A sleeping bag and tent are considered essential for backcountry camping. But they are not the only — or even the best — pieces of gear for sleeping outside. As we learned during a week of remote camping on the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where it’s hot and dry enough to forgo a tent, sleeping pad, and even a sleeping bag, there are some great alternatives out there.
The outfitter we used for the Grand, Western River Expeditions, uses cots. We were skeptical, until we spent our first night comfortably off the ground, beneath the stars. Now we may never go back. Here are five sleeping alternatives to try on your next trip.