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18 Suggestions for Sleeping in a Tent Comfortably (Plus, What To not Do)


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Sleeping comfortably in a tent takes apply. Whereas there’s a world of details about the “finest tents” and “finest sleeping pads,” the method of sleeping in a tent may be very private. All of us have completely different preferences and a few of us simply have a more durable time getting shuteye outdoor than others. So discovering your ideally suited sleeping system when tenting requires trial and error to see what works for you — and what doesn’t. 

That stated, there are tried-and-true ideas that may set you as much as get higher relaxation outdoor. For me, it took years, numerous tenting journeys, and a whole lot of miles of backpacking (together with establishing rituals at residence) to nail down my ideally suited sleep setup.

And after fine-tuning my system whereas mountaineering the John Muir Path, I now sit up for sleeping in a tent outdoors. After all, I’m nonetheless adjusting as various things come up like canine, accidents, and, effectively, growing older. However these wildly great nights beneath the celebs make the additional effort effectively price it. 

So whether or not you’re a lightweight sleeper, facet sleeper, anxious sleeper, or all the above , preserve studying for 18 tricks to make sleeping in a tent extra snug. Candy, starry desires await!  

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1. Double-check that your tenting spot *actually* is flat 

It’s exhausting to go to sleep (and keep asleep) while you’re shifting and sliding round all through the evening. So along with discovering a campsite that meets the ideas of Go away No Hint, attempt to arrange your tent in a degree space.  

Woman sitting in porch area of Zpacks tent pitched on a dirt surface
Take the time to discover a flat patch of floor to arrange your tent so you will get snug at evening

I do know that that is simpler stated than achieved relying on the place you’re tenting. Regardless that it’s tempting to accept a sorta-ish flat spot that’s truly barely slanted while you’re exhausted, bored with holding your pack, and able to unwind, it’s price double-checking that your spot is degree. 

Past eyeballing your campsite, strive the water bottle approach – a easy hack that makes use of a clear water bottle as a makeshift leveler. Place the mostly-filled water bottle in your desired tenting spot horizontally. Is the bubble largely within the center? You’ve acquired an excellent flat spot!

2. Contemplate skipping busy campgrounds

Campgrounds may be loud as a result of they’re often full of lots of people. So should you desire silence at evening (insert: hand-raising emoji), massive campgrounds may very well be the least conducive for getting shuteye.

As an alternative, strive discovering a pleasant quiet dispersed website or perhaps a smaller non-public campground that isn’t fairly as crowded as the general public ones.

Undecided the right way to discover free campsites? Try our information to dispersed tenting.

3. Select your sleeping pad properly

Sleeping pads basically act as mini mattresses, getting your physique off the bottom and serving to preserve you heat.

If you’re sifting by way of the various choices accessible, be certain the pad is purposeful to your scenario and sleeping preferences.

In case you’re automotive tenting, choosing a thicker pad can assist you get a greater evening’s sleep. In case you’re a facet sleeper, you’ll need to search for a pad that may deal with additional weight within the shoulders and hips.

Searching for sleeping pad suggestions? Listed here are a few of our prime picks:

Woman sits on top of the NEMO Roamer Double Sleeping Pad - full review on the blog
The NEMO Roamer sleeping pad (double proven right here) is among the finest sleeping pads for automotive tenting

4. Use a foam mat beneath your sleeping pad

In case you’re backpacking and keen to hold a bit additional weight, add a foam mat to your pack just like the NEMO Switchback Foam Sleeping Pad. If you place it beneath your sleeping pad, it creates additional insulation, elevates your again much more off the bottom, and helps preserve your pad in a single place. 

Past offering additional cushion, including a foam mat beneath your pad additionally protects your sleeping pad, so it’s much less more likely to get poked and ruined by particles (rocks, sticks, and so forth). That is significantly necessary on larger journeys while you won’t be capable of restore your pad on the spot.

A foam mat may also function a pad to take a seat on while you’re cooking dinner and hanging outdoors your tent at camp.

Tip: Pack Restore Tape

Carry gear restore tape! It’s helpful for therefore many issues, together with fixing a gap in your sleeping pad ought to it tear unexpectedly.

