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Straw Mat

The straw mat is a simple and effective method of staying warm in the bush. It can be made out of virtually any dried and nonpoisonous plant. It is may be used as a poncho, a blanket, or an insulating pad to keep the cold earth from sucking the heat through your body.

First, one must collect proper amounts of the material.

More straw than expected will probably be needed. Here, three large bales are collected and tied off with a root found growing nearby the collection process.

Natural cordage can be used for this process, but for sake of expedience and commonly available material, paracord is stripped of its outer shell and the seven inner strands are used to conserve resources.

Find the middle of string and lay it out. Take a handful of material and lay it on the string at the middle point. Keep in mind, the more material used, the more insulating but the less available to complete the project.

a simple square knot is tied to hold the straw together and create dead-air space.

The process is continued down the line. Grab more straw, place it between the two strings, and tie it off tightly, keeping each bundle close as possible to the last.

With a bit of work, soon the workings will begin to pay off. About half way finished, the straw mat hasn’t taken too much time at all.

When the string runs out, simply wrap another string around the last bunch of straw.

Tie it off just as the other bunches. Continue the process until it is of the desired length.

It’s now ready to be used as a blanket or insulating ground pad

An Otzi style poncho

And even rolls up to storage size!

About Bruce Pandoff

Bruce Pandoff
I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I am a wildland firefighter, wilderness medical first responder, and attended NMU for environmental conservation.I much enjoy practicing primitive skills, researching ancient societies and cultures, and focus a lot of time and energy on studying plants and fungi.