Gear Guide

Sleeping bags, mats, etc.

Having (and using) the right kit is a key to getting a good night's sleep and having a good time on camp!

Sleeping mats

A closed-cell foam roll mat will insulate you from the ground and help keep you warm.  You can bring a self-inflating mat, but if they pop (we know that there’s sometimes some rough-and-tumble in the tents) or deflate in the night then you’ll lose your insulation and end up cold and uncomfortable – this is why we don’t recommend them.

If you’re buying a roll mat make sure you get one that’s at least 8-9 mm thick.  The very thin (3-5 mm thick) mats you can get from some shops aren’t warm enough!

Air beds and camp beds are not suitable to bring on camp as they take up too much space in the sleeping pods.  Camp beds can also puncture the ground sheet.  Please don’t bring either.

Sleeping bags

You need a 3- or 4-season sleeping bag, check the "comfort" temperature ratings when you're shopping and make sure it goes below 0 ºC (we've had frosts during camps in May).  Ideally you want a “mummy” shaped bag with a hood and a neck baffle.  A mummy shaped bag is one that tapers towards the feet – this means that there’s less space for you to heat up.  The hood is there to keep your head warm and the neck baffle helps stop warm air from the main body of the bag escaping as you wriggle in the night.  Both the hood and baffle should both have draw cords that you can tighten up once you’re in your sleeping bag.  We recommend getting a bag with a synthetic-filling.  These are cheaper than down-filled bags, will still help keep you warm if they get damp, and are easier to dry out.  (Down is warmer weight for weight, but is more expensive and won't provide any warmth if it gets wet.)

If you’ve got a “fun” themed rectangular sleeping bag which you use indoors for sleepovers at friends' houses, this isn’t going to be enough to keep you warm on camp (sorry)!

Beavers (and younger Cubs) should try sleeping in their sleeping bags at home before they come to camp to get used to how to get into and out of the sleeping bag & tighten up the draw strings.  (Working this out for the first time in a dark tent on the first night of camp isn’t a fun experience!)

To put your bag away, stuff it into it's stuff sack rather than rolling or folding it – it helps prevent the filling clumping and developing cold spots.

Always air your bag when you get home, and keep it stored flat or loosely stuffed into an old pillow case.  Do NOT store it in its travel stuff bag – over time the filling will become permanently crushed and won't keep you as warm.

For winter camping we recommend using two sleeping bags one-inside-the-other rather than buying an expensive winter bag.

If you’re a lot shorter than your sleeping bag, tie a belt around the the bottom when you’re on camp to save heating wasted space (remember to take it off when you get home).

Sleeping bag liners

A liner is an optional extra, but using one of these helps keep your sleeping bag cleaner (it’s easier to wash a liner than a whole sleeping bag) and they can help make your bag even warmer.  You can get cotton, poly-cotton, silk and fleece liners – we’d recommend either a poly-cotton liner for general use, or a fleece one for cold weather camping.  


An optional bit of home comfort. If you bring one, please make sure it’s packed in a bag - otherwise it'll end up wet and cold.  (Self-inflating travel pillows or a rolled up jumper or fleece work just as well and take up less room.)


A camp blanket can go on top of your roll mat for a bit more comfort, on top of your sleeping bag for extra warmth or be worn in the evenings round the fire.  (It’s also a way to show off your old badges once they’ve come off your uniform.)

If we’re sleeping in hammocks a large blanket folded in half or thirds is better than a roll mat to line the bottom of your hammock as it wraps around you more easily.


You don’t have to bring proper pyjamas – a light tracksuit/set of thermals/or shorts & t-shirt are all just as good, depending on the weather and whether you’re a hot or cold sleeper.  The objective is to have separate set of (dry) clothes to wear at night – something warm and comfortable. 

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