Preparation for camping takes a lot of energy, with so many important items that you need to stay safe and comfortable. But one of the most demanding tasks is finding the right gear that will allow you to rest properly and sleep well and safe in nature.
Whether you are going camping in your campervan or your backpack is your only companion, rest is incredibly important when you are hiking, rock climbing, or doing any activity in nature. It gives you the energy for the challenges of the next day, it helps your body to recover, and your mind to relax.
The products that you need for your outdoors sleeping system are very diverse, so it may be really hard to choose, especially if you are buying camping equipment for the first time. Aside from providing you with a night of comfortable sleep, the gear for sleeping outdoors should also keep you warm and safe. Hence it should include popular items like a down sleeping bag, a shelter, such as a tent or a bivvy, a pillow, and other accessories, like clean and dry socks or a hot-water bottle.
Down Sleeping Bags
Probably the most important part of your sleeping gear, regardless of the type of nature activity you are into, is the sleeping bag. In fact, some adventurers even use theirs as their entire sleeping system. And depending on where are you going, for how long, the weather conditions, etc., if you buy a down sleeping bag that gives you the necessary comfort, you may end up doing the same, and sleep directly under the stars.
Down is one of the best insulators used for sleeping bags exactly for that reason. But the incredible ability this type of bags have to keep you warm is only one of the reasons why they are so popular amongst outdoor enthusiasts. Another important property of this specific material is that it is super light. When you are buying equipment for hiking, weight is always an important factor to consider.
This is why products that are lightweight and that can be easily compressed to small rolls, like a down sleeping bag, are of such importance. You can fit even the sleeping bags that offer the most warmth, at the bottom of your hiking backpack.
Camping equipment isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, so quality is always an important thing to factor in. A good quality down backpacking bag for sleep can last for 10 or more years. These are also very resilient, and they can be restaffed, while still staying warm and fluffy.
Because one of the most important things in terms of safety when it comes to nature adventures is to stay warm and dry, obviously anyone prefers a waterproof design. One of the biggest concerns about those made from down is that if it gets soaked in water, it will be ruined.
However, if you are on the fence between the best warmth and a waterproof sleeping bag solution, there are ways to have your cake and eat it too. For one, you can always carry a waterproof bivvy to protect you from the wet. Moreover, nowadays you can also find down bags made with the latest technology to allow you to go to nature only with your sleeping bag and a tarp, without additional aftermarket products to keep you dry. Of course, if you are carrying a bivvy or a tent anyways, then rain or snow won’t be an issue.
Sleeping Pads and Camping Pillows
One thing that can improve comfort while sleeping in nature more than anything, is a sleeping pad or a sleeping mat. But aside from the extra comfort that they can provide, they also give you extra warmth and additional insulation against the cold surface. They come in many different types, but the main thing to decide is whether you want to get foam pads or inflatable pads to use as bases for your practical down sleeping bags.
Same as the pads, pillows may not be essential, but they can make a huge difference when you are snoozing in nature, in terms of comfort. Moreover, they are quite lightweight, which makes them very convenient. You can find many different types of camping pillows and while there are foam pillows that are fairly lightweight and compact, if weight and bulk are your concern, you should definitely go for an inflatable pillow.
If packing light is important to you, bivouac bags, or bivvies, are a great solution for you. Made from lightweight materials that are waterproof and breathable, bivvies are designed to provide shelter in places that are too narrow for a tent.
In fact, they were originally designed as emergency shelters, to keep you dry and safe in nature. They are a great way to solve the issue of sleeping under the stars and being unprotected from rains.
Bivvies go around you, the sleeping bag and the sleeping mat, which is why they are a little bit longer and wider. They serve a similar purpose as a tent – providing you with shelter, but they are lighter, and they don’t take up as much space. If your opened sleeping bag can fit, your bivvy can also fit.