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Pad, cot, air mattress
Guys, Early September elk hunt without hi end tent or sleeping bag. Would I be better off putting the sleeping bag on an air mattress, a pad, or a cot? This will be a truck camp. What's the pros and cons of each. Thankyou
Air mattresses are cold as a wedge!
Brother, have you ever camped using any of these things? That's the only thing that will answer this for you. Not what others like. A truck camp should be plush. Use what's most comfortable.
Cot with a thick foam pad like the cabelas bedrolls.
If I was truck camping I wouldn't have a sleeping bag. I would have sheets quilts and comforter. It would be just like at home on whatever mattress you decide to use.
Cot with a foam pad. Drape a blanket over the cot on top of the foam so it hangs down and traps the air under your cot. Makes a big difference in warmth.
Truck camp? My cot. I'd lay a foam pad on it, cover it with a comforter, and use my bag
At base camp I sleep on a cot with a pad on top of it , I also have an old twin comforter and a full size pillow and a 0 degree rectangular bag. WV is right if you are sleeping at the truck might as well be comfortable. Test your setup out before yo go west with it, sleep on the back porch or something.
I use a big cot with the thick Cabelas bedroll. I also use a super thick and heavy canvas sleeping bag that's flannel lined.
Don't use an air mattress,you'll freeze.
Glunt is right about draping a blanket over whatever your cot setup is. Make sure the blanket goes all the way to the ground and it will increase your warmth a lot.
When I truck camp it’s a big cot, 5 inch foam pad, two pillows, sheets and a blanket and comforter. Adjust layers for temp.
Get a quality pad and lay on the ground. Cot suck to sleep on as you puddle in the middle of it, not to mention the cold air flowing underneath it. I`ve never been cold on the ground.
If you're 20 sleeping on the ground is fine, 60, not so much. If there's a truck nearby I'd pack a queen size mattress.
I use an air mattress truck camping for luxurious sleep in colder weather. I simply put my pad on top as a thermal break.
Truck camping: make yourself comfortable.
Take a big Walmart blow up mattress. Cheap and comfortable. They’re cold as Hell. Put a wool blanket on it and sleep on top of the blanket with a cheap/warm sleeping bag and have a back up wool or down blanket and you’ll be good for 10 to 60 degrees sleeping comfortabley and won’t die several degrees below that.
I'd go with Glunt's suggestion. I prefer a cot over a mattress but everybody sleeps different.
One reason that I like an air mattress is that if I'm sleeping on a cot and I'm sleeping hard after a longer day, I can have my arm dangle off the side of the cot and not wake up until my elbow or shoulder are hyperextended and I wake up almost convinced that I'll never regain function of that arm. Then I feel really stupid for being capable of having sleep cause me pain.
I have a full sized 22" high air mattress. Yes, it would be cold except I put a pad on top of it and sleep almost as well as at home. Actually better many nights cause I'm so tired. I got rid of my cot years ago because they take up so much storage space and are a pain in the but to set up.
Yep, a 4-5 inch foam mat. Yep, air mat cold as hell unless it is 90 degrees out.
I did the cot with foam roll up deal for 10 days,nights were 19/25 degrees,,,tent,cheap bag,warm as toast,coast to coast...
10-4 on the pillow Spook. Sleeping in the Backcountry with a makeshift or not enough pillow has cost many a hunter some valuable sleep.
Had a few cots, didn't find any I liked after a few trips. Slept on the ground and usually found rocks and bumps that I had overlooked in setting up.
Tried sleeping on a few picnic tables at some overnight stops and always seemed to sleep well on them. Even well below freezing with my mummy bag on the air mattress, it was a pretty reliable roost.
Finally found the best solution for me for truck camping/base camp was to take a piece of 3/4" plywood cut to my my length, 5' 9", and about twenty inches wide, sanded smooth on both sides and all around the edges, corners rounded. I carry my gear and groceries in plastic totes of one size and type, so I can use as many of them as needed and any extras can be stacked when empty so as to not take up extra room in the truck.
