Camping is a great way to unwind and get close to nature. However, it can be challenging to have a quality sleep inside a small tent. Whether it’s your first time camping or if you’re dealing with a long-standing sleeping problem, you’re at the right post. Here, I will share my personal tips on how to make sleeping in a tent more comfortable.
To be completely honest, camping isn’t always fun and games. A tent isn’t the most comfortable place in the world, especially if you’re a tall person. Unlike the comfort of your bedroom, you only have minimal space to move around.
Still, sleeping in a tent shouldn’t be a pain on your side. Below, I discussed some camping tips and tricks to make your camping nights more worthwhile.
How to make sleeping in a tent more comfortable
Are you struggling to sleep tight inside a tent? If so, the following tips will help a lot:
1. Select a comfortable location
Your camping location will affect your comfort throughout your stay. Opt for a campsite with flat ground, so you can easily level your tent. For added comfort, choose a location close to restrooms and other amenities.
Moreover, you should avoid low-lying areas that become catch basins after a heavy downpour. You should also avoid lone trees and high ridges as these are notorious for lightning strikes.
If the place is packed with campers, opt for a location with privacy. This will let you sleep soundly at night without being disturbed by your camping neighbor’s activities.
Wherever you camp, make sure that you have permission from the local authorities. This way, they will know that there are campers within the area. It will be life-saving in the event of storms, flash floods, and other natural calamities.
2. Choose the right sleeping bag.
Another way to stay comfortable inside a tent is to bring the right sleeping bag. This will serve as your bed during your camping trip.
Take note that sleeping bags are classified based on the season. Make sure that you get one that matches the climate to stay comfy at night.
If you want a sense of normalcy, you can get a camping mattress instead. There are memory foam camping mattresses that feel like you’re sleeping in your bedroom.
By getting the right sleeping gear, you’ll stay cozy all night long. It may take trial and error to find the best choice for your next camping trip.
Aside from the sleeping bag/pad, you should also get a matching tent with ample space for you to move around.
3. Use earplugs and an eye mask
Camping in the middle of the woods can be pretty daunting, especially if it’s your first time. The hoot of an owl will sound louder than it actually is due to the natural acoustics. Also, it’s easy to get hooked on various sounds, which will keep you awake at night.
Instead of ruining your sleep by overthinking if you heard a bear or not, it’s best to use earplugs. This will help you block external noise so that you can sleep better inside the tent.
An eye mask will also help, especially if the person who shares the tent with you can’t sleep without a light on. This will also stop you from getting too conscious of any movements around the tent.
4. Bring a comfy pillow.
Never underestimate the difference a soft pillow can make during your camping trip. I always bring my favorite pillow to give me a sense of normalcy even if I’m away from home.
Don’t rely on inflatable pillows because they are rarely comfortable. But if you want to keep things compact, inflatables will be decent alternatives.
5. Stick to familiar routines
One thing that makes us uncomfortable inside tents is the sense of unfamiliarity. For the longest time, we’re sleeping inside the comfort of our bedrooms. So when we suddenly go out and stay inside a small tent, we suddenly feel insecure and vulnerable.
To prevent this, you should stick to a bedtime routine. This will help condition your mind and body toward a restful sleep.
For example, if reading is your final act before sleeping, make sure you bring a book with you. These simple routines will help you acclimate to the idea of sleeping inside a tent. Paired with your favorite pillow and familiar bedding, you can easily doze off.
6. Control the temperature
Many of us are guilty of overdoing layers when camping. Layering up is good during winter, but you should always dress according to the season.
Remember that you still have a sleeping bag to add to all the layers of clothes you’re wearing. You wouldn’t want to get all sweaty in the middle of the night because of wearing a sweater on top of a thick shirt with a sleeping bag on.
A hot drink will also help on very cold nights. Personally, I only bring hot water in a thermos when sleeping in a tent. This way, I can prevent bears and other wild animals from sniffing drinks like coffee, tea, and other beverages.
You can also sleep with a bottle filled with a warm bottle. This helps me a lot when camping on cold days. Simply place the warm bottle on your core to warm your body.
