Hi everyone! Forgive the long post, but I'd really like your thoughts on this. I've got an idea of where I want to go, and definitely what it needs to look like, but need help filling in the holes.
Currently my bedding for camping in an A-frame tent* includes:
- cot (20th century folded, wooden, olive canvas top)
- foam/air mattress (not very thick)
- sleeping bag (used as a pad)
- one sheet
- dark gray wool blanket (possibly blend)
- white wool blanket (also probably blend, but not obvious)
- small woven coverlet
- large woven coverlet
* I am well aware that Civilians In Tents is fraught with period-appropriateness issues. For the current life/family circumstances, I will be living in a tent at most events.
I would like to upgrade some of this for these reasons:
1. Period-appropriate items look better in the tent and don't need careful blanket draping to hide.
2. Period-appropriate items make me happier.
3. Foam mattress and sleeping bag aren't as comfortable as I would like.
4. Period-appropriate items can be re-deployed in other situations/events, like occupying period buildings.
First, I want to replace the cot with a Prairie Traveler bed, if I can talk my brother into making one. As a non-migrant, it's unlikely I would have had one, I know. But it fulfills #1, #2, and #4. At the very least, straight legs look more civilian than the crossed legs of a collapsible military cot.
I also want a set of sheets so I can make a proper bed. Cool sheets certainly feel better in the heat! I'm also open to upgrading or replacing the wool blanket(s). One of them is usually under me on the cot. I get cold easily in early spring/late fall events, so I know I'll need more than the two coverlets. Any ideas? I'm about coverlet-ed out, and I've been slowly quilting a quilt for the last 15 years. :p
Finally, what to do about replacing the foam/air mattress and sleeping bag combo?
I've been reading up on period bedding, starting from info in past Sewing Academy threads.
Period bedding had two layers, like the box spring and mattress: The "mattress" corresponded to the box spring, providing support and slightly elastic padding above the bed's slats or ropes. The mattress was usually filled with horsehair (most recommended), coconut fiber, wood shavings, and/or wool (not as recommended because it mats down/lumps). The top layer, corresponding to the modern mattress, was the ticking. This was filled with straw, chopped corn husks, hay, or feathers.
This is where I'm stuck. First for transportation: The foam/air mattresses squish and roll up easily. But period mattresses seem fairly rigid and/or difficult to keep from being lumpy, even when without being stuffed into the back of a Camry.
Also, many of these materials are difficult to get in quantity.
The ticking also presents difficulties. It can be filled at each event with hay (straw and corn husks are never available), but I've tried that once and it was not fun. It takes a lot of hay (which is intended for the cavalry) and a lot of time, and it is very difficult to get it smooth. Feathers were out of favor in period advice because they're so warm in the summer (you sink into a thick feather mattress) and "unhygienic." But it would actually be easiest for me. A twin mattress topper, or a queen/king doubled over inside a ticking, would be soft but not sinking. And it can be rolled and mushed into a car without damage.
But that doesn't solve the mattress issue, which by the way really has to be non-lumpy. I have neck issues, and need to sleep on my right side with my neck level. (Sleeping at the wrong angle will give me a tension/nerve headache that does not go away; I've had headaches at the last three events, one of them triggering a migraine. Having the cot helps.) The feather ticking idea should be dependably level, but I still have no idea for the mattress. If a depression develops under my shoulders but not my head, my neck is wrenched to the side. Waking up with a pounding headache is miserable.
Thanks for making it through all that! I'd greatly appreciate thoughts and ideas.