During your emergency, you may need to sleep somewhere other
than your own comfortable bed. Having proper equipment to
do so can make this experience much safer. Below are some ideas
Air Mattress -
This can add a lot to your comfort level as well as help you
keep dry. There are several variations of air mattresses, from
a simple swimming pool raft for a single person all the way up
to a king size, raised air bed. One disadvantage of an air
mattress is that the air inside the mattress will not insulate
as well as with a foam pad, thus you can get cold. A helpful
solution is to place a wool blanket between the person and the
Store the kinds that you will need and that you can support.
For example, if you have no means to inflate a huge air
mattress, store one that is within your ability to inflate.
Be sure to store an air mattress repair kit.
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Blanket - This
is a must for those who live in the snow country. Even though
heat rises, you still need to put a blanket (preferably
wool) between you and the ground. Hopefully there will be at
least a ground cloth beneath the blanket and a tent floor
beneath the ground cloth.
In very cold weather you will want to put a blanket
(preferably wool) inside your sleeping bag with you.
In extremely cold weather, you may want to add one more
blanket (preferably wool) over the top of the sleeping bag.
Cot - If you
have the means to carry it, a cot can be very handy. It will
keep you way off the ground and you should not have any rocks
or roots bugging you all night long. Cots come in various
sizes, even for pretty large people.
Ground Cloth -
This is used to keep your sleeping bag from absorbing moisture
from the ground. It can be a tarp, or a sheet of plastic. If
you are sleeping where the ground cloth could be exposed to
falling moisture (as in a lean-to), be sure to tuck it in
under the sleeping bag so it will not collect the falling
moisture and redirect it to your sleeping bag.
Liner - There
are several types of liners that you could use inside your
- Blankets - Wool, poly, cotton or rubberized all work
well inside the sleeping bag.
Fleece - A Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner
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Soft to the
- Sheets - These are washable and they can keep you cool
in the summer.
- Sweatshirts - Yes, if you want to keep your sweatshirt
warm and dry overnight, just throw it inside your sleeping
bag and loosely wrap your feet in it.
- Towels - See Sweatshirts above.
Netting - If you get caught outdoors during
mosquito season, this can help, especially if you need to sleep
outdoors. Mosquitoes are not just a nuisance, they can be
deadly. And the ones that carry West Nile Virus don't come out
until after dark. This netting is lightweight,
inexpensive and stores well. Get some.
To see some Mosquito Netting solutions, click these
Pad - There
are two major kinds of foam pads for sleeping, closed-cell and
open-cell foam pads.
A closed-cell pad consists of a piece of foam covered
with a waterproof covering such as tough fabric, plastic
or Naugahyde. This is the better pad because the foam is not as
likely to get wet. Also, the foam is less likely to become
soiled or to be peeled or broken off, thus becoming
Because the foam is covered, it traps air inside in tiny
pockets of foam. As your body warms those pockets of
air, this has a warming effect on the sleeping system.
Closed-cell foam pads tend to weigh more than their
An open-cell foam pad consists of raw foam with no
waterproof covering. It is more susceptible to becoming
wet, solied or torn. Also, if a child were to wet the bed,
this kind of pad would soak it all in instead of allowing it to
roll off, away from the sleeping bag. One advantage is that
they are lighter than closed-cell foam pads. However, they do
not insulate nearly as well as a closed-cell pad.
Pump - Make
sure you have the correct pump for the kind of air mattresses
that you will store. If it needs batteries, store that size
battery. If it needs AC power, think again because that may not
be available. Some pumps have batteries that can also be
charged with AC power.
Rubberized Blanket - There are
rubberized blankets that are used in cribs that may have a good
use for the same purpose in a sleeping bag - to keep things
dry. If you use one at home, you might store one for later.
Sleeping Bag -
There are store-bought and homemade versions of sleeping bags
and they all can work for you. Below are some important things
to look for in a Sleeping Bag:
- Water resistant exterior - You don't want to let
moisture inside the bag to where you will be sleeping.
- Warm fill - There are poly fills that will keep you
warm, but not as warm as down will. Make sure your bag is
rated to at least the temperatures that you could expect
during an emergency.
- Zipper - If your bag has a zipper, make sure it is
working, before you need it.
- Sheet - It is a good idea to put a sheet inside your
bag when you use it. This will help you stay cooler in
summer. It will also keep the bag from becoming soiled. It
is much easier to wash a sheet than it is to wash an entire
sleeping bag and the drying times are extremely
- For young children, consider getting washable sleeping