The warm season is upon us, which means there's no excuse for not lighting out and catching up on some sleep in the great outdoors. Whether you're planning to sleep in the bush on your next hunt or take your entire family for a night in a mountain campground, making sure the night's rest goes undisturbed is key to the overall enjoyment of the experience. There are a lot of options when it comes to outdoor sleeping supplies. Catalogs and websites are filled with pages of tents, tarps, sleeping bags and everything in between. But we'll narrow it down for you. Here are a few items worth considering before your next overnight trek.
3-Season Comfort The Zeus 2 Classic tent from Eureka sleeps two under its dome vestibule and has well-placed vents to maintain a healthy airflow and keep the inside temperature comfortable. The tent’s aluminum poles are strong enough to withstand storms during the rainy and windy seasons, but light enough not to weigh you down when the hunt is over and you’re hiking back to civilization. ($150;
A Bag for the Season
Marmot’s Sawtooth sleeping bag delivers warmth in extreme temperatures, while keeping the weight–slightly over 2 pounds–manageable for long treks. The 600-fill goose down bag has a temperature rating of 15 degrees and packs easily; the nylon shell is coated with a finish that repels water. The small stash pockets are good for storing eyeglasses and other necessities. The collar is filled with down to provide extra neck warmth and cushioning. ($250;
Ultra-Light Support
The NeoAir from Therm-a-Rest, weighing in at
14 ounces, is the lightest air mattress available. It has a special reflective barrier that reduces heat loss to keep you warm on those chilly nights in the mountains.
Triangular Core Matrix technology gives the NeoAir mattress its own internal truss system. No pump is needed. The NeoAir is an essential item for a weary hunter’s sound sleep. ($130;
The Perfect Pillow
Hardcore outdoorsmen might scoff at the idea of bringing a pillow into the woods. However, after long days of hauling big packs, it’s worth considering. Big Agnes’ Air Core Pillow is made of 70-denier nylon and inflates into a firm neck support system. I-Beam interior construction means that the pillow will hold its shape after many long nights, and it comes with its own mesh stuff sack. At a packed size of 2 x 7.5 inches and a weight of just 4.5 ounces, the feather-light pillow won’t take up much room in your pack. ($20;
Don’t forget the duct tape!
While it’s not as vital as a tent or a sleeping bag, a roll of duct tape is a must for anyone planning to spend the night in the wild. Why? Because nothing snaps you out of your sweet dreams quicker than a swarm of buzzing mosquitos that have entered your tent through a tiny tear in the fabric. Duct tape is the perfect solution for patching up holes and rips in items like your tent or your air mattress.
Light Time A good headlamp goes a long way. It will be a big help if you have to make camp and set up your tent after dark. And for my money, you can’t go wrong with Petzl’s little Tikka Plus. The bright, white LED light delivers 50 lumens, and the lamp can last nearly 150 hours if set on its “economic” setting. The best part? It’s weighs next to nothing and is small enough to fit in virtually any pocket. ($30;
Tool Time No endeavor in the woods would be complete without a handy multi-tool, and sleeping is no exception. Over the years, I’ve used one for everything from straightening bent tent poles to staking down tarps and tents during windy storms. Keep one close to you at night because, as any outdoorsman knows, you never know when you’re going to need your multi-tool. I recommend Leatherman’s Super Tool 300, which I used for my most recent outing. It features everything from pliers to a serrated knife and wire cutters. The screwdriver options are also a nice touch. ($50;