plants to secure the tripod.
You should use a tripod lashing to tie your wickiup because it’s sturdy and what I’ve been using. If you need instructions on how to tie a tripod lashing, there’s a video right below here.
Now, all you have to do is add some branches, twigs, leaves, moss, vines, rocks, and dry material for your fire inside. You should have gathered them already, but if you haven’t, you can do that now.
I would start by adding some branches on the sides, just leaning against the main branches. That should cover a lot of space. Now, you have to seal the holes with leaves, moss, dirt, twigs, and more small branches to cover up the rest of the small holes.
Now, for the inside of the wickiup, gather up some dry materials for the fire inside and a more comfortable sleeping floor.
Ensure that you don’t get anything sharp to sleep on and add as many pieces of debris as possible, trust me, it’s better than the cold ground. Finally, make sure there is an area of dirt between your sleeping area and your fire.
I have built wickiups several times, most of the time successfully. I hope you build your survival shelter successfully too!
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to make a wickiup and follow and share this article if you enjoyed it.
I am a survival practitioner, and I have been doing everything possible to prepare for when SHTF since 2009. I am an outdoor enthusiast, and I am a preparedness expert. Learn more