10 tent sleeping tips: How to sleep well camping

Mar 27, 2019 BY Paul McWilliams

If you love the idea of sleeping under canvas but find that it’s tough to sleep well camping, then these top 10 tent sleeping tips will really help.

10 tent sleeping tips: How to sleep well camping flickr CC image by tuyddatygl

Of course, sleeping outside, away from the comfort of your own bed is going to be different. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow the advice below and there is no reason that you can’t enjoy a refreshing, cosy and comfortable night wherever you lay your head.

10 tent sleeping tips

The AWE365 team have put our heads together and come up with the following tips. If there is anything you would add please let us know in the comments.

1. Get a good quality sleeping bag

If you’ve looked at the cost of sleeping bags, you’ll probably have noticed that there’s a bit of disparity in the price. Some sleeping bags cost less than £20. Right next to them on the shelves there are others that cost 10 times that. How can this be? You might ask yourself.

The truth is that not all sleeping bags are created equal. Some sleeping bags are designed for indoor use, at sleepovers, for guests and the like. They’re usually square and can be unzipped into a blanket. They’re usually much cheaper and thus less suitable for outdoor use. So, don’t be lured in by the price.

Camping sleeping system How to buy a sleeping bag flickr CC image by advencap

For a good night under canvas you need the mummy-shaped, camping bags that retain body heat and provide good insulation. We’re not saying you have to spend hundreds on a bag for the odd night in a tent but in general, you get what you pay for.

Read reviews, check the temperature rating to make sure it’s suitable, and look for bargains in the sales. A good bag can make all the difference. Read our guide of how to buy a sleeping bag for more info.

2. Pillows

As well as your bag, you also need some bedding for a good night. A pillow is essential. A rolled-up pair of jeans or even your rucksack might do to get your head off the ground but it’s a poor substitute.

If you’ve no room to bring a pillow from home, a high quality inflatable pillow will be just as good. These can compress down small and easily fit in your pack.

Camping sleeping system How to buy a sleeping bag flickr CC image by jalexartis

3. Mattress matters

You need to get off the ground. The floor can be cold and acts like a conductor sucking the heat from your body. So, you need to make sure there is some sort of insulation between your sleeping bag and the earth below. But it’s not just that. A mattress can also add another layer of comfort.

There are various types of camping mattress that do both of the above, although some lean more towards insulation and others towards comfort.

Inflatable air mattresses are probably the most comfortable. They provide a soft cushion of air to support and elevate your body off the ground. But they are not the best for insulation. Top tip: put a space blanket beneath to help insulate.

Larger air mattresses are bulky and difficult to carry if travelling on foot. But they’re perfect if you’re taking the car. Remember to take a suitable pump or you’ll be red in the face from all the puffing.

Mattress matters tips to sleep well camping Flickr CC Image by GSEC

Self-inflating mattresses are thinner and easier to carry in a roll. Simply unscrew the nozzle and air will enter the mattress, increasing its size. Roll down firmly to deflate.

Air pads and closed-cell foam mattresses are also good alternatives if you’re carrying your kit. They are the least comfy but will insulate and every little helps.

4. Strategic location

So far, we’ve focused on what you should bring. But one of the most important factors in camping comfort is where you choose to pitch your tent.

Try to choose a site that is as flat as possible. And if you are on a hill, sleep with your feet pointing down the slope. This is one of the most overlooked tent sleeping tips. While you are at it make sure you avoid these other common camping mistakes.

Wild camping in Scotland one of the best British budget outdoor breaks Flickr CC image by Nick Bramhall

Choose a spot that offers softer ground, free from rocks but also somewhere that won’t get flooded or boggy. Think about temperature too. By a river or water might be beautiful for when you open your tent door in the morning but the bottom of a valley is always the coldest part of a landscape.

And water brings mosquitoes. Which brings us nicely onto our next point…

5. Repel the beasts

There’s no escaping insects in the outside world. That’s part of the deal. But some of them are a lot less of a nuisance than others. The odd ant, beetle or spider is not a problem (for most people). But get a mosquito or two in the tent and you can say goodbye to a good night’s sleep.

Keep the inner and outer doors closed when not in use. If your tent does not have an inner fully enclosed tent then use a net if camping where mozzies are an issue. Alternatively, bring some good quality repellent and you stand a better chance of a night free from the high-pitched buzz of a mosquito.

10 tent sleeping tips Flickr creative commons image Gilles San Martin

Also, remember to store food suitably, either sealed and away from insects or in a safe place if there is a risk of bears or other large animals. A bear, or as happened to one of our team kangaroos, wandering around outside your tent is not conducive for you to sleep well camping.

6. How to sleep well camping if it is noisy: Earplugs

If you’re used to stone cold silence as you sleep the sound of other campers chatting is going to keep you awake. So bring a set of earplugs to keep the noise out.

If you like it dark, then an eye mask will keep the morning sun from disturbing your slumber. This is one of the most simple tent sleeping tips to follow.

7. Warm your bed

Taking off your clothes and getting into bed is sometimes a bit of an ordeal when you’re camping. But not taking your clothes off can be even worse. If they are slightly damp from a cold night, smell of the campfire or make you too hot it will impact your night sleep.

Tent sleeping tips how to sleep well camping Flickr CC Image by kuhnmi

So why not pre-warm your bed to make getting in a pleasurable experience? Use a hot water bottle and your bed for the night will be nice and toasty when you get in. Also if you keep your sleep clothing in the sleeping bag it will warm too.

8. Avoid big meals

Try not to eat a huge meal too close before going to bed, and keep snacks light and healthy. This has been shown to help you sleep better. And on a similar note….

9. Watch what you drink

Having a beer as the sun goes down and you’ve pitched your tent can be a wonderful thing. But not such a good idea when you’ve had a skinful and are scrabbling round in the pitch dark and cold at three in the morning trying to find somewhere to go to the toilet.

Alcohol can also interrupt regular sleep patterns, so it’s best avoided for a really refreshing sleep. The same goes for caffeine.

Review of Skandika sleeping bags for all the family

10. Try and stick to routines

Normally go to be at 11pm? But are tucked up in your tent by 9pm tossing and turning? There’s a simple explanation why you might not sleep well camping.

Your body gets used to routines. Try to follow these as much as possible to help it wind down before bed. So, try and go to bed at a similar time to normal. Of course on night two after you woke up with the sunrise at 5am you may be ready to hit the sack early!

Follow the above top 10 tent sleeping tips and you’ll find it’s easier than you thought to sleep well camping. So why not get out and give it a try?

We hope you found these tips useful. Check out our adventure holiday discounts and you could save a fortune on your next trip.


Camping, Cycling, Hiking, Kayaking, Multi Activity, Overlanding, Trekking
Camping Tent, Sleep, Sleeping bags
Top 10s

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