Humans use beds not just for comfort. Bedding raises us off the ground away from the cold. Beds keep us warm and dry and in the wild they prevent injuries from hypothermia.
1. Heat Your Bed During Cold Months
Survival in the winter demands that we provide a source of heat. Provide yourself with a campsite free of snow on high ground that prevents water seepage.
Erect a shelter and in this shelter dig a shallow trench the length of your body. Build a fire and heat rocks. Place the heated rocks and some coals into the trench and cover with a thick mound of soft dirt smoothed flat.
2. Raise Your Bed Off The Ground
After you have buried your hot rocks and coals, gather green conifer boughs. Place these thickly on top of the dirt mound with the cut end of their branches pointing into the dirt. Use enough green boughs to raise the bed several inches off the dirt mound.
3. Make Your Bed Soft
Cut grass or gather leaves and pile them on top of the green boughs close to a foot thick. Make certain that no part of a green bough can poke up through the bedding. Any part of a bough extending through can tear your sleeping bag or parka. Climb onto the bedding and make sure it’s soft and will not damage your gear.
4. Preserve Your Bedding
Place a bedroll, a poncho, your coat or woven grass over your bedding. This will be a makeshift mattress. It should be wider than your bedding and as long. Tuck this over the sides of your bedding to help keep it in place and preserve it.
5. Preserve Your Body Heat
Your bed will be warmer than the surrounding ground at this point, but you can still lose body heat. You will need to cover up. Always bring a sleeping bag on outings. Wear your coat to bed or bring an extra coat to cover the bottom half of your body. Woven grass may also make a warm cover.
6. Heat Your Body’s Core
You can make a bed warmer from a metal soup or coffee can. Pour some dirt in the can and place a heated rock in, then pour in more dirt. Hug this can through the night, reheating the rock when necessary.
This will keep you warm in those cold nights, but you should also check the Internet before you go. There are all sorts of new gimmicks that are designed specifically for this purpose.