Finally got my tent camping sleep system perfected!

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by Sneezer, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I tent camped in college and survived with a self inflating pad supplemented by a closed cell foam pad and a sleeping bag. Got married some years after college and stopped camping completely. Had a kid, joined scouts and jumped back in. Ever since I have been slowly tweaking my sleep system to be comfortable in a tent. I am a firm believer that sleep, food and shelter are equally important and required for a good outing.

    When I first got back in I used an air mattress which was ditched after the first couple trips. Moved to Cabela's thermarest clone pads and cots when we got a tent large enough to use them. Joined boy scouts and went smaller. Picked up a number of lightweight cots which all helped, and tried a bunch of different pads and mattress toppers. Got stuff at thrift stores, estate/yard sales, clearance and REI garage sales. I tried pads with horizontal baffles, vertical baffles and different foam ones.

    My last campout a week ago seems to have hit the bullseye. I overslept, did not wake up with a sore back or hips, no neck pain and no headache.

    The key was a sea to summit comfort deluxe pad. It has two bladders and a gazillion individual air cells so I could inflate the bottom to firm and the top to less firm. That was coupled with a big agnes sleeping giant foam pad sleeve (that is a tad too small to work as a sleeve with this new pad) and a Nemo pillow top foam topper that is stuffed into the sleeve and is just placed on top of the pad.

    Tying it all together is an Rei kingdom sleep system I got for cheap at a garage sale. It includes a quilted bottom sheet with a small amount of insulation and elastic ends so it stays in place. I also have another elastic sheet that has a more cotton feel that I prefer that goes over it all.

    Depending on the tent I either take a regular camp cot or my helinox light weight cot which takes up much less room, but is only a couple inches high.

    Best of all for those trips were I may need to go lighter weight and backpack I can just take the pad and a foam under pad for additional protection and I should be fine. Only took me 8 or 9 years of experimentation and constant searching for deals on different gear to try!
     
  2. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Near the end of my tent camping days we used camp cots. I sleep like a baby with just the camp cot. Takes up much less room in the tent than air mattresses and you can put stuff under the cots.
     
  3. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    I applaud you on finding the sleeping system that is perfect for you. Sometimes it takes awhile to get it perfected. Back in the "DAY" I could sleep on a hard steel deck when aboard ship, and on the ground while camping, but as age crept upon me I needed a different system and it took awhile to get it right. Good Luck and happy Camping
     
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  4. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    Light weight inflatable camping pads are the way to go. Lots of manufacturers now and these systems are all light for backpacking, sea to summit, klymit, thermorest..... cost can be modest to quite high and they are comfortable for most folks.
     
  5. FARfetched

    FARfetched Active Member

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    I can do a weekend tent-camping, alone or with a grandkid. I stuff my Miata with gear—it's basically a 4-wheel backpack—and away we go. Travel light, travel swift! Even though I'm verging on geezerhood, I'm good with a sleeping bag on an air mattress, and the 9yo sleeps great on it.

    For longer trips, or family trips, the pup is a must. For me, the primary difference is that I have an espresso maker for tent camping and a French press for the pup. Gotta have my coffee!
     
  6. mtnlover

    mtnlover New Member

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    My experience mirrors many of yours. Tent camped many, many years. Went to a "Coleman" Utah popup for a few, 4 maybe, years then back to a large tent for my wife and myself. Finally got the sleeping arrangements to a place that will work for a few years. Two cots with foam pads cut locally at a foam mfg. company. Really very comfortable. Now have an A frame(Chalet) in addition to the tent.
     
  7. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I went with the slip in air mattress in a couple of SMALL TENT BEDs...

    [​IMG]
    Google search

    These pack up with a nice tote bag.... Can tie wrap together to make one full size bed... Two of these strapped together just fits one of my three room tents...

    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

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    I go backpacking with klymit inflatable stored in pack. Or thermarest base camp monster inflatable lashed to outer pack. Sleep in a big Agnes two man tent. Ensure no rocks or twigs to rip tent or hurt me. Sleep with feet down grade and wear a hat when it’s cold out to sleep.
     
