R&R 101: The paradox of sleeping under the stars

IMG_7505How is it civilization puts people in space, travels the depths of the ocean, cures disease and yet, finding an air mattress that doesn’t leave you wrestling with roots at 5 a.m. is a rarity.

If it’s glamping you desire, you must get off the ground. And if you’re not glamping in a pop-up trailer with toasty heated mattresses, here’s some tips from the best camper I know, my Dad:

Queen blow-up: “Being a loving couple, we decided on a Queen blow-up bed for warmth. Unfortunately, all movement is shared and if one person awakes in the night, it wakens the other and strains the marriage,” says seasoned camper Gord Fendley.

Twin cots: “Our second try was individual brand name cots with a blow-up mattress, Egyptian cotton sheets and wool blankets. It made for tight space, being bulky to transport and store. And overall it’s more costly,” says Fendley.

Scott, a local camper and Mountain Equipment Co-op employee, says blankets alone are ineffective in Maritime Spring and Fall, “there’s no real technical material to hold in the heat.” He recommends choosing bedding with cellular foam, something that retains warmth.

Single, thick air mattress
Single, thick air mattress

Single, thick mattresses: “Our final choice was ‘single’ mattresses, bed height (good and thick) with sheets and blankets, as we’re not fans of sleeping bags … these stayed inflated well, needing top-up only after three-to-four days.” says Fendley.

Glamping disclosure: While Fendley has more than 20 years tenting experience, he currently enjoys his tent trailer with heated foam king and queen mattresses and gas furnace.


1. Don’t skimp on an air mattress and go with a name brand.

2. The thicker the mattress, the slower the deflate.

3. Air mattresses are designed for sleeping, not bouncing. Handle with care and pack a puncture kit.

4. Prefer a camp mattress or cot, there are plenty of light-weight versions on the market. Search camping experts like MEC and L.L. BEAN, see what’s available at varying prices and then do a price comparison search to ensure you get the best deal.

5. Camping sale season has arrived and now is a great time to source camp beds, air mattresses and otherwise costly camping investments. Try Canadian Tire, Walmart or Target. MEC staff are knowledgeable and offer great advice for sleeping in the great outdoors.

This is an excerpt taken from the fourth in a six-part series about camping in style.

Happy Glamping!

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