7. Keep it dry and clean.
It’s hard to remain comfortable inside a stinky and dirty tent. Always change clothes before sleeping, so you won’t carry cooking or bonfire scents into the sleeping area. If you sweat a lot, consider taking a shower before bedtime. This will refresh you and help you fall asleep faster.
If you’re camping on a rainy day, you should set up a porch where you can remove your shoes or clean mud from your feet. It can be a simple tarp above the tent that extends for a few feet away from the entrance. This will prevent dirt from getting inside your sleeping area.
To keep the tent dry, always lay a thick tarp underneath before pitching it. You should also clean up any sharp twigs and pebbles that may puncture the tent.
8. Have a hearty dinner
One way to have a good night’s sleep is to fill your stomach with a hot meal. Eat a hearty meal before going to bed, so you’ll be cozy and comfortable by the time you zip up inside your sleeping bag.
Food preparation is quite limited while camping, but it doesn’t mean you should sleep with a grumbling stomach.
You should consider eating a hot, fatty meal right before hitting the bed. Since fat gets metabolized slowly, it’s less likely that you’ll wake up hungry in the middle of the night. Pack up extra servings of cheese, which you can easily eat as part of your dinner.
As much as you’re cold, avoid drinking coffee or alcoholic beverages. Caffeine from coffee will keep you awake, while alcohol will make you feel chilly once the initial warm feeling subsides.
9. Maintain ventilation
Ventilation is very important when sleeping inside a tent. This is crucial, no matter what the weather is.
You can do this by rolling back the tent’s rainfly to let the air move in and out. You can also leave the tent door open during the day to aerate all the beddings and sleeping bags.
But if the area is notorious for insects and dirt, consider using a mesh door instead. This will keep your tent ventilated without leaving it in the open.
Also, it’s very important to remove wet clothes from the tent. This will start to smell, which will make the tent less comfortable to sleep at. No amount of ventilation can help dry a massive leak or wetness right away.
Venting your tent will also prevent condensation buildup during winter. While our first instinct is to zip up everything, doing so will cause water molecules to stick to the tent – much like glass with cold water.
10. Don’t bring food inside the tent.
Lastly, never bring food inside the tent. This is why there’s the so-called ‘Bear-Muda Triangle’ of camping. Basically, you need to separate the sleeping area, cooking area, and food storage area. This will keep you safe from bears and wild animals seeking a food source. Besides, no one wants to wake up in the middle of the night face-to-face with a grizzly.
If you need to have a midnight snack, do so outside the tent. Not everyone in your group likes the scent of food just when they are about to sleep. Also, crumbs and food bits may fall in the tent and cause a bad smell later on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it colder to sleep in a car or a tent?
A: Sleeping in a car while camping is better during snowy and windy conditions. It will offer more protection than a mere tent. However, you should insulate your car to prevent cold air from entering through the sides and windows. You should also use a sleeping bag for added warmth.
Q: Is it dangerous to sleep in a tent?
A: It’s generally safe for campers to sleep inside tents. However, it’s crucial to choose the right location to pitch your tent to avoid bears, high winds, and other hazards. You should also think of fire hazards, other campers, and access to the nearest restroom.
Q: What is the best thing to sleep on in a tent?
A: Sleeping in a tent will be more comfortable if you have a sleeping bag. You can also opt for a rollaway memory foam mattress if you have a bad back. Just make sure that the mattress and sleeping bag are suitable for the season, so you won’t feel too warm or too cold.
Q: Do you really need a tarp under your tent?
A: Putting a tarp under your tent will prevent holes and leaks, especially in wet conditions. This will also prevent your camping mattress or sleeping bag from getting wet when it rains. The tarp is also added insulation during cold days.
Q: Is it safe to sleep in a tent during a thunderstorm?
A: It can be challenging to sleep in a tent during a thunderstorm. Strong winds can wipe away a poorly pitched tent, not to mention the risk of lightning strikes. When a lightning strikes, you’ll be a sitting duck inside a tent when it comes to ground current and side flash.
Knowing how to make sleeping in a tent more comfortable is a must for all campers. This will let you enjoy restful nights, so you’ll have the energy for the next day’s activities.
Tents are way smaller than our bedrooms at home, but there’s always a workaround to make it cozy. Do you have anything to add to my list here? Let us know in the comment section!