  9. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    Trail camping is a good experience for me...Love it... I just throw a small tarp over a rope between a couple of trees and drag up some soft brush to lay on while in my Sleeping bag... Tent between two trees looks abit like this google image...

    [​IMG]
    Google image...

    Always neat when you get woke up by something licking your face. Especially when you realize you didn't bring your dog along on this trip hehe...

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
  10. BBQdave

    BBQdave Active Member

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    Completely Agree :)

    My son (9) and I Cub Scout camp. I have had great luck with a Coleman (queen size) air mattress. Added egg crate foam topper held on mattress with fitted sheet. We toss our sleeping bags on the mattress and warm comfortable nights sleep :)

    Food is huge! I'm the camp cook and have witnessed full bellies = happy, even in rainy weather.

    My camp gear is in my signature, consistent good experience with this camp setup :)
     
  11. Mat Kyne

    Mat Kyne Member

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    My perfect sleeping system involves 3-4 stiff drinks. Sleep like a baby. :)
     
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  12. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    I started with a 4-person Kelty dome. It was OK, but I craved more room. Found a great deal on a leftover REI Kingdom 6. Our Cub Scout camping got super enjoyable then. Regular cots, backpack style pad and gear stowed underneath the cot. Room to stand up, change, etc. Loved it. I did the same thing too - took up their cooking several notches, and I always volunteer for grubmaster duties for the adults on our troop campouts.

    My camp kitchen now takes up 3-4 times more room than the tent, but it is all worth it in the end for me.

    I will say we ditched the plain air mattresses - they didn't provide any insulation for colder weather camping, and once I went back to solo tent camping I had to find something that worked better. It took a while to get a pad that didn't feel like I was sleeping on a balloon.

    My son just had his Eagle Court of Honor this month, and is still super involved with scouts, which keeps me camping, so I can't complain too much!
     
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  13. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

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    96B00482-45D4-4251-BEDA-527CB843FD4F.jpeg
     
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  14. BBQdave

    BBQdave Active Member

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    We camp Spring, Summer and Autumn. In the Summer we go to higher elevations, for cooler weather. With the Cub Scouts, we try for mild weather, but the past couple of trips have dipped into the low 40F's overnight.

    I have good luck throwing a stadium blanket on the floor of the tent. And the egg crate foam is really warm. I put the ground tarp on the inside of the tent. It goes against everything you read, except for one article I found from an old Scout Master. The idea is not to trap water between the ground tarp and tent floor, causing dampness and water seepage inside the tent. I can tell you, having the ground tarp inside, keeps the tent dry. Creates a nice warm barrier this set up :)
     
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  15. John Miller

    John Miller New Member

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  16. ScoutMeisterJ

    ScoutMeisterJ New Member

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    I perfected my tent camping by buying a PUP... ;)
    ... or when I can't bring the PUP, I perfected my tent camping by getting a good hammock... ;)
     
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  17. Jonson01

    Jonson01 Member

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    My father would say he perfected all this nonsense with a call to a hotel... former military that doesn't enjoy sleeping, eating, or really anything outside unless it's football
     
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  18. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    My father was the same way. Some how my mother got him to cave and that's how we got to camp. I have a bil that was in the military and he's the same way, won't camp, had enough of it when he was in.
     
  19. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I am close but not 100% at this point.

    My issues are weight, and osteoarthritis in the spine, so putting a single high air bed, or camping mat on the ground while possible, is far less than ideal.

    I have found 2 approaches to be functionally comfortable in the tent.

    #1. 2005ish vintage Stansport Heavy Duty GI Cot. This gives me a collapsible heavy duty platform, at just below normal bed height so stooping to get in and out of the bed isn't an issue. This is topped with.
    #2. Therm A Rest Camp Rest XL. This is 1992 vintage that is still showing like new. The current model is the XL size of the Therm A Rest Base Camp. Honestly wish I had the Therm A Rest Mondo King XXL.
    #2. On top of this I put an unkown MFG memory foam mattress topper. 4" so I have basically 6" of mattress.

    Barring that, the most success I have had with inflatables are the Intex Dura Beam double high air bed. Sorry no link, but about $40.00 at Walmart. I get a pair of twins, they are high up enough, and inflated right hold all night no problem unless I do something stupid and poke a hole in it.
     

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