Humanity is resilient, as proven by our long tenure on this planet, our dynamic immune system, our adaptable constitution, our radically diverse living conditions and coping mechanisms, and our ingenuity when it comes to countering the hardships of our environments. That’s fuckin cool, but…
Humans, however, are not individually resilient. We are frail, vulnerable beings, with soft hides, fragile bones, and relatively low physical strength compared to our weight/size ranking in the animal kingdom. We survive well primarily because of our big brains. Our big fucking brains allow us to come up with a multitude of solutions for every problem we face, allow us to communicate and collaborate, centralize and share our data, and establish free-standing remedies for all the things out there we need to deal with. We can buy our winter clothes off the rack, and get fuel for our space heaters at any street corner. We can buy treated and preserved food that will last us decades and store it in ventilated and filtered underground bunkers to withstand a century of nuclear winter.
We have guns for killing game and hostile enemies, we have vehicles for traversing long distances, we have tanks and jetpacks helicopters and fucking submarines for conquering the most treacherous of journeys. We humans, we are pretty fucking well equipped, as a species. As individuals, however, we have whatever we have, when we have it, and that’s it.
I’ve said it a few times, ‘a skill is a tool that you always have ready'; as humans, our fragile bodies require tools to overcome most obstacles, you can’t always count on having a gun, a jetpack, or a robot servant to help you out of a jam. Having these things is not bad; but having them can feed the beast.
As humans, we are always engaged in a treacherous and ultimately fatal race, an obstacle course where our only true opponent is unbeatable, and failure is inevitable; It’s not always fast paced, in fact it rarely is; the race stretches out over a century and often we have no idea what our standing is. For most survivalists, the metric of success is distance; but for the most sensible among us it should be quality of the experience. For some reason we think that as survivalists we need to live these crazy austere and spartan lives where we are constantly uncomfortable, I would count that as a loss. It’s as important to have a good run, not just a long one. In fact, it’s human nature to seek the most comfortable level we can survive at.
We must strike a balance in our lives between enjoying our comfort, and preparing for the struggle. Absolutely sleep on the most comfortable bed you can find whenever it is possible; but also learn how to make the most comfortable bed you can out of whatever materials are at hand. In fact, lets do that now.
The most comfortable sleeping arrangement for most humans is one that mimics the womb, we naturally want to be floating, weightless, warm, and secure. We try simulate this with padding, blankets, thermally conductive gel, foam, feathers, springs, netting, walls, and water.
Medical consensus says that the best sleeping position is on your back, with your head slightly elevated by around 15 degrees. Some studies have found that a gentle rocking motion, like that of a hammock, can help you fall asleep faster and land you in a deeper sleep. Beds are usually easier to make in the field if you don’t have the materials handy to make a hammock, and you have to do a cost benefit analysis on whether constructing a hammock is more beneficial than quickly assembling a bed and getting the extra sleep time.
The primary advantage to Hammocks is the inherent portability, if you’re going to be traveling, and the added benefit of being off the ground and thus out of reach of some ground level dangers.
A basic paracord hammock can double as a net for trapping, fishing, or hanging food and supplies out of reach of hungry scavengers. We’re going to start with some standard 550 Paracord (which is an auto-include in a survival kit). You’re going to want to start with about 300 feet of cord. I was debating typing out the whole guide, but then I discovered this video, and this guy demonstrates it better than I could have ever written down in about ten minutes.
A simple hammock can be made from canvas (an old drop cloth works great), but the paracord hammock is lighter and more versatile.