Having chosen a method of ground protection for under your bed, whether it be a sleeping pad, foam pad, air mattress, futon, cot, travel trailer, or a home-made device, it's time to add the finishing touches that will determine your bed's degree of cozy.
Backpackers have only one viable solution: sleeping bags. The adventurous souls who love to wander in the backcountry are forever concerned about the weight and compactness of items when it comes to selecting gear. Backpackers typically select a light-weight mummy style sleeping bag with down or synthetic insulation, filled to differing degrees of loft depending upon the seasonal extremes. Pillows can be made from rolled up clothing, a small inflatable air pillow, or your pack. And, if it happens to get too warm during the night, simply zip down the bag a little.
Tent campers, on the other hand, need not be as concerned as backpackers about weight and size of gear. You are limited only by the amount of storage space that is in the vehicle taking you to the campsite. Canoeing to a campsite will not offer as much space as driving there in a car, and driving there in a car, in turn, will not have as much space as a van or truck. However you get to the campground, take advantage of space and pack whatever gear you can that will add comfort and enjoyment to your trip.
With enough space, take regular bed items to the campground: sheets, blankets, pillows, comforters, and quilts. If you happen to be camping at the beach where sand eventually finds its way into everything, consider using flannel sheets rather than cotton. Flannel sheets are more comfortable because they have a loose weave that allows sand to pass through.
For many campers, standard fare will be a rectangular sleeping bag. For camping couples, there are models available that you can zip together to accomodate both of you. Otherwise, open one sleeping bag, lay it flat, put a sheet over it, and then use the second bag for a blanket. If you're an RVer, then you have the convenience of a real bed, so take advantage of that fact and bring along bedding to make it cozy just like your bed at home.
Now that you've decided what items you need to construct a comfortable sleeping place at the campground, it's time to add a roof over your bed and consider a shelter for protection from the elements of wind, rain, snow, heat, bugs, and critters.
Next page > Campsite Shelters
Camping Basics Index