It’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep when you’re camping. Unless you’re Rip Van Winkle, the extra daylight, lumpy camping mat and nature’s dawn chorus are all guaranteed to make sleep more elusive. And however idyllic your surroundings, a few rubbish nights’ sleep could ruin your trip.
I’ve been casting around for tips on how to get a good night’s sleep under canvas. Here is what I’ve gleaned, after casting around for sleeping tips from seasoned campers.
Tips from campers on how to get a good night sleep
Add layers to your camping bed, sleeping mat or camping mattress
Experiment with using a camping bed, sleeping mat or camping mattress to see what works best for you. A self-inflating camping mat or an inflatable camping mattress can keep you away from the ground’s lumps and bumps. An egg crate mattress topper gives added comfort, and woollen blankets under a mattress help keep off the ground-chill.
Wear layers when you’re in bed
Wherever you choose to camp, the temperature will drop at night, so it’s wise to bring blankets, jumpers and hats. I’ll be packing our snuggliest duvet, just in case.
Take a comfortable pillow from home, or a travel pillow
This was the top recommendation my friends gave me. If you have room for nothing else, make sure you bring along a comfortable pillow. It makes all the difference.
The best travel pillow I’ve tried is by Tempur®. They sent me a Tempur Travel Pillow to test out, but I genuinely believe this is a great bit of kit to invest in if you do a lot of camping. It’s a handy size for slipping into a bag or cabin case (40 cm x 26 cm), and it’s filled with NASA memory foam, making it mega-comfortable.
Stop the light from coming into your tent
If you don’t mind the sensation of wearing one, it’s a good idea to wear an eye mask, to stop the dawn light from waking you (or the kids) at 5am. I can’t get to sleep with an eye mask on, so I was excited to hear that you can buy tents with inbuilt blackout screens. We tested out a Coleman Cabral family tent , which has blackout bedrooms. It’s a revelation. On a recent camping trip in Scotland, D and I managed to sleep until 9am, without the sun waking us. The tent bedroom wasn’t quite dark enough for it to seem like night, but we had no idea how late it was. The fact that the children were being looked after and weren’t there to wake us up probably helped, too.
Change into clean clothes for bedtime
Soft, warm pyjamas with that freshly washed smell will make your bed seem even more inviting. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to crash into bed in the clothes you’ve been wearing for the daytime, or to go to bed naked. Any perspiration will just sit there with you in your camping sleeping bag – and nobody wants to be sweaty in bed.
Keep to familiar routines
If you usually have a shower or wash before bed, a trip to the shower block last thing at night might help you wind down. Ditto with cleaning your teeth. And women might want to pee twice before going to sleep. Once 20-30 minutes before turning in, and then again just before lights-out. It’ll help avoid those midnight dashes to the loo, in the dark.
If you’re sensitive to noise, consider wearing earplugs
Earplugs are helpful for avoiding 5am wake-up calls, when all the local birds decide it’s time to begin their merriment. They can also drown out any snoring from fellow campers. The countryside can be a noisy place, so if you’re not used to all the rustlings and other night noises, earplugs can help keep those at bay, too.
Do you sleep well under canvas? What are your tips for getting a good night’s sleep when camping?
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This is a collaborative post. All views are my own.