How to Sleep and Wake Up Comfortably While Camping

Camping for Beginners: Sleeping Setup and Getting Up Tips

Published: Oct 19, 2020

Many people ask us how we are able to sleep comfortably while we're out camping. The answer is really simple: you should have the right gears with you and prepare your nighttime essentials ahead of time, and prepare yourself physically. Waking up early at a camp shouldn't be frustrating either. If you know what to prepare ahead of time, you'll love to be an early bird.

Camping is one of the best experiences that anyone can have. Whether you're going on a solo-hike or traveling with your friends and family, you can never go wrong with this type of adventure. But did you ever consider the camping setup that you need to sleep comfortably inside your tent?

We know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night without any air left on the mattresses or with an aching body.

In this article, we'll answer all your questions when it comes to camping sleeping setup, and will tell you how you can avoid bug bites and how you can ease the challenge of waking up early at the campsite.

 

Having the right gear

Knowing where you're camping and what the weather will be like is essential to bring the right gear with you and help you sleep comfortably. If you're not sure what to bring, here's a quick checklist of the starter gears that you'd want to have.

 

  1. Get the right bedding

Having the right camp bed can make or break your trip. Some people choose to have only one bedding for all their camping occasions, but if you're like us and constantly travel, no matter the season, you'd want to have a bed that fits the weather. Bedding can differ in terms of size, insulation, weight, and more.

These different types of mattresses are fit for specific seasons — self-inflating, air, cot, and foam pads. In our article, “Camping Mattress Hacks - How to Make Your Camping Mattress Comfortable,” we discussed the different types of mattresses, their intended use, and gave some tips on to make your bed comfortable. 

Once you know the kind of bedding that will fit your preferences, you can check out our “Best Camping Beds and Pads of 2021” guide, in which we did a quick review of the top products on the market today. You'll find a wide range of categories, from double camp beds to kids mattresses, camping beds for dogs, and more.

  1. Camping pillows

Camping pillows are different from those that you use at home. Pillows that are intended for camping are indeed more compact and inflatable. Although many mattresses now have built-in pillows, it makes a huge difference to have a movable one.

 

  1. Earplugs and eye masks

If you ask our campers what the second most important thing to bring when sleeping on a camp is, they'll definitely answer you with “earplugs.” These dampen or block out the unnecessary noises that you might hear when you're out in the woods. 

Eye masks are also helpful if you're traveling to northern areas where there's constant light, even at night. This also helps if you're a sensitive sleeper and wouldn't want to open your eyes constantly just to check your surroundings.

Now that you have an idea of the main gears that you'd need to bring, let's dig into our next topic: how to get ready for bed while camping.

 

Getting ready for bed while camping

Preparing and organizing your tent, gears, and sleeping set up well before dark allows you to enjoy the evening with your friends and family. If you want to experience a good night's sleep, here are the do's and don'ts of sleeping at a campsite.

 

Do's in camping sleeping setups

While there are multiple ways to set up your sleeping area, here are those we have tested to organize our camp before diving into our bed:

  • Choose a decent site for your tent. If you want to have a great night's sleep, the most important thing is to have a proper tent site. You should look for a flat area that is free from any debris. Make sure to remove any rocks, sticks, and other noticeable sharp objects where you plan to put up your tent. 
  • Keep a source of light near you. Most beginner campers are surprised by how dark it can get in the middle of the woods. Therefore, we suggest that you keep a handy flashlight within your reach or hang a LED lantern inside your tent, which you can turn on right before you go to bed.
  • Continue your regular routine. Routines trigger a sense of normalcy even if you're in a different surrounding. If brushing your teeth, making your bed, or reading a book are part of your daily routine at home, you should keep doing these at the campsite. 

For children, bringing their blankets or stuffed toys can help them be comfortable on their air pads.

  • Wear a different set of clothes. It's important that you change from your hiking clothes to comfortable sleepwear that's suited for camping. Generally speaking, we suggest that you wear a clean top and bottoms, long underwear, and socks.
  • Secure all scented toiletries and food supplies. Rules regarding food differ from park to park, so it's vital that you know and abide by their rules. If you're traveling in an area where there is a possibility of wildlife visiting your camp, we suggest that you put all your food outside the tent and secure it with canisters. 
  • Go to the restroom before heading to bed. We recommend that you go pee 20-30 minutes before going to bed and again right before slipping into your sleeping bag. This is especially helpful for women. There are also available pee funnels on the market for this.
  • Prepare for midnight trips. Even if you peed twice before going to bed, sometimes, you will wake up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom. Thus, we suggest that you prepare your camp shoes or slippers near the tent door and your handy flashlight. 

If you're camping during the rainy or winter season and going out of the tent is an issue, we recommend that you prepare a designated pee bottle or a wide-mouthed jar. It's also best if you first try this out in the shower so that you can avoid accidents in the long run.

 

Don'ts in camping sleeping setups

Now that we've covered the things that you should do before going to bed, let's check out the things that you shouldn't do.

