Beds And Bedding
Categories: CAMPAIGN LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS.
Many a trapper does away with these commodities, merely rolling
himself in a blanket and using his arm for a pillow; but we do
not propose to encourage or recommend any such half-way comfort as
this, when by a very little labor a portable bed can be prepared
on which the weary hunter can rest as serenely as if slumbering
on the congenial softness of a hair mattress. A bed of this kind
we illustrate, and it can be made
n the following manner: Procure
a large piece of canvas, sacking or other strong, coarse material
six and a half feet square. If a single piece of this size cannot
be found, several parts may he sewed together to the required
dimensions. After which two opposite sides should be firmly stitched
together, thus forming a bottomless bag, if we may be allowed to use
the expression. Two stout poles seven or eight feet in length and as
large as the wrist should now be cut. Insert them through the bag,
allowing the ends to project equally on each side. These ends should
now be rested on two logs, one placed across each end of the canvas.
In order to hold the poles in place notches should be cut in the logs
at such distances as will draw the bag to its full width. The interior
of the canvas should now be filled with dried grass, leaves, moss
or spruce boughs, after which the bedstead and bed is complete.
The yielding elasticity of the poles and the softness of the warm
filling in the bag, give the effect of a spring and straw mattress
combined, lifting the sleeper above the cold, damp ground, and by
the addition of a blanket above, insuring warmth on all sides. If
the logs are not at hand four forked stakes may be used, driving
them firmly into the ground at such distances as will draw the
bag to its full width, when the poles are rested upon them. If
by the weight of the body the forked props should tend to incline
towards each other this trouble may be easily remedied by inserting
short poles as braces between them. If desired a bed of this kind
may be used as a hammock and hung in a tree without much trouble.
It is only necessary to secure the long poles firmly at their full
width by a stout brace pole at the ends, letting the latter be
deeply notched at the tips in order to receive the bed supports.
The joints should then be tightly bound with stout twine in order
to prevent slipping, after which the bed may be hung in mid-air
by ropes at each end, and the tired trapper may swing himself to
sleep with perfect comfort and safety. For this purpose the ropes
should be attached at the joints, using a loop of six feet for
each end. In the centre of this loop a small one should be made
by doubling the rope and winding twine about it, leaving only a
small aperture. Through these small loops, by the aid of other
ropes, the bed is attached to the tree. By using this precaution
the unpleasant experience of being turned or dumped out of bed
will be impossible. For bed clothes a woollen blanket should always
be carried, and if convenient a large bag of thick Canton flannel
is a most excellent acquisition.
Bags of this sort are in common use among amateur trappers, hunters
and camping parties, and are very warm and comfortable. They should
be nearly seven feet in length and of a loose, easy fit. With
one of these contrivances it is impossible to kick the clothes
off and the warmth is continual instead
of intermittent, and even on the bare ground it is said to be
sufficient protection. Hammocks are also in very general use, but
we can confidently recommend the suspended bed above described
as decidedly preferable.
There are various kinds of hammocks in the market, from the light
fibered silk, weighing only a few ounces, to the large corded variety
of several pounds weight and capable of holding many persons. They
are an established article of trade, and as the details of their
manufacture would be of little practical use to the reader, we
will leave them without further consideration. They can be had at
almost any sporting emporium, at comparatively small cost.