It’s pretty easy to make camping more comfortable, here’s how…
Let’s cut to the chase: camping can be pretty terrible if you don’t do it right. We all hate a bad night’s sleep, but when you’re sleeping in a tent, in the wild and potentially far from home, it can be oh so much worse.
So why is tent camping so damn popular? Because once you learn a few tricks of the trade and find the right gear it’s honestly the best experience ever. Rising and falling with the sun and constantly being surrounded by the wonders Mother Nature gave us is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up!
To get to this awesome stage, you can have perseverance and learn independently through trials and tribulations OR you could just follow this guide and be completely prepared for your camping trip in the space of 10 minutes? Sounds pretty good, right?
These camping tips will help you find:
- Pick the right camping spots and get pitched quickly
- Find the right camping equipment and foods for your trip
- Create a camping set up which will help you get an awesome night’s sleep
- Prepare for a camping trip and know what to expect
Basically, everything you need to make camping more comfortable and straightforward, right from the planning stages to packing up your gear at the end of a cracking camping trip.
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11 Camping Tips for a Better Sleep
1. Don’t neglect some forward camping planning
In complete honesty, the biggest factor in getting a good night’s sleep in a tent is planning. If you don’t pick the right spot, bring the right things, go at the right time etc. it’s going to be pretty tough going. This can all be solved by spending a short time thinking about the points below.
1.1 Ensure comfort by picking the right destination
For a good kip when you’re tent camping, the destination makes a big difference:
Are you camping in a campsite? If so, is it going to be busy? What facilities does it have? Does the location have a different climate/weather? Are you wild camping?
If it’s your first time camping, perhaps think about going somewhere closer to home, in an environment you’ll feel the most confident in. You could even think about camping in your back garden first?
1.2 When’s the best time to go camping?
Once you’ve picked your destination, when you go camping is also crucial to a being comfortable.
The most important thing is to think about the weather: is it going to be hot, cold, wet, dry, humid, windy etc. Thinking about this will help you bring the right camping equipment.
If there’s bad weather forecast, why don’t you think about changing the dates, if that’s a possibility? We love camping in the rain and stormy weather but it’s definitely more difficult. If you’re new to camping, try and go for a period with the best conditions.
IMPORTANT: going at the right time of day can also make a big difference. Learning how to pitch a tent in darkness is pretty different to during the day. If it’s one of your first camping trips, think about going nice and early so you have ample time to get set-up and comfortable.
First time sleeping in a tent? Take a read of our Beginner’s Guide to Camping
2. Make sure you bring the camping essentials
Once you’ve done some planning, the next stage to creating a comfortable camping trip is your gear. You don’t need to splash out on the most expensive camping items, instead, pick the right items for YOUR trip.
First off, think about how much you can comfortably bring.
“It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”
This can be a good approach if you’re reaching your camping destination by car, but if you’re travelling on foot/bicycle/public transport etc. you don’t want to be carrying too much either.
Here are some camping essentials you’ll need for a good night’s sleep:
- Tent – the best camping tent will be easy to assemble and able to withstand the elements whilst giving enough room for your trip. For a great 2-person midrange option, we recommend the Vango Tempest Pro 2 – find prices here or look at our pick of the best 2-person tents.
- Sleeping bag – make sure your sleeping bag is suited to the temperatures you’ll be camping in. There’s no point taking a 4-season sleeping bag if the temperatures will stay warm. Our sleeping bag buyer’s guide gives a lot more detail and recommendations.
- Sleeping pad (camping mat) – a good lightweight sleeping pad will be comfortable and durable. We use the Mountain Equipment Helium which is awesome – click here to buy.
- Lighting – it’s really useful to have some form of lighting for your tent. Whilst a lantern is the traditional option, we find fairy lights to be smaller, lighter and have better battery life whilst also giving your tent a warming glow!
