A great way to boost the warmth at night time out in the woods is, by using a hot water bottle. A metal water bottle heated up and placed in a sock, then in the sleeping bag, or wool blanket, creates a nice warmth on those chilly nights.
This hot water bottle tip, works great for camping and bushcraft, as hopefully you already have a stainless steel water bottle as part of your bushcraft and survival kit.
As an added bonus in cold places, the water bottles are not frozen solid overnight and you have warmer drinking water the next morning.
How to use the hot water bottle for camping.
You can boil the water separately in a billy pot and pour the water into the bottle. Or place the stainless steel bottle on the fire (With the lid off. Single wall bottles only.) and boil it that way.
Obviously be careful with boiling water and the hot metal bottles.
(Pictured above is the Pathfinder 32oz. Stainless Steel bottle partly in a sock, sleeping bag and Thermarest Z-Lite sleeping mat.)
Once the water is boiled, lid on and put the water bottle in a sock. (The Pathfinder 64 oz. stainless steel water bottle stretches the sock a bit.) Or place inside an article of clothing, or tie up in a Shemagh.
Ensure the lid is on correctly and tight. Test it by ensuring the bottle has no leaks.
Once I put the lid on, I lean it slightly, (Hands out of the way.) rotate the bottle and make sure no water is leaking out of the lid. It would be a miserably cold night (Or boiling hot, for a moment.) if the water leaked into sleeping bag.
A bandana and a bottle hangar, (fish hook spreader) as above picture, can help handle getting the bottle out of the fire. Use the bandana, or a hat, or glove to help hold the bottle while the lid is put on. As well as placing it in the sock.
Place the hot water bottle in the sleeping bag. Position the bottle around the kidney area, or close to the inner thighs. Some people enjoy the warmth at the bottom of the sleeping bag for cosy feet.
In colder climates, I have heard of people putting the hot water bottles in their boot liners overnight, so the next morning they are drier and warmer.
For cold nights, use two hot water bottles if available.
Rocks heated by the fire can also be utilized in a similar way. (Don’t collect rocks from water ways, as the moisture inside them might explode.) Rocks are the original heated blanket.
What brand container?
Some brands of stainless steel bottles that work well are, Pathfinder, Klean Kanteen and Nalgene bottles. The wide mouth water bottle designs are easier to collect water and clean as well.
How long will the hot water bottle be warm for?
A lot of factors come into play for how long it will be hot for, such as: Air temperature, design, size, container material, thickness, what the bottle is insulated in, etc.
However, the hot water bottle may last from 3 hours, to 9 hours for the bigger, thicker walled bottles. (See Hot water bottle test for more detailed results.) I have had the large Pathfinder 64 oz. stainless steel water bottle last around 11 hours of warmth.
When the water bottle loses it’s heat, take the sock or insulating material off the bottle. The exposed metal can generate a bit more warmth for another half an hour or so.
I have also used aluminum and a plastic Nalgene bottle with boiling water, but the warmth didn’t last as long as the stainless steel designs.
Summary – Bushcraft and Survival Tip, Hot Water Bottles.
As it is a good idea to have a metal water bottle in your bushcraft kit, so you can collect, sterilize and store water when in the outdoors. Boiling up the water bottle before bed with a little bit of care, takes very little effort for a good return of extra warmth during the night.
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