How To Sleep Well in a Tent: Tips to Make Camping More Comfortable

As much as camping can prove to be a fun experience, it can also be frustrating. This is especially true when it comes to quality of sleep. In your bedroom, you can easily have an 8-hour sleep because you have a comfortable mattress to sleep on, an AC to keep you cold, and a blanket to keep you warm. You will have the luxuries that you need to sleep tight and wake up rejuvenated. In the campsite, however, it is going to be an entirely different story. You have to make the most out of the tent that you have.

The good news is that camping does not have to be too much of a burden, especially when it comes to sleep. At the end of the day, it all boils down into preparation. Before heading to the campsite, do not be overwhelmed with excitement. Make sure to prepare all of the things that you need. No, you do not have to bring your bedroom in the site. There are however, some things that you can do to make sure that you will be able to sleep well.

Thinking of what you can do to sleep comfortably in the campsite? Keep on reading and we will provide you with some tips that can prove to be helpful in ways more than one. Follow our recommendations, and for sure, you will love camping even more. You will find it easier to adjust to a new sleeping environment.

Find The Right Bedding

This is perhaps one of the most important things that should be given emphasis. The first thing that you have to do is to think about the size of the tent and the number of people who will be sleeping in the tent. Make sure that it will be fitted inside, and more importantly, that the space will be more than enough for the campers. When choosing the right bedding, consider as well the materials that are used and make sure that it is going to provide the highest level of comfort. It is also essential for the sleeping surface to be portable.

Generally speaking, the following are the top choices for the best sleeping platform in campsites.

  • Self-Inflating Foam Pads

It is a compressible mattress that features a sponge-like surface that is shelled in waterproof nylon. In one of its ends, there is an attached twist valve. You simply need to have it opened and after doing so, air will automatically fill the inside of the sleeping pad. You might also need to have it manually blown in order to achieve the level of firmness that is desired. More often than not, they are one to two inches thick. They are small in size, lightweight, and can provide excellent warmth, specifically when you are camping in a cold environment. Nonetheless, if you opt for thicker pads, they can be heavy and bulky. They are also at risk of being punctured, which will have a negative impact on its durability.

  • Air Pads

Contrary to the sleeping gear that is mentioned above, this has air inside the bedding instead of foam. This is one of the newest types of sleeping pads, making it less popular, but quickly catching up with its counterparts. Typically, it can weigh less than two pounds, which makes it a decent choice when it comes to warmth to weight ratio. Typically, the sleeping pads that can provide sufficient level of warmth are heavy. They can be easily inflated and deflated. However, there are some who reported that insulation can be a problem, but this will actually depend on the specific brand and model that you will choose.

  • Foam Pads

Compared to self-inflating foam pads and air pads, one of the benefits of this option is that it is not prone to leaking, even if it is punctured. At one point, this has been the most popular choice for sleeping surface in campsites, until newer technologies have been introduced. If you are budget-conscious, this is an ideal choice as it can be cheap. However, there are some who did not like the modest cushioning that it can provide, which means that your comfort can be possibly compromised. Because they are made from foam, they can also be bulky.

  • Air Mattress

If you want to experience glamorous camping, or also popularly known as glamping, this is the best bedding that you should have. The mattress will be inflated by air, which can be powered by an included foot pump. Make sure that you bring the foot pump as there is no other way for it to be inflated in the absence of such. You can adjust its level of firmness depending on the amount of air that comes inside. Many of the modern products also have control knobs that will make it easy for users to set how soft or plush they want the mattress to be. It resembles the mattress that you have at home, which is why it is unrivalled in terms of the comfort that it can provide. However, some of its drawbacks include being bulky, heavy, and expensive.

  • Cots

​This is another basic choice if you are looking for beddings for camping and is also one of the oldest. One of the good things about sleeping in cots is that you can sleep in an elevated surface, and hence, you won’t feel the ground. It is also known for its durability, and hence, it can be used for camping season after season. Many of them are made from durable and lightweight aluminum frames, although it can still be a bit heaver compared to the other options that can be possibly taken into account. You also have the option to top it off with a thick foam, although this would mean added weight to the gears that you have to bring in the campsite.

