“What was that noise?!”

“I can’t feel my toes anymore, it’s so cold in here…”

“I think I slept on a rock.”

Said any of these before? Yeah, us too. Everyone tells you how peaceful it is to sleep in the woods, but you might be having a hard time finding any enjoyment in it. After a day of hiking in the woods, jumping into lakes, and climbing to mountain tops, you just want to pass out in your tent. We’re here to give you a few tricks of the trade to get you sleeping soundly throughout the night.

1. Invest.

Yup, spending a little money might help you out a bit with this one. Feeling cold in your tent? The obvious answer might be the most important. Grab a warmer sleeping bag that is rated for colder temperatures than what you are currently sleeping in.

2. Sleeping. Pad.

Can you do without it? Yes. Could they change your entire camping experience? Double yes. Sleeping pads provide a few different benefits, from helping you hold body heat to giving you a nice cushion to sleep on. Are you looking for comfort or light weight gear? Base your purchase on what type of camping you’re doing. If you find yourself car camping more often than not, it might be beneficial to go with a slightly heavier, more comfortable one as opposed to a lightweight backpacking one with less cushion. Make sure to check out the sleeping pads R-value as well, which measures a material’s thermal resistance. This can make a big difference during a chilly evening by helping insulate your body from the ground, allowing you to keep that precious body heat.  

3. There’s a product called a tent pillow. Look into it.

Car camping? Try bringing along a pillow! Your neck will thank you for this tiny comfort of home. If you don’t want to bring one from your bed, try picking up a cheap one at the store. Backpacking? Try a camping pillow. Often not too expensive, these lightweight pillows are typically blown up by mouth, and can improve your backcountry experience quite a bit. Don’t have the cash for a backcountry pillow? Ball up some clothes and putting them into your sleeping bags’ stuff sack. Elevating your neck can help reduce morning aches, as well as keep mucus from chilly, early morning fresh air from running down your throat. No aches or mucus? A double win for sure.

4. Don’t forgo evening rituals.

Always brush your teeth and wash your face before heading to sleep? Keeping a similar ritual when you’re camping sends a queue to your brain that it’s time to hit the hay. Try going to the bathroom right before you say lights out, as you wouldn’t want this to be a cause to rouse you in your slumber. In case you are woken with the need to pee, keep your headlamp in an easy to find place and make sure to leave camp shoes right outside your tent. This will help minimize time trying to get outside and maximize your time toasty in your sleeping bag, snoozing away the night.

5. Eye masks aren’t just for spas.

Although falling asleep and waking up with the sun can be an incredibly rejuvenating experience, we’ve all been on those trips where maybe you’ve passed a flask of whiskey around the campfire one too many times. An eye mask can help keep that ambient morning light at bay, letting you get a few more cherished hours of sleep in before hitting the trails for the day. Getting woken up by the early risers in your group? Try a set of ear plugs. These can help get you the good nights sleep you’re looking for. Just make sure you are aware of your surroundings and are in a setting where using earplugs are safe. Wouldn’t want a squirrel sneaking up on you!

OutThereColorado Tip: Having an extra chilly night? Boil some water, pour it into your Nalgene, and toss it to the bottom of your sleeping bag! Toasty toes? Yes, please.

Sleeping outside isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it cold, your adventure buddies are loud, and although you typically love the sun, you gently curse it when it glares into your tent at 5 am. And although you may not believe it, a good night sleep in a tent IS possible. From eye masks to sleeping pads, a few tricks can help get you mucus free, warm, and sleeping steady outside. We hope these tips get you the sleep you need, and get you out there adventuring!

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We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More