If you are like me, you might be a bit of a light sleeper. Under the best of conditions, at home, I toss and turn and am up frequently during the night. Put me in a tent in the woods and things can get a little rough.
For this reason, I take my sleep prep seriously when I am camping. If you find it hard to get a good night’s sleep while camping, here are some things that you can do.
Bug Proof Your Tent
Few things can ruing your sleep more than a pesky bug or two. In the middle of the night, there is virtually no way that you will be able to get one out, so you need to be proactive.
This begins at home by making sure that your tent is in good condition with no rips or tears in the fabric or mesh.
Next, as soon as you set up your tent, zip it up. It is easy to just set up your tent and leave it wide open. Inevitably, bugs will find their way in during the day and you won’t discover them until you are trying to sleep. Zip up all of your mesh screens immediately.
Last, plan for an intruder. That lone bug will inevitably find its way into your tent. I like to attach a single bug strip to the top of the tent to catch the little booger. Just be sure not to roll it all the way out so you don’t wind stuck to it.
Take A Shower
Camping generally means coating yourself with sunscreen and/or bug spray. At the end of the day, you can wind up greasy and a little smelly. It can be harder to sleep under these conditions and a shower can be a game changer.
You might not think that you can get a good shower int he woods, but you can. One of the points of overlanding is to be able to haul more gear around, so why leave out the shower.
As far as showers go, you can go complex or simple. I like to keep things simple with a 2 gallon pump up sprayer, fitted with a standard kitchen sink sprayer. To that I add a pop up shelter which also doubles as my portable restroom shelter.
You won’t believe how much better you sleep at night while camping, after a shower.
Secure Your Food
Critters come out at night looking for food. Some are small like raccoons and others are large like bears. Make sure that they are not attracted to your campsite by securing all of your food.
First, never leave anything out. Store it in odor proof containers away from your tent. Also, be sure to secure any trash to avoid waking up to it scattered all over your camp grounds. If there is a bear box on site, use it.
Also, keep your cook station clean and also away from your tent. If an animal is attracted to your camp, you do not want them to walk right up to your tent. This is another way a shower helps before bed. It helps you wash all of those cooking smells off of you.
Finally, never keep any food in a tent. This is one of the biggest sins that you can commit as a camper, especially if you camp in bear territory.
Buy A Good Sleeping Bag
If you are shivering at night, you will never be able to sleep which is why choosing the right sleeping bag is so important.
There are a lot of different factors to consider when choosing a bag. The shape and filling material are very important but the most important thing is the temperature rating. Get a bag that has a rating of at least 15 degrees cooler than the overnight low that you expect. It almost always ends up cooler.
Set Up Your Tent Properly
That tent might look well set up, but is it? If it is going to fail, it is surely going to do so at 1AM. Make sure that your tent is properly set up so that it does not drive you nuts over the night.
For starters, place a tarp under that tent of yours. This will keep things from poking you and will protect the tent floor as well. Pick a tarp that is just a bit smaller than the base of your tent.
Also, be sure that it is well staked. Forget about those stakes that came with your tent, most are junk and will fail you. Get a set of quality tent stakes that will keep your tent in place in the worst of wind or storms. Just take one look at these heavy duty tent stakes and you will see what I mean.
Finally, take full advantage of your tents ventilation. Most good tents are designed to allow air flow through them but they usually have vents that you have to open or adjust. Fail to do so and you may wake up drenched in condensation.
Be Active During The Day
Lounging around the campsite might seem ideal to you, but it might not lead to a good night’s sleep.If you get a little exercise before bed, your body will be ready to rest.
Take a hike, go for a swim or do a little climbing. You will sleep better at night and, chances are, you will creat more memories.