Body Warmer Heat a stone near the edge of a camp fire. Make it toasty, but not hot enough to melt your synthetic clothing (or your skin). When the rock is held under a coat or jacket, it can stay warm for about an hour and you can even walk around with it.
Bed Warmer For a warm and comfortable night, heat large flat stone to about the same temperature as scalding hot tap water. Wrap it in tough cloth or clothing, and put it in your bed or sleeping bag. The heat will soak into your cold bedding and you’ll drift off to a snug night of slumber. I’ve had rocks remain warm as long as seven hours this way.
Rock Boiling Rock boiling can be used to prepare soups and teas, and boil your water to disinfect it. Collect about two dozen egg sized or slightly smaller stones to rock boil 2 to 4 quarts of water. Heat them in your fire for 30-45 minutes. Use sticks or split wood tongs to pick up the rocks and drop them into your water. Use one or two at a time, and rotate “cool” ones out and hot ones in.
Rock Frying For small cooking tasks, chuck a flat rock into the fire for ten minutes to heat it up. Once hot, slide it out of the fire with a stick and dust off the ashes. Drip a little oil on the stone and set your food on the rock to cook. This is a dead simple way to make delicious fried foods, and you don’t even need a frying pan! And for a more permanent set-up, check out our cooking section.
Shelter Heater Whether you’re in a hut in the wilderness or your power went out during a blizzard, hot stones can heat your dwelling. Get a large fire going (good luck in the blizzard). Heat up one or several large stones. Use a shovel or similar tool to bring them into your shelter and place them on a platform of cold stone. Pile a few cold stones around the hot ones for safety and heat storage. Make sure nothing flammable gets near the hot rocks, and enjoy the radiant heat.
Heat On Injury For sprains, strains, cramps and other maladies, a warm rock can provide soothing comfort when held against the affected area. Warm stones can even help with problems that are severe, like hypothermia (cold exposure that can lead to shock and death). To treat this with hot rocks, place a warm stone under each armpit and between the thighs of the exposure victim. Wrap them up and repeat the treatment until their body temperature rises.
Hole Thru Ice Want some fresh fish, but you lack the tools to bore a hole through the ice? Step back a few thousand years and use something our remote ancestors would have used – a hot rock. Simply burn a large fire on the shore, heat up a large stone in the blaze. After an hour of heating, use a shovel to carry the dangerously hot stone to your ice fishing spot and set it on the ice. It will begin to melt the ice immediately and work its way downward. Soon the rock will melt through the ice and drop into the dark water below. Your ice fishing hole will be open, smooth and ready to fish.
Steam Pit This is a remarkable cooking method, traditionally used around the globe. The steam pit is a hole in the ground (or a raised mound) with hot rocks at the bottom as a heat source. These rocks are covered with dirt or sand, then a layer of green vegetation with your food on top. The pit is finished with another layer of vegetation and covered with dirt to seal in the steam and heat. After a few hours, your food is tender and cooked through.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
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Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist.