Are you planning to go camping this coming weekend?
Well, for all the nature lovers out there, probably camping will be one of your most favorite activities since you have to spend a day with nature, breaking away from your unhealthy lifestyle, and detoxifying yourself with the earth’s natural rhythms.
However, some people are having a hard time sleeping inside the camping tent. Therefore as a novice camper, I would like to share my experience on how did I survive sleeping outdoors for the first time.
The most comfortable way to sleep in a tent will depend on the right gear and preparation. If you prefer to lie on firm surfaces, go for the cot while if you like a little bouncy, switch it to air mattresses. For extra comfort, you could go for a double air mattress. Make sure you cover yourself with mattress toppers.
Sleeping outdoors maybe one of the “out-of-your-comfort-zone” experiences. However, with the right gear and preparation, you can probably slay the camping like a pro.
Hence, here are the things you must prepare ahead of time so that you will not be in a panic mode on the day of your camping. This will also guide you with some tips on how to pick the right gear for your needs.
Choosing the proper tent
Indeed, camping is one of the most exciting and enjoyable activities to do, especially with your family. Enjoying the sound of nature is both healthy and fun for everyone.
This can also be an alternative for those people who are looking for an enjoyable activity and at the same are tight in budget. However, the main key to make the camping fun and exciting lie in the tent that you will use.
However, there are hundreds of tents you can find online and in some stores. Some tents have expensive reception areas and game areas where you can just chill.
Other campsites are far too basic to offer and provide you the most of their location. Therefore, choosing where to pitch a tent must be the first thing to do by campers.
I am a big fan of MSR, and I have their MSR Hubba Tent. It’s very lightweight, spacious, and easy to set up. You can buy it either at REI or Amazon.
How to choose spot to pitch the tent
One of the many advantages of camping is that you can be flexible with where you can actually pitch your tent. Looking for the perfect location to pitch your tent must be your top priority.
Hence, here are some tips that can help you to choose the best possible spot for your tent the next time you go camping:
Wind can be disastrous
One of the most important things to consider before you pitch your tent is the direction of the wind blowing. Therefore, you make sure to have a look and check for bushes or trees that can be a good shelter.
However, be careful not to pitch your tent next to a tree that looks like it might fall off. Otherwise, if it is all-good and looks safe, then that is a perfect spot to pitch your tent.
Pitch near the play area
This is advisable if you bring along your kids in your camping. This will keep them busy and entertained. However, be prepared when these kids start to make noise, and if you want to get some sleep early, then it might not be a good location.
Tip: Limit the time for your kids in the play area if you want to sleep early
Look for a flat ground
Who would love to sleep on a bumpy surface? I guess NO ONE.
Therefore, this is also an important thing to consider because, no matter how nice and soft your sleeping pads are, you still end up being uncomfortable. Furthermore, the tent will stand good if pitch on flat ground.
Remove sticks, stones, or any sharp objects
Make sure the ground is clear and free from any sharp or pointed objects before you pitch the tent since this can damage or tear the tent.
Choose a soft ground
Yes, it is nice to pitch your tent on soft ground because you can get your tent pegs. However, make sure that it is not too soft that it is muddy and marshy since it will be difficult to set up the tent.
Leave enough space to other campers
I know this is a good opportunity to make some new friends, however, do not pitch too near to other campers. Be considerate and respect spaces since they got first to that place before you.
Moreover, keep in mind that not all people want to socialize, other campers preferred to be alone or only with their closest peers.
Do not pitch near to fires or barbecue pits
While it can be a good idea to be near to bonfire, especially during extra chilly nights, however, take into consideration your safety and your companions.
Some tents have a recommended distance from these kinds of issues; therefore, you read the safety precautions first before you pitch your tent.
Distance tent from any surrounding bodies of water
If you pitch your tent near a pond, lake, or river, then the rain suddenly pours, then most likely it will drain to those areas. Even though your tent is waterproof, make sure you pitch your tent on areas where water will not drain or pass in your place.
