Heating Rocks: How To Heat Your Survival Shelter With Rocks

heating rocks

Heating rocks are a great source for heat when out in the wild. If you managed to make a bushcraft shelter, that’s the most important thing. After that, it would be nice to have some heat in your shelter, especially if it’s January.

Are you looking to heat your shelter without an internal fire? Heated rocks can be used effectively to keep your shelter warm throughout the cold nights. If you find yourself stranded out in the wildness heated rocks can help you survive. This guide will answer all your questions about how to start heating with rocks.

Rock Size

When choosing rocks to heat you will want to select larger rocks. Your rocks should be roughly the size of a football. You will need enough football-sized rocks to fill a hole carved out on the floor of the shelter. You will want to make the hole 12″ wide by 12″ long. It should be about 6 inches deep.

Rocks to Avoid

It is important to select the right rocks. Avoid choosing rocks next to a water source. These rocks will have excessive moisture and have the potential to explode when heated.

You will want to avoid using slate or shale rocks. These rocks usually break apart or explode when heated so they are not a desirable heating option.

Avoid pretty looking rocks. You do not want to select glass-like or crystal looking rocks. They will not work well for heating shelters. As a rule, ugly rocks will work better.

Where to Find Rocks for Heating

When looking for suitable rocks to heat you will want to look in high areas. Rocks in these areas are more likely to be dry. This means they are less likely to explode when heated.

Fast Heating Rock that Absorbs the Most Heat

By far soapstone in the best rock to heat. It heats quickly and has a high density so it is difficult for water to penetrate. According to Engineer755’s video “Survival Heat: Soapstone Warmer” in the past soapstone was used to heat homes. People would take heated soapstone to their bedrooms for warmth. In the past, people called them body warmers.

These body warmers could also be wrapped in quilts or bags and placed in beds. If you place them in your bed you will want to make sure they are not too hot. Heated rocks can burn you.

Cooking Time

You will want to place your football-sized rocks into the fire for about 1-2 hours. Heating your rocks for this length of time will make sure that the rocks give off enough heat to keep you warm throughout the night. Rocks should be placed in a fire outside your shelter and then transported to the hole you dug in your shelter floor. Try using a forked stick to remove rocks from the fire and carry them to your hole.

Things to Avoid

You will want to make sure that you do not store any flammable materials near your rocks. Heated rocks and flammable material have the potential to cause a fire in your shelter or fill the shelter with smoke.

How To Warm Your Sleeping Area

Sometimes you may not want to heat the whole shelter but just your sleeping area. You will need to follow a slightly different method to accomplish this task.

1) Dig

You will want to dig a hole under your sleeping area about 12″ wide and 12″ deep. The hole should be about the length of your body. The trench should be filled with heated rocks.

2) Cover Rocks

Next, you will want to make sure you cover the rocks with about 6 inches of dirt. This will help prevent burns when sleeping.

When the dirt covering the heated rocks is drained of any moisture you can replace your bedding, This should provide you with warmth during the night. In the morning you can dig up the rocks and place them in the fire to get them ready for the next night.

How to Regulate Heat

The amount of heat available to heat your shelter or sleeping area will depend on the number of rocks you heat. Experimenting with the number of rocks that you use to heat your area will help you find the ideal temperature. If you are getting too much heat from your rocks you will want to try using fewer rocks until you find the right temperature.

Burn Potential

When you are handling hot rocks you have the potential to burn yourself. Never try to handle hot rocks with your bare hands. Make sure you use a tool like a forked stick to transport your rocks. You can even use silicone oven mitts to protect your hands from burns.


Remember if you find yourself at the mercy of the elements you have a tool that you can utilize to your advantage to keep you warm and prevent hypothermia: rocks. Just heat some rocks to keep yourself warm until you are able to get help.