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How To Sleep Better While Camping

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Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Water Bottle

How to Sleep Warm While Camping || REI

Image source: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

If youre someone that wants to be extra cosy at night, a hot water bottle is a must on a camping trip. Since you will need a water bottle anyway, consider buying a heat-resistant uninsulated water bottle, for example, a Nalgene, to save space. Fill it up with some boiling water, pop it inside your sleeping bag before you go to bed to warm it up, and while you’re sleeping, keep the bottle near your core, at your feet, or anywhere you want some extra warmth during the night.

The Essential Guide To Sleeping *comfortably* Outdoors

The plight of the sleepless camper is something weve all been privy to, at one time or another. So, if youve ever spent the whole night rolling around inside your tent or woken up shivering in a fog-laden swamp, this list is for you. Because whether you spend the next day hiking for miles or just marinating in the sunshine, everythings a lot tougher when youre already beat. Here are a few tipsfrom set-up to sundownto get you a great night of sleep outdoors.

Lie On A Good Mattress

Camping roll mats and mattresses serve two purposes: cushioned comfort and insulated warmth. Put bluntly, the more material and air between you and the ground, the comfier and warmer youll be, so never sleep directly on the ground (for more on this, see our explainer on sleeping pad R-values.

To camp in comfort when youre backpacking, choose an inflatable mattress thats as big and heavy as youre prepared to carry, and make sure it has no punctures before you set off, rather than discovering on site that its going to be as flat as a pancake all night.

If youre car camping, a blow-up mattress may look feeble in the eyes of your grizzled, minimalist campsite neighbours, but its you who will float off to sleep when you lay down your head. For extra warmth, use two roll mats or fold a blanket under your mattress.

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Stretch Or Massage Before Bed

A long day of hiking can leave us with stiff or sore muscles that make sleeping in a tent even harder. We toss and turn to try and get comfortable, but each new position causes a new ache or more tension. For me personally this is a big issue, and Ive put a lot of effort into working around it.

The first thing I recommend is, if youre not too cold in camp, do a little backcountry yoga. Gently stretching your hip flexors, quads, glutes, and calves will go a long way toward releasing some of the tension thats built up during the day.

If you have a hard-sided water bottle with you, consider doing some foam rolling. Ive even been known to bring a golf ball or massage ball on the trail to help on long hikes. If all else fails, an elbow in your quad can be surprisingly effective. Learn more in this post about managing knee pain on the trail.

If youre tense because youre cold, stretching or massaging isnt a good idea. It wont help much and could even hurt your muscles if you push too hard. In this case I recommend sleeping bag stretches. A sitting hamstring stretch, lying figure-4, supine twist, or any number of other classic stretches and yoga poses can be done from the cozy warmth of your sleeping bag. Get creative!

Not only will these moves help you sleep better, theyll help your body to feel less achy and stiff the next morning and even help avoid potential injuries.

Try Meditation Or Focus On Your Breath

How To Sleep Better While Camping

This one works great at home too! I often have a hard time falling asleep because my brain wont stop running in circles, and this can be turbo-charged on the trail.

It helps immensely to gradually turn down the volume of thoughts that keep me awake by focusing on the sensation of my own breathing: in, out, in, out slower, smoother in, out Oh shoot, Ive been lost in thought for 5 minutes. Ok, back to focusing on my breath. In, out

Meditation is very popular these days and you can find resources online for any style or slant. Look upmindfulness meditation to get started.

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Dont Let Your Bed Get Away From You

Another challenge with sleeping in a tent is keeping your bedding setup from falling apart. When you combine a nylon tarp tent floor, polyester sleeping bag, and a plasticized sleeping pad, the coefficient of static friction is reduced to levels that would make a mechanical engineer giddy. Youre likely to find yourself and your sleeping gear sliding all over the tent. This problem is especially compounded when your sleeping area isnt completely level, which it usually isnt . If youve ever settled into a comfortable sleeping position, only to have your sleeping pad slip out from underneath you and your sleeping bag creep down your back, then you know what Im talking about.

Heres a tip to keep your sleeping bag, pad, and rest from getting away from you: try putting your sleeping pad inside of your sleeping bag. That way, you and your bag wont slip off the pad, and the extra rigidity the pad will add to the bag will keep it from moving around so much. If you dont like sleeping directly on the pads rubberized surface, put the sleeping pad into a large body-pillowcase or sleeping bag liner for extra comfort.

Alternative To Child Sleeping Bags

If you have some spare adult sleeping bags, you could simply tie a knot in the bottom of the sleeping bag , and use that instead.

Our youngest is currently in the Vango Wilderness 250 , with another Vango Wilderness 250 unzipped and over the top as an additional blanket when its cold.

