When Caught Out At Night
Suggestions for Keeping Warm
SUPPOSE you were caught out in the woods on a cold fall or winter night with but a single blanket, or perhaps none at all. What would you do about it? You could hardly do better than borrow an idea or two from the Indian. The Indian often manages very well under such circumstances with but a single blanket.
He builds a large fire and thoroughly warms the ground. Then he rakes away the coals and lies down upon the warmed area, pulling his blanket over him. The ground is the warmest thing in sight so he lies smack against it. He doesn't roll up in the blanket as a camper is supposed to do; in fact, no portion of the blanket is under him.
If the night happens to be extremely cold, in addition to this program, the Indian heats a large boulder and covers it lightly with earth. Then he curls around the mound and pulls the blanket over him. This is perhaps the best of the two methods in case you happen to be caught out with only the coat upon your back for covering. But instead of sleeping with the coat on, take it off and pull it over your shoulders and the stone.
Even the Indian's methods sometimes do not go quite far enough, however, and it is distinctly worth while to turn to Horace Kephart for further suggestions. Kephart recommends a natural browse bed of some sort spread over the warmed area and a small fire on one side and a log serving as a windbreak on the other. Even a better windbreak is a large uptilted rock with flat face, or a ledge. Rock, in addition to serving as a windbreak, holds heat a long time and generously radiates it.
Kephart says further that so long as it does not rain the problem of keeping warm without a blanket is not serious. If more covering is demanded and there are enough small balsams in the neighborhood one can make a deep bed of the browse, lay two or three poles over it, pile a lot of boughs on top, and then by manipulating the poles, insinuate himself between the two layers. This will help very much to prevent too rapid radiation of the bodily heat.
Another kink suggested is that of getting a number of stones, six to eight inches in diameter, heating them before the fire, and placing them around you wherever the cold is felt. Have others heating in the meantime and change from time to time. To lift and carry the stones, cut a small forked limb close to the joint, leaving two feet of each fork for handles, put the crotch over the rock and press inward with the handles. The man without a blanket can bivouac in this way and get a fairly good night's sleep, even freezing weather.
Outing , Publishing Company. Outing. New York: Outing Publishing Company, 1920.
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