|Sleeping under the stars, sleeping under ancient mountains, and immersing yourself in forest wilderness are experiences that will humble and connect you to nature. An overnight camping adventure can seem overwhelming at first – how do you sleep comfortably in the rough? What about wild animals? How to learn outdoor bathroom etiquette? Well, we all have to start somewhere.Whether you're camping or backpacking, how can you increase your odds of falling asleep outdoors? A good start is having the right gear:
l Sleeping bags: Choose a sleeping bag with the right style and temperature rating for your destination.Car camping bags are usually wider, offering more room to roll, but are less efficient at retaining body heat (not so good on particularly cold nights). Some rectangular styles can be unzipped and used as comforters on warm evenings.Backpacks have a mummy shape for a better fit, more warmth, and are often lighter in weight. Many fill goose or duck down, which compress more easily than synthetic fills.
l Sleeping pads: There are three types of sleeping pads – self-inflating, air-filled, and closed-cell foam. Weight isn't an issue when car camping, so you can enjoy a thicker, wider pad or mattress for comfort. When backpacking, weight is of the essence, so an ultralight air or closed-cell pad may be your best option.
l Pillow: Bring one from home or use a small foam or inflatable camping pillow. Some sleeping bags have a pocket for a pillow or folded clothing, such as a down jacket or cardigan.
l Eye masks and earplugs: Eye masks are especially useful when camping in northern latitudes or in campgrounds with ambient light during the summer. Earplugs can block out, or at least dampen, everything from the snoring of your tent buddies to the rustle in the bushes.
Research, plan and prepare
It's important to check the camping laws in your area. They usually vary by state. It is highly recommended that you also check out the park's website and speak with a local ranger if possible. It also helps to ensure that you obtain any permits you need for a particular area and allow plenty of time to organize and plan accordingly.
Remember to follow the The Leave No Trace Seven Principles and pitch your tent in designated camping areas. This is for your safety, the safety of wildlife and the fragile environment.
Always remember, never hike or camp alone. It's more fun and safer with a partner. If this is your first overnight camping experience, I recommend going with someone who has experience backpacking overnight.Make sure emergency contacts know where you are, what route you're taking, who you're with and when you're expected to return.
Finally, check for updated weather conditions. It's also helpful to speak to a ranger here for updates on routes and weather conditions. It is important for those in the security and rescue industry not to proceed if conditions at the destination are dangerous.
Make sure you are familiar with
l Setting up your personal shelter
l Storing your food properly
l Backcountry bathroom skills
l Backcountry handwashing skills
l Preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses
l Community safety practices
l Hiking and camping with wild animals
With a few more camping trips under my belt, I learned how to fall asleep comfortably. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, here are our 10 best sleeping tips for a restful night when you’re camping in a tent this summer.
1. Do some exercise during the day.
Chances are you'll be exercising while camping without trying at night. Being out in nature allows for all sorts of fun activities that don't feel like sports. Many campers we surveyed reported sleeping better if they hiked, swam, or engaged in some kind of physical activity that day. So fill your day with a fun, active experience outdoors, and your whole body will be ready to crumble when the stars appear.
2. Add comfort and warmth with quality bedding
Just as it is uncomfortable to sleep on an old, springy mattress, it is also uncomfortable to sleep in a thin, ragged sleeping bag. Take the time to decide which style sleeping bag is right for you. Keep in mind that this sleep setup will have a serious impact on how many nights you sleep, depending on how often you camp. It's worth investing in high-quality gear.
3. Bring your favorite pillow
Sure, you can roll up some clothes and call them pillows. But having a camping pillow (or just bringing your favorite pillow from home) adds a level of comfort that's totally worth it—especially if you're auto camping and space isn't an issue.
4. Protect yourself from mistakes
When you're outside and asleep, you'll encounter nasty bugs. Before you travel, check your tent to make sure there are no holes. Bring a mosquito net to really keep the bugs out. When camping in the summer, take the necessary precautions to prevent tick bites while you sleep.
5. Bring camping hand warmer to keep warm
Although disposal hand warmers are not expensive, they will eventually create toxic waste when discarded. So I never use chemical-based warmers in the camping trip.
6. Follow a regular bedtime routine
Following your usual bedtime routine will help you wind down at the end of a long day outdoors. This could mean taking a shower, brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, or reading in your sleeping bag.
Follow a normal sleep schedule so you don't mess with your body's internal clock. If you go to bed at 10pm. Every night, try to get things done within that time frame. Do something you are familiar with before turning off the flashlight, then close your eyes to help you rest easy. Routes will also help children fall asleep.
7. Choose a strategic camp
Where you pitch your tent can affect your sleep. Start by checking campground reviews on the internet to see what useful information about a particular site from campers who have been there before. Make sure to clear the ground under the tent to remove any sticks, rocks, or random lumpy areas in the soil. Once you've cleared the ground, lay down a tarp so you don't wake up in a wet tent.