Sleeping Systems

Getting a good night’s sleep is important and you don’t need to carry a lot of weight to achieve it. Besides your shelter, you’ll need a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a ground cloth. The total weight for this sleep system should be at, or under, 6 pounds. The sleep system will be your most expensive area when it comes to buying gear. However, you should be able to find some very good equipment for under $250 and have plenty of options well below that.

Sleeping Bags:

Sleeping BagsFor most of the camping that our troop does (mild conditions), a 30 to 40 °F rated sleeping bag is sufficient. Do not purchase a bag rated lower than 20 °F. If you sleep “hot”, buy a 30-40 °F bag, but if  you sleep “cold”, then buy the 20 °F bag. (For winter camping you can put a 40 °F bag inside a 20 °F bag giving you a very good system to sleep in temperatures below 0 °F.) The lower the temperature rating for the bag, the heavier it will be to carry. The sleeping bag you purchase should ideally weigh less than 3 pounds.

The next decision is whether to use a down or a synthetic fill bag. A down sleeping bag packs much smaller, is lighter, and tends to last longer, but usually costs a lot more and loses more warmth if it is allowed to get wet. We recommend going with a synthetic bag for Scouts. WET SLEEPING BAGS ARE NOT FUN!

Some of the best places to look for these sleeping bags are,, and Some examples of sleeping bags that fit the above criteria are:

Sleeping Pads:

Sleeping pads are used to provide insulation from the cold ground while also giving you a softer place to sleep. There are two main types of pads:

  • closed cell foam, andRidge Rest Sleeping Pad
  • self-inflating.

The two most popular closed cell foam pads are the Z-rest and the Ridge Rest from Therm-a-Rest with prices under $35 and weights under 1 pound. The least expensive closed cell foam pads are the baby blue pads 3/8 inches thick that cost less than $10 and weigh 8 ounces for a full-length pad.

The Campmor pad is called Pack-Lite Closed Cell Foam Pad. Therm-a-Rest also makes the most popular self-inflating pads with prices from $50 to well over a $100 and weights ranging from just under a pound to over 5 pounds. We recommend the closed cell foam pads because they are lighter and less expensive while not being liable to punctures, as are the self-inflating pads.

Another factor to consider is the weight of the Scout. A 65-pound Scout will not need as much padding as a 200-pound Scout.

Unless you are camping in cold weather, a three-quarter length pad (48-51 inches) weighing 9-11 ounces and costing $16-30 will be adequate. To save even more weight, most Scouts do not need a 20-inch width closed cell foam pad so they can cut them down to a narrower width and/or even shorter length to save further weight.

The closed cell foam pad we recommend is the Therm-a-Rest, 48-inch length Ridge Rest closed cell foam pad that weighs 9 ounces and costs about $16. Another option that is thinner is the Campmor Pack-Lite 72-inch closed cell foam pad at $8 that can be cut down to fit your Scout.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s