When you go a-Camping, make yourself as comfortable as you can. It is neither heroic nor sensible to put peas in your boots to mortify the flesh. There is no comfort in toting a lot of baggage over bad trails, but when there is a wagon to carry folding cots and camp chairs, take them along.
Pack your provisions, and some of the other things, in boxes that will serve for cupboards and cold-storage in camp. Put some ready-cut shelf boards in them, and leather for hinges. Make sure before hand that you can get enough lumber at your destination to make a dining table and benches.
Straw beds on the ground soon get fusty, and they attract vermin. Fixed bunks in a tent harbor dirt and dampness.
For a bed in fixed camp, or wherever transportation is adequate, choose a folding cot. It is easy to keep presentable. It makes a comfortable lounge or settee, as well as a good bed. It can be picked up bodily and carried out every morning to sun and air, leaving the tent floor free for sweeping.
Wire-bottomed cots are too cumbersome for general Camping. Canvas stretcher-beds with frames that fold compactly are the right things. I have chosen four models for illustration.
in. 17 lbs.
29 x 8 x 4
in. 17 lbs.
34 x 7 x 5
in. 15 lbs.
38 x 6 x 6
in. 20 lbs.
Fig. 20. Narrow Cot.
Fig. 21. Compact Cot.
Fig. 22. Telescoping Cot.
Fig. 23. Cot with Mosquito Screen.
The first and fourth of these cots differ only in size and weight. The second folds so compactly that it can be stowed in a short chest or steamer trunk. The third opens like a lazy-tongs, can be set up in less than a minute, and is unusually high and roomy for its weight.
The wider the cot, the more comfortable it will be, especially in cold weather. On a very narrow cot the sleeper's body raises the covering free from the bed on both sides, leaving gaps through which cold air draws upward between mattress and blanket, chilling the sleeper, no matter how much covering he may pile on. Sleeping-bags obviate this.
The cotton pad mattresses made for camp cots are needlessly bulky and heavy, hard to lie on, and hard to keep dry in the moist forest air. Much better is a folded comforter stuffed with wool instead of cotton. It can be kept dry and sweet by hanging it out in the sun like a blanket. Wool stays fluffy and springy, but cotton batting mats down and gets lumpy, besides retaining moisture.
To be secure against insect pests is as essential to peace and comfort in camp as a dry roof overhead, if not more so.
If the tent itself is not thoroughly screened against flies and mosquitoes, then by all means get from the outfitter a cot frame and netting (Fig. 23), or, as a makeshift, rig for yourself a pyramidal head-screen of netting or cheesecloth, to be hung by a string above the bed, with the edges of three sides tucked under the mattress after you turn in.