On average we spend 25 years of our lives asleep.
It is the time we set aside for our unconscious to process and reflect upon the things we have experienced during the day, while our muscles rest and regenerate.
It is therefore only normal that at least 30% of your equipment is allocated to sleep. But this doesn't mean you should wreck your back hauling your bedroom into the jungle. Each adventure requires a different slumber set, depending on your sleeping habits and the overall theme of the trip.
The following are 5 basic sleeping system combinations to consider before looking into specific products or brands.
SET 1 - Survivalist
KNIFE + CLOTHES + FIRE ROD
Definitively not the most popular set, but certainly the lightest.
This set heavily depends on your knowledge and use of your surroundings. In essence, all you need is a knife to create shelter and natural padding.
This combined with proper outdoor clothing and a fire can make for a relatively comfortable night. Other tricks & tips include filling your pockets with naturally found insulating materials, leaving heat retaining objects near the fire, and cuddling up with your heated kanteen.
SET 2 - Minimalist
TARP + BAG/QUILT (+ PADDING)
Understandably the previous set doesn't appeal to everyone. So if you still like to pack ultra light and have an "au naturale" experience, you might want to go "minimalist" instead.
Adding a tarp to your pack will make things a lot easier. A tarp is extremely versatile and can not only significantly improve the structure of your shelter, but function as a shelter on its own.
Combined with a sleeping bag and some padding, you can have a pretty comfortable night out in the woods.
SET 3 - Basic
BIVY + BAG/QUILT + PADDING
If you prefer the basic comforts of a tent, but don't require much space, nor expect to be spending much time inside, this is probably the best option for you.
A bivy is usually lighter and more compact than a tent, while still keeping out those "creepy-crawlers". However, many people still prefer adding a few extra grams to their pack to enjoy the spacious comforts of a tent.
SET 4 - Comfort
TENT + BAG/QUILT + PADDING
The most comfortable and popular choice. If you can afford the extra weight and cost, it's hard to go wrong with this set.
No need to worry about bad weather, bugs, and you will have sufficient space to dry clothes, play some cards, and sleep.
SET 5 - Lux Light
ULTRALIGHT TENT + PADDED SLEEPING BAG
Artificial weight loss doesn't come cheap. But for those with money to burn, this setup is probably the most effective balance between weight, size and comfort.
My Slumber Set
For my first few outdoor adventures, a tent will be provided on location. Therefore, a sleeping bag and some padding suffice.
However, if I were to choose a complete set to carry with me around the world, I would probably go with a microtent/bivy, sleeping bag and padding.
Though I can't say the ZPacks Duplex doesn't look tempting.
Not all slumber sets are created equal! Tell me what sleeping gear you usually pack in the comment section below!