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How to make an above-ground “Swamp Bed” for sleeping in marshy, wet areas

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Swamp Bed

In a marsh or swamp, or any area with standing water or continually wet ground, the swamp bed keeps you out of the water. When selecting such a site, consider the weather, wind, tides, and available materials.

To make a swamp bed, you should:

  1. Look for four trees clustered in a rectangle or cut four poles (bamboo is ideal) and drive them firmly into the ground so they form a rectangle. They should be far enough apart and strong enough to support your height and weight, to include equipment.
  2. Cut two poles that span the width of the rectangle. They, too, must be strong enough to support your weight.
  3. Secure these two poles to the trees (or poles) with the appropriate lashing.  Be sure they are high enough above the ground or water to allow for tides and high water.
  4. Cut additional poles that span the rectangle’s length. Lay them across the two side poles and secure them.
  5. Cover the top of the bed frame with broad leaves or grass to form a soft sleeping surface.
  6. Build a fire pad by laying clay, silt, or mud on one corner of the swamp bed and allow it to dry.

Another shelter designed to get you above and out of the water or wet ground uses the same rectangular configuration as the swamp bed. You simply lay sticks and branches lengthwise on the inside of the trees (or poles) until there is enough material to raise the sleeping surface above the water level.

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