  • Avoid overdressing. The insulating system of most air beds and mattresses uses your body heat to trap and return the heat to you. Thus, if you're overdressed, it will reduce the ability to collect heat. If you want to feel warmer and have better insulation, you can drape a blanket or jacket outside of your bag or add a layer of bed comforter.
  • Avoid burrowing or breathing into your bed. If you're camping in the winter, we suggest that you don't breathe into your own bed to avoid condensation, which can significantly decrease the insulation of your sleeping bag. 
  • Avoid evening horror stories. Many people believe that telling horror stories in the middle of a bonfire is a must-do activity when camping. But if you want to have a good night's sleep, we suggest that you avoid doing this. There are people, especially kids, who have a hard time sleeping after engaging in this type of activity.
  • Avoid spilling liquid on it. It is frustrating to spill water on your bed, especially when it's near bedtime. To avoid this mishap, we suggest that you use reusable straws, so even if you get thirsty in the middle of the night, you can have quick access to safe drinking water.
  • Avoid holding your pee. Some people tend to hold their pee when they wake up in the middle of the night. We don't recommend you doing this because holding your pee makes you colder since your body works hard to burn the calories inside you to keep your urine warm. 

How to stay warm in the evening

Cold sleepers tend to need more warmth, even on warm nights. Whether you're one of those who feels colder when they sleep, or you're in for a rough night, here are some tips that can help you stay warm in the evening:

  • Eat a light meal or snack before going to bed. One way to heat up your body internally is to eat a light meal or a snack. The digestion process makes your stomach work, which results in higher inner heat.
  • Do a little bit of exercise. Doing little sit-ups or push-ups before going to bed is also a great way to heat up your body. Just make sure that you only do a quick exercise to avoid getting sweaty, or worse, keeping you wide awake.
  • Get a warm knit hat. Knit hats are effective to warm you up. Once you feel too warm, you can easily remove them and go back to sleep.
  • Put dry clothes inside your camp bed. To fill up the empty spaces in your bed and reduce the area that your body needs to heat up, you can stuff your sleeping bag with extra clothes.
  • Drink warm water. Another great way to warm your body is by drinking warm water before jumping into bed. You can also keep a warm bottle close to your body's core (between your legs) to quickly warm you up.

 

Tricks to keep bugs away while camping

Out of all the many things that campers do not want to have on their campsite, especially inside their tents, are bugs. Depending on where your campsite is, there could be constant buzzing sounds, and sometimes, mosquitoes trying to get you. 

To avoid these annoying bugs from getting inside your tent, here are some tricks that you can apply while out camping:

  • Always keep the door closed. Whether it's daytime or nighttime, it's important that you always keep your windows, doors, and screens shut. Also, if you're about to go inside the tent, remember to shake yourself first to remove any insects that might cling onto your clothes or skin.
  • Know your scent. Bugs are commonly attracted to overly scented products like shampoo, soap, deodorant, perfume, and aftershave. Although we're not suggesting that you change all of your hygiene products and go all-out natural, we recommend that you be mindful of these scents and try to use products that have minimal odors.
  • Bring waterproof bug sprays. Bug sprays that are non-waterproof are worthless if it rains or if you sweat. Check the product that you buy to ensure that it's waterproof and can last a long time.
  • Choose a clean campsite. Mosquitoes need water for their eggs to survive so it's vital to check your campsite's surroundings for any stagnant water. You should also prepare for a rainfall since mosquito eggs hatch after a rainfall. To avoid this, choose a site that's dry and somewhat elevated.

 

Ways to get up early on a campsite

There are days when we happily get out of bed while we're greeted by the chirping sounds of birds, the light rays of the sun, and trickling water by the stream. We get from our tent with a surge of energy to start the new adventure ahead of us.

But there are also days when getting up is challenging. You're greeted by your alarm, fiddle with your phone, and think about whether you actually want to get up or continue sleeping.

Whether you're looking to jump-start your day, beat the crowds from the hike, or get to the next campsite early, here are some ways to help you ease the challenge of getting up while camping:

 

Preparing through the night

  1. Prepare your backpack. Once you're done for the day, make sure that you pack your bag thoughtfully. Meaning, you'd want to have ample space in your backpack that can fit all the gears that you're using at night. This includes your sleepwear, nighttime essentials, sleeping bag, pads, blankets, and tent.
  1. Prepare your essential items. As we mentioned, it's important that you prepare everything you need to start packing the next morning. Essential items are the clothes that you're going to wear by the next morning, your shoes, water bottles, and the gears you'll need on your journey. These should be placed in an area where they're easy to grab once you're ready to go.

 

The next morning

  1. Deflate your sleeping pad. First and foremost, when you wake up, deflate your sleeping pad to ensure that you won't get back in it. Once you've done this, getting up is easier since you can't lie down anymore. 
  1. Stay inside your sleeping bag. Once your wake up and decide to fix your bed, we suggest that you stay half-way inside your sleeping bag. This will help warm up your body, while you're fixing your blankets, pads, pillows, etc.
  1. Warm your clothes. You'd be surprised by how uneasy it is to feel and wear cold clothes, especially early in the morning. To warm up your clothes before actually wearing them, you can put them inside your sleeping bag while you're doing other things.
  1. Happy thoughts. There's nothing stronger than mentally preparing yourself for the day. If you're not up for it, try thinking about some of your happiest thoughts and spend your energy wisely.

 

Final thoughts

Now that you have an idea of how to have a comfortable sleeping setup when you're out camping, we hope that you try out the tips and tricks we've mentioned to help you ease your struggle when it comes to sleeping and waking up the next day.


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