Quebec City, Quebec
Everyone has a choice of using sleeping bags or blankets - it is all a
matter of personal taste and insulation. The thicker the insulation, the
warmer you will be. Loosely woven materials can provide air pockets that
keep you very warm, indeed. Whether you use a sleeping bag or blankets,
they should be aired out in the morning, since your body gives out a great
deal of moisture which is absorbed by your bedding. This will aid in
keeping you warm and dry each night. I have noticed the trend nowadays is
to use sleeping bags with a nylon shell and top it with a nice wool blanket
- ever notice how the wool blanket slips and slides and falls away? Maybe
a safety pin or two will help.....another tip if you are pinning, is to use
diaper pins - they have a protective cap that prevents girls from
accidently sticking themselves. You can also use blankets, in lieu of a
sleeping bag. You can make a warm bed of blankets by folding them so there
are no side and bottom openings - kind of a cocoon. Make sure they are
pinned so they don't open up at night.
It is true that when a person suffers heat loss, 75% of it is downward and
only 25% is through the top of the bedroll. Therefore, you will need three
layers UNDER you for every layer you have on top. To accomplish this, use
either newspaper or extra blankets between your sleeping pad and sleeping
bag. Sleeping pads provide insulation from the cold ground as well as
providing some comfort. You can choose between 4 different types of pads,
depending on the type of camp you are doing, or comfort level. An air
mattress is extremely comfortable and it shouldn't be blown up too hard. A
good rule of thumb is to sit on it, and your bottom should just touch the
ground. Air mattresses are heavy to transport and do not provide good
insulation. The heat from your body and the cold from the ground cause air
currents inside the mattress that are constantly taking your heat away and
replacing with cold. The foam pad (open cell) is similar to a sponge.
Very comfortable, doesn't need inflating, but it has a habit of soaking up
a lot of moisture. Make sure it is waterproofed so you stay dry. It can be
difficult to roll up with your sleeping bag and can be quite bulky. The
closed cell foam pads are much thinner, and provide excellent insulation,
but not as comfortable. If they get wet, they dry quickly - virtually
waterproof. The best of all four is the self-inflating mattress. It is an
air mattress filled with open cell foam. The combination allows the
mattress to be thin and the foam prevents air currents.
Now that you have your gear together, everything needs to be waterproofed.
Begin by laying down a groundsheet - this can be rubber or heavy plastic
(tarp/tarpaulin) . Lay your gear flat on top and begin rolling from the
bottom to the head. This way, you can unroll your gear and you are ready
to jump in. It is advisable not to set up your bed before actually getting
ready to enter it. This way, you keep the cold air and moisture at bay,
and in the morning after airing, roll up your gear again to prevent the
same. By putting clean and dry clothes on at night, you will be warmer and
more comfortable. Unless you perspire during the night, you can dress over
it and wear it all day. Make sure you include clean underwear, socks and
night clothes inside (warm from home!). Make sure you tuck the sides in as
you go. Help may be required - don't be afraid to ask! Tie everything up
to secure with cord (re-use) or use nylon straps that self-tighten. Make
sure everything is clearly marked with your name, and away you go!
Remember, you are required to carry your own baggage, so make sure you
practice before the camp to make sure you can lift it!
One way to tell if the mattress is truly waterproof is to take it into the
shower with you. Unroll it and check!
My personal sleeping gear contains these layers: rubber groundsheet,
sleeping pad, three wool blankets, comforter, flannel sheet, afhgan,
flannel blanket, another afhgan, three more wool blankets, pillow w/pillow
case, campfire blanket gaily decorated with patches and crests. Laugh, but
I am quite warm and I can always say I take extra blankets for the girls
who are cold at night......downside is that once I am "installed" inside my
cocoon - I can't move!!