image via asgmag.com
Surviving nighttime is one of the most difficult challenges you must overcome in a survival scenario. Even the hottest spots on the planet can turn into a freezing inferno once the night sets in. You will be faced with hypothermia, which means that your body will lose heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
It is a popular misconception that you lose most of your body heat to the air when you lose most of your core heat to the ground in a survival situation.
That is the main reason you need to know how to build a nature mattress when you are caught unprepared and forced to spend one or more nights outdoors. A good nature mattress needs to elevate your body from the ground, preserving your body heat and helping you get through the low temperatures that dark brings along.
A mattress, in addition to shelter, is an immediate necessity and you need to assess both your liabilities and your assets before undertaking any such project.
Take Your Liabilities into Account
It is vital that you understand the situation you are in and the best way to do that is to weigh up the downsides of your situation before anything else. The sooner you understand what you are up against, the quicker you will find a solution. Therefore, you need to factor in the following aspects when building a nature mattress:
- Climate is the long-term general conditions associated with a specific region, including temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, etc. You should know what to expect if you know where you are.
- Weather conditions refer to short-term atmosphere conditions at a place and time, including heat, cloudiness, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc. Weather conditions are hard to predict but knowing the area can help.
- Light conditions refer to how much daylight you have at your disposal to build a nature mattress. For example, you will need to choose a simpler mattress concept if you have a few hours of daylight to do it.
- Physical threats. Physical threats include large and small wildlife, including insects, dangerously high-water levels, low areas that can collect rain, rolling or sliding rocks, unstable ground, dead branches in trees, etc.
Mattress-Building Materials to Look For
You must remain calm and assess what you have at your disposal and what you can find around you that will help you put together a mattress in a survival scenario. Your assets are either resources that you can find in your immediate surroundings (e.g., branches, vines, soil, stone, moss, abandoned things) or things that you’ve brought with you (e.g., tarp, clothing, cordage).
These will the components that will replace real mattress materials like you see here.
Building Your Nature Mattress from Scratch
Now that you have performed an objective evaluation and you know what you can work with, move on to the actual building of your mattress. Here are four simple steps to build a mattress in survival situations:
- Choose four sturdy tree branches to create the frame of your mattress. They need to form a rectangular shape that is just a little taller than you and wide enough for you to lie comfortably on it.
- Put the width branches over the length ones, making sure they are longer than the desired width of the mattress. You need to have excess to tie the branches together using either natural materials (dead vines for example) or any type of cordage you have on you (paracord, wire).
- Make sure the width branches are above the length branches so that your mattress serves its purpose raising your body above ground level.
- Fill out your mattress frame with more width branches until complete. Don’t waste too much time and energy and focus on finding sturdy branches of about the same size. Choose straight branches and avoid sharp points.
- Add comfort to your mattress. Foliage and moss are great ways to turn your sturdy mattress into a comfortable sleeping solution.
No matter how sturdy or comfortable your nature mattress is, remember that it is useless without a shelter. Therefore, use your resourcefulness to construct a shelter that will keep you and your new mattress safe from the wind, rain, cold, or heat.