12 Top Tips for the Best Sleep While Camping

best sleep while camping

Whether you are an experienced camper or someone just starting to venture into sleeping in the great outdoors, sleeping when camping is always going to be a challenge when we all want a great night’s sleep.

Best sleep while camping? It is very important to pitch your tent on the even ground, comfortable bedding, prepare for the temperature, be active during the day, reasonable bedtime, be ready for bugs, mosquitoes, and other critters, watch what you eat and drink, prepare for noise, bedtime routine and keep dry.

Some of us will naturally be a little more alert out in nature especially in the dark than others.

This can then affect our sleep, so in this article, I will give you tips you will already know about and some great ones you probably hadn’t thought of.

12 Top Tips for the Best Sleep While Camping

Although I have stated 12 tips you will find more fantastic ideas within each tip. So read on…

1. Where to Pitch Your Tent or Park Your RV or Camper

Make sure you select a flat area when choosing where to pitch your tent. A grassed area or ground that has a soft layer of leaves or grass on top will give you that cozy feel inside your tent.

If the best spot available has a slight incline make sure you set your tent up so your head is higher than your feet. If it is not you may experience headaches or even reflux. Same if you have to park an RV or camper on a slope.

Before pitching your tent, if you can, get down on your hands and knees and feel around for any large tree branches or rocks. You do not want any hard or sharp objects under the floor of your tent. Apart from being uncomfortable underfoot or when sleeping they could tear a hole in the floor of your tent.

Another site selection tip is to consider whether you will need the bathroom throughout the night. If so consider camping a quick, safe hike to the restrooms, camping facilities or that large tree!

Weather conditions are also another consideration when choosing a site. If rain is expected don’t pitch in an area where water could pool. Your tent will end up floating in it. Also, consider staying away from trees as you will get all their runoff. As well as the dripping and tapping noises on the roof of your tent.

2. Comfortable Bedding

A sleeping pad or air mattress will give you the cushioning you need throughout the night. Test your air mattress before leaving home and leave it inflated for a couple of days to make sure it will stay up while camping. (Also, don’t forget to pack the pump. You don’t want to be blowing it up with your mouth.)

A good quality sleeping bag is a must. Do your research via reviews as the rating systems used can sometimes be confusing. In regards to keeping you warm or cool.

If you have to pay a little more than you would like to remember you can always use your sleeping bag around your home as extra bedding for those surprise guests.

Take your own pillow and place one of your favorite old shams or slips over it to protect it. It really makes a difference knowing you are sleeping on your own pillow.

If you feel the cold throw in an extra blanket.

3. Prepare for Nighttime Temperatures

If you have the correct sleeping bag for the expected weather conditions you should be good to go.

Preparing for Cold Weather Conditions

When it is cold you should not have to overdress when in your sleeping bag. If you do your sleeping bag may not work as effectively as it should.

If you do feel the cold you might want to consider warming up your sleeping bag with an old-fashioned hot water bottle. Prepare as you would at home and pop it inside your sleeping bag half an hour before bed.

You can also use the extra blanket you bought along over the top of your sleeping bag.

Preparing for Warm Weather Conditions

Do not assume that because the weather is warmer during the day that the nights will be warm and balmy as well. Check the weather predictions for the temperature at night at your destination.

If it is warm at night just wear your night clothes and lay on top of your sleeping bag which will make for an extra soft and lofty bed. Then if it cools down at night you can hop into the bag or just throw your extra blanket over you.

Not sleeping in a tent but under the stars, then you can lay on top of your sleeping bag and use a mosquito net to keep the bugs out.

4. Get Active

Getting active throughout the day will help you get some sleep. So get moving and breathe in all that fresh air. Hiking, swimming, climbing, fishing, canoeing, paddling whatever it is will relax you and allow you to get to sleep early.

5. Bedtime – Early to Bed and Early to Rise!

Don’t be tempted to stay up late at night disturbing others. Who wants to be around tired and exhausted people the next day.

You should all be bounding out of bed ready for the day a new adventure.

If a sleep in is what you after and do not want to rise too early take along an eye mask to keep out the early morning light.

6. Bugs and Mosquitoes

Ensure your screens and doors are not damaged, if they’re damaged repair them. Keeping your screens and doors closed at all times day and night, especially at dusk will help keep them out. The larger bugs as well will enter an open door.

Burning flame-free citronella sticks will assist in keeping bugs, flies, and mosquitoes away as they really dislike smoke.

There are also some non-harmful products like Burts Bees Natural insect repellant you can spray on your skin to repel the bugs.

