Skip to Content

Tips For Sleeping Better On A Camping Trip

While camping is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors, getting a good night’s rest can be the hard part. Sleeping in a tent can be challenging because it’s hard to regulate the temperature, the walls are paper-thin and the ground can be rock hard. But if you have the right gear and follow some of these tips for sleeping better on a camping trip, you will sleep like a baby on your next camping adventure. 

Choose The Right Sleeping Bag:

First up on the tips for sleeping better on a camping trip is to have the right sleeping bag. Do you sleep hot or cold? What climate will you be camping in?

The key to a great night’s sleep in a tent is having the properly rated sleeping bag. But that could mean different things for each person. For example, my first sleeping bag was rated for temperatures in the 30’s. But after a full summer using the sleeping bag in 30-50 degree temperatures at night, I was always cold. I would have to bundle up with extra clothes and sometimes add an extra blanket on top to keep myself mildly warm. 

So I invested in a 0-degree bag, so it would keep me toasty warm any night whether spring, summer, or fall. I knew I would be able to have the bag unzipped for those warmer nights and bundled up tight for those colder nights. 

But if you sleep warm, then a 0-degree sleeping bag will be way too warm for you, and will most likely wake you up in a pool of sweat. So having the 30-degree bag in temperatures around 30-40 is most likely appropriate. 

There are tons of different things to consider when choosing the right sleeping bag. Such as synthetic or down, rectangular or mummy shaped, weight, brand, etc. 

Read our post: How To Choose The Right Sleeping Bag to find the appropriate sleeping bag for you!

Choose The Right Sleeping Pad:

A car camping sleep setup for two people in a sedan

Once you have the right sleeping bag to either keep you warm or cool at night, you must have a sleeping pad or air mattress that will make you have a great night’s rest. You don’t want to have a super thin pad that makes you feel every rock under the tent or an air mattress that needs to be blown back up in the middle of the night. Therefore, you need to find the perfect sleeping pad to make you sleep throughout the night. 

Jake and I have camped for years, and we finally found the perfect air mattress for us. When car camping, we prefer to use an air mattress over sleeping pads so we have plenty of space to sleep. The ALPS Mountaineering Vertex Air Bed is one of the best Air Mattress’s money can buy (in our opinion). It’s a queen size and holds its air pressure all night long, so we can both sleep comfortably throughout the night. 

And just in case the air mattress springs a leak (which it never has yet), we have a backup plan to use our comfy backpacking pads. Jake and I are huge fans of our Big Agnes Sleeping Pads. They are lightweight, but also blow up like an air mattress. So if there is any rock under the tent, we won’t feel it through the pad. Whether we plan to go on a backpacking trip or not, we always bring along our sleeping pads for backup. 

Here are some great options for sleeping pads and air mattresses. 

Best Air Mattresses (sleeps 2)

And to up the comfort level, I’ve even seen many people top their air mattress with a foam mattress topper

Best Sleeping Pads (sleeps 1)

Consider Using An Eye Mask & Ear Plugs:

Next, on the tips for sleeping better on a camping trip guide is to consider using an eye mask and earplugs. The walls of a tent are paper-thin, so you can see any light that comes through and can hear every small movement outside. Therefore, using an eye mask and earplugs can help you sleep seamlessly throughout the night. 

There won’t be any light from the moon, car lights driving in, or your friend using his/her headlamp for a midnight pee bothering you. Or no noises from those coyotes howling, leaves in the wind or those ATV’s getting an early start to their morning ride. 

Wear Proper Clothing:

An important thing to consider when getting a good night’s rest when on a camping trip is to wear the proper clothing. I know most of you have probably heard the common myth that sleeping nude in your sleeping bag will keep you the warmest. I don’t buy that crap! It may be easier to warm up without clothing, but by the wee hours of the morning, you will be freezing. I’ve always slept warmest when I had many layers underneath my sleeping bag. 