- Headtorch – a good headtorch is a camping essential, particularly if you’re prone to getting up at night. The Black Diamond Storm (UK & USA) is our choice as it’s waterproof, 400 lumens and is affordable.
- Water storage – you might not have a nearby water source so taking some form of water storage is really helpful, particularly if you’re camping in hot weather. The Camelbak water bladders hold 3L and also have a mouth valve so can be used for outdoor pursuits too.
- Camping cooking gear – the minimum you’ll need is a camping stove, gas, cutlery, plates and pans but there are plenty more optional items.
- Camping furniture – if you’ve got the room to carry one, a small camping chair can be handy to keep you comfortable around the campsite. Check out UK or USA options here.
- Insect repellant – boy can buzzing and itching keep you awake. This one is deet-free or you can even make your own DIY insect repellent.
You’ll find a full breakdown of camping equipment in our Camping Packing List and Guide.
There are plenty of optional additional items that can make your camping experience more comfortable, like earplugs, eye mask, bug repellant, pillow, cooking gear or camping furniture. If you’re looking for more gear, check out the links below.
3. Time to go for a camping test run
Camping in a tent isn’t rocket science but it’s still pretty crucial to go for a test run, particularly if you’re using new camping gear.
Before you go on a big camping trip, make sure you do a small test run closer to home. This is a fun way to practice pitching a tent, make sure everything is running smoothly and you have all the items you need. Even if you do it in your garden, it’s better to have a problem there than out in the midst of the wilderness!
4. Picking the right camping spot
The next step to getting the best night’s sleep in a tent is picking the right place to pitch your tent. For all camping options it’s normally best too:
- Find a flat surface without roots, rocks or sharp features which will be uncomfortable to sleep on and could damage your camping sleeping gear
- In hot weather, picking somewhere shaded is good but be careful under trees in windy conditions and you also might get treated to some mucky birds overhead!
- Be aware of the natural landscape – exposed areas may be windy, near rivers/streams may be boggy etc.
If you’re in a campsite, you might also want to think about how close you are to campground amenities. Too far away might be inconvenient but too close might be loud or disruptive at night/in the morning.
5. Choose the right camping food
Going to bed feeling bloated or queezy isn’t a good start to a tent in a tent (especially if you’ve got a long walk to a toilet!).
Try and opt for lighter foods which will allow for a good night’s sleep and opting to eat earlier will help too. For a full rundown of vegan camping foods, take a read of this article!
6. For the best camping experience, stretch after exercise!
You’ve had a hard day on the trails, climbing or even paddling through white waters, if you’re muscles are achy then a good stretch will help you rest well. Make sure to focus on stretching out your legs and back to feel comfortable throughout the night and in the morning.
7. Go to the loo before bed
Pretty simple stuff: if you have to wake up in the night to go to the loo, you’re losing valuable time you could be asleep. In a tent this is particularly important as going to the loo and back can be more of an ordeal (peeing in the cold can really wake you up, no matter how weary you are!).
8. Keep everything organised and don’t block the tent entrance
If you do need to get up at night, you’ll find it much simpler if it’s easy to get up and out. Make sure your things aren’t blocking the exit so you’re not tripping over tent chairs and rucksacks on the way to the loo. A stubbed toe is pretty good at making you feel completely awake!
9. Have water and a head torch nearby
If you’re camping, chances are it’s going to be dark and so a head torch is pretty essential to have right by you. It can also get surprisingly hot in zipped up tents, leaving you thirsty at night. Keeping water by you will stop and half-asleep trips to the nearest water source.
10. Go for less layers for more comfortable tent camping
It might be a little fresh but don’t make the mistake of falling asleep with too many layers on, particularly if you’re wrapped up tight in a sleeping bag. You’ll end up getting too hot and sweaty during the night, then will wake up really dehydrated.
