This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
If you have plenty of transportation and don't take a canvas-cot, take a cotton or wool mattress. It need not be more than two feet wide and three inches thick. The weight is insignificant. The only question is that of bulk, and if you can take it along it will go a long way toward shortening the nights. As a substitute for this and the cot, carry an empty bed-tick. It weighs only a couple of pounds, and you will often find chances to fill it with straw, hay, or even with green grass, weeds or browse, any of which are better than nothing.
One way to provide for a comfortable night's rest, in extremely cold weather, is to build a big log-fire, let it burn several hours, then move it away and make your bed where the fire was. The earth is thoroughly heated, and by covering up the site and preventing-in a measure, at least-the escape of the heat, the ground will keep warm all night, and you may sleep as comfortably as it in a feather-bed at home.
A good soft pillow is also essential to a good night's rest. It costs but a trifle, weighs about the same, and takes up but little room. It may be loaded with corn-shucks or goosehair, the latter being generally preferable. If, however, you are traveling with a small pack-train, where every inch and every ounce of weight must be carefully considered, a good substitute for a civilized pillow is made by placing a couple of suits of underwear in a flour-sack. They should be folded carefully and laid in smooth, so that there may be no lumps or wrinkles, and in this way they make a very fair pillow for a tired man. When it becomes necessary to wear them, you wash your others and put them in the bag in place of those you have taken out.
The rubber pillow cannot be recommended. It is not so bulky as a feather-pillow, it is true, but is fully as heavy and not so comfortable to sleep on.
A rubber blanket is a good thing to have along to spread on the ground under your bed, if you do not use a cot, or to spread over your cot if you have one. It prevents dampness and cold from coming from the ground into your bed. It will also be found useful to roll your bedding in while traveling, to protect it from rain and dust.
Two or three sheets of water-proof canvas, each four feet wide and eight feet long, are useful in camp for various purposes. One of them should be over your bed. It is good protection against cold winds and against rain, if you have to camp without a tent, as is sometimes necessary. Others are useful for covering up saddles and other property in camp, and to spread over the packs while traveling. When thus used they are called manteaus.
For winter-camping, in cold climates, a buffalo robe is useful, but under any other circumstances, is an unnecessary incumbrance.
If you have not a canvas-cot or a mattress, always procure pine, hemlock, fir or cedar boughs for a foundation for your bed, if in a country where they can be had. If not, then brush of almost any kind is better than the hard ground. If none of these can be had, get hay, straw, rushes, grass, or even weeds-anything that will have some elasticity and relieve the solid monotony of mother earth. Remember that a good bed makes a short night, and vice versa. You had better work until ten o'clock at night in making your bed, than turn into a hard one at dark, and then groan with tired joints from midnight until daylight.
Some hunters condemn boughs as useless, and say they soon pack and become as hard as the ground itself. This is because they don't put down enough of them. Always lay them from a foot to two feet deep, and be careful to have no large limbs among them. In this way you will have a bed that will give with every movement of the body and that will remain soft all night-or a dozen nights in succession, for that matter.
The first and most important article in this line is the tent. The size and style of this must of course depend, in a great measure, on the number of persons to occupy it and the kind and quantity of transportation with which the party is to be provided. If four men are going together and have a wagon, or a large boat, and no portages to make, or if they are to travel with packs and have plenty of them, then a wall-tent eight by ten, or ten by twelve feet, may be taken. In making up for the pack or boat outfit, the tent-poles should be jointed, the various joints being not more than three feet long. This is done by means of wrought iron strap-hinges screwed to one side of the pole, and two staples or strap-iron loops, one above and one below the cut, on the opposite side from the hinge, with a half-inch round iron pin passing through both. For a larger party of course a larger sized tent is necessary, and where it is possible to carry it, a Sibley tent, such as is now used by the United States army, is an excellent thing. But better than either is a round tent, after the style of the Indian teepee. The one that I have used on several trips is eight feet in diameter on the ground, and eight feet high, tapered nearly to a point at the top, and having an opening there eighteen inches in diameter. One cf the seams is split from the ground four feet upward, has flaps on either side, and strings attached with which to loop it up. This forms a door. The tent has loops at intervals of two feet all around the bottom, and a half-inch rope is rove into the edge of the canvas around the top-opening. It is made of a light-weight, firmly woven drilling, weighs only eight pounds, affords ample sleeping-room for two men, and storage room for their baggage. It is mounted on four or six poles (the latter number is best) eleven feet long, which are cut wherever night overtakes us. These are tied together six inches from the top-end, the ends are slipped through the top-opening of the tent; they are then set up, and the lower ends are spread so as to form a perfect square, if there be but four poles, or a hexagon if there be six. The tent is now pinned down tightly and is ready to live in. Jointed poles may be carried for this tent also; if so, there should be but three of them. These should be made fifteen feet long and in five pieces. They should in that case be made of heavy bamboo and jointed with strong brass ferrules, the same as are used for heavy bamboo fishing rods. They may then be placed outside of the tent and erected in the form of a tripod, the tent afterward being suspended to them by ropes attached to the small rope which encircles the opening in the top of the tent.