With our new hiking backpack in hand we need to turn our thoughts to our sleep system. A good night sleep at camp goes a long way to having happy Cubs while camping. The sleep system at the Cub level is made of of two pieces of gear. The sleeping pad and the sleeping bag.
A sleeping pad or mat is an essential for a comfortable night sleep. There are 2 main styles of sleeping pad which work well for cub camps. They are closed cell foam pads and backpacking style inflatable mattresses. Closed cell foam pads are warm and comfortable and roll up to strap onto the bottom of packs. They are durable, and stand up to punishment, they deploy fast (you just have to unroll them) and are economical.
If your cub needs an extra bit of padding you can consider a backpacking style inflatable mattress. Note I said BACKPACKING style. Do not send your Cub with your Coleman double high queen mattress, they will not have the space or the ability to inflate it. Backpacking Inflatable mattresses are designed to be light and compact. They either come with a compact pump inflator or are designed to be inflated by your breath. If you go this route please make sure your Cub can inflate the mattress on his/her own, There are some self inflating mattresses out there as an option. Inflatable mattresses are expensive, require more skill and knowledge to deploy, they can fail in the field requiring repair which you cub will likely not be able to perform.
Although inflatable pads are an option, we recommend close cell foam pads at the cub age and level of skill / experience.
Sleeping bags come in a variety of material from down fill to synthetic. Straight cut to mummy cut. All of this is personal preference and what your budget will allow. The one requirement that we have is that your sleeping back needs to either fit in, or be lashed to your pack and that it is rated to at a minimum 0 degrees Celsius.
An optional but nice to have sleeping bag add on is a sleeping bag liner. This can add extra insulation to the sleeping bag allowing it to be used in colder weather but it also protects the bag from sweat and body oils. The liner can be removed and washed a lot easier then washing and drying the whole sleeping bag.