11. Stay clean and safe on your camping trip
If you’re out camping for multiple days, infected cuts, blistering burns and insect bites are all things which can keep you away at night. Stay clean whilst camping and make sure you take a good first aid kit topped up with any extra things you need, like medication or antihistamine. We like this one here in the UK and you can find similar options in the USA.
Bonus tip: think green!
Okay, so eco-friendly steps might not directly help, but you’ll probably get a better kip with a clear conscience! The best rule to follow is ‘leave no trace‘ and you could even bring some extra bin bags to clear any other litter you find. Want more tips? Check out our sustainable camping guide!
Got any more camping hacks or tips for sleeping well? Drop us a comment at the bottom!
11 Steps to Make Camping More Comfortable
Camping can be the experience of a lifetime if you’re prepared. Make your camping trip as comfortable as possible by following these tips and let us know how you get on!
I think camping is a great budget travel budget option but I hesitate because I feel like I won’t enjoy it. These tips are helpful, I pinned for future reference.
awesome tips for the new and seasoned camper. Bug spray has been left at home a few times over the years and its one that is a must if your camping in a wooded area. Great tips. Thanks
Anisa you should definitely do it, once you get past the general change of sleeping scene it’s one of the most amazing things you can do (depending on where you camp!). Make sure you give us an email if you do decide to go and we can give you some guidance 🙂
Ha, yes forgetting mozzie spray can be a real pain (literally)!
These are great tips, I am all about the comfort food when I am camping and this is one of the things that I am concerned about with our 21+ day Pacific Crossing (not all comfort foods keep well)!
Not sure how transferable the tips will be to a boat, I just know that if you get seasick you should drink lots of rum. Well, that has always got me by anyway!
Thanks for your great article. It’s really helping me, my next camping trip.
Nice article. I agree that camping can be quite an experience the first time around. Mostly a bad one if you’re not prepared. But it definitely gets better each time you do it and with tips like these you’ll be ahead of the game!
Where are you going camping?
We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.
We are planning a road trip from Florida up to the Canada border in the early fall and want to camp along the way. you have some great tips and things I forgot about as I did do a lot of camping with my parents when I was kid but haven’t done anything in decades but a couple of night glamcamping a few years ago. I don’t think I have ever seen a 2 person tent that big!
These tips are really good, and I definitely agree based on the few times I’ve been with my boyfriend (now husband) and his family. However, any tips on camping with little ones? Particularly a newborn/toddler? I have all the baby sprays and blocks, and my LO I imagine will love being outdoors and exploring a whole new world, but I am just a little scared to try this without much help! Haha. Thanks and bless you guys 🙂
Hey Rob, ha, we were sharing the tent with our friends but it was still pretty spacious with four of us. Not bad for £10 a night! When do you have your Florida trip planned?
Hey Christy, unfortunately we don’t have much experience camping with kids (I’m sure Sarah would joke that she has a bunch of experience after camping with me!). I’ve seen lots of pins being shared on Pinterest for camping with kids, maybe a good place to look 🙂
Pretty good tips here. For me, the biggest difference in comfort has been switching from tent sleeping to hammocks. There is a bit of a learning curve, but man, so much more comfortable to sleep in!
Hey Tom, what kind of conditions are you camping in? We’ve got two super light hammocks but have only used them out of the country in hotter climates. Is it a comfortable sleep around 10 degrees Celsius?
Camping is definitely one the cheapest and most enjoyable ways to explore the world. Thank you for your nice tips and article. I will share it my audience too.
I really liked that tip about making sure you stay close to home for your first trip. that makes a lot of sense to me! Staying close to home would bring me a lot of comfort! Do you have any more tips for the first camping trip someone goes on? Thanks!
Hey Bram, I think it definitely depends on what type of camping trip it is. We’re just about to go on a cycle tour and our priority is to have the lightest load possible. We’ve been going through each others bags and chucking out anything that might not be used! If comfort is your priority then I definitely think getting the right sleeping bag and sleeping mat is a must. This means thinking about where you’re going, the climate and weather and making sure you’ve got the right kit – you can’t enjoy anything if you don’t sleep well!
