Since I’ve turned 40 sleeping on the ground has lost a bit of its mystique. When I was in my 20’s I used to pride myself on minimalist camping methods which meant I slept on a thin, short thermarest pad. The thing was designed to roll up into almost nothing…perfect for stuffing into the back of a kayak on some gnarly multi-day class V river in the high Sierra’s.
But I have evolved I suppose, into more of a wuss. I still do hard rivers in my kayak, but more often than not, I’m sitting in the front of our family raft as my beautiful wife rows me down the undulating rapids of the Rogue river.
So, I decided to upgrade to a more human sleeping platform. Something soft, something looking a lot like a bed.
I got a nice large comfortable sleeping pad. That went very well for a number of years. It was worth the extra weight and the incredible bulk of the thing would fit into a dry bag, as long as there was nothing else in it.
But we’re rafting. It’s like RVing, or car camping; you can bring whatever you want as long as it doesn’t sink the boat. It’s hard to sink a 15 foot inflatable raft.
But this river season something new happened which forever changed my river sleeping habits. My wife bought us both camping cots for Father’s day (I don’t know why she got one too, best not to ask).
when I first saw the thing, I was apprehensive, I mean a thick pad is one thing but a cot seems like an extravagance only for Kings.
I set it up on our driveway and was impressed with how easy it was. I remember an old Army cot someone tried to sell me… you needed an engineering degree from MIT to make it work.
This new camping cot was slick. I walked around it admiring its slim features and tight fabric over rounded metal alloy. I laid down on it…Wow! This thing is comfortable even without a pad. That was my next question: do I need a pad? Hell, were rafting why not.
I was picturing myself sleeping on a river bank anywhere I wanted. I wouldn’t need to flatten out a sandy spot, digging my bed like a dog. I could lay this baby anywhere, level the legs out with ease. I pictured myself almost in the river, away from crawling bugs and clouds of mosqitos. Hmm this thing might just work.
My first river trip with my new camping cot was on the Rogue. It was heavenly. Super comfortable, I never slept better on a river trip.
Another amazing discovery; I realized I could sit on the side of the cot to take my sandals on and off. I wasn’t on the ground, I was in a sitting position. Comfortably sitting there getting ready for bed.
I could even stow my sandals and clothes under the cot and not worry about them getting wet from dew. Can you tell, I’m in love with my cot? I am, madly and deeply in love.
Sure they require a whole dry bag just for themselves and sure they’re damned heavy, but will I ever do another raft trip without my cot…hell no!