Getting a good night’s sleep in a tent in the outdoors is something that many campers wish for. Besides, one of the most common goals for a camping trip is to be able to relax in nature, feeling rested upon coming home.
Sleeping soundly is especially hard to achieve when you’re new at camping. While many experienced campers are lulled to sleep by total darkness and the sounds of nature, these things can make a beginner uncomfortable.
Sleeping on the ground doesn’t help, too, that’s why having the right gear is paramount. Aside from your tent which will serve as your “bedroom”, here are the most essential sleeping gear you’ll need to help you sleep comfortably in the outdoors:
There are tons of sleeping bags in the market with different styles and features. There are two main types – one for backpacking and one for car camping. Backpacking sleeping bags are lighter and more portable, has a closer, snugger fit and is a better choice for extra chilly nights.
On the other hand, car camping bags are great for comfort and has more roll-around room but is not ideal for heat retention during cold nights. Go for a sleeping bag that will personally benefit you in terms of style, features and temperature rating.
With the goal of a good night’s sleep in mind, choose a sleeping bag that will make you feel the most comfortable. You can choose from an air, closed-cell foam or a self-inflating sleeping pad.
Weight is also something to consider. If you’re going hiking or backpacking, opt for a lightweight one but if you’re car camping, you can go for a wider, thicker type that will provide more comfort.
Plenty of people depend on the comfort of a pillow to sleep comfortably, and this shouldn’t be sacrificed even when you leave home. If space and weight are not an issue, it’s ideal to use the one you use at home to provide that feeling of familiarity.
Otherwise, you can choose between a foam or inflatable camping pillow, which also offer different styles, features and sizes.
A handy, portable light can go a long way in the pitch blackness of the woods at night. A lot of people are used to having a lamp at their bedside table but if you’re the type to sleep comfortably in total darkness, the lantern can be still be useful while you’re reading a book or watching videos up until you’re sleepy.
Ear Plugs and Eye Mask
While it can be very dark in the woods, some campsites have lights lit up all through the night and if this isn’t something that will help you sleep, an eye mask is your best bet. Many campers also swear by using earplugs which will dampen the noises of other campers, loud snoring or even rustling sounds in the bushes.
Having the right sleeping gear that cater to your personal needs is very important to achieving a good, long sleep while camping. There are also a multitude of things you can try to get more comfortable and to sleep quicker.
Here are 5 fool-proof sleeping tips for campers like you:
Choose a good, strategic spot to set up camp
Go for a spot that is flat, smooth and level. Make sure to clear it out of rocks, sticks, pine cones and other debris that may cause physical discomforts from sleeping on uneven ground.
A good thing to try before pitching your tent is to lie flat on the spot and wriggle around a bit to test if the comfort level is sufficient.
There are also plenty of things that could disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night like noisy neighbours and going to the bathroom. Avoid these disruptions by choosing a spot away from noisy campers but near the bathroom.
Follow your normal bedtime routine
If brushing your teeth or reading a few chapters from a book is usually the last thing you do before sleeping, do the same in camp.
A regular sleep routine helps prime the body and mind to sleep and will also trigger some normalcy to a new surrounding. If this isn’t possible, try to sleep and wake up at the same time you usually do to keep your body clock in place.
Substitute hot chocolate, coffee or s’mores with a warm cup of calming tea (chamomile or lavender work best) for a late night snack. Caffeine and sugar will keep you up, but the warmth of tea will help prep your body to sleep.
Also, avoid heavy meals late in the evening or at least a couple of hours before going to bed. If you feel hungry, snack on a few cherries or nuts – these two are known to help promote sleep.
Wear comfortable clothing
Before going to bed, it’s ideal to clean up or take a shower and put on clean, comfortable clothes before getting in your sleeping bag (don’t forget the socks!). Wearing dirty or sweaty clothes to bed is everything but comfortable.
On a chilly night, don’t wear a jacket inside your sleeping bag - bulky clothing inside a bag can actually reduce its ability to efficiently trap body heat. Drape a thick blanket or comforter on top of your sleeping bag instead.
If you’ve tried all of the tips above but to no avail, don’t worry – know that it is indeed difficult to soundly sleep through the night at a new place for the first few days.
If you can’t sleep or wake up in the middle of the night, just keep yourself distracted. Turn your favorite camping lantern on then read a book, listen to a podcast, or do breathing or relaxation exercises until you fall asleep.
Camping offers us the chance to be closer to nature and to take a break from modern conveniences, but this doesn’t mean that a long, rejuvenating sleep must be sacrificed. Follow the tips above and you’ll surely be home from your camping trip well-rested.
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