The bats are calling out the techno-hobbled humans on this one.
On some of my recent tours, the ravens, the bats, the owls, the falcons and eagles, the caterpillars and their chrysalises, the millipedes and the snails, the rock wrens and the bush tits have all been wondering why the great and powerful human race has been reduced to abject dependency and wussiness by their technological accoutrements, habits, and traditions.
The mountain lions just sleep on a ledge.
The bats fly right up into a cave or an eave or a tree, hook on, wrap right up, and sleep -- all done within seconds.
The eagles and falcons fly up to a ledge on the crags or the cliffs, land out of the wind in a niche -- and they're done.
They wake up and fly out into the day in seconds.
The humans have all this junk they lug around. They go through elaborate packing and unpacking, staking and guying, setting up and taking down, etc. With all kinds of sleeping pads and bags and liners and all the rest of it.
One wonders if the humans can't do better.
It would be great to be able to simplify and streamline.
Some rock climbers seem to have come closer.
I saw a picture of a sleeping bag recently that had 'legs' -- you could walk around in it. Similar idea to the Feathered Friends Rock Wren, but better in some ways. It had a hood like a good down jacket.
Some rock climbers seem to do something similar with a warm down jacket and a half-bag. Why not utilize the half bag as something like down snow pants?
Some people have mentioned that the half bag is optional. What do these rock climbers do without it?
Sleeping bags put one in an inefficient position. All stretched out.
It it less efficient thermodynamically. A fetal position is much more efficient (when people get a little cold at night, they often spontaneously assume the warmer position). And it needs (1) a shorter bag, (2) a shorter pad, (3) a much shorter tent (or other shelter), (3) less fabric and weight and insulation, etc., etc.
That's just an example. Not everyone would want to go that route.
There is also the lotus position and its variants. In India (and Japan, and Tibet, and elsewhere), meditators learn to hold such positions for many hours at a go.
In India, some have devised various systems to support the body, in case of sleep or samadhi -- so the person doesn't fall over from the sitting position.
This sort of approach has a lot of potential. Ultralight slings could support arms and chin. Existing fabric (sleeves for example) could even be used [an arm sling is usually a separate piece of fabric; but existing fabrics (a long-sleeved shirt for example) could be used in the same way].
Most of us have slept sitting down rather than lying down, at some point in our lives. On a plane, in a waiting room, a classroom, a library, a train, a car, etc. It can be done.
It might be possible to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the size of the pad this way. And the shelter, and the rest of the system.
A system could also be devised in which the point of contact is the feet. No pad would be necessary.
This approach is perhaps a little verbal-abstract at this point, so here are a few visual examples (please don't get too carried away or too humor-distracted by the first one):
[She actually has a very strong British accent in 'real' life.]
Fishing line, fishing hooks, ultralight slings, built-in slings, efficient positions, wraps....