This is the first season that weve not had to tie the knot in the sleeping bag.hes growing so fast!

7 things to make nighttime better for kids when camping

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Make Sure Your Sleeping Area Is Level

If youve ever tried sleeping at an angle with your feet higher than your head, you know how much your body will reject this unnatural posture. Similarly, sleeping with one side higher than the other will send warning signals to your brain, keeping you awake when you want to rest. When pitching your tent, try to pick the most level area you can find.

However, since its unlikely youll find a completely level spot, position your sleeping bag with your head facing uphill. This is the sloped position your body will accept most readily. Additionally, the increased friction of positioning your body parallel with the slope will reduce how far you slip downhill over night.

Camp In Comfort: 15 Tips To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

How To Sleep Comfortably in a Tent (Camping Tips)

ByJonathan Manning15 May 2021

Our 15 tips on how to camp in comfort will make nights under the canvas every bit as comfortable as nights in your bed at home

Camping trips are supposed to revitalise us with long days in nature, an abundance of fresh air, and a healthy fill of outdoor exercise. All too often, however, many of us return from our overnighters in the wilds feeling more ravaged than rested, and maybe rueing our decision not to spend our weekend somewhere more conducive to a good nights sleep.

So how is a good nights sleep in the sticks achieved?

Well, having the best tents, best sleeping bags, and best sleeping pads your budget will stretch to is a good start, of course, but securing restful shut-eye under the stars also requires a little more in the way of nuance and know-how. To that end, weve composed a list of 15 must-know tips that will help you camp in comfort no matter when and where youre doing your camping.

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Light Exercises Before Bed

Your body will produce more heat if you perform light exercises before bed. Also, the more tired you are, the better youll be able to sleep at night. If youve spent the entire day hiking, swimming, fishing, etc., its best to hit the sack as soon as it gets dark. These two tips will help you sleep better while camping.

Size Up Your Sleep Space

Dont be afraid to go bigger for a better nights sleep. If youre camping on your own, a 1.5 or 2 person tent might be the right fit depending on your body size or need to spread out. And if youre camping with a partner, a 3-person tent could keep you from bumping into each other in the night. Even backpacking, weve found that the space is worth the extra weight.

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Research The Perfect Campground

Campgrounds run the gamut from posh sites with showers, free Wi-Fi, and more to the most basic open spaces with no amenities. Know what youd like before you camp. For example, if you have young children, bathroom facilities might be useful unless youre RV camping and have access to an indoor toilet or diaper-changing space. Finding the perfect site doesnt have to be hard. Here are some great resources to help you:

  • Type in the location where youre heading and get a map and reviews of all campsites in the area. Details available include cost, website, contact info, and details about what type of camping is allowed.
  • This fun site lists public spots, from national and state parks to BLM land, for camping, hiking, or hunting/fishing. There are good informational articles and reviews, and details on specific campgrounds and their amenities.
  • If youre camping on the cheap, this bare-bones site offers reader reviews of free campsites across the U.S. Its not as extensive as the other two websites weve listed, but it is still a valuable resource if youre looking for off-the-beaten-path campsites that wont cost an arm and a leg.

Lastly Try To Eliminate All Things That Will Bug You Like Bugs And Pee Trips


Have you ever woke in the middle of the night to hear a mosquito in your ear? Then, you just lay there listening to it hunt out the best landing while you try to cover all exposed skin or unsuccessfully swat at your face each time you think its landed.

Or, maybe youve woken and realized you have to pee you roll over hoping the sensation will go away. Maybe you can ignore it and fall asleep again? But, really, instead, you just lay there thinking about trying not to think about having to pee?

Im sure there are oodles of other annoyances that may keep us from a good nights sleep. But, these are the two biggest ones that bother me!

I like to take a few minutes before sleep to eliminate all mosquitos that have made their way into the tent. I also try to not drink water in the evening in hopes of not being awoken and needing to leave the cozy warm tent. Sometimes this works, usually it doesnt.

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Find A Comfortable Sleeping Pad

In addition to keeping you warmly insulated from the cold ground, a sleeping pads main function is to be soft and comfy, which is obviously key to sleeping well while camping. Those thin folding foam pads may be light, cheap, and durable, but theyre not going to cut it for every type of hiker body.

Especially if you sleep on your side, or your posture or bone structure are such that you need a bit more padding, consider an inflatable sleeping pad. My personal favorite is the Therm-a-Rest Neo Air X-Lite, but there are a variety of options to choose from. Heres a list of popular sleeping pads among thru hikers for more ideas.

