by Gale Straub and Tori Duhaime
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Sleeping outside in a tent can be the pinnacle of rest and relaxation or an exercise in masochism depending on who you ask. It’s an acquired skill with a whole lot of rewards to be gained: sweet morning air in the mountains, the accomplishment of carrying everything you need into the backcountry (if you’re backpacking), and creating distance from your everyday routine to name just a few.
Getting a good night’s rest is important for your everyday life and it’s no different when camping. Whether backpacking, car camping, or sleeping under the stars in your backyard, here are our best tips for getting a good night’s sleep so you can wake up on the right side of the tent.
A sleeping pad and a pillow that keep you comfortable are key. It doesn’t have to be a super fancy bed setup either. If you’re sleeping in the back of a car and want a blow-up mattress and your silk pillowcase back there, take advantage of the space and capacity. A simple foam accordion sleeping pad is just as great for backpacking and you can use a stuff sack full of clothes as a pillow. Try new things and figure out what works for you! Here are a few options we like:
The right sleeping bag or blanket for you and the temperature makes all the difference, too. If you’re car camping and weight/heft isn’t a consideration,you can even bring your favorite blanket from home. Here are some different types of sleeping bags to consider:
Don’t be afraid to go bigger for a better night’s sleep. If you’re camping on your own, a 1.5 or 2 person tent might be the right fit depending on your body size or need to spread out. And if you’re camping with a partner, a 3-person tent could keep you from bumping into each other in the night. Even backpacking, we’ve found that the space is worth the extra weight.
If you’re a creature of habit and have a nighttime routine back home, consider how you can bring that with you. Maybe taking some wipes to freshen up and to wash your face before bed or brewing your favorite nighttime tea will help your body know it’s time to wind down. (Just be sure you pack out any trash!)
Keeping some ibuprofen or Tylenol on hand can help your body relax and relieve aching joints. Stretching out before bed will also help settle your body and mind. Self-massage can do wonders, too!
Drink water during the day but avoid drinking too close to going to bed. Getting up to pee in the middle of the night while camping can be a little more frustrating than at home! If you know you won’t make it all night, have a GoGirl or another pee funnel on hand, so you can pee into a bottle in or just outside the tent
Sometimes a second night is all you need to get the hang of sleeping outside in a tent. You might even start to look forward to cuddling up in your private sleep spot after a day of exploring. But if camping isn’t for you, that’s ok, too. There are so many ways to get out there and soak up the benefits of nature; we’re in support of cultivating the relationship that works best for you.
Share in the comments: What did we miss? What are your best tips for sleeping outside in a tent while camping?
This was originally shared, in part, as a Trail Kit Thursday post on the She Explores Instagram (written by Tori Duhaime). Head to @she_explores to follow along, and discover more gear posts in our blog under “Gear + Goods.”
Banner image by Ben Duchac via Unsplash