If this happens, you will end up being wet. Furthermore, watch out in these areas since insects, especially mosquitoes, love and attracted to water.
Later on, I will give more tips on how to control pests and mosquitoes at the campsite. Stay tuned!
There you have it, these eight things to consider when spotting for a perfect pitch to your tent. Keep in mind that you can always explore and discover some new things when you arrived at your campsite.
Getting ready for bed
Fixing your camp before it gets dark, primarily your tent and your sleeping gear, will provide you more time to relax and just enjoy the night. This will also help you calm down and have a good night’s sleep. Hence, here are some more tips that can help you survive the night:
Eye masks are ideal for camping trips, particularly during summer, full moon, or when camping in places with ambient light.
It also signals your body that it is time for bedtime so that you can catch some sleep early, especially if you will hike early in the morning.
A good eye mask should block out light without pressuring your eyes. It must be made from breathable and comfortable materials. And, of course, it must fit your face easily.
Sleeping outdoors feature nature sounds, however, let me tell you that it is not the calming nature sounds you have been thinking of, the reality of the world wilderness is much nosier such as the rustling sounds in the trees, cracking bushes, and especially your tent mates’ loud snoring.
Therefore, you must not forget to bring your earplugs to block out or lessen the noise.
Blocking out the noise helps you to fall asleep easily and saves you from waking up by strange noises that are actually nothing to worry about.
Best earplugs must be made from soft, high-quality material. They should be comfortable, and they should not fall out while sleeping. It also a good idea if they can be washed periodically.
Staying Warm in the Tent
Sleeping in a tent tends to be cold and uncomfortable. You probably remember the first time you went camping with a wet sleeping bag or without enough layers for you to cover yourself.
Therefore, knowing how to keep yourself warm is an important skill you must develop. Here are the tips you need to know:
Wear the right clothes
Wear wool clothes, thick socks, long underwear, and a good-quality sleeping bag. Make sure you bring many layers as you can since you can always take off a layer whenever you feel too hot.
Furthermore, sweating in a campsite is always better than shivering.
Tip: If you are camping in a rainy area, avoid wearing clothing made from cotton. Instead, you wear polyester blends or wool to keep your body warm.
Prepare your campsite well
Put up your tent in a slightly inclined position. Make sure you put a tarp underneath. Choose a tent that is suitable for your needs.
Tip: Never ever, go camping with just sleeping bag alone; otherwise, you will regret it once the temperature drops. Make sure you bring sleeping pads as well.
Note: Do not use pads made from cotton
Eat the right meal
Your body is innate at regulating temperature or what the so-called homeostasis. However, eating the right kind of food will help your body cope up with the temperature. Therefore, you pack a protein-rich and healthy fat snacks and eat every couple of hours during colder trips.
- Eat a calorie-rich meal before you go to bed
- Pack peanut butter and trail mix
- If you can bring soup, heat it up before you eat it.
Pee before going to bed
Campers are recommended to pee 20 to 30 minutes before they go to bed, and again they pee before getting into their sleeping bag.
Tip: Just in case you woke up because you really need to pee, place your camp shoes near your tent door and keep your lamp handy.
Follow your normal bedtime routine
Indeed, camping is an exciting and breathtaking activity that makes your body and mind getting active all night long. That is why doing your regular daily bedtime routines will help you set your mind and body for sleep.
For example, if brushing your teeth and washing your face are your final acts before you go to bed, DO IT.
You stick to your normal sleep schedules because irregular sleep hours can disrupt your normal body clock that makes it difficult for you to catch some sleep when you needed to.
- You can do some deep breathing exercises because these can help you calm your mind and helps you fall asleep faster
- In addition to your late-night snacks is drinking some chamomile or lavender tea that can help your mind and body to calm down and ready your body to sleep
- Keep a bottle of water next to your sleeping bag just in case you got thirsty in the night
How to keep mosquitoes and pests out of your tent
Do not let these annoying little insects ruin your camping trip. Since outdoors is where they live, there is no possible way to avoid bugs, mosquitoes, and any other form of insects entirely when you head outside.