Mosquito netting is also available if you have room to bring it along.

Remember to check your skin, hair, and clothes yourself or get someone to do it for you. Look for ticks, leeches, and spiders.

7. Watch What You Eat and Drink

Better to have dinner early and clean up before it gets too late. Because we generally eat a little more when in the fresh air your dinner will also have time to digest before settling down for the night.

When the clean up is done don’t be tempted to sit around drinking alcohol, consuming sugar or caffeine as these will keep you awake. Or at the very least unsettled during the night.

Stick to caffeine-free herbal teas or water.

Probably should also steer clear of the scary campfire stories. You don’t want any to be too frightened to sleep.

8. What to Wear to Bed

You want to wear clean dry clothing to bed. In a sleeping bag, a loose-fitting layer of clothing and clean cotton socks are comfortable.

If you wear tight-fitting clothing such as workout leggings it actually restricts the circulation which is what actually keeps you warm at night.

Don’t forget your woolen knitted beanie to keep your head warm.

9. Noise

While there are those that can tolerate nature noises others just want peace and quiet. If you are in the latter category earplugs are your best friend when camping. They will definitely dull the nature down as will smartphone white noise apps or just your good old-fashioned mixed playlist through some headphones.

If you need to consider children that may not like animal noises and nature sounds there are portable white noise machines around that run on batteries.

10. Preparing for Bed

Have a good personal cleanup before hopping into your sleeping gear. You can use fresh wipes or an old-fashioned sponge bath if shower facilities are not available. Don’t forget to clean your teeth.

Go to the bathroom 1/2 an hour before bed and then again right before you hit the sack. This can assist you with not having to get up during the night to go to the bathroom.

Have your earplugs, eye mask and white noise machine close by your bed.

Keep a flashlight near your bed there are hanging ones available.

Have a coat and your shoes ready to slip on in case you need the bathroom.

A water bottle is handy if you need to drink through the night.

Shake your sleeping bag out before entering and have a quick look around the tent for any nasties.

Keeping your tent neat and tidy will assist in keeping bugs at a minimum because they will have nowhere to hide.

11. Sharing a Tent

If you find yourself sharing a tent being respectful of each other in this confined area is paramount.

Keeping the tent fresh and clean by making sure your belongings are not laying all over the place. Especially the used or slightly smelly ones. Bag them up and tie them off.

Keep the tent swept out, avoid food crumbs and scraps inside the tent. This one act will assist in keeping the bugs away as well as the ants.

Don’t forget the big bugs. (Bears)  Keep your food and garbage sealed and away from the tent.

12. Keeping Dry

Take a tarp or two with you in case of inclement weather.

Always a great idea to pitch your tent on a tarp or something similar. They provide another barrier between the damp ground and yourself.

Having the other ready to erect over the ten in case of rain.

Try to keep your gear dry. If you do get wet make sure you change into dry clothing before hopping into bed.

Final Thoughts – 12 Top Tips for the Best Sleep While Camping

Whether you are sleeping out in the open under the stars, in a tent, a camper or an RV I am certain you have picked up at least one idea from my “Top Tips For The Best Sleep While Camping” article.

Happy Camping!

As always here’s to better sleep!

Related Questions

Trouble Sleeping While Camping

If you have trouble sleeping while camping trying to identify what it is that is affecting your sleep is the first step.

You cannot get to sleep at all? If after all the preparation outlined above you cannot get to sleep you may want to try a herbal alternative to assist in inducing sleep.

You could also try eating some snacks which have melatonin in them before going to bed.

Just to name a few easy to take camping options:- bananas, morello cherries, oats (porridge), sweet corn, rice, ginger, tomatoes, and radishes.

Waking regularly through the night? It could be your body telling you it is not used to sleeping on the hard ground. Extra padding underneath you could be the answer.

You could also try sleeping on your camping bed at home for a night or two before the campout. This top tip helps your body become accustomed to the harder surface.

Sleeping in a Hammock While Camping

Want to try something new and get up off the ground. What about sleeping in a hammock.

If this interests you at all click here I have a great resource that will help you sleep in a hammock while you are camping.

Categorized as Camping

By Michelle D.

Meet Michelle, founder of Tip Top Sleep, a website dedicated to helping you achieve the best sleep possible. With over 50 years of combined experience in the realm of sleep, Michelle and her team provide easy-to-follow tips and strategies to help you feel better, function better, and live better through optimal sleep. Let us help you prioritize your sleep and discover the power of a good night's rest.