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Beds
There are many different types of beds you can make when only natural materials are available. The bed you choose to construct should be based on available materials, time constraints, weather, and whether or not you need to take the bed with you. Below are instructions to make two different beds.

Winter Bed

Packable Willow Mat

Winter Bed

A simple bed to construct when caught outside in winter weather is made from logs of dead poplar or cottonwood trees. When these short-lived softwoods die the tops break off in the wind, leaving sections of trunk sticking out of the snow. These dead trunks are easy to break off and several off them laid side by side on the snow with a thick covering of pine or fir boughs will provide insulation from the ground. Building a fire on a similar platform next to the bed will keep you warm while sleeping.

Packable Willow Mat

Although the process to construct a willow mat is time consuming, it can be rolled up and taken with you to be used again. When rolled, it only weighs about five pounds making it very easy to carry. To prevent the willow shoots from flattening out or getting bent the bed should be turned over every few days.

Materials:

- about 70 willow shoots

- ball of cord that will hold 25 lbs.

- ball of fine linen thread

- knife

Steps to Make a Willow Mat:

  1. Cut about 70 straight rods of willow shoots, each about as thick as a pencil when peeled. Cut two thicker shoots that are up to ½ in diameter. Peel the shoots and cut a notch in each end.
  2. Cut four pieces of the cord, each about 20 feet long. If you are working outside you can stretch the cords in between two trees about seven feet apart, but it is much easier to construct a small frame on which to weave if possible.
  3. Fold each cord in half and tie a 3 inch loop in the middle of each cord. Twist the two sides of each cord together to form one thick cord. Secure the four strands by placing the loops on nails (Labeled A, C, E, and G in Figure) on a frame or to a tree. The cords should be about 8-9 in apart.
  4. Wrap the loose end of each cord around the other side of the frame (Labeled B, D, F, and H in Figure) or around another nearby tree. You should now have four twisted cords secured side by side.
  5. Using a pointed stick pull apart the twist closest to the nails in one of the cords. Take one of the two thicker shoots and thread it through the hole in the twisted cord. Continue this procedure for the other three cords until the willow shoot passes through the first twist of each cord.
  6. Grab one of the 70 smaller shoots and repeat Step #5, making sure that there are two twists between the shoots and the space is about 1 in. Keep alternating the direction of the willow shoots so that shoots run butt, top, butt, top along the outside edges.
  7. At each willow shoot/cord intersection, use the linen thread to lash the shoot and cord together. When you are finished each shoot will be tied in four places. End the weaving pattern with the other ½ in thick shoot.

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