Beds And Bedding

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.