Ultimate Base Camp: Five cool sleep essentials for your mountain bike camp kit

Get warm, cozy and comfortable with these sleep basics

Gear Travel

UBC Treeline Cover

This article is part of Mtbr’s Ultimate Base Camp feature. See all the stories in this special section here.

Treeline Outdoors Slumberjack convertible two-person sleeping bag

Canada-based Treeline Outdoors takes car camping seriously–and literally. The upstart new company’s signature car-top tent is actually a great basecamp shelter in-and-of itself, but with our GO trailer already hitched, we focused on their warm and versatile Slumberjack sleeping bag instead.

This zero-degree-rated, synthetic-fill bag consists of two halves that zip together to make a two-person bag, or detach into a pair of single bags. The larger bottom side has a clever, zip-able pillow pocket, while the top side features a small zip pocket for close-at-hand items like earplugs, facial tissue, or–if you must–a cell phone.

UBC Treeline Slumberjack Double UBC Treeline Slumberjack Singles

The Slumberjack’s convertible design complimented the GO well–great for a couple sleeping together in big bed mode, as well as separates for buddies on the outside bunks. In either configuration, an integrated zipper dam keeps drafts out, while the soft, plaid flannel lining ups the warm-and-cozy factor. A rugged canvas exterior with screen-printed pine trees completes the package.

UBC Treeline Slumberjack Details

The Slumberjack measures 82 x 64-inches in the double configuration and weighs in at 14 pounds. Packed in its included bag, the bag rolls up to 12 x 28-inches –$240.

More info: treelineoutdoors.com


UBC Woolrich Hickory Run CU

Woolrich Hickory Run and Fawn Grove blankets

While some of the gear shown here represents the latest-and-greatest in technology, there’s something to be said for the tried-and-true. When it comes to blankets, the truth doesn’t get any more absolute than Woolrich–a Pennsylvania-based mill that’s been weaving amazing textiles since 1830 when a rough-and-tumble Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson presided over the land.

And while Jackson’s nickname may or may not have inspired our blanket’s Hickory Run moniker, we found its attributes thankfully contrary to his ornery reputation. Combining a soft woven wool outer layer with a lamb’s fur-like berber fleece lining, the $160 made-in-the-USA cover-up provides heavenly warmth and soft comfort.

We liked the 50 x 68-inch blanket both around the campfire on cold evenings, as well in the tent as an add-on for sleeping comfort. While we relied on our sleeping bag most of the time, it was nice to have a good blanket on both warmer nights where the bag was too much, and on colder nights when we wanted a little more insulation.

UBC Woolrich Hickory Run On Bunk

Likewise, we found much to like about Woolrich’s single-layer $135 Fawn Grove 54 x 70-inch wool blanket. Sleeping in the GO is more like a bedroom arrangement than typical camping, and having this throw handy made for a wider range of temperature regulation.

More info: woolrich.com


UBC Poler Napsack

Poler Napsack

Perhaps the hippest outdoor brand to emerge in the last few years, Portland-based Poler takes camping basics and slathers on a liberal coating of their quirky “Camp Vibes” ethos to humorous but useful effect. And whether you find the results clever or gimmicky, they’ve undeniably compelled a device-addicted generation to unplug and get outside, which can only be a good thing.

Their wonderfully odd $130 Napsack became an instant hit around our camp for both its warming capabilities as well as its extracurricular uses. A strange would-be lovechild of a puffy jacket and the Snuggie, the wearable sleeping bag comes complete with hood, zip-able arm holes, and a drawstring bottom that can be left open for walking/hopping, or cinched shut for sleeping. It also includes a small zip pocket on the chest with passthrough port for headphone cords.

Rated to 50 degrees, the Napsack is warm enough for summer camping, though one of our more toss-and-turn prone test sleepers found it a little too restrictive and apt to tangle for a comfortable night’s rest. Less tumultuous sleepers had no such issues, and loved the ability to answer the call of nature without getting out of the bag. They simply opened the bottom, hiked it up, and did their duty before returning to sleep.

Better than for sleeping though, the ‘sack makes a great around-the-campfire full-body parka. If there’s more than one in camp, beware–you may find the allure of spirited sack races and Nacho Libre-style wrestling matches irresistible. You’ve been warned.

The Napsack includes a stuff sack and comes in medium (73-inches long) and large (77-inches long), and is available in orange, blue, green and black.

More info: polerstuff.com


UBC Toiletries

Dakine Travel Kit, REI Eye Mask, Ear Plugs and Contact Lens Case with Mirror

With a hook to hang it most anywhere and a convenient fold-out design, Dakine’s $25 Travel Kit keeps all your personal pills and potions well-organized and accessible. We found it especially useful for keeing our stuff accessible without having to dig in bags—something we’re doing constantly at camp. It’s also great for “regular” travel and includes a TSA-compatible removable see-through pouch.

If light sensitivity is an issue for you, REI’s Cushioned Eye Mask and Earplug Set comfortably keeps things dark, blocking out morning rays as well as the light from the ginormous bonfire your campground neighbors built. Though the $11 kit comes with earplugs, we found them uncomfortable and swapped them out for cheap foam ones from our local drugstore. While we were there we scored a contact lens case with a built-in mirror—a little thing, perhaps, but it beats having to use the car’s rear-view.

More info: dakine.com, rei.com


UBC Holmes Heater

Holmes Compact Ceramic Heater

You’re right–this thing is cheating. But who are we kidding? This whole article is about roughing it without the rough part. Though we only used it at RV parks with electrical hook-ups, the Holmes Compact Ceramic Heater was $25 well spent. At night, we turned the unit on just enough to warm the space enough to dissuade us from “procrastinating the pee,” ultimately making for a better night’s sleep.

In the morning, it knocked the chill out of things as we got up and about, allowing us to get our cold-weather clothes on before heading outside to make breakfast. While we probably used this thing less than 10 minutes a day, it removed that to-the-bone cold from the equation and got our mornings off to a good start.

Though we never felt close to the danger zone, we followed standoff recommendations for both the heater and tent material, and avoided leaving it on through the night. The 1500 watt, 5000 BTU heater features two heat levels and a fan-only mode, and comes with an overheat protection shutoff and a cool-touch exterior.

More info: holmesproducts.com

This article is part of Mtbr’s Ultimate Base Camp feature. See all the stories in this special section here.

Ultimate Base Camp: Five cool sleep essentials for your mountain bike camp kit Gallery
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UBC Treeline Cover

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UBC Treeline Slumberjack Double

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UBC Treeline Slumberjack Singles

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UBC Treeline Slumberjack Details

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UBC Woolrich Hickory Run CU

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UBC Woolrich Hickory Run On Bunk

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UBC Poler Napsack

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UBC Toiletries

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UBC Holmes Heater

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About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.


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