A lot has been written about life in a hunting or fishing camp, but the one thing everyone avoids mentioning is the sleeping arrangements. I’m not talking about who sleeps with who, either. It’s a hunting and fishing camp – most of us go there to sleep alone.
No, what I am talking about is whether it is better to claim the top or bottom bunk.
This is one of those questions most people believe was answered long ago. The conventional wisdom was that you should always claim the top bunk as soon as you walk in the door. The old school of thought suggests that the person on the bottom is susceptible to blunt force trauma should the bunk bed collapse due to a combination of shoddy workmanship and the weight of the occupant above. Even worse, there was also the concern that things could get very uncomfortable quickly should the occupant above you turn out to be a bed-wetter.
In reality, neither of those things are a concern these days. First off, any bunk bed that exists in a hunting or fishing camp these days is overbuilt to prevent collapse, possibly because they remember that fateful day in 1968 when Big Louie took the top bunk. (Shout out to Flat Jeffrey.)
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As for the bedwetting, that is a throwback to childhood, when it was a phase some kids (the ones that always took the top bunk) went through. It is exceedingly rare for an adult in the top bunk to wet the bed. Coincidentally, it is also exceeding rare for a bear to break into the cabin in the middle of the night.
On the other hand, there are real disadvantages to being in the top bunk. For instance, gravity likes nothing better than a restless sleeper on a fenceless plateau five feet above the ground. Also, the guy or gal on the top bunk is always the first person to find out about the leaky roof or the bat infestation. That person is also the one who discovers how solid the rafters are, usually with their forehead after abruptly sitting up as soon as the morning alarm sounds off.
Let’s also not forget that hot air rises. This is something you will never forget after chilli night.
The point is that the top bunk is not all it is cracked up to be.
The bottom bunk is actually preferred by those of us who know better. There are many reasons for this. First, if you roll out of the bottom bunk you won’t bounce or crack floorboards. Also, you are the last one to complain about a leaky roof.
It’s also worth noting that you can create a tent around your bottom bunk by hanging sheets or towels from the frame above you. This is a not so much for privacy as for personal protection. You don’t want to be the one who discovers, as he hang drops down, that the new guy in the top bunk sleeps in his birthday suit. Or has what appears to be leprosy on his feet as he sits on the top bunk and swings them.
All this is to say, you should not believe are myths about sleeping in hunt camps that have been around forever. Most of them are a load of bunk.