My bivi kit part 1. Sleeping bags and mattress’s

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A mate has asked me, what sleeping bags and mats do I use. Plus several others have shown interest in what kit I use.

Now I’m no expert and my gear is where it is, is mainly by trail and error, but I think it is now perfect for me. Until someone else brings out the next must have bit of kit 😉

So, Part 1 is to answer this question about my choice of Sleeping bags and mattress’s.

After several years of poor nights sleep I have come to except that I don’t sleep at all well in sleeping bags, I don’t like the cramped and trapped in feeling that I get when zipped inside.

I have found that quilts suit me better, not quilts like you have on your bed or can buy wide and flat ones just for camping, but quilts that look like this.


They are simply a backless and hoodless sleeping bags.

Why backless? Because when you lay in the sleeping bag the lower part including the insulation that is underneath you gets crushed completely flat, so this part is not necessary.

Why Hoodless? If you move around a lot in the night while you sleep like I do, the hood of a sleeping bag won’t move around with your head/face and you end up with your face inside the bag at times which also makes me feel restricted.

The solution to these problems foe me is to sleep in my Quilt with a down hooded jacket, so that when I twist and turn the hood turns with me, in spring and autumn a woolly hat does the job.

I have a 250 Cumulus quilt for the summer and a 450 Cumulus quilt for the winter now.

Cumulus quilt info here Please note they are not available off the shelf here in the UK because the importer doesn’t believe that they will sell enough to makeit worth getting them in, so use google and Europe outdoor shops are your only option at the moment. Other manufacturers of quilts like this are out there as well.


My Mattress’s

Summer I use an original Thermorest Neoair as shown below


This exact rectangular model is no longer available so I believe, as the newer ones are tapered and lighter nowadays

Winter I use a Exped Downmat lite 5 LW L = Long W = Wide.

The summer Neoair is a little narrow and when I sleep on my back my elbows fall off the side of the mattress waking me up at times, so the Winter mattress had to be a wider one for a better night’s sleep. I didn’t need a long model but they don’t to a Medium Wide model.

And finally another reason that I prefer using a quilt (as you will see in the very top photo) is that the Cumulus ones come with 2 long elasticated cords that wrap around and underneath the mattresses, ensuring the quilt stays perfectly in place leading to hopefully a perfect nights sleep. When warm it is much easier to cool down in a quilt than a zipped in sleeping bag, plus getting in and out is easier I find.

Part 2, to follow. but what would you like it to be about?


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