HAMMOCK INSULATION BED
by Chad Nech
The hammock insulation bed makes an easy addition to any survival kit! Here is a quick way to set it up.
On a recent canoe trip, I purposely left a few items at home. One of which… My sleeping pad. It was still early spring, and I would need some kind of insulation to keep me from losing body heat at night. I would also need to stay well rested so I would have enough energy to paddle all the way to my destination. To me, sleep is absolutely critical.
I took a bearing to a remote beach that was full of tall prairie grass to use for a project. It’s important to be mindful of conservation. Needless to say, I paddled back to this area two weeks later, and I’m happy to report a lot of healthy, green grass coming up where I had been harvesting.
I began going over my kit when I got the idea to use my hammock on the ground instead of hanging. I had remembered Steve Watts talking about them and I thought for sure I had read about it in David Wescotts’ book titled “Camping In The Old Style”.
So what’s a bed tick? It’s like a browse bag. A bag filled with insulative materials like grass, duff, leaves, and browse. You sleep on it like a mattress. And boy is it comfy!
Here’s what DC Beard had to say about a browse bag way back in 1920:
“A bag filled with dry leaves, dry grass, hay or straw will make a very comfortable mattress; but we are not always in the hay and straw belt and dry leaves are sometimes difficult to secure; a scout, however, must learn to make a bed wherever he happens to be.”
That’s exactly what I did. Improvised. Lucky for me, I’m in the hay and straw belt! 🙂 I did have to wake up and adjust the contents, but overall it was absolutely comfortable! More cozy than a closed cell foam pad that took unnecessary resources to manufacture. But if everybody had a grass insulation bed, we’d be outta grass! 😉
A person can harvest grass quite effectively if you twist a tuft, gripping it where you want to break the stems at, then push down and away from yourself. This created a ninety degree fracture. Then, you jerk towards yourself, and the grass fully breaks from the stems. No cutting tools required!
I suppose if you were to use a modern tool, I would suggest a saw-backed machete as it is very effective for quickly gathering grass. Those saws aren’t very good for much else!
If you wanted to use primitive tools, I’ve read that a jaw from a deer makes a pretty effective primitive saw. Need the teeth for this one. 😉
Trek Light Gear
If you are interested in the hammock I used, it is a Trek Light Gear single nest. Here is a description from their website:
“Our classic model, slim and streamlined for the ultimate combination of lightweight portability and comfort. Measuring at 5 feet across and 10 feet long, the Trek Light Single Hammock will keep you snug while you enjoy the sun or the stars on a cool night. Holds up to 400lbs and only weighs 1lb in the pouch!”
If you didn’t get a chance to check out the accompanying video, here it is below.