8 year olds review of camping gear for Cubs: Sleeping bag & mattress

Aug 28, 2019 BY Luke Rees

In this review of camping gear for Cubs my eight year old son has done the product testing. He has reviewed the Shetland Junior sleeping bag and the Isla de Muerta 7.5cm self inflating mattress. Both are by the German outdoor brand Skandika.

8 year olds review of camping gear for Cubs Sleeping bag mattress

Camping gear for Cubs

When my eldest joined the Cub Scouts we had already been camping many times as a family. But the adult sleeping bag and heavy camp bed where too big and heavy to take on a Cub camp.

So we decided to get a junior sleeping bag that still has plenty of growing room. Wanting him to be comfy, not overburdened or having to pump an air bed we opted for a self inflating mattress.

The Skandika sleeping bag easily fitted in his backpack and the mattress attaches to the outside. Before going away we got him to practice setting up and packing away this camping gear for Cubs.

8 year olds review of camping gear

Getting an 8 year old to write a detailed review during the summer holidays, is like trying to get blood from a stone. Instead, I asked him what he liked and disliked about both products.

8 year olds review of Sleeping bag and mattress by Skandika

The likes and dislikes of an 8 year old do not necessarily tie in with what a parent purchasing any kit wants to know. So I have also included the features and my opinion of each bit of camping gear for Cubs.

Review of Skandika Shetland Junior sleeping bag

The key things to consider when buying a sleeping bag for Cub Scout camping are the size, warmth and usability.

But you want to know from a kids perspective. So I asked my son the following questions about the Skandika Shetland Junior. Due to lots or umming, erring and silliness the answers have been edited but the opinions are still his.

What did you like about the Skandika Shetland Junior sleeping bag?

Playing worms in Skandika Shetland Junior sleeping bag
  • Snuggly with room to wriggle
  • Comfy to sleep in
  • Good for playing worms (this involves standing with the sleeping bag upside down on your head and pretending to be a worm – much easier in a junior bag apparently).
  • Being able to tighten the hood
  • I like the orange and red colour
  • The zip doesn’t get stuck like the old one (I prompted this by asking about the zip)
  • It is warm (again prompted by asking about the temperature)

What did you dislike about the Skandika Shetland Junior sleeping bag?

  • It doesn’t have any pockets (his younger brothers Skandika sleeping bag does have a pocket).
  • Getting it back inside it’s bag is hard (if anything it is easier than other sleeping bags but it’s the only one he has tried!).
review of Skandika Shetland Junior sleeping bag


  • Material (outer): 190T Polyester, water repellent
  • Material (inner): 190 T Polyester-Pongee
  • Filling: 150g/m², siliconized Fibres, 2 layers
  • Maintenance/Care: washable
  • It has covered zip(s)
  • Includes packsack/ Compression bag
  • Temperature Zone: Comfort 6° C, Limit 0° C, Extreme -18° C
  • Pack size: 42 x 23 cm
  • Dimensions: (145+30) x 70/45 cm
  • Weight: 1,050 g
  • Cost €60 from Skandika website or £33 from Amazon.
review of camping gear for Cubs Skandika Shetland Junior

Adults opinion of Shetland Junior sleeping bag

Most kids sleeping bags are designed for children so end up looking childish. Also they are usually not as good quality as those for adults. However the Shetland Junior is just a small version of an adult sleeping bag.

It is well made from good quality materials and is build to last. In addition to camping with the cubs my son has been away with us for around two weeks of camping this summer.

He has never complained of being too hot or cold and has tended to sleep in longer than with other sleeping bags. Possibly because he gets bungled up in a big sleeping bag, and all the space means he is not as warm.

Review of Skandika Isla de Muerta 7.5

When looking for a self inflating mattress for children I was mainly looking for ease of use. It needs to be simple to set up and put away without adult help.

A big part of this 8 year olds review of camping gear for Cubs was testing the Skandika Isla de Muerta 7.5 on a scout camp. But it’s also been used camping as a family.

review of Isla de Muerta 7.5 self inflating mattress

What did you like about the Skandika Isla de Muerta 7.5 mattress?

  • Easy to get ready (he means to unroll, and inflate ready to sleep on).
  • Very soft and comfy
  • THE PIRATE PATTERN (this part was shouted)
  • Good for jumping on

What didn’t you like about the Skandika Isla de Muerta 7.5 mattress?

  • Hard to put away (Rolling it up and deflating it on his own was a huge challenge, however while it is tricky for an 8 year old it’s very easy for an adult, or a teenager)
Review of Skandika Isla de Muerta 7.5 self inflating mattress


  • Material (upper): 190T Polyester, PVC coated
  • Anti-slip coating on bottom
  • Filling: PU Foam, Full Foam Technology
  • Come with packsack
  • Pack size: 63 x 18 cm
  • Measurements (LxWxH): 196 x 60 x 7,5 cm
  • Weight: 2,600 g
  • Cost €90 from Skandika website of £61 via Amazon.

Adults opinion of Isla de Muerta 7.5 mattress

Because of the pirate pattern I had assumed when ordering this mattress that it was for kids. However it is full size and having laid on it, it’s very comfortable for an adult. I wish I’d had one when in the Cub Scouts!

It rolls up fairly small considering its 7.5 cm thick and is easy to put away for an adult. It’s a challenge to put away for my son but he can do it, just about…

It would be too big and heavy to take away on a hiking trip with all your camping gear. However, it’s perfect for camping from a car or as a spare mattress at home.

8 year olds review of camping gear for Cubs

Conclusion: Great camping gear for Cubs

When I was in the cubs the thin foam mattresses and massive sleeping bags that were not comfy or warm. Times have certainly changed and, as my son found out during this 8 year olds review of camping gear for Cubs, they have greatly improved.

Whilst the old foam rollups were lightweight and simple to use they were not much more comfortable, or insulating than sleeping on the floor. The old sleeping bags took up most of your backpack, and when they got wet it was a disaster.

Fast forward a few decades and the self inflating mattress is almost as comfortable as a bed but doesn’t take up too much room. And the sleeping bags are light, take up hardly any room and are much warmer than the bags of old and even a little waterproof.

To conclude this review of camping gear for Cubs I recommend you check out Skandika. Their gear is good quality but won’t break the bank. Ands it is far superior to what you probably used in the Cubs or Scouts.

Both of these products can be bought direct from Skadika. However they cost less from via the Skandika shops on Amazon and eBay.


Family, Mattress, Skandika, Sleep, Sleeping bags

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