Camping Sleep Tips

Couple roasting hot dogs by the fire

There are many things that can improve sleep while camping. There are many things that can affect our sleep, especially while we're out camping.

Noise: This is an actual comment left on a comment card for the U.S. Forest Service by somebody who had just completed a camping trip: "The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals."

Even if you find the sounds of nature soothing, maybe your partner snores during the night which can be somewhat bothersome. Take along a pair of ear plugs just in case. If you're at a more crowded campground, then you might have some noisy neighbors keeping you up. It's better to be prepared than stuck in an unfavorable situation that keeps you up at night.

Temperature: Even during the summer, you might forget that the temperature can drop quite dramatically at night. The key thing to remember is layers. This helps you to be adequately prepared for any kind of temperature.

Another consideration is what sleeping bag to use on your trip. Each sleeping bag typically has a "temperature rating" to help you know what season to use it in. For example, if it's a +35°F degree bag then it's not advisable to use it in temperatures colder than +35 °F.

For summer, it's generally recommended to use a sleeping bag with a temperature rating of +35 °F or higher. There are other factors influencing how warm you are while sleeping. Women typically prefer to be warmer than men by a few degrees. If you find you get cold easily, keep hydrated to help stay warm during the night.

Sleeping Surface: What you sleep on can make a huge difference for your night. Some people can sleep just fine on a thin pad, and others feel this is cruel and unusual punishment. Take into account if you have medical problems with your back, neck or shoulders. You might require more support than the average camper.

Also, if you're pregnant you might not even consider that you need extra support. Since most pregnant women are advised to sleep on their sides, it can be hard on your hips and sides to sleep on something with minimal support like a camping mat.

If you fall into any of these categories, then an air mattress is the most favorable solution. Many people just prefer the support anyway, so it doesn't mean you need to have some medical condition to want the extra support.

If you're planning on hiking over a long distance, then look into a camping mat. They're lighter and well-suited for fitting compactly into a backpack.

Keep Busy: Enjoy the outdoors while you can. It's better to drain your energy so you feel ready to sleep at night. Do a variety of activities that require your energy. Once the night rolls around, you'll find it difficult to stay awake.