So in my opinion, on those colder nights, wear a thick pair of sweatpants, thermal mid-layer, and a nano puff jacket. Jake and I literally have a very similar sleep attire when camping. It’s always good to have a hat, socks, and a few extra layers too for those extra cold nights. 

Emily’s Favorite Camping Sleep Attire

merino wool neck buff
maroon icebreaker merino wool base layer
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
REI fleece pants for women

Jake’s Favorite Camping Sleep Attire

merino wool neck buff
yellow icebreaker merino wool base layer
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket
REI Fleece Pants For Men

Consider Playing White Noise:

White noise app open to the stats page because its one of the tips for sleeping better on a camping trip

I don’t know about you, but I love sleeping with constant noise when I sleep. I usually sleep with a fan every night when I sleep at home. So why change things up when you are camping out in nature. We use the app Sleep Cycle to play white noise throughout the night. The one problem is you will need a way to charge your phone if you use the app all night. But in my opinion, you should always have a solar charging bank with you on camping trips anyway. 

So we suggest the Renogy 15000 mAh Solar Power Bank so you can stay charged throughout your trip. 

Or if you are on a multi-day camping trip, upgrade to the Renogy 24000 mAh Solar Power Bank for up to 8 cell phone charges. 

Both have built-in solar chargers on the back, so place this charge in the sun and renew the energy very easily. 

If you plan to keep the whole family charged up on your camping trip, you might consider upgrading to a Jackery 240 or Jackery 500

But do note, you will need to purchase an additional solar panel if you want to recharge it while out on a camping adventure. Otherwise, it can be charged via wall outlet or cigarette socket.

If you are looking for more details on portable solar power banks, check out our post: Best Portable Solar-Powered Generators For Off-Grid Camping & Vanlife

Properly Vent The Tent:

Photo by Kevin Payan on Unsplash

Another thing that might be causing you to have a tough night’s sleep is you aren’t properly venting out your tent. Tents nowadays have vents to help you air out your tent so you get proper ventilation throughout your tent. Make sure the vents are either open on a hot night or closed during those colder nights. Although if it’s really humid, you may want to leave a went open in cold weather to prevent condensation.

Heat Up A Water Bottle or Use Body Warmers

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Another easy tip to help you sleep better on a camping trip is to heat up water and put it in a Nalgene water bottle or use body warmers. This will help raise your body temperature throughout the night. Most people prefer to put it down by their feet, since that’s the hardest area to keep warm. Careful to no put a really hot bottle right against your skin.

Upgrade To A Heater Or Fan:

If you really want to upgrade your camping setup to get the ultimate amount of sleep, consider investing in a power bank that can run a fan or heater. This will set you up to have a great night’s sleep so you can stay cool on those hot summer nights or warm on those cold fall and spring nights. 

Or consider getting a propane heater such as the Mr. Buddy Heater. But do make sure you have proper ventilation, no matter what you use. 

On those cold camping nights, consider running a Mr. Buddy Heater before going to bed. They come in three different sizes, Little Buddy (small), Buddy (medium) and Big Buddy (large). It runs off the 16 oz propane canisters which do put-off carbon monoxide. So be sure to have proper ventilation while running the heater and don’t leave it on all night long. Our suggestion is to run it right before bed for a bit.

And for those warmer camping nights, consider getting a battery-powered fan.

Pair it with rechargeable D batteries and you are set for a successful night’s sleep on your next camping trip. 

Be sure to check out our post for best rechargeable power stations: Best Portable Solar Powered Generators For Off-Grid Camping & Vanlife

Takeaway | Tips for Sleeping Better on a Camping Trip:

Sleeping Bags with view of Lake Blanche

Getting a good night’s rest on a camping adventure is important. You want to be well-rested so you can enjoy your time outdoors and not be dreaming about when you can sleep again in your house. So follow these tips for sleeping better on a camping trip to get a great night’s sleep. 

Help us share tips for sleeping better on a camping trip on pinterest