Best Thing To Sleep On while Camping | Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep

Nothing is better than the sight of a million stars when you are on a camping trip, but for people who have a sleeping routine, it seems like getting a good night’s sleep can be an impossible task. So let us help you as we introduce the best thing to sleep on while camping.

With standard sleeping bags that are not heaven-sent in their comfortability, bedtime routines are moot when going on such a trip. Top that all off with an exhausting trip the following day, let us just say that you will be seeing stars and grabbing your head for a good hour or two.

Indeed, comfort is the last thing that comes to mind when one mentions camping. However, there are a few more options that you could consider, making your next camping a version that will bring stories other than those that start with “I woke up in the middle of the night.”

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Camping Cot

A couple looking up at the sky while lying down in a tent

A camping cot is a portable bedspread that you could open inside your tent or near your campfire. It is lightweight as it is supported by a metal, wooden, or plastic frame, and is only attached to a sheet of canvas, linen, or nylon that serves as the “cushion” of the entire setup.

Each kind varies based on its height, weight, and incorporated material. It certainly does not cover much of an area like a sleeping bag does, but it provides a comfortable sleeping pad that is safe from the insects or puddles that might enter your tent.

From a general perspective, it seems like a top-runner among sleeping gears – making it a perfect fit when you are planning out your all-improved camping kit.

However, it does come with its struggles in various areas. To start, it is a bulky option. While you can get backpacking camping cots, most will be a bit too large to take on a multi-day hiking trip and better suited to longer stays at campsites. But, it does mean you can also get camping cots for two.

Also, canvas camp cots rely on textile that can harden when pressure is applied, sore shoulders will be news for side sleepers. Much like with any other product, a camping cot is not the perfect all-rounder option that covers all ends with its features. However, if you can find the right camping cot, it is one of the most comfortable things to sleep on when camping.

  • Elevated from the ground
  • Specifications are varied
  • Lightweight
  • Inefficient for large groups
  • Uncomfortable for side sleepers

Air Mattress – The Manual and Self Inflating Type

Air mattresses can provide that bed like comfort when you sleep in camping

An air mattress is a portable bedspread that is either manually inflated or self-inflating depending on the variation. 

Air mattresses can provide that bed-like comfort thanks to their surface that adjusts perfectly to your body while keeping your body heat at its sweet spot. With the adjustable firmness of these air pads, they can offer more comfort when compared to some camping cots.

This heavenly sleep experience, however, falls short in its durability and convenience. Choosing the affordable yet manually inflated one would require either a piece of additional equipment such as a hand pump, or another set of lungs to keep you going as you fill the air mattress during your camp. 

Combine that with the sharp points and edges outdoors, it would certainly be a less-than-ideal experience for a camper when the white noise is flooded by the hissing sound of a leak.

It is due to this that cheap air mattresses are generally a poor choice, but if you are willing to invest in a good nights sleep, you can find some excellent choices.

  • Ease of storage
  • Bed-like comfort and style
  • Adapting firmness
  • Prone to leaks, punctures, and damages
  • Ease of inflation is proportional to the price
  • Demands too much space

Mattress Pad – An Open Sleeping Bag

Mattress pad can provide that bed like comfort when you sleep in camping

Mattress or camping cot pads are the epitome of storage and setup convenience that dominates sleeping tips for camping.

It is made up of a closed-cell foam that easily rolls to form a compact sleeping tool that you could insert at the tightest corners of your bag. With camping trips being as exhausting as it is, the search for light and all-rounder options are certainly the rave among campers.

Considering how its foam insulation is perfect to maintain your body heat, keeping you toasty through the night while still being perfectly-sized to fit inside a tent, the world is your sleeping space.

Sure enough, it might not be as snuggly as sleeping bags or as bouncy as a camping pillow or an air mattress, but if you are looking for a way to hit both comfort and convenience with a single stone, then consider your search finished and fulfilled.

Despite needing things like a camp pillow to hug for when you are sharing stories in the tent, it certainly is hard to dethrone the mattress pad in any aspect imaginable.

