Sleep Options for Camping
For many, the downside of camping can come down to two things; being cold, and not getting a good night’s sleep. In this article, we'll breakdown the various types of bedding available, and what's the best choice in different situations.
It doesn't matter how idyllic your camping spot is, or how great the company, if you're bedding is below par, it's going to put a huge downer on your camping trip.
Air Beds or “mattresses” as they're sometimes known, are a good option as they tend to pack smaller than some of the other options we'll discuss.
By all means you should go for a self-inflating air bed, as you don't want to faint from lack of oxygen trying to blow one up with your mouth!
Some air beds even come with an inbuilt pump, such as the Coleman Supportrest Pillow Top Airbed
- Air Beds are a cost-effective choice for bedding
- They come in various sizes and some have a pump built in.
- Air Beds are susceptible to getting a puncture
- They tend to ripple the vibrations of a sleeping partner if they toss and turn
Self Inflating Mattresses
A self inflating mat is a good choice when you want to travel light. No pump required, simply unroll the mat, open up the valves and it inflates itself. If you're hiking, adventure touring on a motorbike, or mountain climbing, a self-inflating mat is a great choice.
- Self inflating mats are generally quite comfortable
- They inflate themselves! No pump or compressor required.
- They take up more room than a sleeping mat
- If you do get a hole in one, it can be hard to find.
A camp stretcher is a foldout frame with a taut material, usually canvas stretched over it. Modern stretchers generally fold down quite well and are a snap to setup. They keep your body off the ground and so are usually a lot warmer.
- Stretchers, given their height off the ground are generally easier to get in and out of. They're usually the favoured form of bedding for the more senior citizens among us.
- They're quick and easy to assemble, you can also store things under them such as your clothing bag or shoes.
- Stretchers can be quite heavy, some weight in excess of 10kg.
- Some find stretchers a bit on the firm side, especially when new. Some campers even take a sleeping mat to lie on the stretcher, just be sure you have enough room.
A swag is basically a canvas bedroll with a mattress inside. They're quite warm and also waterproof. A swag was the item of choice before automobiles, when itinerant workers would travel on foot throughout regional Australia, working on various farms and sheep stations.
- Swags are warm due to their relatively small size (when compared to a tent). Your body heat easily heats the space. Some people also take a sleeping bag with their swag, but that's usually only necessary in the coldest times of the year, or coldest parts of the country.
- A swag is a great choice if your packing space is limited. They double as your housing and bed all in one, therefore saving you money too. The Oztrail Mitchell Expedition Single Swag comes in under $200.
- Swags are the largest form of bedding to pack away.
- They can be quite heavy
- Swags can be uncomfortable in hot and humid conditions.