Camping is a good way to experience the great outdoors. Camping vacations can give kids a lifetime of memories and a healthy respect for nature. One of the roughest things about roughing it is getting a good nights sleep if you through your sleeping bag directly on the bottom of the tent. Depending on how you get to the camp site you will have a couple different options for sleeping pads. If you hike in to a remote camp site you probably wont want to use much more than just a sleeping bag, and maybe a light self-inflating pad.
- Sleeping bag - lightest, simplest option but wont really cushion the sleeper much from the ground
- Self-inflating pad - these are nice in that they will give you an inch or two of cushion yet are light weight and don't take up much room in packing.
- Foam pad - similar to a self-inflating pad but it may not roll up quite as small as a self-inflating pad. There are several different options for the foam and thicker pads will offer more cushioning
Air mattress - when it's deflated it won't be much bigger than the previous options, but it will probably be heavier than either of those options. An air mattress is a close representation of a bed, but if the air in it gets cold at night it will often seem to loose air overnight and you'll be sleeping on the ground.
Folding cot - these are nice because they will get you up off the ground leaving some room for other equipment. You wont be able to fit as many cots in a tent as you can sleeping bags unless you have a straight walled tent.
- Folding cot with mattress is a combination of a folding cot and foam pad or inflatable mattress. They have ones with the inflatable mattress attached to the frame but if the mattress breaks the whole thing will be useless, so look for an option that has a cot and mattress as two separate pieces. This will probably give you the closest nights sleep to your bed at home.