Hi, Camping is definitely one the cheapest and most enjoyable ways to explore the world.Thanks for your great article. It’s really helping me, my next camping trip.
I have never been camping like this – this is a really good reference guide that I will keep. thank you!
Don’t forget your bug sprays, keeps out mosquitoes and what not
Oh yes, that can be a nightmare if you forget it!
Camping will indeed be comfortable with these tips.
thank you for this post.
I think it unquestionably relies upon what sort of outdoors trip it is. We’re going to go on a cycle visit and our need is to have the lightest load conceivable. We’ve been experiencing every others pack and throwing out whatever probably won’t be utilized! On the off chance that comfort is your need, I certainly think getting the correct camping bed and resting mat is an absolute necessity. This implies contemplating where you’re going, the atmosphere and climate and ensuring you have the correct pack – you can’t appreciate anything on the off chance that you don’t rest soundly!
Thanks for the tips. I am always getting trouble for food. Which food is perfect for me? Oily food does not suit at all.
I find it awesome that you said that first-timers should keep a list of items on what to bring on a camping trip to make sure that everyone is safe before, during, and after one. In my opinion, they can also get an RV if they want to store all their items inside and enjoy the comforts of home away from home. Also, staying in one will help a family or group of friends have a safe haven during cold nights and sunny days.
We love lists (it’s also probably because I have a seriously bad memory) but are really useful for packing and camping. I like the idea of staying in a group, especially if you’re in a big campsite, can be hard to find spread out tents in the night.
camping is love <3 thanks for sharing bro
simple solution that many campers swear by is to put your sleeping pad inside your bag. The pad also has the effect of filing up empty space in the bag, so you trap more heat.
Good tip and it’s crazy how much extra heat this generates. Also stops you rolling off your sleeping matt in the middle of the night!
Really informative information for all the users reading this article. Thanks for sharing
great tips. i like the inflatable furniture idea. gonna keep an eye out for these now. thanks
Some great tips here, thanks for sharing!
Nice tips, thanks for the article! Camping is one of my favorite types of adventure; it’s the opportunity I have to fully get in touch with nature and feel relaxed. I’m planning to take a road trip soon and really want to take the chance to go camping again!
Everyone likes to camp outdoor for fun and enjoyment. The tent is essential for most camping trips. If you’re a beginning camper, there are a couple of different tent tips to remember. If you enjoy a sunset or sunrise view, figure out which way to set up your campsite so you can get the best view. Thank you very much for sharing this informative article.
Great tips – especially agree with ‘leave no trace’ !
Thanks for this article i will make trip with family
glad to find this on camping. . .
By following this our next trip will surely be very comfortable
thanks for explaining everything clearly
That is actually a very nice temp for hammock camping. Keep in mind you would still need proper insulation just as when you are in a tent. A normal sleeping pad tucked into your sleeping bag (so it doesnt slide around) would probably do the trick….or just a couple warm blankets if car camping. Of course, these days you can get specific “hammock underquilts” that take the warmth/comfort of sleeping in a hammock to the next level. Obviously if its raining, bring a tarp etc
Wow, this is really a fantastic article – now I’ll sleep comfortably! Many many thanks for sharing with us.
If you need to go pee at night, go. In the cold weather the last thing you may want to do is get up and go out but a full bladder is more liquid that will cool and drain heat from your core.
A boy scout told me about having a ‘Thunder bottle’. This is a bottle you only use to pee in. This means you do not need to go out into the cold, or rain, or mosquito filled air. I use a folding water bottle, as it packs up small. Not quiet as easy for women but there are lots of FUDs that could be used in conjunction with a thunder bottle.
Ha, we love the thunder bottle and have never heard it called that before (great name!). Agreed for women it is harder and particularly hard in a low-standing, shared tent. She-wees are pretty awesome too!