In camp, I level the ground where two of them will be sitting about four feet apart and place the plywood on top of those two totes, lids on. It' s a good level and flat base for a bed, up off the ground and with no holes to let the cold air steal your heat. I like a good air mattress on top of the plywood, and usually a decent but not very expensive sleeping bag on the top, or my mummy if it is expected to be very cold.
The advantages, besides low cost, are small packing size, and versatility in use as a seat and/or table inside the tent on a bad weather day, and the good use of space inside the tent under-bed storage for gear such as boots, campstove, etc.
Went this setup many years ago and never felt the need for anything else for truck camping or canoe camping. Set it up and gave it a few test runs in the garage before using it on a trip. Main thing is to get it pretty close to level side-to-side. You can usually be comfy if your head is a couple inches higher than your feet, but the slant from side to side is more critical. Never needed to bring a level, but did check for level by rolling a can of beans across the wood a few times until I got it level enough.
A good night's sleep gets more important as we get older, and so does a bed that sits high enough that we can just roll out and stand up without having to get up from ground level first thing.
Thanks for all the responses. I wouldnt have guessed the air mattress being cold so that is nice to know. It's still what I have so might just add a pad or something else over the top to create a separation. I do like the idea of being up off the ground in a cot though. Might purchase one and give it a try. Some other ideas I had never considered also. Thanks again.
air mattresses lose air also in my experience.
A Thermarest or Exped backpacking "air" mattress is not cold, especially one with an R4 or so rating that weighs about a pound and is 2-3" thick. Even the 12 ounce Thermarest Neoair Ultralight is decently warm as long as you remember to bring it (that was poked at me for forgetting mine last year but Ambush bailed me out).
Cheap Coleman style air mattresses without insulation are cold as heck and don't hold there shape due to lack of baffling, or at least the Queen size one we have lets you sag down in the middle and props your head up at 45*. Not worth anything!
FWIW, I use a cot in a truck camp. I bought one of the extra wide coleman deals that is 37 inches wide. For the same reason Rick points out above. If not, my arm and shoulder hyper extends and I wake up a flopping zombie when sleeping on my side. The extra width allows my arm to prop up past the elbow which is the difference in sleeping well and waking up a mess. Plus, I need 31 inches to lay my shoulders flat when sleeping on my back. A standard cot finds my arms slipping off when laying on my back. So, buy wide for the benefits.
Walmart air mattresses lose too much air for my liking. But, I like a hard sleeping surface. Seriously, a rock would be great if it stayed warm and was flat. So, those cheapo deals don't work for me. My Klymit's do fine when sleeping on the ground as long as I sleep on my side. Which doesn't work well unless I have a really thick pillow.
I tell you all this to hopefully help you understand what might work best for you. If you like hard, a walmart mattress isn't your best choice. They can be made warm easy enough. But, they are soft. If you choose a cot, buy a wide one. It is a benefit regardless of a side or back sleeper. Good luck and God Bless
I'm a side sleeper and tend to get cold as I get older. Extra large cot (I'm 6' 4") and a Thermarest keeps me warm below. An extra blanket under the sleeping bag when in a cot can be better than one above if you only have one blanket (and why not bring a couple...?l. That air beneath the cot ain't getting any warmer at 3 a.m. And its amazing how much difference a fleece blanket on top of your sleeping bag can make.
+++ on a good pillow. And cheap cots will sag in the middle like a hammock. I'd rather be on the ground with a Thermarest and decent bag and an extra blanket than in a crappy cot with a crappy pad.
Yes. Just like a hammock, make sure the cot is rated well. Lots of cots weight rated to 200 pounds. Few hold you well at 200 pounds without sagging and swallowing you. So, buy a good’er one or a cheap one rated well past your weight.
Cabela’s xl cot. Without a pad it’s alot better than the ground. With a pad it’s a bed.
I'll just say truck camping you don't need a high end bag to be warm. You can get a super warm bag really cheap that is heavy as hell. It matters not at the truck. Make yourself as comfortable as possible, that sleep is invaluable!