If you’re planning to go on an adventure to explore the wilderness, it’s vital to always be prepared for a crisis. With all our modern-day comforts, it’s easy to forget how challenging life can be in the great outdoors. When we don’t pack for the unexpected, we must learn to quickly adapt to situations that are out of our control.
Overpacking your bag full of tools will only weigh you down on your journey. And every outdoor enthusiast knows to be selective about what they choose to bring on their venture. When bringing the essentials fails, only then will you be forced to acclimate to your surroundings and adjust your survival plan based on the resources readily available to you.
The wilderness environment is unpredictable, and any weather changes can drastically change the terrain. Finding yourself in the wilderness surrounded by marsh or swamps calls for immediate action to get on higher and dry ground. There are many types of shelters you can build in the wilderness; however, the swamp bed is perfect for keeping you dry in wetlands.
The swamp bed is a simple shelter that can be thrown together quickly. It does have some limited uses and is not the greatest in terms of comfort, however, it works great in keeping you dry and off the ground. In addition to staying dry, an added feature of a suspended fireplace will provide you with a place to cook your food and keep you warm.
How to Build a Swamp Bed
1. Environment: Examine your surroundings and take note of any potential vulnerabilities that might hinder your ability to build a robust swamp bed. Factors to consider are things like the weather, wind, and scarcity of resources.
2. Materials: Identify three to four sturdy trees to build your swamp bed upon. Four is preferred, however, three trees will suffice as well. Once the group of four trees are located, ensure they take a rectangular layout and that the distance between the trees accommodates your height. Cut two wooden poles the span of the width of the rectangle and ensure they are strong enough to support your weight.
If you are unable to locate trees clustered in the appropriate layout, cut four wooden poles as an alternative. Push the wooden poles tightly into the ground forming a rectangle layout and follow the same process as you would using four trees.
3. Security: Before securing the wooden poles, make sure the poles are aligned straight and leveled to avoid any instability. If the poles are not straight, this will make the entire structure weak, and you will have complications sleeping on it.
Once the poles are straight, fasten them high above ground to make sure fluctuating water levels don’t damage the swamp bed. Use a square lashing to secure both ends of the poles in place, this type of lashing is for binding a wooden spar to a tree trunk.
4. Platform: To create the platform for your swamp bed, cut several smaller wooden poles (as many as you need) to cover the span of the rectangle’s length. Lay them across the two large poles and pack them closely together before securing them. Trim the poles so they don’t overhang as you risk knocking them out of place continuously each time you attempt getting onto the swamp bed.
5. Comfort: Cover the top of the swamp bed with dry leaves, grass, or any other soft debris to help cushion the platform for a more comfortable sleeping surface.
6. Fireplace: For a suspended fireplace, dig some clay out of the side of a hill or use mud. Mix your clay or mud with a little bit of water and mold it into a fire pad. Place your fire pad at the end of the swamp bed and allow it to dry.
Always be prepared on how to handle worst-case scenarios in the wilderness. If you’ve lost your way, remember that panic is your greatest enemy. Your wilderness situation will always be less than ideal. Mastering your attitude before fear sets in is critical to ensuring your safety and survival in the wilderness. Thinking rationally and calmly will help you gauge any potential threats and available options.