How to Make Tent Camping Comfortable (10 Best Tips)

Tent camping can be a fun and adventurous experience…

But, since you’re leaving many of the comforts of home behind, it can also be pretty uncomfortable.

So, let’s learn how to make tent camping more comfortable with these 10 tried and tested tips from the pros!

1. Plan Ahead

The first step to ensuring the most comfortable tent camping experience is to plan ahead!

As much as I love to spontaneously head out for a weekend camping trip (and I do it often), the most comfortable trips are when some planning is involved ahead of time.

This will help you be more organized with how many people are going, what food and other camping supplies you’ll need to get, and of course, your sleeping arrangements if there are multiple campers in one tent.

This is also the opportune time to check the weather forecast for the location you’ll be camping at, which will help you in tip #4 below, and do your due diligence to find the right campsite, which brings us too…

2. Choose the Right Campsite

Choosing the right campsite will oftentimes start before you even leave for your trip. Thanks to the internet, you can reserve spots ahead of time online, read descriptions and reviews of campgrounds, and sometimes even see pictures of the spot before you even get there.

How one describes comfort varies, but some things you can look for are the amenities the campground has to offer (showers, water, bathrooms, etc.), the location of the campsites (are they near a stagnant water source or thick vegetation where bugs swarm?), and so on.

The second part of choosing the most comfortable campsite takes place once you arrive.

You’ll want to find a place for your tent that is flat, smooth, and free of debris for optimal sleeping comfort. In warmer climates, look to pitch your tent out of the sunlight to help keep the inside of your tent cool.

And again, pitch your tent away from stagnant water sources and thick vegetation to help keep bugs away from your tent.

3. Bring the Right Camping Gear

The right camping gear can make or break your tent camping trip in terms of comfort.

Of course, the “right” gear depends on where you’re camping, the weather, the duration, the number of campers, and so on.

With that said, some common items that help with comfort include:

  • Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, sheets
  • Sleeping pads, whether that be a foam mattress, cot, air mattress, etc.
  • Eye masks as tents let a lot of light in
  • Earplugs to help you sleep at night as the outdoors can be surprisingly noisy
  • Toiletries such as soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.
  • Cooking utensils
  • Camping chair and/or hammock

This is not an exhaustive list, but rather some ideas to help you have the most comfortable experience possible.

Related: Camping Cot vs Air Mattress: Which Is Best?

We recommend making a checklist of all the comforts you want to bring to ensure you don’t forget anything. It may take a few tent camping trips to really dial that list in.

And remember, you can’t take every comfort from home with you. If you take too much gear, it can be more of a hassle to carry it around and set up camp. So, experiment over a few different trips and find the balance between the right amount of gear and comfort.

4. Bring Appropriate Clothing

In addition to your tent and sleeping bag, you’ll need to pack the appropriate clothing.

This is where paying attention to the forecast before leaving for your trip really comes in. Essentially, you’ll want to pack warm clothes for cold nights or cool ones for warmer days. And always bring extra layers too!

If it’s sweltering during the summer months, opt for lightweight, long sleeves and pants in natural fabrics like cotton that breathe and dry quickly.

And always plan for rain, even it’s not in the forecast, as getting your clothes and gear wet can immediately make your camping trip uncomfortable. Pack an umbrella, raincoat, shoes to wear in the mud, and large sealable bags to keep clothes in if they get wet.

5. Don’t Forget Bug Protection

The constant buzzing, chirping, and other noises insects make can be irritating (which is why we recommend earplugs above). But, it’s not just the noise that insects make that can be annoying… more so, it’s the bug bites!

The best three tips to prevent bugs from invading your campsite and tent are to choose the right campsite, keep your campgrounds clean, and use natural sources of light, like a campfire.

How to keep bugs away while camping

Beyond that, using a mosquito repellent device or product like sprays, citronella candles, or coils can help, as well. 

Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller

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And keep your tent doors zipped up at all times (easier said than done when camping with kids, I know) to prevent bugs from making it their new home. Check out our guide on how to keep bugs out of a tent for more tips and tricks!

6. Pack a Suitable Tent

To have the most comfortable camping experience, you should choose a tent that will be big enough for you and any friends joining you on your trip.

Oh, and all your gear!

Bring a tent with enough space for one extra person, even if you don’t have any additional people going. In other words, if you have three campers, bring a 4-person tent. The extra room in your tent will come in handy, especially for storing your gear and stretching out during the night.

Lastly, your tent needs to be outfitted for the weather you’ll be camping in. Tents suitable for warmer climates need ventilation, while tents suitable for colder climates have insulation and can handle the weight of snow accumulating on it. A rainfly and tent footprint may come in handy if you’re camping in heavy rains.

7. Make Your Tent Cozy

The best way to make your tent cozy, and enjoy a comfortable tent camping experience, is to bring your favorite pillow, sheets, and blanket along with you! This works by bringing a sense of home and your bed with you.

Arguably, the best night’s sleep happens in your own bed using the blankets and pillows that you’re used to. So it just makes sense that these items will make for the most comfortable tent bedding possible.

Now, couple your home bedding with a quality sleeping pad (air or foam mattress, cot, etc.). and you have the recipe for a great night’s sleep!

Related: Most Comfortable Way to Sleep in a Tent 

Closely related to this is to make sure your tent is at a comfortable temperature, which brings us to…

8. Keep Your Tent Temperature Controlled

Temperature is one of the biggest comfort factors, so it makes sense to control your tent’s temperature for the most comfortable experience.

Essentially, you’ll need to warm up your tent when the outside temp is cold and, conversely, cool the tent down when it’s overly hot out.

One of the best ways to heat a tent is using a tent heater and a little added insulation to hold the heat in.

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Radiant Tent Heater

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If there are no electrical outlets where you’ll be camping, check out our guide on how to heat a tent without electricity for some helpful tips!

Cooling a tent can be done in several ways, as well, including:

  • Keeping your tent out of direct sunlight
  • Allowing proper ventilation
  • Using a battery-operated fan
  • Pitching your tent at dusk, so it doesn’t sit in the sun all day and heat up

9. Use a Tent Footprint

A tent footprint is a piece of tarp that goes under your tent. This will help protect your tent from the ground below and make your camping tent more comfortable at night when you’re sleeping.

Waterproof Camping Tent Footprint

Waterproof Camping Tent Footprint

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As a bonus, it will help keep water from soaking through your tent floor in heavy rains. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than waking up soaked!

10. Keep Your Tent Clean

A clean tent is a comfy tent! And we all know how quickly a tent can become cluttered and dirty with used gear, dirty clothes, food, etc.

To maintain a clean tent space and make tent camping more comfortable, you can:

  • Store dirty shoes and clothes outside of the tent, preferably in a tent vestibule.
  • Avoid eating in your tent, as this can attract bugs and animals.
  • Good hygiene will help keep your tent clean and make you feel more comfortable, as well. Bring baby wipes or find a water source to clean up, brush your teeth, and so on.

So, what have we learned? You don’t need a full-on glamping tent set up to camp comfortably in a tent. By simply using a few of these camping tips (mix and match the ones that work best for you), you can easily make tent camping more comfortable!

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