  • Hammocks

​If you want to be traditional and cheap, this is perhaps the best choice for sleeping. You do not necessarily need to have it assembled inside the tent. If the weather permits, you can have it attached in trees and enjoy the cool breeze outdoors. You can opt for additional insulation, blanket, or cover, if you want to be protected from mosquitoes or if you need additional warmth. However, one of its drawbacks is that you might find it hard to search for a place where it can be set. You need trees or at least stable poles to hold both end of the hammock. Some may also find it uncomfortable because of the swinging motion. Also, because it is set outdoors, you are also at risk of being infested by mosquitoes and insects.

Bring a Sleeping Bag

​If you despise the idea of traditional beddings, specifically those that have been mentioned below, there is one alternative that can prove to be equally promising – a sleeping bag. One of the good things about the latter is the fact that it already includes a sleeping surface and a cover for the body. It also comes with a hood to completely cover the body, especially during the cold months. With the abundance of the options that are available, however, which one should you pick? It is important to take into consideration a variety of factors, providing you with the guarantee of making the right choice. In this section, we will have a quick look at some of the essential considerations.

  • Temperature and Season Ratings

To be able to differentiate one sleeping bag from the other, one of the specifications that should be checked in the temperature rating. In this case, you should consider the location of the campsite and the temperature where you will feel most comfortable during your sleep. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the right temperature rating will depend on your personal needs and preferences. Choose a temperature rating that is average if you want the sleeping bag to be useful for all-season camping.

Meanwhile, the season rating would refer to what season it will be compatible for use. For instance, if you are camping during winter, see to it that it is made specifically to provide the warmth that you need to sleep comfortably in spite of the external weather conditions. When it is summer season, on the other hand, the sleeping bag must provide proper air circulation for your highest level of comfort.

  • Size of the Sleeping Bag

There are different factors that can affect the right choice of the sleeping bag’s size. Obviously, a paramount consideration would be your size. If you are tall, make sure to choose one that is appropriate for you height. If you have a wide body, make sure that the sleeping bag is wide as well. Otherwise, you will end up being cramped and uncomfortable. If you are looking for something that is portable, make sure that the sleeping bag is not bulky. It should be made from lightweight materials, which means that it will not be an additional burden when carrying your camping gear.

  • Materials Used in the Sleeping Bag

This is one of the things that will differentiate the choices that you have. There should be proper insulation, especially if it is going to be used when camping during the cold season. The materials must be long-lasting, which will be indicative of the ability of the sleeping bag to provide the best value for money. A water-resistant outer shell will also prove to be excellent. If you want one with premium quality, do not hesitate to spend more.

When it comes to materials, there are generally two options that are available. The first one is goose or duck down. This is an excellent material of choice because it is compressed and lightweight, making it impressive when it comes to portability. It also provides insulation, making it perfect if you are camping in cold environments. The second material is synthetic fiber. This is the common choice for people who are budget-conscious. The drawback, however, is that they can be bulky and heavy. They are also not as long-lasting.

  • Find the Right Style

The mummy style is one of the most popular options for a sleeping bag. They are slim and close-fitting, which is why they can prove to be a compact and lightweight option. They are narrow down on the feet and they get wider all the way through the shoulders. At the end, there is a fitted hood, which can effectively provide the insulation that you need. Another style that can be taken into account is the cocoon sleeping bag, which will be the perfect choice for couples.

Choosing the Right Location

Tourist tents on the glade at sunset

Going back to what we have earlier mentioned, planning, more often than not, is the most important thing to do if you want to be assured of sleeping well. In this case, you should be diligent enough to research about the best camping location. The following are some of the things that should be kept in mind:

  • When thinking of where to pitch your tent, make sure it is in a location that has a flat surface. As you set up your tent, clear the surface. See to it that there are no rocks, twigs, and anything that is hard as it can lead into discomfort.
  • Choose a campsite that has trees around the area. This is going to provide you with natural air, which will help you to sleep better at night. Just the thought of having trees swaying in the campsite is already relaxing.
  • Make sure that the campsite is far from busy areas, such as main roads. If there are cars and people around, the noise can affect your quality of sleep. Research carefully so that you will know the condition of the environment and be prepared on how you can sleep well.
  • Safety is also a major concern. Some people might be paranoid at night and hence, they cannot sleep in peace. With this, choose a campsite that is safe. Make sure that there are no falling rocks or other risks. This will make you sleep better, knowing that you are in a safe place.

