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The evolution of my sleeping systems

Here I have my first photographed sleep system combination, one which I actually researched and choose, and one time thought was the bees-knees. It consists of a Klymit Static V Insulated sleeping mat, Snugpak Softie 9 Hawk sleeping bag and Thermarest Compressible pillow all inside a Jack Wolfskin Gossamer 1 tent. Of the four items, I still use the tent and pillow (occasionally) but not the mat although I kept it as a backup and the sleeping bag is sold:

Another combination again in the Jack Wolfskin tent with Snugpak sleeping bag, only this time I’ve got a Nemo Fillo Pillow and a Sea To Summit Ultralight Insulated sleeping mat. I’ve since sold the sleeping mat and the pillow was picked apart for its more desirable parts:

Now a combination inside my Luxe Hexpeak tent, again with the since-sold Sea to Summit sleeping mat. I am trying the Trekology Aluft 2 pillow and the Paria Thermodown quilt, which is a lot warmer than the Snugpak sleeping bag and became my favourite for a year. Under the sleeping mat I have another foam mat to boost warmth as I was finding it too cold. I still own the Trekology pillow and Paria Thermodown however neither are used and I’m considering the sale of both:

In this tent, Wild Country Helm 2 Compact, I’m using my current, go-to sleeping mat, Thermarest Neoair All Season, Thermarest compressible pillow and Paria Thermodown quilt. Its a very green set up! Of this system, which is warm, cosy and spacious, and ideal for long-term set ups, the only remaining item of gear that I use today is the Thermarest Neoair. The Helm 2 will be moved along also, as I am not into weighty two-person tents for a solo adventure and it is too small for sharing with anybody else:

Here is the often used, Robens Arrowhead 1 person tent. I love the colour of this tent, the weight, tunnel design and compactness of pitch are also wins. However it is no good in the wind and I’ve been in two minds about keeping it for a while. I’m sleeping with the usual mat, quilt and pillow. I’m beginning to find the pillow a little high for back sleeping so on the hunt for a new one:

I’ve made a drastic change to my set up here as I’ve discovered the beauty of being closer to nature using a bivy – I find a normal pitching tent can seal me off from it. The Luxe Hexpeak is being used as a tarp-style shelter with my Neoair sleeping mat, a new handmade quilt and a pillow which is a combination of the Nemo Fillo an the Aluft 2 by Trekology – ‘Combo Pillo’. This is all tucked inside an army surplus bivy bag that I am getting to know, just visible underneath the mat:

Here I’ve gone bivy mad and trying out the Assault Bivy by the North Face. It was supposed to be the ultimate bivy, with a zip and mesh option to seal off every element and insect around theoretically making it perfect for every day of every season. I’d put in hours of research. Unfortunately it’s been sold already as the ventilation was appalling and the mesh unfortunately did not block out midges! Inside it I used the Neoair mat, handmade quilt and Combo Pillo:

I’m now into a more reliable style of bivvy – the army issue Goretex which is very breathable – and I’ve also figured out that its possible to use my Paria quilt inside of it without the need to have the sleeping pad in there to strap it to – because it just wasn’t working with everything in there… No space for me. The pillow here, my previously winning Combo Pillo, is now superseded. Neoair sleeping mat and underneath for it’s protection is a cheap foil backed foam mat folded in two. I found the foil to be a bit slippery and not really using it anymore:

This is my latest winter combination: a lighter-weight bivvy, SOL Escape, a very warm and cosy winter sleeping bag, Rab Ascent 900 and Neoair mat. The polythene groundsheet is rather heavy but grippier and very tear resistant. Perfect for hanging about in the tent. Featured in my current set up but not seen in the picture is my new pillow, Thermarest stuff sack pillow. The Hexpeak fly is one of my favourite as it gives ultimate protection and space for a minimal pack size and weight:

Now an update of my current 3 season system, one that I’m pretty happy with. The tent is the outer Hexpeak and of course the mat is my usual Thermarest Neoair. The new things here are a photograph of my pillow in action (Thermarest stuff pillow) and the groundsheet which is an ultralight sheet of tyvek (55g or something like that. It is possible to get lighter weight but literally you’re saving 11g on it and sacrificing protection). Hardy stuff although it does let the water through if I sit or kneel on it. But for summer this will be the bomb.


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