However, with the right preparation, you can minimize incidents with these little-crawly creatures.
There are ways on how to control these insects and bugs since they leave itchy bites and swarm around your food. Nonetheless, these ways can keep you and your campmates safe. Moreover, mosquitoes carry diseases, that is why do not let these bugs bug you.
Here are the ways to control them:
Spray pest control or some pesticides
You can spray some pesticides around your area on the foliage that is closest to you. I know this method works for a while since mosquitoes do not stay in one location; however, this can help in minimizing them.
Tip: Respray every couple of hours to minimize these pests around your area
Use a portable fan
While you are sitting outside, you can use your fan to blow away these mosquitoes. In this simple way, you can disrupt their flying and makes them off-balance; therefore, they will avoid that area.
Apply insect repellant
Insect repellants work best in this kind of situation. You just need to buy the effective insect repellant that works best for camping.
Tip: Cover all exposed areas including your face with the insect repellant
Light some citronella candles
Citronella is a natural insect repellant; therefore, these candles are quite effective in repelling mosquitoes. Place the lighted candles a couple of feet apart along the perimeter of where you will be sitting.
Stay away from dark and foliage as possible
Since mosquitoes lived dense vegetation and in dump and dark places, it is better to keep away from these areas.
Tip: Apply some good insect repellant for extra safety
Bring screen room or mosquito netting
Although this method takes a bit of effort, this can be a perfect solution for those campers who can no longer stand the sight or sound of bugs. Here is some of the recommended screen rooms/mosquito net for camping:
In addition to this, keeping your tent dry can help in minimizing mosquitoes and other pests since these mosquitoes love to stay in a dump, dark, and cold place.
Therefore, here are some ways on how to keep your tent dry, especially when you go camping during rainy seasons.
How to keep your tent dry
Even though you check the weather forecast, saying it will be sunny days all throughout the week. However, make sure you still prepare for Plan B if ever it rains during your camping trip.
Hence, here are some tips on how to keep your tent dry and still have a wholesome trip out in the rain with your campmates:
Never forget your groundsheet
The purpose of a groundsheet is to protect the bottom of your tent. This piece of cloth is made from waterproof material that acts as a barrier between the ground and the bottom of your tent.
Therefore, this allows water to flow around your tent without getting water inside your tent.
Bring extra tarps
Tarps are essential camping rain gear and an important camping staple. Therefore, packing extra tarps for unexpected and sudden downpours can keep your tent dry. Here are the tips and guidelines on how to trap up:
Make sure you slant your extra tarp roof
This simply means to position your tarp downhill, so that excess water runs off downwards to your tent and not uphill.
Improvise if you lack trees to string up the tarp
You can use hiking poles or any lightweight camping poles such as sticks. Therefore, what you need to do is to stick them firmly in the ground, and then you string the trap between them.
Position the highest point of your tarp away from the wind
Otherwise, strong winds can catch your trap and carry it away
Hang out your wet clothes
It might be tempting just to curl up your wet clothes after you got soaked in the rain. However, this can make them smell stink or mildew; that is why you try to hang your clothes outside. Make sure you bring a clothesline, and then you string it on your tarp so that you can hang up all your wet clothes.
Place your gear in dry bags
If you want to keep your clothes or electronics dry, store them in something that is waterproof. A well-made dry bag is a great investment, which is extremely useful when camping in the rain.
Use quality rain gear
Invest in waterproof bags, rain pants or packing gaiters, and a high-quality tent. These can save and will help you survive your camping trip, especially during rainy days.
Gear for sleeping outdoors
Whether you are backpacking or going to camp, how can you make assure that you will sleep safe and sound outdoors? Having the appropriate gear might be a good start:
To look for a good sleeping bag, choose the lightest sleeping bag you can afford that at the same time can keep you warm enough to sleep comfortably. There are actually two types of sleeping bags:
Backpacking sleeping bag
They are more lightweight, and they can only pack down smaller things. They are usually in mummy-shaped, and they are more efficient in providing a warmer fit.
