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Help! Soliciting camp bed ideas

I need some ideas, and I figured the readership here might just be able to help me.  Let me lay out the problem for you.


A long time ago and far away, back when we camped on the portion of Runestone field that is now deemed to be too steep to camp on, I slept in a sleeping bag on a piece of eggcrate foam.  My back (and all the rest of me) was younger then.

When the eggcrate wasn't really getting the job done any longer, we graduated to an air mattress.  That was fantastic for years.  The problem comes when you put two people on an air mattress - like a worn out innerspring, you all end up in a declivity in the middle.  That's fine at War of the Roses, but at Pennsic I don't want the heat-generating furnace that I married radiating heat any closer to me than necessary.  In order to maintain a civil distance for air to circulate with two people on an air mattress, it's a fair bit of work all night.  I was waking up with my back out, and not from anything fun.  Or I wasn't sleeping because I was about to die from the heat coming off of my husband.

After the air mattress (which at this point in the narrative was living in a lovely break-down bed frame from Panther,) we tried a double thickness of memory foam mattress toppers.  That is actually quite comfy.  I could do with a bit more padding (one more layer would probably be perfect,) but it's comfy, it's not rolling me into the middle or out of bed, and I can sleep (or at least as much as I do in the Pennsic heat.)  Where they fail is transportation/storage.  Those mucking things are huge.  I've been storing them in PA for the last, oh, six years or so, and so far they've done alright.  However, I'm perpetually expecting to find them either mouse-chewed or too musty to stand.  I'm beginning to be a little skeeved out just by the thought.

So - what are people sleeping on?  I've got a few parameters:

*  Queen sized bed.  I love my bed, I'm not giving it up;
*  If it stores, I'm trying to get away from the "ewwwww - that's musty/buggy/mouse-chewed" feeling;
*  If it travels, it needs to become compact enough that it fits in the Jeep/trailer and then stores at home;
*  I like to sleep on my side, so it needs to be cushy enough that my shoulder and hip don't dig in.

Do I just give air mattresses another try?  I've noticed that since going on the newest medication I don't appear to be *as* heat sensitive, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to start sleeping well at Pennsic (I still think there must be a way to run a small air conditioning unit off a solar panel...)  The nice thing about air mattresses is that they're small when deflated.

Anyone have any ideas?



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
Will two twin air mattresses fit in/on the queen bed frame? In would be preferable as then they wouldn't slide apart. You could still use queen size sheets -- a fitted sheet would help keep them together.

No sag in the middle -- you each get your own sag.

I have a futon that lives in storage. So far it's been fine. *crosses fingers*
Jul. 23rd, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
I think she'd need 2 cot sized air mattresses, 2 twins would come out being king sized not queen sized.
Jul. 23rd, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
The math of American mattress sizes is still foreign to me after all these years :)
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:29 pm (UTC)
The math of American mattress sizes is still foreign to ME!
Jul. 26th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:39 pm (UTC)
You haven't had any issues with the futon and the humidity? Honestly, mold is my biggest concern - much moreso than mice. Jim keeps that place ship-shape, but he can't (as yet) control the atmospherics. That's one reason why I didn't just go with a futon myself. The other one being getting it out there.

How do you store it? Rolled? Flat? Wrapped? Hermatically sealed in plastic?
Jul. 23rd, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
rope bed
Hawkyns has a good plan for one, and either an air mattress or a stuffed straw tick atop works very well. If you have allergy issues, buy a king sized "hypo-allergenic" mattress cover and encase the tick in that.

Worked for me!
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:31 pm (UTC)
Re: rope bed
I've looked at the straw tick option in the past, and it's just a bit more hassle (acquisition and disposal) than I currently want to deal with.
Jul. 24th, 2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
in that case
Rope bed with heavy blanket atop the ropes and air mattress.

I'm all in favor of a rope bed.
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:25 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the answer is that you have a good system, but the storing could be improved upon? Doing a quick Google search, I've found cheesecloth sachets from dry cayenne, mint, and whole cloves to Bounce dryer sheets repel mice (and maybe mothballs nearby for good measure). That with a vinyl mattress cover and some plastic sheeting to keep them dry? I just know from our own camping experiences how much of a pain in the ass hauling foam toppers can be (yeah, we need them, too), and it would be a shame if you couldn't take full advantage of your storage solution.

Jul. 24th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
They do take up a lot of space in the vehicle when we're hauling them in from storage, so the idea of something that packs up smaller is hugely attractive.

I haven't plastic wrapped them, because I've worried that in the humidity I'll end up with condensation on the inside, and that's one short step from mold. Intellectually I understand that they probably get bone dry for a significant portion of the year, but I only see them in August when everything is just... damp.

I hadn't thought about sachets, or even cedar. That has both practical and aesthetic appeal. Assuming that we again find everything okay in the storage unit, I think I'll give that a try for this year!

I'll also say that I'm really only worried about mice in a very conceptual way - Jim runs a nice tight ship at his storage area.
Jul. 24th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
We have always wrapped all our mattresses in heavy plastic sheeting every year before leaving Pennsic and have never had a problem, no mice, no mold. We also store the bedding on the top shelf of our shelving units. We have used a futon but have switched to folding twin sized pads like these: http://www.amazon.com/Shikibuton-Trifold-density-resilient-Folding/dp/B004107WB0/ref=pd_sim_hg_1 set on 2 twin bedframes, with a memory foam topper in each. Remember that Jim is happy to open up our units to air if we've put our things away damp and that our units get full sun for a good bit of the day so dampness in the unit really isn't too much of an issue.
Jul. 24th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
The toppers are too floppy to get up on our top shelves without it becoming a keystone kops routine - and at that point in the week I have no sense of humor. I do have them up off the floor on trestles, so they get good air circulation.

I've seen those folding pads, and always liked the looks of them - I need to investigate that concept further.

I hadn't thought about how our units get full sun - that makes a good bit of difference. Of course Jim will air things for us - he's fantastic.

Now, if only we could get a guard rail for that drop off...
Jul. 24th, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
We roll the toppers up and cover them in plastic just like we did the futon so as to dissuade any mice. To be honest tho, we only once had a mouse problem and that was with an item stored on the bottom shelf. Anythings we've put up higher have not been bothered.
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
As far as I've been able to tell, we've never had a mouse in the unit - but I do put anything tempting up high.
Jul. 25th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
We have a full sized bed (the only thing that fits in between the uprights. Full sized air mattresses are hard to find and still a little big. I declared that I was tired of climbing up the air mattress to get out of bed at night. So, I made a cheap tick-the size of my full at home and when Pennsic is over, will just toss the whole thing. Therefore, you don't have to put the straw in trash bags. Charles has been doing this for years. Rod is already at Pennsic, but on an air mattress because the straw hasn't come in yet. Like you, my body will not allow my to sleep on the ground.
Hazards of getting older! Good luck!
Jul. 26th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
Last time we went, we picked up two king-sized camp cots and put them next to each other. Worked great except for the inevitable one cold-as-hell night.
But looks about as un-medieval as you imagine.

Edited at 2012-07-26 12:05 am (UTC)
Jul. 26th, 2012 01:08 am (UTC)
I have a lovely, authentic looking platform bed. I'm just looking for something that fits in the bed box.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )