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Sleeping Bag or Cot?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by missyify, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    We normally sleep in sleeping bags on the floor of the tent (although we did have an inflatable mat for two trips that we no longer have). We actually sleep on Japanese style futons on the floor at home, so it feels pretty natural that we would sleep the same way while camping.

    However, the sleeping bags get really sandy/dirty despite having several mats and a system for everyone to take their shoes off before entering. The shoes have to come inside at some point in case of rain. Which I'm sure needs to be resolved anyway (maybe by putting them in a box or container).

    I was wondering if anyone uses cots. I've been eyeing the bunk bed ones, we could have 2 of them for the oldest 4 kids. My youngest still sleeps next to me, though. So I was wondering if there is anything cot-like that would be queen-sizeish? (Not inflatable)

    Any drawbacks to using cots? I remember my grandpa had the Army cots we would take with us when I was a kid... They were uncomfortable to me then because I was used to a soft bed lol.

    They just seem like they'd be easier to keep clean.

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  2. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I use a cot and mattress at base camp that looks something like this --->

    upload_2016-8-14_12-9-59.jpeg When I'm tripping I use this (or not) --->

    Sometimes is just use a plain mat.

    I select a sleeping bag according to the conditions but usually use a two or three level for summer.
    gracer and missyify like this.
  3. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    There are all kinds of items on the market like --->

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSHMhm3r-hu3dAQjetikgldecolC_CfbQPZh-hveRm2MuVSYfZM.jpg images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTejFWOnEh4-VmNz7ywqqAb1rC5iekfbXo6WDyEPS8thmvc7dERjA.jpg
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR60UKAyznxu-IZXISc0Q3zg7WnZWFIMg8shGKR4uTA7gPBWcrw.jpg upload_2016-8-14_12-19-42.jpeg

    It all boils down to what you want, how much you are prepared to spend and how much weight you want to carry.

    The same goes for sleeping bags, inserts, covers and the like.
    gracer likes this.
  4. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    Yeah, I'm leaning toward something not inflatable. Definitely the bunks for the kids, which will also save on space. I think cots and a few sheets would've done better for us last trip lol.

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  5. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Gotta be careful with the inflatable ones though, sometimes a root or rock under your tent can case a leak and you wake up lying on the ground
  6. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    Yeah we had one that we used twice. When my husband unpacked it to inflate it, it was covered in mold so he told my stepdaughter to throw it away.

    A cot would mean no hassles with inflating, reinflating, holes, etc. I was also thinking that I could just use sheets in warmer weather...

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  7. gracer

    gracer Explorer

    I pretty much prefer the cots in the first set of pictures shown by @Northern Dancer. The second set with the inflatable ones are just too bulky for me especially because we would usually hike a lot whenever we go out camping. We usually use mats or sleeping bags though because they are more handy and not too bulky in my packing. I have this policy of packing light as much as possible so whichever is lighter and less bulkier to bring gets my choice. :)
  8. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    I'm not horribly worried about space at this point but we do want to start backpacking one day.

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    gracer likes this.
  9. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Generally they are less bulky IMO, because they can deflate and fold down to be small enough to fit in a backpack. It is the not inflatable ones which are often heavy and bulky but I guess that is not much of a problem depending on your proximity to your camp site.
    gracer likes this.
  10. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I had a blow up mattress once - I dreamed that I was a hot dog - when I woke I was laying in the middle of this thing that had sprang a leak. I never used it again.

    I do do use a mat when I'm tripping - it is a two and half inch mattress that self inflates. Like campforums said it is not heavy and oh...so comfortable - it's worth the carry.

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS0s9CcZKxKMrqnit_ly4jYxDClbzx568GwNgHUIKAXEvGVnvryIg.jpg The one I have looks something like this.
  11. missyify

    missyify Survivalist

    That's hilarious lol.

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  12. gracer

    gracer Explorer

    @campforums I too would usually consider the proximity of our campsite when deciding on which equipment to bring. If our camping site is near it's usually okay for me to bring in a little more weight when it comes to our things. :) We usually hike a bit when we camp though.

    @Northern Dancer I couldn't help but laugh when I read your story. I like how your mattress looks because it doesn't really look bulky. I think I should look into something like that the next time I go shopping for camping equipment. :)
  13. Faust

    Faust Explorer

    I prefer a quality mat but I sleep on a cot for my own reasons.

    The issue with cots are you are confined to the space between the poles thus there is no scooching over to cuddle with your partner even if you put two cots side by side whereas mats can be lashed together or you can buy a duo mat.

    I think bunk bed cots for the kids is a good idea but I would entertain the idea of a mat for the hubby, the youngest and yourself.
    I recommend Exped and their products (such as their Duo Mats), durable as an 80 pound dog can walk all over them without fear of popping it, nice and thick with a high R-value and self inflating.
    Mats (There is an American website but I find the UI of the Canadian one nicer).
  14. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Survivalist

    The foldable cot is more convenient and comfortable than the sleeping bag since it is elevated. Particularly when it rains or the ground is wet for any reason, the sleeping bag gets moist if not really wet. However, the foldable cot is heavy and bulky. Carrying it is a problem when you hike for a distance. The sleeping bag on the other hand is light and easier to carry. I would settle for the sleeping bag.
  15. rz3300

    rz3300 Explorer

    I have gotten pretty comfortable with the sleeping bag, and I really do not even need more than that now. I mean if I had the choice I would take more, but I am pretty good at getting by.
  16. to7update

    to7update Novice Camper

    I think that usually a sleeping bag works just fine, but having a self inflating mattress is taking things to a different level of comfort. Many times the ground is just too irregular for us to sleep properly, so we do need something to isolate us from the cold and to make us more comfortable. It all depends on what we can carry to camping and where we are camping.
  17. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I would need that cot as in old age we have a bit of trouble getting up from the ground. I would be crawling around trying to find something strong enough to help me stand up. I certainly would not want the tent to fall down on me in my struggles. A simple well-made folding cot would solve all my problems.

    to7update likes this.
  18. killeroy154

    killeroy154 Survivalist

    I like what 2sweed says. I prefer a cot if all possible. I like being able to swing my feet off the side and sit up to put on my shoes, and maybe tend to my brewing coffee beside me, I realy like my coffee before I get out of my bag. I need to put on my thinking cap and figure out how to make a lightweight cot.
  19. Jason76

    Jason76 Novice Camper

    A sleeping bag would be good for a camping trip but a cot is preferable for overnight guests at your home. Of course, a sleeping bag is a little bit hard on your back, but probably there are ways to get around that problem. Now, for a really long camping trip, some might prefer cots, but I just think cots are too comfortable for camping. Camping is supposed to be a little uncomfortable.
  20. to7update

    to7update Novice Camper

    That's another thing, we need to be comfortable, even more if we are camping from a certain age on. Yeah, so good point here, as camping can go far beyond young age, and there are solutions for anyone that loves camping and just wants to keep on going. Nothing like doing what we love. :)
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