5. Spend money on an excellent sleeping bag 

Sleeping baggage are arguably an important piece of drugs (see our favourite sleeping baggage right here). They’re the place you’ll spend no less than 8 hours every day of your journey getting much-needed relaxation and staying heat as temperatures drop.

Temperature score

Be sure your sleeping bag accommodates the temperatures of wherever you’re going. One thing to bear in mind is that the temperature score of a sleeping bag is an estimate, and if the air temperature drops to the temperature score of the bag, it doesn’t imply you’ll truly be snug.

As an alternative, for an excellent evening’s sleep in your tent, you’ll desire a sleeping bag that’s rated no less than 10-20 levels decrease than you count on the surface temperatures to succeed in.

Sleeping bag size

You’ll additionally need to be certain the sleeping bag is the fitting measurement to your physique. Too lengthy and your ft shall be chilly. Too quick and also you’ll be scrunched up in there attempting to suit.

In case you are somebody who tosses and turns, you would possibly desire a backpacking quilt over a mummy bag. A quilt is simply as heat and provides you extra freedom to maneuver round. 

Pair of sleeping bags in tent with camping pillows and sleeping pads
A quilt is a good alternative for individuals who have a tendency to maneuver round so much at evening

6. Preserve your ft heat

In case you are likely to get chilly ft (actually), stash your down jacket down by your ft inside your sleeping bag. Alternatively, an excellent trick is to boil some water, pour it in a Nalgene water bottle, and throw that in your sleeping bag earlier than you get in. 

7. Use a pillow

You could be tempted to only stuff some garments in a sleep sack and name {that a} pillow. Whereas that’s higher than nothing, bringing a tenting pillow is a game-changer when sleeping in a tent.

There’s a variety of tenting pillows designed for tenting and backpacking from inflatable to compressible.

Listed here are the professionals and cons of every:

  • Inflatable Tenting Pillows: These are tremendous packable, ultralight, and simply adjustable so you will get the firmness you’re in search of. Then again, they generally really feel much less cozy and extra balloon-like. Our decide is The Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow.
  • Compressible Tenting Pillow: For an choice harking back to your pillow at residence, compressible tenting pillows are often comfortable, cozy, and supportive.  Nonetheless, they are usually heavier and bulkier than inflatable pillows, and so they typically want a bit time to develop — generally even an hour.  
  • Stuffable Tenting Pillows: If you’d like a pillow that’s extremely mild and straightforward to pack, stuffable tenting pillows match the invoice. However what you stuff it with could make or break the expertise. Even the coziest jackets can find yourself feeling a bit funky within the pillow. 

**General, I desire compressible tenting pillows for consolation. Regardless that they take up more room and are usually barely heavier, the professionals outweigh the cons for me.

In case you’re automotive tenting, contemplate bringing the pillow you usually sleep on to offer you a way of residence within the tent. 

Facet sleepers, you might also profit from utilizing a knee pillow too (one thing I realized whereas pregnant). There are knee pillows designed particularly for journey. You may also double up on tenting pillows and get one to your head and one for between your knees. Or you possibly can merely crumple up a comfortable sweater and stash it between your knees to align your hips. 

Learn Extra

Tenting Gear Suggestions

8. Pack a set of cozy (and clear) pajamas

Designate a set of garments solely for sleeping. For me, that’s a pair of heat leggings, a long-sleeve shirt, and heat socks.

I discover the act of placing on a “sleep outfit” helps inform my mind “oh, it’s time for relaxation now.” It’s additionally good to place one thing on that hasn’t been worn (and sweated in) all day. 

9. Cowl your ears with a beanie or headband 

Ear plugs are at all times an choice to make your environment quieter. Nonetheless, if you wish to hear a little bit of what’s occurring simply in case, strive sleeping with a comfortable beanie as a substitute.  Beanies work double responsibility by retaining you heat and drowning out a few of the stimuli.

