Beauty! Sleep…
  |  First Published: December 2002

Beauty! Sleep…

Camping is an enjoyable way to while away the hours but at the end of the day we all need a good night’s sleep.

During a recent camping trip to the Central West Queensland we had to use a sledgehammer to drive the tent pegs into the rock-hard ground. But when we packed up, the underside of our airbed, the tent and the ground sheet were really wet. This means that moisture from below the surface was gradually rising and we were sleeping in a damp environment.

We decided it was time to investigate just what is available in camp beds. There have been many and varied forms of beds on the market for just as many years, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that one company has finally realised that not all of us like sleeping on the floor.

Many moons ago, when I was a Brownie leader, we would take the girls camping and one of the first items they had to have was a camp stretcher. These were made from canvas and, with a sleeping bag, provided reasonable comfort. There are now several styles of stretchers available, from the very basic to ones that are spring-loaded so that there is less sagging.

There is also a double bed-sized stretcher, which can be used with a twin sleeping bag or a foam mattress. Either way, it should be comfortable enough for a good night’s sleep. Most of these stretchers are only a few centimetres off the floor and can be bulky to pack.

In recent times Sportiva and Oz Trail have produced a new range of collapsible camping equipment ranging from tables and chairs to beds.

They firstly introduced the Leisure bed. This stretcher-style bed comes in its own carry bag, much the same as the lightweight folding chairs, and weighs only 8kg. The legs concertina together and extend to provide a large single bed surface on top of which you can add a sleeping bag.

Oz Trail has now released another range of beds. What you might call the Rolls Royce of stretchers. The single bed is a modified version of the Leisure bed, but also comes with its own airbed for the mattress. The new bed is higher, at 45cm, than the normal stretcher, meaning you no longer need to bend down to go to bed. The single bed weighs only 12kg, including the airbed.

For those of us who really like some comfort, there is a queen-size version 198cm long, 149cm wide and 71cm high –the same height as your bed at home. It comes in a carry case on wheels.

Setting up the bed is easy. Take the framing from the bag and stretch it out and the base is done. Blow up the airbed and slide it between the frame and the top cover, then zip up the end – it’s that easy. This new bed really is so comfortable there will be no more aching backs in our camp.

All the Oz Trail beds are made from Featherweight Steel frames with corner telescopic uprights for extra support and UV-resistant woven polyester 600 Denier fabric. The airbed comes with large and small valves.

At a recent fishing and camping expo, our local Camping Country Superstore had a stand featuring the new beds. Staff member Steve had to leave the stand set up all night, so he slept over. You can guess where – on the new queen-size instant bed.

These beds are not only great for camping. Because they are so compact, they can be stored in the linen cupboard and used for extra beds when friends stay over. No more dragging sofa beds around the room, just extend the frame and blow up the mattress.

My handy hint for making up the bed is to purchase a packet of sheet grippers from the local $2 Shop to hold the sheets in place around the corners. I guess this bed just has to be another piece of essential camping gear that from now on. Is part of our kit and we sure wont be sleeping on the floor again!

All the camping equipment used for this article comes from Camping Country Superstore at Belmont. Bruce and Narelle and their staff are always happy to help out, so call in if you need anything.



The original style of camp stretcher. They are still available at a budget price.


A double-bed stretcher with foam mattress is quite comfortable but very bulky to transport.


The new generation of camp beds: This double comes in the bag and weighs 16kg. Extend the frame and you’re ready for the mattress.


All assembled in a matter of seconds. Add the linen, or sleeping bag of your choice, for the best night’s sleep outdoors you could imagine.

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