The thought of sleeping in the great outdoors comes with it the wonderful fresh air, a place where you can lie and look up at the stars and sit round a camp fire, spend time with your family and maybe heat marshmallows!
While it can be a peaceful experience camping, what about when it’s time to go to sleep? Getting the right kit so you can have a relaxing night’s sleep in a tent is crucial. Let’s face it, sleeping in a tent can be a tough experience if you don’t plan otherwise you will end up on the ground, cold, damp ad with a sore back. You also have to tend with the unusual sounds too. So what can you do if you want to sleep in a tent to make the experience a positive one?
Here are some things to consider for when you want to have a good night’s sleep in a tent:
To ensure you don’t lie on the damp ground it’s important to put something between you and the ground. For example, this padding and pillow set is ideal to put beneath your sleeping bag. While this padding is a self-inflating one, you can also purchase an air-filled, foam-filled or even a combination of both as options. They also come in various thickness. Using this is great to allow you to have a comfortable night’s sleep. Remember though to clear away any rocks or sticks so you don’t damage your padding!
Focus on a warm sleeping bag
Sleeping outdoors should be comfortable and you should be warm enough to get a good night’s sleep. Of course you can’t control the weather when sleeping in a tent, therefore it’s important to have a sleeping bag that will keep you warm especially on nights when the temperature is low. Sleeping bags come with a label that states at what temperature you can use the sleeping bag in, for example this sleeping bag can be used in temperatures which is suitable for temperatures as low as 0 degrees.
Use a pillow
When sleeping in a tent try and keep the same posture you would when at home. If you do that it will help you stay relaxed and get a good night’s sleep. While you can bring your won pillow, you may not want to but instead bring one which is more portable. For example, this inflating pillow takes up very little space yet offers you great support when camping.
Block Out Noise
There are some strange noises when you are out camping, they can come from anywhere to be honest! My tips is to pack a pair of earplugs that you can use. Earplugs don’t take up a lot of space and can make all the difference from being able to sleep or being kept awake by all manner of sounds!
Preparing for Bed
Taking the time to organise yourself before night fall can make all the difference to having a good night’s sleep. Doing your prep before it gets dark will ensure you can have a relaxing evening without worrying about getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some of my top tips:
Keep a torch nearby. It can get so dark at night and if you need to head to the toilets keeping a torch by your sleeping bag is a smart idea. In fact there are now some handy LED lanterns that you can use inside your tent that you could bring with you. You can even dim them if you want to keep a small amount of light on in your tent. This LED lantern has rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to replace them all the time. There are so many other options when it comes to lightening such as a light rope or bulbs that make it look more romantic, check out all the options for LED camp lighting here.
Stick to your bedtime routine. as far as is possible, try and stick to the bedtime routine you use at home. Your body is familiar with a certain routine so changing this could impact on your sleep. Sticking to your normal routine will allow you to feel at home and adjust to your new surroundings. You will feel at ease and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Wear dry clothing. If you get wet or your clothes are dirty and sweaty then change in to clean sleepwear. You can use long underwear under your pjs to keep you warm. Again using familiar bedclothes will keep you relaxed and if you are clean and not smelly you will feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. The last time my son when camping he stayed in his dirty clothes for the two days – as you can imagine he didn’t get much sleep! He did sleep a long time when he returned home!
Prepare for getting up in the night. Strange place and if you feel any type of cold can have you getting up at night to pee! That being the case be prepared for getting up. Place a pair of sandals beside your sleeping bag, a torch or light near the tent door and a carpet tile outside the door of your tent so you can wipe your feet as you get back in! This will save you time if you do waken up in the middle of the night.
Tips on how to Stay Warm During the Night
It depends on the time of year you head out camping as to what type of sleeping bag you need. Indeed during the summer months you may just need a light sleeping bag and you may not even zip it up. In cold weather it’s important to stay warm. Of course the sleeping bag makes all the difference as does what you wear but there are other things you can do too which are:
- Eat before going to bed. I don’t often advise you to eat before going to bed however when sleeping in a tent the process of digestion actually keeps you warm so it’s the only time I will tell you to eat before going to bed – so make the most of it!
- Drink a hot cup of herbal tea. Opt for a herbal tea before bed. not only will this heat you up but it will help you relax if you opt for chamomile tea.
- Light exercise. Doing a few squats before getting in to your sleeping bag will heat you up. Not too much though as you don’t want to be a sweaty mess!
- Wear thermal underwear. If you are cold it can impact on how well you sleep so I highly recommend purchasing some thermal underwear for under your pjs. There’s a great selection of thermal underwear for men and women on Amazon and at great prices.
- Wear a hat. We lose most of the heat from our head so if your head is cold opt for keeping your hat on until you warm up. If you get too warm you can remove it easily.
- Keep your dry clothing in your sleeping bag. To ensure there are no spaces for the cold, keep your clean, dry clothing in your sleeping bag with you, this also allows you to heat up too. Just make sure it is your clean, dry items otherwise you will be wet and smelly!
- Use a hot water bottle. Using a hot water bottle to heat up your sleeping bag before you get in will help you warm up too. You can keep the hot water bottle in your bag or remove it. If you keep it below your knees it will ensure you don’t have ice cold feet which can often be a problem sleeping in a tent! nce your core is your body’s chief heat-generating zone. To warm even more quickly, try putting it next to your femoral arteries (between your legs).
- Use sleeping bag liners. Fleece sleeping bag liners are great for adding warmth to your sleeping bag when it gets extra chilly. They are lightweight and easy to carry. You pop it between your body and the sleeping bag which adds and extra layer of insulation.
Final word on pitching your tent
Finding the right spot for pitching your tent can make all the difference to having a great night’s sleep. Choose a space which is flat, is free from rocks and is on soft grass. It’s important to stop and listen to what is around you when you are considering a spot. Is it going to be noisy? You really don’t want to be pitching your tent beside neighbours who will be up all night partying but at the same time you don’t want to be so remote that strange noises keep you awake at night.
If you can opt for sleeping close to the restrooms in case you need to get up during the night. Plan your route and use the tips above to prepare for this scenario. Above all I hope you have a great camping trip and look forward to hearing about all your adventures.