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Survival skill making a hot bed for a cold night: Dedicated to DaMod

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posted on May, 2 2011 @ 09:14 AM
I’ve been hanging out in the chat room lately and have come to learn DaMod is up there in Wyoming, (A place where it can and does snow year round, up thar in the high country.) my old stomping grounds. I own a cabin up in Pinedale and have a long time buddy who’s my partner in a small hunting guide service. (Wondering how good a friend Jason is since I’m always stuck being the beater and camp cook?)

Anyway talking to DaMod got me to remembering the old Robert Redford movie “Jeremiah Johnson” who was a real person and a true mountain man!

For the purposes of this thread I’m talking about the scene where Johnson’s Mentor Bear Claw Chris Lapp, teaches him how to make a hot bed of dirt thrown over a bed of coals. Didn’t work out so well in the movie as shortly after lying down he jumps up smoking and beating at his back and butt! Made for a funny moment in the film but this is a real and long practiced bush skill, one that can keep you from freezing to death on a cold night.

First you need to dig your bed. Make it as long as your body core, crotch to shoulders. (Add extra width if more than one person is sleeping with you. Pick a spot where you’ll be sleeping out of the wind, rain and snow, then dig your trench. At least 8 inches deep! Don’t fling the dirt just anywhere your gonna need it later…

I’m not going to go into how to build a fire, that’s been well covered in other ATS threads. Refer to them if need be. But once your trench is dug, build your fire in that hole. Do your cooking cleaning up or just warm up because what your after is not the fire itself but the hot coals. Once the fire dies down you rake out the coals the length and width of your sleeping area and recover with that dirt you dug out. (Make very sure you’ve covered all the coals) On top you can lay a covering of leaves or pine needles a ground blanket then yourself.

If you did this right you’ll be sleeping in a nice warm spot no matter how much it snows or how far the temps drop.

Well there you have it, a real mountain man hot bed… and remember practice makes perfect and this time of year is perfect to practice before your life depends on this skill. Besides you dont want to end up like Reford did in the movie, do you?

edit on 2-5-2011 by DaddyBare because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 10:02 AM
My variation on the fire bed is to build a large fire then move the coals to either side about 6' away and start 2 new fires laid about 10-12' apart and use wood that's as long as your body. Once the coals have been moved the spot where the original fire was will be nice and warm but it will take about an hour for it cool down enough for you to be there. You'll want the fires on either side to be slightly above the level of the ground in between or you might have to eat smoke all night. Still. that's better than freezing one side at a time while the other gets warmed by the fire.

If you have a shelter you can heat rocks near the fire then after they cool down a bit you can put the warm rocks around you. They will only hold the heat for an hour or two but getting to sleep is the hard part and a pre-warmed bed is a real blessing when it's cold out. Alternately, you can dig a few holes under your bed and let the rocks warm the ground beneath you. Be sure to give them an hour or so to evaporate all the moisture in the ground so you don't end up all wet and smelling like dirt.

It's a great technique DB, thanks for sharing.

posted on May, 2 2011 @ 10:29 AM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Thanks for adding your trick...
BTW you know why smoke will come towards a person?
you see your body is warm, that creates a column of raising hot air...
the air around you is pulled in, along with the smoke...
that's really a bad sign as it means a lot of your body heat is escaping...

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