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Bow's Bush Bed

Photos and text by Allan "Bow" Beauchamp

When you're out in the bush and the ground is wet (perhaps you are in a swamp) and the bugs are bad ... what will you do for a bed? On this page I will show you how to sleep dry and bug-free using what I call "Bow's Bush Bed"! This series of photos was taken while I was training some military personnel -- that's why I have had to black out their faces.
This system has many advantages. We were training in bug season and there were a lot of bugs.

So I have what I call "bows bush bed" as an "option".

We start with some pieces of leftover materials like seen here.

Then I will find a spot to hold them up off the ground -- this can be between two trees, or on this bench as seen here.
Then I start by using cordage and weaving a horizontal pattern first (I am, for the purpose of this demo, using a white cordage to better illustrate my process, and it is quite a bit larger than needed).
Next, I will start my vertical weaving pattern which now will start to tighten and solidify this pattern.
Once I have completed the two weaving patterns you should end up with something that looks like this.
Now at this point we take this bed and tie it in the trees, finding three trees as I have here is the easiest. I have then placed a ground sheet on the top of it, and my tarp is over that, to keep the rain off.
Now I collect some moss and place it over the ground sheet -- this forms my sleeping pad! It makes this system very comfortable. You can use one sheet under you and one over you later for your sleeping bag if desired, or you don't have a sleeping bag.
To complete my system, especially in the bug season, I place a fire pit on the moss at the foot of my bed, then a smudge pot to ward off the bugs.

This system has a lot of option attached to it, as I outlined to these troops.

I especially like it in the fall in the wet season because it offers me a dry platform with which to work, it is extremely comfortable, and it is easy to set up.

This size as seen here is bigger than I normally make them, but for this demo it help visualize the idea.

As seen here, this bed is very stable and very comfortable! And is a great bug/wet weather system, that I have used a lot.

This is one of my versions of this system I use. I have in the bush used many variations of this depending on the conditions I encounter.

And comfortable it is! I like to enjoy my works as well as the next man.

It is a great "option" as I always say in the bush.

And, how stable and strong is this "bow's bush bed''? Well here is over 500 lbs of soldiers on this system and it is still hanging there!
Above, I have demonstrated the bed section hanging off the ground with a tarp overhead and left it open on purpose,
to show you the workings of the interior. Now this picture here depicts how I usually complete my "bows bush bed". This would be the cover on this shelter system (imagine this added to the pictures you viewed earlier).

Seen here, yes, it is hanging off the ground! Some of the shelters I use, I will hang them like this, especially in a very wet area, or if there's a chance of a very wet day coming. Shown on this angle, I have left the front section not completed in order to allow viewing of the inside. What has to be completed now, is adding my moss sheets, and my stone and pot for my smudge, and my small smoke vent. This system is ALMOST COMPLETED!

Here is a side view of the same shelter, but resting on the ground.

Sometimes with my shelters, depending on the season, I often leave one end open to allow easy access into the interior and a good exchange of air, especially in the hot seasons or bug season. However, in late fall I would enclose the system, leaving a small opening at the side to allow access into this shelter.

This system, set up as you see here, offers a lot of advantages to a bush wonderer. Some easily seen and some not understood till you have slept in them.


I have many more ideas with these kinds of shelters. When people show up and I take them on trips in the bush to "live" the process, I like then to depict many more ideas that follow some of my "bush shelters". I have found that by working in all four seasons as I do, many new "options" for shelters come up that I have worked with and found beneficial for each season. There always seems to be something new nature has in store for skills. I am always amazed!

When viewing some pictures of my articles, it often seems easy to see it being developed, and it doesn't seem as though it would be a very tough task to go out in the bush when in need of an " option" and work out some of these ideas. However, seeing it being done, and actually going in the bush alone and in need of some bush skills is altogether a different thing! Trust me on this -- there is no substitute for practice! No other way.

--Allan bow Beauchamp