Kid asleep while camping

10 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep While Camping

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Whether you are a seasoned camper or you are just adventuring out on your first camping trip, understanding how to sleep in a tent is essential if you want to get an adequate amount of sleep while camping.

With weather distractions, unfamiliar noises and trying to find a comfortable place and way to sleep, you want to be prepared to get the best night’s sleep.

We would like to offer ten tips to help you sleep better when sleeping in a tent.

Pick the Right Tent

First, make sure your tent is in good condition.

Check to make sure there are no tears or other issues with the tent, which may allow water or other elements to seep into it while you are sleeping.

If you do find a tear in your tent, the good news is that tears can generally be repaired.

You will, though, want to get a tent repair kit to make sure the repair is done correctly.

Because tents come in a variety of sizes and styles, another element to take into consideration when picking a tent is the size.

Tents range all the way from a one-man tent to tents that can accommodate 10 or more people.

When picking a tent size, it is important to take into account the space needs of those using the tent.

Even if it is a four-man or six-man tent, if people in your group like to move around a lot, you may not be able to comfortably fit four or six people in the tent.

Get the Right Sleeping Bag

When it comes to sleeping bags, there are many options.

The three basic types of sleeping bags are square sleeping bags, mummy bags and tapered bags.

Square sleeping bags are your typical bags. They are the same width from the top to the bottom.

Mummy bags hug tighter to your body. They will keep you warmer, especially during colder weather.

Tapered sleeping bags are wider for the top half and tapered at the bottom.

Sleeping bags also come in different thicknesses and different materials.  If you are doing serious mountain climbing then weight and size will be important, but if you are just car camping then go for extra comfort with materials like cotton.

Sleeping bags come with a temperature rating or a temperature range. There are no national standards to these ratings. If you take a Coleman bag as an example the rule is that temperature rating suggests that you will still be comfortable if the temperature outside drops to that temp.

Kids setting out sleeping bags

Don’t Sleep on The Floor!

Another important element in sleeping in a tent comfortably is making sure you have something of quality between you and the floor.  It is not just important because the ground is hard uneven and uncomfortable but because you want a temperature barrier between you and the cold that comes from the ground.

There are several options for sleeping pads.

An air mattress is arguably going to provide the most comfort and provide you with the most cushioning, but it will also require either a foot pump or an electric pump to inflate. For an amazing nights sleep you can even get double height, queen size airbeds now, that are just like sleeping on your bed at home.

Self-inflating mats are going to be thinner, but they are easier to carry if space and weight is at a premium.

If weight is no issue at all you can even consider a stretcher, which again is available in a variety of sizes and materials.

Bring Along Other Sleeping Essentials

If there is something you cannot sleep without, do not assume you can sleep without it when camping.

Whether it is your favourite blanket or a certain pillow, bring that along to make sleeping in a tent a more enjoyable experience.

If you need a pillow to sleep, but you are not picky about your pillow, you may also want to consider investing in a camping pillow.

It will be smaller and easier to use when travelling.

If you forget a pillow, or if you want to travel as light as possible, using extra clothing as a pillow may also work to help you sleep better.

Wear Weather-Appropriate Clothing

If it is cold outside, make sure you have on warm clothing.

You may even want to wear long legged underwear and a warm cap.

It is important to remember that even during the summer, it can cool down considerably at night, especially if you are camping in a high elevation location.

Do not overdress, though.

If you have a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the temperature, you may find you are too warm if you wear too many layers of clothing.

No matter the time of year or the weather outside, putting on clean clothing before going to bed is important.

It will just make you feel cleaner and help you to sleep better.

Plus, if you are wearing sweaty clothing, you may actually get colder.

Consider Ear Plugs

If you enjoy the sounds of nature and find them calming, you might be able to skip the ear plugs. However, those cockatoos at 5am sunrise are noisy for even the biggest nature lover.

If, though, outdoor sounds are distracting, you are a light sleeper, or if you have tent companions who snore, you should at least bring along ear plugs.

You can always take them out or not put them in if you find it is easier to sleep without them.

If you have never used ear plugs before, try them a few nights at home before bringing them on your camping trip, because some people find ear plugs uncomfortable.

As an alternative, a heavy cap, another pillow or even crawling deeper into your sleeping bag can also help to block out at least some of the sounds around you.

You could even bring an eye mask if you really want to sleep in past the sun beaming into the tent.

Pick the Right Location

Make sure you place your tent on a flat surface.

Clear away twigs and other obstacles that might create an uneven surface.

You will also want to avoid putting your tent in a wet area or low areas where water is more likely to collect there if it rains.

You should also consider your tent’s proximity to things such as trees, other campers and busy roads.

On windy nights, if your tent is too close to the trees, you may hear tree branches scraping against the tent all night or they could fall.

Other campers and busy roadways may create a noise distraction, making it hard to sleep.

Of course, if you have brought along your ear plugs, these noise problems could be minimal.


Exercise throughout the Day

Go hiking. Swim in a lake. Run around throughout the day.

Do something physical to wear yourself out so you will be able to get to sleep faster once you settle down for the night.

If you have had a lazy or inactive day, you are less likely to feel tired enough to fall asleep quickly once you crawl into your sleeping bag.

Know Where Items You May Need in the Night are Stored

Place a pair of shoes and a light source within easy reach.

That way, if you need to get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, you will be able find your way without a problem.

You also may want to keep a light source in an easily accessible place if you are likely to wake up before the sun rises and particularly if you are likely to get up before your tent companions.

If necessary, you should also keep water, tissues and other items you might need in the night nearby.

Knowing where these items are stored can help you to feel calmer, allowing you to get to sleep better.

Just Enjoy the Experience

Finally, when sleeping in a tent, it is not going to be the same as sleeping in your own bed at home.

The ground is likely going to be less comfortable than your bed.

It is probably going to be colder or warmer than sleeping at your house. That is something you need to understand right away.

Instead, enjoy the experience of just being able to connect a little with nature, whether it is for one night or for much longer.

Of course, part of understanding how to sleep in a tent is about trial and error.

What works best for one person may not work as well for another person. Think of your own normal sleeping habits to help you figure out how to sleep in a tent more comfortably.

Many of these camping items can also be tested at home. For example, if trying to sleep in a mummy bag is too confining on your own bedroom floor, it will not be more comfortable when used in a less familiar sleeping situation. Just do what works for you.