Camping outdoors and becoming one with nature is an excellent way to unplug and have some fun.
But, nothing will ruin that fun faster than a terrible night’s sleep in a stuffy, uncomfortable tent.
So, we compiled 15 of the best tips to help you find the most comfortable way to sleep in a tent.
Tip: Combine as many of these tips as you can (that make sense) to increase your comfort level when tent camping.
1. Find a Comfy Sleeping Bag or Camping Mattress
One of the most important things to consider when camping is what you’ll be using as a bed.
You can opt for either a quality sleeping bag, a camping mattress, or a cot. We do want to point out that this is not the time to be cheap, especially if comfort is a top concern. A good sleeping bag and/or mattress could be the one thing that stands between you and a good night’s rest.
Your options as far as sleeping bags and mattresses are endless. And ultimately what you choose should fit your style of camping.
If you’re backpacking and space and weight are a concern, then an inflatable air mattress might be your best bet as they are fairly small, lightweight, and easy to carry when deflated.
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A memory foam pad will be more comfortable but at the expense of added weight.
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If you plan on carrying around your gear while hiking, then a lighter-weight air mattress and sleeping bag should allow you to move around during the day and sleep comfortably at night.
If you’re simply walking from the car to your tent, then it might make sense to enjoy the ultimate in comfort and use a memory foam mattress or sleeping pad.
No matter what you choose, it’s going to be a huge step up from sleeping on the ground.
2. Bring Your Blankets and Pillows
Bringing along extra blankets and your favorite pillow will go along way. By not just adding extra padding, but by bringing a familiarity of your own home and bed with you.
This is how you create the most comfortable camping bed!
Think about it, the most comfortable nights sleeping are in your own bed with the blankets and pillows that you’re used to, so bringing those comforts with you will help ensure you get a good night’s rest.
3. Bring Earplugs or Headphones
Yes, nature offers some beautiful, peaceful sounds. While many can sleep soundly listening to the crickets chirp or the rustling of the wind in the trees, many cannot. Sometimes the quiet and stillness can even seem eerie to some campers.
If you know that you have trouble sleeping in silence or think the outside noises will keep you awake, we suggest bringing headphones or earplugs. This way, you can sleep in peace while listening to calming music or drowning out nature’s noises.
It’s important to remember though, that you might not have Wi-Fi access where you’re going. Obviously, this depends on where you’ll be, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared beforehand with an offline music playlist or list of podcasts, TV shows, etc.
4. Pitch Your Tent in a Proper Place
You’ll want to pick a good place for your tent. Look for an area of ground that’s flat, smooth, and debris-free for optimal comfort. You definitely don’t want to be stabbed by sticks or jabbed by sharp rocks.
It can be beneficial to pitch your tent in a shaded spot to prevent direct sunlight in warmer climates. Also, be sure to check that you’re not setting up your temporary house on or near an animal’s current home.
One thing new campers often miss is the slope of the ground. Find the slope and make sure you sleep with your head on the high end of the slope to prevent blood from rushing to your head.
5. Pack Appropriate Clothes
Being too cold or too hot is the number one sleep killer, so we suggest wearing clothes to bed that fit the weather.
We tend to avoid cotton clothing, as it’s super absorbent and can become extremely heavy. It can even hinder your body’s ability to regulate your body temperature. So, we suggest wearing Merino wool, nylon, silk, or polyester materials.
With that said, wear whatever feels most comfortable to you. If you feel great sleeping barely (or fully) in the nude, go for it. Of course, we hope you’re in a warmer climate. And if you need to pack on the layers, that’s fine too. Whatever will keep your body temperature regulated is going to be the best option.
6. Prevent a Bug Invasion
It can be hard to sleep when you hear the constant buzzing of mosquitoes or other annoying insects. But, the irritating noise isn’t the only thing you have to worry about, as these and many other bugs can bite.
To prevent mosquitoes and other insects from bugging you while you sleep, we recommend bringing a mosquito net along with you. Or, you can spray yourself (or even the outside of your tent) with bug repellant before going to sleep to keep them away.
And remember to keep your tent closed at all times to prevent bugs from entering. Check out our guide on how to keep bugs out of a tent for more tips!
