Before the specially designed insulated sleeping pad, campers and woodsmen used natural materials such as sphagnum moss, fir boughs or sheaves of wild grass to place underneath their wool blankets at night. Now that the camping population has grown substantially and there is less wilderness to explore, campers should not use live plants for bedding. Still, there are many ways to make your bed more comfortable at night.
You can try the old Army method of putting crumpled newspapers underneath your sleeping bag to add insulation. The insulation value of dry newsprint is excellent, but you do face a problem containing the crumpled papers. You can bring a pre-made sack, or you can use two logs as side rails, then tie them together and fill the space with the crumpled paper. This approach is unwieldy for life on the trail, but you can tote along a few pieces of newspaper to insulate your boots.
Most state and national parks are very strict about not allowing you to use living plant materials for insulation. But you might be able to use a bed of pine needles or dried leaves for extra insulation underneath your sleeping bag. You also might be able to collect dead oak leaves off the trees and neatly build them up underneath your sleeping bag. Be sure to remove any rocks, stones, pinecones or dead branches that might interfere with your nighttime repose, and place a groundcloth between the fresh litter and your sleeping bag as a vapor barrier.
Sculpt the Land
Another way to make your sleeping area more comfortable is to use a small camp shovel to scoop out a shallow depression for your hips and shoulders. Make sure there are no regulations against this activity before you start to dig.
Article Written By Henri Bauholz
Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.