Using the Ground for Heat to Survive in the Winter
Once again, you, the intrepid prepper, find yourself lost out of doors during the freezing winter. (Hey, maybe you have some issue with judgment or getting lost or something? Just observing). Anyway, there are various ways to stay warm when a real shelter isn’t an option.
A quick video from the How To Survive channel demonstrates an ancient if (today) novel concept for trapping heat while camping out. It’s really the outdoor application of an old Russian fireplace bed. Yes, the Old Timers used to build elaborate fireplaces (or stoves) with their beds on top of the firebox. This, naturally, made for a warmer place to sleep during those notorious Siberian winters. DuckDuck or Startpage the concept; they were functional works of art in many cases.
But, for now, there’s a simple way to replicate this effective system in the comfy confines of your winter campground. Here’s how:
(All pics from the video).
Start by finding a suitable campsite. Then, dig a hole, or rather, a trench in the ground. You can use your hands, a shovel, or as seen here, a sharped log.
It’s a little more effort than just pitching a tent or tarp and building your standard fire. But there’s a method to the madness and you’ll appreciate the end result.
What you’re aiming to create is a firepit in the dirt with a channel chimney extending off to one side. We covered this concept in an earlier video about making fires. Today, we’ll add a really neat trick to the endeavor.
You, The Mason
Add some rocks, the flatter the better, over the trench portion of your excavations. This converts the simple trench into a true chimney or conduit. Make sure to leave ample space in the rut, under the rocks, for the free movement of smoke.
The video discusses this more in-depth and gets into the several trench lengths you might decide to deploy. Again, there’s a very important reason behind all of this.
Pack dirt or mud over the rocks. This seals the chimney, preventing smoke escape, and it creates a smoother, more cushioned surface than the rocks alone.
Fire in the Hole!!!
Sorry, I had to throw that literally accurate line in. Really, build a fire in the main hole. You know how because you watched and read our other article presentations on making fires. This video covers it too.
This is your campfire in the ground. You’ll use it as you ordinarily would – for heat, light, cooking, defense, etc. But, there’s an added benefit to this particular design!
Big Dirt Pipe
Your new build is like a giant smoking pipe in the soil. Smoke travels from the firebox through the channel under the mud and rocks and exits the open chimney hold.
A little wooden fire burns somewhere around 900 degrees – plenty hot. Much of the heat dissipates up and out in all directions. However, the smoke carries some of it through the chimney tunnel. And that heats up those rocks and the ground over them. Why heat the ground?
Because That’s Where You Sleep!
There is not a live demonstration of the man lying down in his sleeping bag, but you get the idea. The hand in the above picture is indicating how warm the smoke-heated ground is. That’s where you lie down to rest, cozy thanks to the former fire. It might be a good idea to let the open flames die down considerably before you sleep right beside them and the direct and potentially-toxic smoke they produce.
Remember that scene from Jeremiah Johnson with the coals and the dirt? It’s like that. Make sure you don’t overheat your sleeping pad. Or, if you do, then remember to take along a cantankerous old man to laugh at your mistake: “Saw it right off…”
And, now, you can see it, right off the YouTubes:
Watch the Video:
How To Survive / YouTube.
That was great, simple, and useful information! Hit that “like” button and show your appreciation. Check the links in the description! And, please visit the HTS CHANNEL too. You’ll be glad you did – maybe gladder in the cold winter.
We’re just gladderiest(?) that you’re here!