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Tenting for two

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April 2021 Issue

The couple that camps together, stays together and new sleep systems designed for two are proving all the rage, writes Matthew Cattin

As much as tramping challenges the individual, it is also a litmus test for love.

Couples will strive or dive in the backcountry, where at any moment they may be confronted by catalysts for quarrel – does anything spell ‘doomed relationship’ quite like dodgy tent instructions and a partner who knows best?

Every couples’ best defence against outdoor altercations – and the outdoors itself, for that matter – is gear.

Couple-specific gear is relatively new to the New Zealand outdoors market, but it’s proving incredibly popular according to Gearshop owner Hamish Pirie. Sleep systems are in particularly high demand.

“We’re bringing in as many double sleeping bags and mattresses as we can get, and we can’t keep them in stock,” he says.

Double sleeping bags, like the Big Agnes King Solomon ($779.99), make for the most comfortable sleep in the backcountry, Pirie says.

“It’s far more comfortable than zipping two sleeping bags together,” he says.

The King Solomon is designed to take the comforts of home into the wild, and with a temperature rating of -9 degrees, it will hold up in gnarly conditions – especially with the help of a hot-water-bottle-esque human to snuggle up to.

Twin zips make late-night toilet runs less disruptive, and a double-width sleeping mat sleeve will accommodate one double or two single mattresses.

“Single bags can be a bit claustrophobic, so a bigger double bag will give you a roomier night’s sleep,” Pirie says.

Those who have shared a small tent will know the pinch of fitting two awkwardly-shaped sleeping mattresses side by side (and the cold romance-killing crack between them).

Double mattresses, like the Big Agnes Q Core SLX ($349.99), are compact enough to carry, but large enough to transform the sleeping experience.

“You can buy the Q Core SLX in a double size or in a tent floor double, which is shaped to the tent,” Pirie says.“It will fit perfectly inside some Big Agnes models wall to wall, with no ground space.”

The baffled structure keeps the mattress from moving around during the night, and thicker baffles on the edges prevent sleepers from rolling off.

Though a straight comparison is difficult, couple-specific sleep systems can work out to be efficient in the weight and bulk departments.

And when the price is shared by two, the gear looks all the sweeter.

Share and win: do you go couples camping?

Tell us your favourite thing about camping with your other half to go in the draw to win a $100 voucher from www.gearshop.co.nz. Send entries (100 words max) to couplescamping@lifestylepublishing.co.nz. Winners will be drawn on April 27.

Hamish’s pick of the best double bags

Big Agnes Big Creek: 

Big Agnes Big Creek: Synthetic fill, -1℃, $529.99

Big Agnes Sentinel:

Big Agnes Sentinel: 650-fill water-repellent down, -1℃, $849.99.

Big Agnes King Solomon:

Big Agnes King Solomon: 650-fill water-repellent down, -9℃, $779.99.