Tent camping doesn’t have to be a pain in your side. Use our expert tips and tricks to make your next tent camping adventure as comfy as possible. Here’s how to make tent camping more comfortable.
As much as we love to camp, we also like to be honest.
And that honesty means we are just going to come out and say it: tent camping is not the most comfortable experience in the world.
Though it is one of the most fulfilling experiences, and one of the things we here at KOA are all about, we have to admit that we don’t do it for the comfort.
However, our time camping has taught us that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort when sleeping in the great outdoors. You CAN make tent camping more comfortable and the best part is that it doesn’t take much effort. Some ways you can make tent camping more comfortable include purchasing comfortable sleeping accessories, creating a bedtime routine, finding a level campsite, keeping food outside of your tent and making sure you have a light nearby.
So say “sayonara” to sleepless nights in your tent and instead say “hello” to comfort from nature’s living room.
Get the Right Gear for Comfortable Tent Camping
The best way to find comfort when you’re camping is to ensure you have the right gear.
Throwing a blanket down on a pile of gravel will never equate to comfort, no matter how wild your imagination is.
Instead, enjoy a full night’s rest in the great outdoors with the below gear.
Few things are worse than being uncomfortable and cold when camping.
You can keep this from happening by getting a sleeping bag that has the right temperature rating for where you’ll be, and during what time of the year. If you’re camping in the winter, you want a sleeping bag that can withstand cold temperatures. Camping in a warm climate in the summer, however, does not require as heavy-duty of a sleeping bag.
It is key that you adjust your sleeping bag to your camping climate and conditions.
Beyond just the temperature, there are other options you have in your sleeping bag, such as shape.
And, each shape offers something different.
This style of sleeping bag is best for backpacking. Mummy bags are built more narrowly in the shoulder and hip area in order to reduce the amount of material used, which makes the bag lighter. The cut of these sleeping bags also helps you stay warmer at night.
Want to snuggle in your sleeping bag? Get a double-wide bag that allows you to sleep two people.
This is the typical sleeping bag shape, and the one that offers the most comfort. WIth more room than other sleeping bags, you won’t feel constrained in your rectangular sleeping bag. Even cooler is that you can hook together two of these bags. Get one bag with a right-hand zipper, and one with a left-hand zipper to make a nice big bed.
Though these are not a necessity, they will certainly make a huge difference in your camping experience.
Sleeping pads are a great way to put a barrier between you and the hard ground, and give you a softer surface to lay your sleeping bag on.
Here are the different types of sleeping pads:
This style of sleeping pad is the one you’ll want to get if you plan to carry it on the outside of your backpack. Closed-cell pads are incredibly lightweight, sturdy, inexpensive and surprisingly provide some serious insulation. While they aren’t the most comfortable sleeping pad, they are certainly better than nothing.
Nearly all air pads come with built-in insulation to help keep you warm, and are easy to inflate. Either take a few minutes to blow them up yourself, or opt for one that comes with a hand-pump that will do it for you. This style of sleeping pad is great because it has the highest level of comfort and is also very compact. However, it is also the most expensive style, and makes a bit of noise when you move around.
These pads are a mix between the two above, and offer both open-cell foam insulation and air. Self-inflating sleeping pads are going to provide the most warmth, and are also the least expensive. In addition, the fabric they are made of is stronger than most other pads but be careful — it can be easily punctured.
If you’re a morning person, you may not need an eye mask, but we highly recommend it. Being able to shut out the early morning sun will let you get a couple more hours of shut eye.
There is a lot of noise going on outdoors, and unless you want to spend the night worrying about every cracking branch you hear, or every bird that chirps, you’ll want to bring ear plugs.
This may not be something you immediately think of when camping, but is something you will be really happy you brought along with you. A packable foam or inflatable pillow is perfect to keep things simple and compact.
Other Tips for Tent Camping Comfort
Just like you have a nighttime routine at home, you’ll want to establish some sort of routine to practice before bed while tent camping.
This will make you feel more comfortable, and chances are good it will also help you sleep better.
Here are some tips to follow.
Find a good site
Luckily with KOA, this is not a problem. You know your campsite will be top-notch and ready for you to set up. At every KOA campsite there will be:
- Level and dry spot to pitch your tent
- Picnic table to enjoy
- Fire ring
- Close proximity to showers and restroom
And at select KOA Journey campgrounds, you’ll find even more with our Premium Tent Sites.
Keep as much of your normal home routine
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean that you throw your routine at home out the window. You don’t need to have the same schedule as home, but practicing a bit of your home routine (such as brushing your teeth right before bed) allows you to feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
Keep food outside of your tent
Pay attention to the rules of food storage at your KOA campsite, and make sure you follow them. If you are staying anywhere near bears, then your food and garbage need to be away from your tent, and in a place out of the bears’ reach.
Pack extra clothing
Don’t sleep in the clothes that you spent the day hiking in. Instead, bring a change of clothes so that you’re heading to bed with fresh clothes.
Don’t wear too many layers to bed
You may think the more layers you wear, the warmer you’ll be. However, if you’re heading into your sleeping bag with super bulky clothing, then your bag will struggle to keep your body heat in. Instead, layer clothes or a blanket on top of your sleeping bag.
Have a light nearby
Either have a flashlight or a headlamp near your sleeping bag so you can use it to get ready for bed.
Keep water close
If you wake up in the night thirsty often, keep a water bottle close to your sleeping bag so you don’t have to struggle to find one in the middle of the night.
Put some sandals nearby
In case you need to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom run, put some shoes next to you so it’s easier for you to make that trip.
Go to the bathroom twice before bed
Speaking of bathroom runs . . . aim to use the bathroom twice before going to bed. Doing this decreases the chances that you’ll have to get out of that warm and comfortable sleeping bag for a midnight bathroom trip.
Tips to Stay Warm When Tent Camping
Though it won’t always be cold when you’re camping, you’ll want to prepare for the times when it may be.
Or, if you’re someone who usually runs cold, these tips will make camping much more comfortable for you.
- Drink tea. Or another warm drink. This will help keep your body temperature up while you’re drifting off to sleep.
- Do some exercise.You don’t want to work up a sweat, but doing something simple like a couple of burpees will heat up your body.
- Eat something small. Your body digesting that bit of food will help keep you warm, and will thus help you feel more comfortable.
- Put on your long underwear and some clean socks.
- Put dry clothes inside your sleeping bag. This will help fill any empty space in your bag which will keep the head closer to you.
- Wear a knit hat.
- Sleep with a warm water bottle. The best place to put the warm water bottle is somewhere near your core.
- Close the sleeping bag up. You may even want to do this to the point of where your nose and mouth are the only things in the open.
Though you may not be drifting off to sleep in your plush bed with warmth, quiet, and pillows surrounding you, finding comfort while tent camping is possible.
With these tips in hand, you are ready to enjoy your entire camping experience — including your restful night of sleep.
Leslie, a.k.a. Copy Girl, is a copywriter who gets butterflies from telling stories through words.
Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.
With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie love the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.
Everywhere she goes, she takes this advice with her:
“Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
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