The best sleeping bags for backpacking are lightweight, warm & comfortable. Here are our favorite sleeping bags for women for a variety of budgets in 2021.
A beanie not solely helps preserve you heat at evening, it could additionally decrease sounds when sleeping in a tent

10. Contemplate upping your tent measurement

The distinction between tossing and turning and sleeping in a tent peacefully could also be just a few inches of tent area. For instance, should you’re tenting with one other individual, contemplate a 3-person tent slightly than only a 2-person tent, particularly if you’re backpacking with a canine. Whereas a tent could declare to suit two individuals, that doesn’t essentially imply it will likely be snug for 2 individuals. 

I exploit a 3-person tent as a result of it permits for more room to unfold out with my two canine and my accomplice Ryan.

A couple taking a selfie lying in the inside of a tent
In case you don’t thoughts the few additional ounces, I like to recommend selecting a bigger measurement tent if you may be sharing with a accomplice and/or pets. Right here Ryan dnd I are within the 3-person Zpacks Triplex tent.

11. Use comfortable lighting

In case you wish to learn earlier than sleeping in a tent or just need to preserve your campsite lit, think about using string lights, a lantern, or a light-weight headlamp that emits softer mild, like yellow, orange, or pink wavelengths.  

These softer lights are general gentler and fewer obtrusive on fellow campers in comparison with blue mild or white mild.

12. Give your self time to wind down

Arriving at a campsite and instantly going to sleep doesn’t work for everybody. Even when your physique is drained, the adrenaline that comes from transferring your physique and getting from Level A to Level B can take some time to simmer down. 

So when planning your days, it’s often a good suggestion to carve out additional time to only be. Possibly this appears to be like like sipping tea by the fireplace, chatting with a tenting buddy whereas consuming a meal, reflecting in your day, or doing easy nightly rituals. 

Listed here are just a few concepts for bedtime rituals that may make it easier to wind down for a greater evening’s sleep in your tent:

  • Meditate
  • Chill out across the hearth
  • Sip tea
  • Take heed to a podcast
  • Stretch
  • Journal 
  • Admire the celebs
  • Do a physique scan
  • Replicate on highlights from the day

Identical to the sleep outfit, these little rituals can assist you section into the following chapter of the day.

Cozying up by the fire in Montana with two dogs
Give your self time to wind down on the finish of the day whether or not that’s stretching, studying a ebook, or stress-free round a campfire

13. Strive a magnesium complement

Magnesium dietary supplements are thought to advertise higher sleep and might also assist stop cramping, which is widespread after a troublesome day of backpacking. I’ve been taking this mineral for the previous few years together with Vitamin D, and slowly however certainly really feel it’s helped my general well-being out and in of the tent.

In case you’re not considering dietary supplements, look into packing some magnesium-rich meals as a substitute. NUUN Tablets or SaltStick capsules may also assist present some additional electrolytes and vitamins (together with magnesium) you might want after a day spent mountaineering and sweating.

14. Eat (and drink) sufficient

There’s nothing worse than mendacity down to go to sleep solely to listen to your abdomen growl. In case you’re on a backpacking journey, be sure to’ve deliberate forward and have packed sufficient yummy backpacking meals to maintain you fueled and hunger-free.

The identical goes for staying hydrated. Dehydration can contribute to poor sleep, so be sure to’re consuming sufficient water and replenishing your electrolytes.

A woman eats an Outdoor Omnivore backpacking meal in the Minnesota Boundary waters
On backpacking journeys, plan forward to be sure to have sufficient meals to fulfill your starvation

15. Take heed to white noise

Outdoors of my accomplice and canine, I’ve found since having a child that white noise is my favourite sleep companion. When you could desire listening to the sounds of nature, should you discover that each creak popping out of the woods offers you nervousness or makes you jolt awake, you would possibly discover that listening to white noise helps you go to sleep.

Personally, the calming sound helps me enter a relaxed state, drowning out different sounds that will in any other case preserve me up. Simply you’ll want to obtain any sleep sounds prematurely so you possibly can play it even with out WiFi. 

Additionally, I like to recommend retaining the quantity low, so if there may be something outdoors that you just actually do want to concentrate on, you possibly can nonetheless hear it.