7. Warm Up Your Sleeping Area
If you’re heading somewhere chilly, you’ll need to make sure you have a cozy sleeping situation. After a day in the cold, you’ll crave a warm, inviting bed. There are a few easy things you can do to stay warm in crisp conditions.
One thing is to boil some water and pour it into a water bottle. Cover it with a cloth or blanket and tuck it into bed with you. Another way to heat up your bed is to stuff extra clothes and blankets into it to add extra insulation.
For more ideas check out our post on the best ways to heat a tent while camping.
8. Choose the Right Tent for You
For maximum comfort, you’ll want to pick a tent that has enough space for you and whoever is joining you on your trip.
We always recommend bringing a tent with extra space for an additional person, even if you don’t have another person going. For example, if you have two campers, bring a 3-person tent. That extra space comes in handy for your gear and to just stretch out and sleep more comfortably.
Also, ensure that you select a tent that best suits the weather where you’ll be camping. Warmer climates require ventilated tents, while colder climates require insulated tents.
Again, your tent will be your home. So, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible. You (and whoever is with you) will be glad you did.
9. Keep a Tidy Tent
Most people don’t want to sleep in a dirty tent, especially if they are going to be staying in it for a few days or more.
To maintain a clean tent space, we recommend keeping your dirty shoes and clothes outside of the tent, preferably in a tent vestibule, if you have one. Also, try to avoid eating inside your tent, as this can leave crumbs and odors, which can also attract animals.
Of course, keeping your body clean will inevitably keep your tent clean as well. So, we advise bringing baby wipes or finding a water source and washing up, and brushing your teeth before turning in for the night. We promise you’ll sleep better (and so will the person or people sleeping next to you).
Here are more tips on how to keep a tent clean while camping from the pros.
10. Exhaust Yourself (So You Sleep Better)
Chances are, you’re probably going to do some sort of physical activity while camping. Whether it’s hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountain climbing, or some other fun activity, it’s always good to tire yourself out.
Have fun during the day, push yourself physically, then come back to your campsite and relax. This is probably the simplest method to get a good night’s rest. When your body is fatigued, it’s hard to stay awake (even if you happen to be uncomfortable during the night – which we really hope is not the case after reading this article).
11. Test Your Equipment Before Your Trip
Have you recently purchased new camping gear? It may be wise to test it out before you embark on your next camping trip. You can easily do this in your own backyard overnight.
Try out your pillows, sleeping bag, camping mattress, or whatever gear you’ve selected and see if you’re comfortable. If you don’t have enough time to camp in your yard (or you don’t have a yard to begin with), we suggest testing your equipment inside your home.
Experimenting with your new gear can give you more peace of mind before heading out on your trip. By this time, you’ll know exactly what you’re working with and how to set up.
12. Relieve Yourself Before Heading to Bed
One of the worst things is having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. If you think it’s bad having to roll out of bed and head to the toilet, just wait until you’re out in the wild and it’s pitch black outside. Not to mention, the various creatures scurrying around nearby.
Make sure to do your business right before you call it a night so you can avoid having to exit your tent. We also recommend having a flashlight handy and shoes ready to go outside your tent in case nature calls.
13. Keep a Water Bottle Nearby
If you’re a person who usually gets thirsty at night, we’d advise keeping a water bottle close to your sleeping area. It can be annoying to hit the hay with a dry mouth.
Water can also help you sleep, as it replenishes fluids, flushes out toxins, and helps your body relax.
14. Eat Right Before Going to Bed
Eating a snack or having dinner before bed can help you enjoy a quality night’s sleep, amongst other benefits, studies show.
It’s no wonder why we take a nap after a good meal.
15. Wear Dry Clothes
It’s always good to be dry when sleeping in your tent. This is especially important if you’ll be camping in colder conditions, as you don’t want to suffer from hypothermia or struggle to stay warm. Overall, you’ll be most comfortable when your clothes are dry and clean.
What Is the Most Comfortable Way to Sleep in a Tent?
The most comfortable way to sleep in a tent is with comfortable bedding that you’re familiar with, at a comfortable temperature, and with just the right amount of noise (or lack of noise).
Those are the big three. The rest of the tent camping hacks mentioned above are just icing on the cake. You’ll definitely want to incorporate as many of them as you can to make tent camping more comfortable.