Unbearable humidity, hard ground, and mosquitoes round the clock! If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then you have probably spent a lot of sleepless nights on many of your camping trips and at the brim of giving up camping. What you need to know is that situations like this are more common than you imagine. Many campers have had this experience and continue to experience it during their camping trips, and in fact, it is perhaps the first negative aspect campers mutter about their favorite pastime.
But, camping is one of the best ways to unplug from all the stress, enjoy some time alone, spend some quality time with family and friends, and also to connect (or reconnect) with nature. So, if it is just the sleepless nights that are making you think twice about going camping, follow these tips for a better sleep.
Here are some effective tips to sleep well while camping:
Right Sleeping Gear
The first step to make sure that you enjoy a good night’s sleep while camping is to get the right sleeping gear. From something as simple as an eye mask to something more vital like your sleeping bag, you need to take your time analyzing the different choices available to you and purchase the right gear. Here is a quick overview on how to choose the right sleeping gear:
- Sleeping bag: There are a lot of different options in the market when it comes to just sleeping bags, and this selection process, honestly, can be quite overwhelming. Just remember that the two main factors you need to focus on when choosing a sleeping bag is its temperature rating and style, both of which should be apt for your camping location.
- Pillows: Pillows are sometimes neglected, and often ignored as well; but, they can add big comfort. However, you don’t necessarily have to buy a new set of pillows for camping. If you like the pillows you regularly use at home, you can bring those for camping, provided they are not too big to carry. If not, you can buy inflatable or foam pillows designed specifically for the outdoors.
- Sleeping pad: If you have slept on the ground previously, you probably know how even the tiniest rocks can completely ruin your night. This is where investing in a quality sleeping pad will make all the difference. A sleeping pad will also store just the right amount of heat your body needs, so you don’t wake up cold or shivering in the middle of the night.
- Earplugs and eyeshades: These are two small items that can make a real difference in how you sleep while camping. While some of you may not be used to sleeping in the outdoors and hence not really fond of the various outdoor noises, some may need it to be pitch black to go to sleep, and others both. If you belong to one or all of these categories, carrying a set of earplugs and eyeshades can prove to be extremely helpful.
- Fan: For those of you who are sweatier than usual, the issue with sleeping outdoors may not be because of lack of comfort, but the sweltering heat. And it can get even worse when you have to sleep in a tent that has been sitting under the sun all day long. Here, a compact fan, especially a solar powered one, can be highly useful. All you need to do is let it charge during the day, under the sun, while you are exploring the wilderness, and use it for a great sleep at night.
Pick the Right Site
Now that we’re done with knowing how to choose the right sleeping gear, the next thing you should focus on to sleep well while camping is picking the right site to pitch your tent. Make sure that the spot you choose is flat; if it happens to be on a hill, you need to place your head uphill while sleeping. The rest are some basic things to remember, like clearing the ground of stones, twigs, etc., avoiding pitching the tent underneath a tree, avoiding wet or low areas, etc.
Prepare Your Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags are designed to take your body heat and use their insulation property to maintain the heat. However, there will be times when your sleeping bag doesn’t get warm enough to give you a good night’s sleep, especially when you are not warm enough yourself. To prevent this, try to do something to get yourself warm just before you go to bed. There is one other option: boil some water and allow it to cool slightly; pour it in a heat resistant bottle and close the lid once the water is completely cool; close the bottle tightly, make sure there is no leak, and place the bottle inside your sleeping bag. Do this thirty minutes before you head to bed.
Wear Clean and Dry Clothes
In addition to dressing to suit the weather, it is also important that you change out of sweaty and dirty clothes and put on fresh and dry clothes for sleeping. Go for long top and pants and also wear a clean pair of socks. Another important thing to remember when it comes to clothing is to not overdress for the night. As much as you like to stay warm during your night’s sleep, overdressing can also be problematic. If you think that you need some more warmth, try using a comforter or jacket as an external layer of your sleeping bag.
Be Physically Active During the Day
Have you ever realized that during the days that you’re very busy, you find yourself sleeping like a baby at night? That’s exactly what you need to do even when you are outdoors. You need to be physically active throughout the day, so you can sleep well at night. Do something, anything that interests you. Whether it is cycling, hiking, swimming, or simply running around exploring the wild, it doesn’t matter as long as you exert yourself.
Stick to Your Regular Schedule
Not sticking to your regular sleep schedule can be another major reason for your sleepless nights in the wilderness. Your inner clock will be used to those regular timings and even a small change to the same may prevent you from resting properly. It is known that people in the outdoors, camping or backpacking, tend to go to sleep from 7 PM to 9 PM. However, if you are used to sleeping close to midnight, you are likely to be unable to fall asleep that early. To make sure that you stick to your schedule, do activities like reading a book, playing cards, or other camping games to pass this time wisely.
Follow Your Nighttime Routines
Do you normally have a routine that you follow every night before going to bed? If so, it could be just what you need to sleep well while camping. Some of you may have the habit of reading a book, brushing your teeth, or having a cup of tea. Whatever it is that you do, follow the same rituals even when you are camping in the outdoors. If you are taking your kids along, letting them have their favorite bedtime toy, blanket, or pillow can do wonders.
In addition to these tips, remember some basic things like: having a flashlight handy, storing food and other scented items outside your tent, and using the restroom before going to bed. Ultimately, your goal is to have a pleasant and relaxing camping experience, or a fun and exciting one, depending on what you have in mind. So, don’t let sleep ruin your plans!