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Your Camp Bed & Tents

Your Camp Bed

Making Your Bed Outdoors

When you sleep at home, a mattress beneath you and blankets on top trap your body heat and keep you warm. A sleeping bag and a pad are a bed you can carry with you anywhere. They are easy to pack and to use. Most sleeping bags fit closely around your body and will keep you warmer and more comfortable outdoors than blankets.

Sleeping Bag

The cloth part of a sleeping bag is called the shell. Inside the shell is fill material made of synthetic fibers or the down and feathers of ducks and geese. Air pockets in the fill trap your body heat and hold it close to you. If your bag has a hood, you can pull the drawstring snug around your face for more warmth. (Check out this link with information about picking the right Sleeping Bag.)

Sleeping Pad

Increase your comfort and warmth with a sleeping pad—a piece of closed-cell foam or other material that will give you a softer surface on which to spend the night. A pad can also prevent cold ground from drawing away your body heat.

Cots

Cots can make camping more comfortable, but also have their problems; they are big and take up a lot of room in the tent and in cold weather they allow the cold air to surround your body. If you choose to go with a cot be sure to purchase one that is close to the ground. Our tents are A-frame style tents so there is more room as you get closer to the ground. Check out this link to see our recommended cot that fits well in both brands of tents we use.

Ground Cloth

Your ground cloth—a plastic sheet cut or folded to the size of your sleeping bag or tent floor—will keep moisture away from your bedding. To sleep beneath the open sky in good weather, find a fairly level place to lay out your ground cloth. Don’t rake away leaves or other ground cover that can cushion your bed and reduce your mark on the land. Put your sleeping pad on top of the ground cloth, then arrange your sleeping bag on the pad. It’s a good idea to leave your bag in its stuff sack until you are ready to sleep so that it won’t be dampened by dew. You can make a pillow by putting some of your extra clothing inside the sleeping bag’s stuff sack or inside a sweater. Making your bed inside a tent is much the same as setting it up in the open. You won’t need a ground cloth under your sleeping pad. There should already be one under the tent floor.

Sleeping in Your Tent

When you crawl into bed, keep your shoes or hiking boots close. Drop your watch, glasses, and other small items into one of them. Put your flashlight into the other so you can find it in the dark. Have a water bottle nearby, too, in case you wake up thirsty. Small creatures sometimes creep inside shoes or boots in search of shelter and warmth, so always shake out your footwear in the morning. You will probably stay warmer inside of a tent when the door is zipped closed to block the wind. Wearing a stocking hat to bed also will help you keep warm. If you still feel chilly, pull on a warm, dry shirt during the night. Add a sweater, extra socks, or dry gloves if you still don’t feel warm enough. Finally, don’t go to bed hungry. Your body can produce plenty of heat if it has the calories to burn. Keep food out of your tent, though, so it won’t attract animals. (Use this link to find out more about the tents used by Troop 179.)

 

If you have a question, comment, or suggestion, please e-mail: Chuck Williams

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