5 Essential Tips For Getting A Good Night's Sleep On Your Camping Adventure

This article was written by our friend James Menta from bestairmattressguide.com where he shares his hiking and camping experience of decades, and reviews the best air mattresses, pads and sleeping gear in general.

Essential Camping Sleeping Tips.....

You’d be surprised at how little things gang up on you and make your entire camping experience something you’d rather forget as soon as it’s over. 

I had to learn the hard way to pay attention to those details, and you can learn it by simply reading a few lines of text. If you want to make sure that my lousy camping experiences don’t become yours too, feel free to continue reading.

1. Your Kit

Things I’ll talk about in this section are:

  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping platforms
  • Sleeping extras

Sleeping bags A good sleeping bag is one of the essential tools for a good night’s sleep out in the open.

Choose a sleeping bag that suits you and your environment:

  • Square sleeping bags – Your basic bag shape. They’re very roomy, with enough space for your feet to move out and about. If you’re not feeling constricted while sleeping, the square bag has done its job well.
  • Mummy sleeping bags – Their bottom is tapered, preventing the circulation of air that cools it down. It will keep close enough to your body for you to remain nice ad warm during the night.
  • Sleeping pods – They are wide for half their length, so having enough room is more than guaranteed. This is your golden ticket for a good night’s sleep if you’re an active sleeper.

Make sure to buy an appropriate sleeping bag, which will correspond well with the climate of your surroundings. 

Sleeping platformsThere are several different options here, so let me introduce you to your choices:

  • Self-inflating foam pads – They are compressible mattresses featuring spongy foam within a shell made of waterproof nylon. When the valve is twisted, the air will rush in, filling the vacuum and expanding the foam. Thinner pads are very lightweight, and they pack pretty compactly. Thicker ones will offer extra comfort however. Both are excellent insulators and if you choose your sleeping pad right you're in for a restful sleep.
  • Air pads – The cushioning here is provided by air, not foam. They are very low-weight and provide excellent cushioning. On the other hand, there is no auto-inflation, so it will take some time, and their insulation value is not that great.
  • Foam pads – Closed-cell foam is the name of the game. They’re great for sleeping on frozen, cold or snow covered ground. They can also be used on rough surfaces that inflatable pads couldn’t go near. They’re budget-friendly, light and almost indestructible. They offer great insulation too. However, they’re bulky and only offer a modest cushioning (just too spartan for a certain number of campers).
  • Air mattresses – This is a deluxe option for sleeping outdoors. Just don’t forget your foot or electric pump -or it won’t be pretty. They’re very comfortable and resemble home air mattresses, but they’re also very heavy and bulky. When temperatures start to severely dip, they offer poor insulation.

Sleeping extrasHere are some nice to haves:

  • Pillows – A Little thing that will offer big comfort 
  • Eyeshades – Very handy when sleeping
  • Earplugs – For blocking those nature sounds that can be quite uncomfortable for urbanites 
  • Neck roll – Handy for napping
  • Light source – Be it a flashlight, a lantern or a headlight. You could also use some of the new ultralight LED lamps

2. Adapt To Outdoors Sleeping

Several things we care about here, so let’s list them out real quick:

  • Tent location – You’ll want your tent floor sitting on a surface that’s flat, durable and obstacle-free. Rocks, all kinds of roots and pine cones are obviously a big no-no.
  • Mental preparation for your new surroundings – Try embracing the overall experience. No super comfy bed, no close bathroom and the comforts of home. Be OK with that! Override temporary inconveniences with full immersion in the outdoors.
  • Adapt physically – Temperatures will plummetafter sundown and it will get pitch black out there. Dress in layered, insulating clothes and keep your light source handy.
  • Learn to enjoy the uniqueness of each moment – Life tethered to conveniences of the modern age is a mundane thing for us. The great outdoors offers us a new, exciting perspective on life, so just relax, look at the stars and enjoy the sounds of nature.

3. Do Your “Before Bed’ Preparations

Here is a list of things to bear in mind before traveling to dreamland:

  • Store all scented toiletries and food out of the tent and securely – Don’t act sloppy with your food. Collect every piece of trash and anything you might’ve spilled around. Don’t keep anything scented in the tent and don’t spit out toothpaste near it, or unwanted visitors might come knocking. If there are bears in the area don’t sleep in clothes that accumulated food odors.
  • Repeat familiar routines – This practice will make you feel somewhat at home in your new and unknown surroundings. So, for example if you brush your teeth just before sleeping do it in the camp also. You get the picture.
  • Wear dry clothing and avoid overdressing – Sweaty or damp clothes are a big no-no. Make sure to change into something dry and warm before you hit the sack. Wearing bulky clothes inside your sleeping bag will actually reduce its effectiveness.
  • Eat something and drink some water – Digesting food at night will warm you up internally. Remember, your body is generating the heat, not a sleeping bag. Hydration will help your blood circulation and prevent high altitude headaches.
  • Wear some sort of a cap – Heat will radiate away through your head and face if they’re not properly protected.

4. Introducing Overnight Routine

Pay attention to the following:

  • Don’t listen to night sounds – Don’t pay too much attention to nature sounds if you can’t enjoy them. If they really bug you, set your tent next to a river. It’s white noise should help.
  • Prepare for restroom trips during the night – A pair of shoes in front of the tent and a handy light source are all it takes.

5. Prepare For Extreme Temperatures

Here’s how:

  • Wear socks and long underwear
  • Wear a hat
  • Include 1 or 2 closed-cell foam pads
  • Stuff some dry clothes in your bag
  • Sleep with a warm water bottle
  • Drink some warm beverage (non-alcoholic) before bed
  • Exercise a little before sleeping

You own these tips, use them wisely. They will make your camping into a marvelous experience.

Follow these simple rules and camp away!

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