Prepare Before Going to Bed

Before going to bed, make sure that the tent is clean and free from anything with strong scent, including food. The latter can be disruptive in your sleep. If it is cluttered, the environment may not be conducive for sleeping. It is also recommended that you do not eat a lot before your bedtime. You will find it harder to sleep if your stomach is full. Indigestion can be a big problem. You should not also drink too much, especially alcohol as it can cause waking up just after a few hours of sleeping. Drinking a lot will also make you pee. Doing light exercise can also help. You can also read a book so that you can fall asleep quicker.

Learn How to Deal With Noise

Many campsites can be noisy. This can be affected by a lot of things, such as its location. If it is near main roads, for instance, the noise can be too much to bear for some people, especially during bedtime. Human traffic will also have an effect on noise. If the campsite is crowded, you might wake up repeatedly at the middle of the night because of the noise from other people in the nearby tents. If you are a light sleeper, even footsteps can bother you. The most effective way by which you can deal, with noise is to bring ear plugs. Wear it as soon as you hit your bed time. For sure, you will never notice the noise outside the tent.

Know How to Handle Extreme Temperatures

Extreme heat or extreme cold can bother your sleep, not only at home, but even in the campsite. If you are camping during summer, which means that the weather is hot, the following are some of the things that can be done to keep the tent cool:

  • Find a place where there is enough shade and this is where the tent should be pitched. Make sure that it is shady even until the early hours of the morning so that you can sleep longer.
  • Find a tent that has mesh windows, walls, or roof. This is going to help improve air circulation inside the tent. See the direction of the wind as well.
  • Use a larger tent, especially if you are camping as a family. Make sure that there is generous space. If it is cramped, it would naturally feel hot inside the tent.
  • Use a compact fan, specifically one that is battery-powered. This is going to provide you with the air that you need to sleep comfortably in spite of the high temperature.
  • Sleep in a hammock. Forget about the tent. Bring out your hammock and have it set in between trees. Do not forget to bring a blanket or insect repellent.

Meanwhile, if you are camping during the cold season, the following are some of the things that you should do:

  • Use a closed-cell foam sleeping pad. It has a thick insulation, which will help to heat up your body during a cold weather.
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing. If you wear thicker clothes, it will be easier for the body to manage the cold temperature outside the tent.
  • Setup a bonfire. This is one of the sure-fire ways to keep everyone warm. Nonetheless, make sure that while you sleep, someone will keep an eye on the fire to avoid dangers.
  • Wear gloves. By wearing polyester hand liners and gloves, you will be able to stay warm throughout the night.

Have a Complete Sleeping Gear

It is not enough that you have the right sleeping surface or the right sleeping bag. Make sure that you are armed with the sleeping essentials that you need. Some of the most important are the following:

  • Pillow: Simple luxuries like a pillow will make sleeping in the campsite a better experience. There are small pillows that are perfect for camping. Even neck or travel pillows can be used.
  • Eye Mask: If you want to have an afternoon nap or if you want to still be sleeping even when the sun is already up, bringing an eye mask is also going to help. This is going to help block light entering the tent, and hence, will help improve your sleep.
  • Ear Plugs: As we have mentioned earlier, external noise is one of the things that can disrupt your sleep or it will make it harder for you to fall asleep. With ear plugs, you can forget about the world and sleep peacefully.

Set Rules

This is especially important if you are camping with the whole family, especially if there are children around. Make sure to set a specific time by which everyone should be sleeping. As much as possible, do it early so that you can have at least eight hours of sleep. It will be harder to sleep if the sun is already out, so strive hard to make everyone sleep by 10pm.

Relax and Enjoy

At the end of the day, this is perhaps the most important tip that we can give when it comes to being able to sleep well when you are camping. If you are too conscious, you will feel the pressure to sleep quicker. This might just deter your sleepiness. Do not think too much about it. Do not exaggerate things. Just relax. This will surely make it easier for you to fall asleep.


Indeed, sleeping in the campsite is going to be a big challenge, especially if you are not used to spending time outdoors. The good news, however, is that there are ways by which you can make the situation more tolerable. Just follow the tips that we have mentioned above. As noted, the most important thing to do is preparation. Have a checklist of the things that you need to bring. Double check your camping gear before you leave. Pick the right camping location, and most importantly, just relax and have fun! Stop being too conscious!


My name is William, a family man with two kids and the passion for camping. I started Pandaneo with sharing memorable camping experiences back as a newbie camper, introducing my family to the love for the great outdoors. As time passed, we started traveling across states, trying to hit as many campsites we can!