Most of us are accustomed to sleeping inside our temperature-controlled homes on a comfy mattress, with fluffy pillows, and a toasty comforter. The thrill and hardship of camping is that it removes you from your comfort zone and bares you to a different life experience.
First time campers may be understandably hesitant to sleep outdoors. Fear of bears, insects, snakes, exposure to the elements, sleeping on the hard ground are common causes of concerns for campers, whether novice or pros.
Read on for some camping tips that can help you sleep comfortably when you’re out camping:
Bring Comfortable Bedding
Before packing your things, it is essential to consider bedding. Research your campsite’s terrain and the temperatures that you’ll be exposed to during the night. Consider a sleeping bag that will keep you comfortably warm - only you know your best sleeping temperature, so while a 40-degree bag may work for your friends, if you tend to feel cold during the night, a 30-degree sleeping is worth considering.
Bringing a good camping pillow will keep your neck and back aligned properly while you sleep and protect your head from the ground. Speaking of the hard ground, a sleeping pad is a must if you have the space for it. Again, this is up to preference- some people bring air mattresses, some bring egg crate foam, others prefer an inflatable pad and others like closed-cell foam best.
A hot water bottle is the safest way to warm yourself during the night. Stick one inside your sleeping bag before hitting the hay- you will thank yourself for it later.
Block Out Noise and Light
If you are easily bothered by sounds while sleeping, whether your companion’s snoring or the sounds of nature, then you must definitely pack some earplugs to block the noises.
If your eyes are sensitive to light, even that of the stars, pack an eye mask. Not into eye masks? No problem! You can take an emergency blanket and cover your tent with it. You can also create a canopy over your tent using some tarp. Not only will it shade your tent, but it will also keep it cooler and provide an additional layer of protection against rain.
Pack a Portable Radio
Now, if you’re someone who benefits from white noise sound (but can’t find a nice, flowing stream to pitch your tent next to), having a portable radio is a life-saver. It can give you the white noise that you need to sleep, and you can also tune in to it for some public radio or emergency announcements.
Choose Wisely Where You Pitch Your Tent
Before setting up, find a strategic spot - a clear, flat area with ample shade to ward off the sun’s heat during the day. If you’re going to set your tent up in a campground, consider your proximity to the bathroom.
Avoid setting up a tent under trees. A storm can cause branches to break loose and fall on the tent.
Keep the Tent Dry
If you’re expecting a downpour, bring some tarp and build a canopy over your tent. Be sure to set it up so that the water drops about 5 feet away from your tent. If not, water can seep back through the bottom of your tent and into your sleeping pad and bag.
Wear Appropriate Pajamas
Having a separate set of clothing intended for sleeping is essential to prevent one’s exposure to pollen and to keep as clean as possible. Moreover, going to bed in a clean set of clothes makes you feel fresh and comfortable.
Pack Away Food Properly
Secure your food and other scented products at least 100 feet away from your tent, in an airtight, locked container. If your campsite has active bears, be sure to bring bear-proof canisters and consider hanging your food from a tree. If you will have a car, pack the canisters and containers in your car under a sheet or tarp.
Turn Your Shoes Upside Down
Snakes and insects tend to slink their way inside dark crevices and holes. Thus, turning your shoes upside down helps deter them from sliding inside your footwear. Forgot to secure your shoes last night? Don’t fret. Just tap them before wearing them to remove any insect or snake that might have crawled in.
With these tips, you will not only sleep like a baby; you’ll feel refreshed and energized for the next day.
Feel free to share your favorite nighttime camping rituals in the comment section below!