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leslie's guiding traditions

In Guiding, for many years we have used traditional canvas tents such as the Stormhaven or Icelandic. These canvas tents, which sleep up to 6 Guides side-by-side, are a large open space, which have a sod cloth rather than a built-in groundsheet. Guides transport their bedding to camp in a 'bedding roll' - wrapped in their groundsheet, and tied into a parcel with rope. It ensures the bedding is waterproof during the journey and while setting up the campsite. And at night, the groundsheets each Guide has brought form the floor of the tent onto which the bedding can be laid. It also means that if the campsite floods, bedding remains waterproof and can be quickly and easily removed.

To create a bedding roll you need:

* a plastic groundsheet, at least 6 metres x 4 metres.

* approx. 4 metres of rope (or 'bungy' elasticated cords can be used)

* sleeping bag

* 2 blankets, or if not available wool travel rugs, or if not available, fleece blankets

* pillow or small cushion, or pillowcase to stuff with spare clothes.

* roll mat or self-inflating mat (if used)

* pyjamas, outer sweatshirt and joggers, socks and hat can be included if wished, otherwise these would be packed with the other clothing.

To start, lay out the groundsheet (shown in blue) flat. Place any rollmat (shown in red) down in the middle of the groundsheet.  

Place one blanket on the mat (shown in beige), so the left side of the blanket just covers the left edge of the mat.

Then place the other blanket (shown in green) on the mat so the right side of the blanket is in line with the right side of the mat.  

Then place the sleeping bag (shown in purple) on top of the two blankets, and put the pillow, and any night clothes, in position.

Fold each blanket in turn into position over the sleeping bag. If you wish, you can use blanket pins (old kilt pins or nappy pins) to pin the blankets in position around the sleeping bag, as otherwise they can tend to slip off the slippy nylon sleeping bag fabric during the night.

At this point, tie a slip knot in the rope, or gather together the bungy cords which you are going to use, ready to fasten up the bedding roll.

Then get a second person to help you make the bedding roll (then you can help her fasten up hers!)

Starting at the foot end of the sleeping bag, roll up all of the bedding together, as tightly as you can, then once it is rolled up, pull it to the middle of the groundsheet, and rotate it around 90 degrees.

Both lift up the two long edges of the groundsheet, and standing at the same side, roll down the edges of the groundsheet tightly until it is snug against the rolled-up bedding, creating a long, thin, groundsheet wrapped bundle.  

Slip the loop of rope round the 'waist' at the middle of the bundle, and tighten it. Or put a bungy cord tightly around the middle and hook it to itself.

Fold over the tip of the first end, and then draw it over or roll it towards the middle. Then draw the long end of the rope round it, and loop it round the middle rope so it stays secure whilst you move to tend the other end.  

Then repeat at the other end, and draw the rope tightly round, so both ends of the parcel are wrapped in. Then fasten off the rope so it is secure, this can be made into a handle if you wish.

Traditionally, a bedding roll would be tested by throwing it from hand to hand, then into a stream. If properly made, it should survive this intact, and be fully waterproof.

In modern times, many Guide units camp in lightweight tents which have built-in groundsheets. With it no longer being so essential for each camper to bring her own groundsheet, some have dropped the making of bedding rolls in favour of using laundry bags. While this is an option, the plastic groundsheets offer more insulation than built-in groundsheets do, whilst also serving to protect the built-in groundsheet from wear, so the bedding roll still has value.