Emergency Straw Bale Shelter Links

Hello, I came across your site on straw bale building and wonder if you can share your knowledge about the feasibility of building straw bale temp shelters for those braving the cold in North Dakota and Iowa to stop the Dakota pipeline. Please let me know as soon as you can. Warmly, Damita

The following links explain everything you need to build emergency straw bale shelters:
Straw bale shelter video
Free straw bale shelter plans
Temporary shelters
Free straw bale building ebook
Additional article about building a straw bale shelter at a natural building conference

9 thoughts on “Emergency Straw Bale Shelter Links”

  1. If you have any contacts in Ukraine, by all means send them this kind of information. Russia is bombing out their electrical grid and destroying their ability to heat their homes. As a wheat producing country, they must certainly have straw for bales and emergency heating rooms.

  2. Hi Owen,

    Pertaining to the main video with Matts narrating:

    Could a longer tarp be used and brought down the side of the exterior walls to help protect them better for the winter. or would that hold in too humidity /moisture?

    • It depends on the level of permanence you’re after. This lady requested info on building temporary shelters for a protest. For longer term I would smear mud on the bales.

  3. Two great resources for covering and protection.

    Billboard Tarps, which are recycled billboard advertising, are a better & more weatherproof option for the roof tarps.

    Regular tarps can easily degrade in Ultra Violet exposure, even the “heavy duty” ones. I had a $100 Heavy Duty tarp last only four months covering a travel trailer, before shredding into bits.

    I have now had a white billboard tarp over that same trailer for two years now, and it has some wear, yet is still there protecting.

    The MAIN POINT is to fasten it TIGHTLY to the structure, so it does not have any play to blow in the wind. MAKE SURE TO STRAP THINGS TIGHTLY to keep tarp from flapping and fraying.

    ALSO, if you can find and use WIRE ROPE.

    U-bolts(fasteners), this will hold the WIRE ROPE well and keep Billboard or other tarp held tightly.

    I used the smallest 1/8 and 1/4 inch WIRE ROPE. It is generally sold by the foot at hardware-type stores. I prefer the 1/8 inch size. THIS IS AIRCRAFT GRADE product.

    Be sure and buy the U-bolt fasteners to fit the rope. I originally bought some that were ‘way too big for the tiny rope! Live and Learn.

    Regular ropes will easily degrade in UV exposure. this includes ropes made of poly, nylon, and hemp, etc. even those which specify UV protection.

    I spent more than three hundred fifty dollars on rope over two winters for this project, just to watch the ropes degrading in six to ten months.

    The WIRE ROPE is a much better, and MORE affordable investment, and does not degrade like the fiber ropes. So, if you can locate and use it. GO FOR IT!

    I’d actually been thinking of making a video to show about this that Owen might want to post.

    • Just to clarify,

      In the video with Matts narrating, they are attaching the tarps with metal pins through the Tarp Grommets, and into the bales.

      I’m just offering another way to hold tarps to structures.

    • Thanks for the tips. I also have struggled with buying better and better tarps. Almost all commercial tarps will fall apart very quickly. I’m currently using tarps that look like trucker’s tarps. So far so good except the one the cats climb on and shredded with their claws…

    • It’s up to you how good you want to build the shelters. There is a small roof overhang that will protect the walls somewhat. Snow will cause less damage than rain. You can raise the shelter off the ground, add mud plaster, etc. for greater protection. Even with no extra protection the bales should easily last one winter in cold climates.


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