Important tip for inflatable sleeping pads, especially for side sleepers: adjust the amount of air inside for custom softness. Though its tempting to blow them up fully to make them as thick as possible, sometimes its comfier to leave a bit of space for hips and shoulders to sink down into a partially inflated pad.

Bring Someone With Experience

Camping isnt rocket science. But having said that, there are tricks of the trade that you only learn by doing. If youre new to camping, its best to go with someone whos done it before, so they can help you out when you are standing there with two sticks in your hand wondering how to start a fire.

This is especially true if you plan on venturing into the wilderness. In some locations, its possible to get lost if you dont know how to read tell-tale trail signs. You may also encounter animals from bears to black flies and knowing how to handle them can be vital.

Besides, its great to be able to point out to your camping partner the beauty of the sunrise or share that new and interesting flower you sighted on the forest floor. And having someone to talk to over a nightly campfire while the smores toast? Thats priceless.

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How To Sleep Comfortably In A Tent:

It seems the magic formula for sleeping comfortably in a tent involves these 7 things. Its a balance and play of priorities especially if youre carrying your tent and sleeping accessories on your back!

  • Your sleeping mattress
  • Your ability to relax
  • And eliminating things thatll bug you, such as bugs
  • If you can address each of these items in a favorable manner, then, you should be sleeping blissfully away. maybe? But, because Im sure youre here for more than a simple list, lets get into the details!

    If youre here for a quick answer, I prefer to sleep on an air mattress with bedding and pillows from home, with blankets or rugs under the air mattress and on the floor of the tent. But, this set-up isnt always possible, and there are other factors too hence all the options and discussion below.

    The Best Camping Pillows:

    Camping: How to Sleep Great Outdoors

    If youre car camping, Id suggest just bringing along your favorite pillow from home. Youll appreciate the comfort and the space will be worth it.

    If youre hiking in your gear or are super limited on space you can opt for a camping pillow instead. The two main types are compact small pillows or inflatable.

    A few pillow tips from experience:

    • Again, your pillows from home are best
    • If you opt for a compact camping pillow, make sure to clean and store these properly because sleeping on something that smells mildewy will not be pleasant
    • In a pinch, you can stash your clothes into a pillow case making an instant pillow
    • Try sleeping on your pillow at home first to see how it feels
    • Listen to the sound your pillow makes against your ears will it annoy or wake you?

    Super Camper Tip: If you camp in cool weather and have a jacket with you, you can fold this up into itself to create a pillow. Puffy down jackets would great for this!

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    Seven Things You Need To Sleep Better At Camp

    Enjoying a night in a tent shouldnt be a challenge

    Get access to everything we publish when you .

    Getting a good nights sleep while camping can be a real pain in the ass. The first time I camped solo, I spent most of the night tossing and turning in a cold, uncomfortable backpacking hammock, trying my best to tune out the sounds of nature. The next day, I was bleary-eyed and groggy.

    Thankfully, deep sleep outside doesn’t have to be so elusive. With a few upgrades to your camping kit, youll enjoy your daytime activities a lot more and come back from a weekend camping trip feeling well rested. Here are seven things you need to get some decent shuteye in the woods.

    Use Natural Sleep Aids

    When camping, melatonin is your friend. Melatonin is naturally produced by your body, and supplements are regularly prescribed for insomnia or sleep disorders. The CDC has not yet labeled leaving your home to sleep on the ground in the woods as a sleeping disorder, but taking melatonin when camping can be a great way to fall asleep . There are also melatonin supplements formulated for kids, which can be useful if you have kids along on your camping trip. Kids are often too excited to sleep while camping, and if youre sharing your tent with wide awake children, youre probably not sleeping either.

    Another natural sleep aid you can use while camping is white noise. Campers have mixed feelings about the sounds of nature when sleeping. Relaxed, experienced campers enjoy the sounds of the nocturnal environment lulling them to sleep. But for people who only camp occasionally, every owl call, every raccoon footstep, every rustle or snapped twig can jerk them out of repose and into alertness. After all, who hasnt laid in a tent listening to a small animal rustling nearby, wondering if it was actually a bear waiting to charge?

    White noise can help smooth over these unfamiliar sounds and allow you to rest. There are a number of white noise apps you can download for free and play on your phone or with earbuds:

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    Camping Could Help You Sleep Better

    Camping has a lot of great physical and mental benefits, but did you know it could also help you sleep better?

    Our bodies run on a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle known as a Circadian Rhythm. A 2017 study revealed that even just a weekend of outdoor camping free of screen time and electrical lighting can adjust this internal clock as much as an hour and a half earlier, making it easier to go to bed and wake up earlier. This could be very helpful for folks who tend to stay up late and feel sleep-deprived the next day.

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