As children, many of us enjoyed playing in the dirt, mud, and sand. We dug holes, piled up barriers, made mud pies, and built rudimentary structures such as sandcastles, battlefields for our action figures, or racetracks for our toy trucks. Those skills may seem useless now that we’ve reached adulthood, but in the context of primitive survival, knowing how to work with mud can actually be a valuable skill. So, if you want to survive without modern supplies, get ready to get dirty.

Primitive Technology mud brick building shelter structure fire 3

Some of the earliest human civilizations used structures made of simple mud, and even today, it’s a viable building material for long-term emergency shelters. Mud bricks can also be used to construct fireplaces, chimneys, or pottery kilns — as seen in the Primitive Technology video below.

Primitive Technology mud brick building shelter structure fire 4

These bricks are simple to create from dirt, water, and some form of reinforcing fiber such as hay or dry grass. In this video, the Primitive Technology host uses dry and shredded palm fibers to fortify his mud, and adds it to a four-piece wood mold. This provides uniform size and shape, which makes building structures much easier. Some of the mud bricks are also cut in half to form squares.

Once the mud bricks are removed from the mold and dried in the sun, they’re stacked into a kiln furnace and sealed with an extra layer of mud. The host of Primitive Technology then expertly forms some curved roof tiles from clay, and inserts them into the kiln to harden. If you’re interested in more of his pottery projects, check out our recap of his Pottery Kiln Improvements video.

The resulting mud bricks are turned into a kiln, which is then used to create pottery.

The resulting mud bricks are turned into a kiln, which is then used to create pottery.

Even if you’re not planning to make a kiln and roof tiles, these reinforced mud bricks could make a sturdy long-term shelter for almost any wilderness survival situation.

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