With its improved convenience and efficiency, especially for campers who don’t mind a little hug from nature while sleeping, it certainly is a must-have that offers a little more in exchange for a little less. It might not be the perfect option, but it sure does come quite close to what you may consider as one.

  • Convenient to store and carry
  • Lightweight
  • Compatible with most environments outdoors
  • Relatively uncomfortable
  • Requires more tools to make it more comfortable

Camping Hammock

The camping hammock the concept of sleep during camping

The camping hammock revolutionized the concept of sleep during camping – offering an approach that veers away from some of the limitations that comes with a sleeping bag or a tent. 

It is suspended above the ground with the help of cables or ropes, and it may resemble a “knit-hat” that is more comfortable than your standard camp tent or sleeping bags. Due to its thin material, fits comfortably within your bag while still being lightweight and adaptable.

By just having two trees that are relatively close to each other, you are ready for another round of hassle-free sleep. With its arching shape that requires no pillow for your already-elevated head along with the efficient air circulation around your body, it certainly comes close to the title of an “all-rounder.”

It hits some snags, however, in its privacy and capacity – having no covering whatsoever and only accommodating a single person at a time. It sometimes even becomes “too good” at its job, leaving you cold due to the “excellent air circulation” that works best on hot summer nights.

With the additional issue of being uncomfortable for “over-active” sleepers, it certainly becomes a little restrictive in practice. Topping that all off with the need to be placed outside the tent, it surely resembles the other tips in the way that its benefits and limitations are balanced against each other.

Balancing out features is hard, especially when both the comfort and convenience of sleep are in question. However, much like with any other product, it all depends on what you think will be necessary along the way. The camping hammock might be a little too “relaxed” to be compatible in certain environments, but it sure does a terrific job when the circumstances are just right.

  • Safe from insects and puddles
  • Relatively more adaptable
  • Requires no pillow or cushion
  • Uncomfortable to sleep in for over-active sleepers
  • Restrictive in part
  • Becomes too cold or too exposed

The Ground

A view of some people campfire outside of their camping

The bare ground, the basic soil, the ever-so-vast land. Unlike when you are safely enclosed in a sleeping bag or mummy bags, the bare floor is certainly not as comfortable to sleep in, especially when it gets cold. It does not have a temperature rating to gauge its feel, you are as exposed as you could be, and there are no tiers of comfort that you look at for your next camping trip.

However, despite these glaring flaws, it also comes with a few logical upsides that would certainly make you go “huh.” To start, it completely removes the necessity to pack a sleeping kit – other than a tent perhaps.

With the additional space in your bag, you could bring more things to sustain you along the trip. 

Removing the weight aspect and time-consuming setups of conventional and comfortable sleeping bag alternatives, packing a bag becomes less of a hassle and less of a critical decision.

It is indeed not the best trade-off that there is out there in the market, but if your budget is tight and you are not particularly concerned with the risks that would otherwise make others reconsider, then maybe it is not such a bad idea after all.

Being with nature and sleeping just like how nature intended sleep to be? Might be worth sending your friend’s inbox with this idea.

Extra Tips For a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep while camping is certainly an arduous journey to take on with all the things that certainly does not make sleep easy, but with the right preparatory measures by your side, let us just say that a guaranteed “Zzzzz” will be flying out of your tent in no time.

  • Exercise during the day
  • Try to follow your usual bedtime routine and sleep schedule
  • Apply protection against bugs
  • Use earplugs or an eye mask
  • Choose an ideal place for your tent set-up
  • Ensure that the ventilation is just right
  • Try to avoid eating anything sugary before sleep

Final thoughts

Whether you are accustomed to bringing the occasional sleeping bag with sleeping bag liners or are the kind to raise a tent whenever camping is right around the corner, it is still a fact that sleeping during camping is never as comfortable as you would ever like it to be.

From insects to bumpy surfaces, there are a lot of things that scream “I am not for sleeping” or “get me out of this tent.” Nevertheless, with the right sleeping gear and habit to accompany you, then perhaps it could edge a little bit away from being completely insufferable to being slightly tolerable.

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