Wikiup/Wigwam Shelters

Wikiups or wigwams can be built for free and modified for a wide range of climates.
Wikiups or wigwams can be built for free and modified for a wide range of climates.

A wigwam, wickiup or wetu is a domed dwelling formerly used by certain Native American and First Nations tribes, and still used for ceremonial purposes. The term wickiup is generally used to label these kinds of dwellings in the Southwestern United States and Western United States, while wigwam is usually applied to these structures in the Northeastern United States and Canada.

These terms can refer to many distinct types of Native American structures regardless of location or cultural group. The wigwam is not to be confused with the Native Plains tipi, which has a very different construction, structure, and use.

Wigwam shelter built on a boat
Wigwam shelter built on a boat

Can’t afford land? Consider building a wigwam on a boat or raft, similar to a duck blind. One option for regions where this may attract snakes is to set up a domed tent first and then cover it with cattails, reeds, etc.

Do an image search for wikiups and wigwams and you’ll see examples made out of driftwood, branches, pine boughs, saplings, reeds, grass, etc. – whatever is abundant. I found some with porches, some for hot climates and some for cold climates, some with fire pits inside, etc. You can make them as simple or as nice as you want.

Related: Wigwam, Wikiup, Bender Tents/Shelters
My dream childhood: be homeschooled where I could build experimental structures with local materials.

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