The Cone of Silence: Keep Warm in Winter With No Energy Costs!

by ziggy on February 4, 2010 -- 4 comments -- Follow

cone of silence

In our journey back home to Dancing Rabbit, April and I brainstormed ideas of how we could better button up the house for winter. At the time, the house was in the 30s, the rocket stove was clearly not going to keep us warm, and we didn’t have plans in place for a temporary stove yet. We expected to be cold. But we wanted to do what we could to make things more comfortable.

We came up with the idea of creating a sort of structure, almost like a tent, that would trap our body heat as we lay in bed. We recalled the four poster beds of old, which were beds with four vertical posts and curtains that lowered around the bed to keep drafts out and the sleeper warm.

Our version was something simpler, that didn’t require four posts. April drew up a little sketch of a hoop supporting blankets that would drape over the bed, forming a sort of warm cone.

April’s friend dubbed our warm body heat tent the Cone of Silence. (I didn’t realize it was a Get Smart reference at the time, but the name has stuck!)

The very next day, we found a mosquito net with hoop at a thift store for $2. (What luck!) We took off the net and used the hoop to support a couple of blankets (one 100% wool army blanket [another $4 thrift store score], and one quilt), which were safety pinned together. We tied the hoop to rope and strung it from a hook over the bed, above the pillows, where our heads would be exposed.

It looked pretty silly, but the results were amazing! We climbed inside. While the temperature inside the house was 38°, the temperature inside of the Cone of Silence had risen to nearly 60° from our combined trapped body heat! That’s a 20 degree difference!

The Cone of Silence is a little tight for two to sleep in, but the warmth makes it totally worth it. It doesn’t extend over our legs, but it does shelter our heads and shoulders, which would otherwise be exposed to the cold air of the house.

If you live in a terribly cold house and have no way to generate heat, use your own body and capture the heat you produce while you sleep! The Cone of Silence makes sleeping in a cold house much more comfortable. All you need is a hoop and two or three blankets. (I bet you could even use an old bike rim as a hoop.)

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  • Joe Cook


    The Sleep Genie – A self-contained sleeping compartment that can be heated or cooled efficiently for a comfortable night’s sleep. (Published in Solar Today, Mar/Apr 2002)


  • Josh

    Its a shame the rocket stove didn’t work. Wood stove’s a good idea, but have you thought about a cob Rumford Fireplace? Perhaps not quite as efficient, but it has its advantages–you won’t have to shell out several hundred dollars, it would fit in with your home, and there’s nothing to match it for beauty. Again Ianto Evans would be your expert in the field; he points out here…

    …that he can produce one in six working hours. Then get that skylight double-paned, think about insulation solutions for the north facing exposure, and bask in a warm, cozy home.

  • Great idea! I did a version of this during an ice storm last year when my electricity went out for several days. I had a big piece of wool cloth bought on sale at a fabric store and an old sleeping bag.

  • PS this reminds me of what my cats do when it is cold….iif you think of it, there are lots of mammals living in the cold without artificial heat…how do they survive? They burrow.

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