16. Pee when you want to

Earlier than you compromise in your tent for the evening, be sure to go to the toilet. It’s irritating to rise up in the midst of the evening to pee even at residence, and it’s particularly irritating when sleeping in a tent. So take a couple of minutes to get this out of the way in which, your future self will thanks.

You also needs to understand how and the place you’ll go to the toilet in the midst of the evening, so that you aren’t stumbling round looking for a tree to duck behind. I like to decide on a spot that’s inside eyeshot of my tent, however far sufficient away that I’m not peeing proper in my campsite. The faster and simpler that midnight journey to pee is the better it will likely be to fall again asleep.

Lastly, while you get the urge to pee in the midst of the evening, simply go! Holding it’ll solely disrupt your sleep in the long term.

17. Discover methods to handle nervousness  

You possibly can have the most effective gear and discover the flattest tenting spot and nonetheless really feel anxious about sleeping in a tent – whether or not it’s due to the animals or concern of the unknown. It’s widespread for these anxious ideas to get particularly intense proper as you’re settling down in your tent after darkish.

Previous to your journey, you’ll need to do some analysis on the dangers of the place you’re going: the animals, the water, the climate, different security situations, and so forth. However give your self no multiple hour to take action, that method you don’t find yourself taking place a rabbit gap.

Then, while you’re within the tent and see panic beginning to set in, bear in mind you’ve ready for any potential dangers, and also you’re okay. From there, you possibly can contemplate placing on a comforting playlist or apply some mindfulness workouts like light physique scans, visualization practices, and field respiratory

If it’s permitted, I additionally pack bear spray to alleviate wildlife fears. So within the unlikely case that I want it… I’ve it.  And I at all times deliver a backcountry communication gadget (like Garmin inReach Mini 2-Manner Satellite tv for pc Communicator) so I’ve some type of communication to assist. 

18. Get on the market, mirror, and repeat

In case you had a horrible evening’s sleep in a tent, mirror on what wasn’t working. Was the campsite noisy? Possibly enterprise off additional subsequent time or activate white noise.  Did the bottom harm your again? You’d most likely profit from a unique sleeping pad and/or sleeping bag. Typically options aren’t that easy, however generally they’re!

Tent pitched at Hamilton Lake in Sequoia with gear, including sleeping bag, hat, Garmin, and clothes
My tent pitched at Hamilton Lake in Sequoia with all the gear I want for an excellent evening’s relaxation

The necessary factor is to get on the market, take heed to your physique, and make changes over time. Whereas getting recommendation and testing your gear at residence helps, nothing compares to really sleeping in your tent and utilizing these experiences to make the following ones even higher. 

3 Issues NOT To Do When Sleeping in a Tent 

Typically it’s the little particulars that make the most important distinction, whether or not it’s with gear, backpacking, or, sure, sleeping. So listed below are just a few easy tips about what not to do.

  • Don’t stress over your first evening: Remember that the primary evening or two of sleeping in a tent is usually the toughest. Your physique is adjusting to new parts and tends to be in a extra alert mode.
  • So slightly than permitting one evening of unhealthy sleep to set the tone for your complete journey, bear in mind it’s possible your physique’s method of getting used to a unique atmosphere. With time, it’ll most likely get higher. 
  • Don’t ‘wing’ your nightly routine: This implies getting organized earlier than darkish with all your necessities in attain, together with your headlamp, additional layers, water, rest room paper, and no matter else you want as you wind down. Rummaging round in your tent at the hours of darkness is a surefire technique to get flustered, making it tougher to go to sleep.
  • Don’t overlook you already know your self finest: Consolation shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all — and neither is a camp sleeping system. Whereas some individuals love going tremendous light-weight with minimal gear, others, like myself, consider sleep-specific gadgets are price the additional weight.
  • I used to really feel a bit embarrassed by my jam-packed trunk and enormous pack, however now I’m grateful for each single merchandise that makes my journey not simply doable, but additionally pleasurable, which wouldn’t be occurring if I wasn’t sleeping in a tent comfortably!

Making ready to your subsequent tenting journey? Listed here are associated blogs to assist make camp life extra snug:

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What’s your tenting bedtime routine? Do you’ve got any ideas for sleeping in a tent extra comfortably? Tell us within the feedback!



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