The best sleeping bags should be lightweight, comfortable, and water-resistant. You want the one with a thermolock insulator that prevents heat loss. Ideally, the sleeping bag must be breathable, skin-friendly, and durable.
Car camping sleeping bag
In general, car camping sleeping bags are heavier, bulkier, and offer more comfort compared to backpacking sleeping bags. However, they are less efficient in maintaining heat; therefore, they are not advisable during extra-chilly nights.
When selecting a car camping sleeping bag look for the following qualities:
- Easy carry and clean
- Made from waterproof shell
- They have high-quality zippers
- A thermolock draft tube that reduces heat loss
- Water-resistant and machine washable
Tent beddings/Sleeping pads
In preparing the tent beddings, you must consider first the type of bed that fits your camping style. Your choice for the type of bedding will depend on the number of people who will sleep on it and the size and type of your tent.
For example, the type of sleeping pads that is advisable for 2 to 3 persons is a self-inflating air mattress since these small mattresses require minimal setup space. Look for air mattress, which is easy to inflate, lightweight, damp-proof, and durable.
If you camp along with a medium-sized group consists of 4 to 6 persons, an airbed will be the most appropriate bedding for you.
For instance, SoundAsleep series mattress is extra thick, waterproof, and flocked top. It is easy to inflate and deflate. It is very comfortable and made from durable and lightweight materials.
To learn more about the difference between airbed and self-inflating air mattress, here is a table below along with their pros and cons:
|SELF-INFLATING AIR MATTRESS||AIR BED|
|PROS||• It only requires a small tent space|
• Very comfortable and warm
• It does not require an air pump or extra inflation tool
• It consumes only minimal packing space
|• Easy to stand up from bed
• Comfortable and soft
• Protects you against insects that might crawl in the ground
• Keeps you away from moisture that might leak into your tent
|CONS||• Easy to puncture|
• Hard to stand up especially for older campers
|• May not support heavier campers
• It needs extra inflation time
• Requires extra space to setup
• Requires hand pump or inflation tool
• The spring leaks after a brief use
• Not advisable during cool weather
Air Mattress vs Air Bed
- Make sure you bring a repair kit on your toolbox
- Put blanket or carpet on the floor
- Place a non-slip roll mat under each mattress for extra comfort especially if air mattress leaks
- Cover the mattress with a standard fitted sheet
You can just bring your favorite pillow at home, or you can use the inflatable camp pillow from the sleeping pads. Moreover, some sleeping bags have a special pocket to hold your pillow, or you can just improvise using your fleece sweater or down jacket to hold your pillow.
Tip: You can just use your soft duffel bags filled with clothing and then cover it with a pillowcase to cushion your head.
Heaters and Air conditioners
Sleeping outdoors can be relaxing and comfortable if you have prepared beforehand what are things you must bring for yourself and set up the camping tent comfortably.
Aside from soft sleeping pads and comfortable pillows, you must also check the temperature whether it is too hot for you to need an air conditioner, or too cold to bring a heater.
This will help you relax and sleep comfortably in your tent if you camp during the summer and the heating you need during the cool and chilly winter season.
Therefore, here are the features you must look for both heater and air conditioner if you wish to have one on your camping tent:
- Incredibly portable
- Can be installed easily
- Works with a portable generator/rechargeable
We recommend RAINBEAN Portable Air Conditioner Fan. It is easy to use with built-in night light. It is portable and lightweight and operated with a rechargeable battery.
As for heater you can go with AmazonBasics Small Space Personal Mini Heater, which features a portable design and quiet operation. It is also equipped with auto-shutoff when tipped over.
As long as you prepared everything well, rain can never ruin your camping experience. You cannot guarantee that you will be a hundred percent dry during the trip.
However, by just learning these ways and tips, and of course, your common sense, you can make the decision making what is best for your campsite.
That is the real beauty of camping during the rainy season. It prepares you to stay focus, open your eyes, and be resourceful.
Image by Claudia Peters from Pixabay
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