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Hot Draft Bed

The Other Fire Bed By Raspy While the fire bed described by Ron Hood is an excellent option for someone on the move or stuck for a single night out. It has to be constructed for each use. The hot draft bed is a design that works if the situation may require several nights in one location. Such as after an air crash, while awaiting search and rescue. The initial construction phase does require more work but that results in a semi-permanent structure that can be used night after night. [See top view] First 3 parallel trenches are dug. These trenches are approximately 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep. They are spaced about 1 foot apart. This gives a warmed sleeping area roughly 6 feet wide. The length of the trenches is from a minimum 3 feet long for a single sleeper to a maximum of about 9 feet for several sleepers. They should be positioned parallel to the prevailing wind direction to promote good airflow. The upwind end is for the fire. This can either be 3 holes at the end of the trenches or a single long trench connecting the 3 smoke trenches. The fire pit is between 18 inches and 2 feet deep. The upwind side of the fire pit can be slanted for a better burn. At the downwind end the outer trenches are slanted in to join the central trench. At this joining point a chimney a minimum of 3 feet tall is built. [Also see the end view] After the trenches have been dug they are covered with sticks around finger sized thickness. [See trench cut-away view] The sticks form a roof over the trenches. Then the dirt that has been dug out is layered over the bedding area. This forms a seal to keep smoke contained in the trenches and retains the heat. It also makes a smooth sleeping pad. The chimney can be built from rocks that are from the trench or found. If there are not enough rocks available sticks can be used to form a cone. Plastering with mud, clay or just heaping dirt over it can seal the cracks in the chimney. If dealing with restless sleepers you may want to drive several stakes along the edge of the fire pit. This would prevent rolling into the pit and having a rude awakening. To use a fire or several fires are built in the fire pit. The smoke and heat is drawn through the trenches and out the chimney. This heats the surrounding soil. Depending on the moisture content of the soil it may take several hours before the bedding area to dry out enough for sleeping. That is unless you want a sauna. A lean-to or other form of shelter can be constructed over this warmed sleeping area. As you can see because of the amount of construction this is not ideal for a single night. But if in the situation that may turn into several days this is a very practical solution. It also has the advantage of accommodating several people.