You probably plan your camping trips around the activities you’ll be doing, like hiking, swimming, fishing, or hunting. Yet, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. That means you really want to consider your sleeping options when you go on your next big camping trip!
The most common sleeping options for camping are the typical sleeping bags and sleeping pads. If you want to step it up and make it a little more comfortable, you can opt for air mattresses, camping cots, or even hammocks. If money is no object, there’s no harm in renting out a campervan or cabin!
When you think about camping, your mind likely immediately goes to setting up a tent in the woods and rolling out a sleeping bag. Sometimes the old school options when it comes to camping are truly the best!
The Old School Options
Sometimes, it’s just better to stick to what you already know. The old school options when it comes to sleeping arrangements when camping will provide you with the most authentic camping experience, just like when you were a kid!
Whether you’re using sleeping bags or sleeping pads, you can easily cut costs, find a product that’ll last for several years on end, and get the ideal camping experience. Plus, these sleeping options aren’t all that uncomfortable like many people assume!
Just because the sleeping bag is the most old school option when it comes to camping doesn’t mean it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do! In fact, there are still plenty of benefits associated with using sleeping bags, even today.
- They’re made of comfortable material. Now, there’s nothing you can do about the rocks in the ground or how firm the ground is this time of year, but you can invest in a super comfortable sleeping bag that’ll make you forget that you’re even sleeping on the ground! They’re usually made of cotton or wool, so picking a thicker sleeping bag is the best way to guarantee comfort.
- They’re waterproof. In the ideal world, your tent would never spring a leak or let water seep in while you’re sleeping. But, it’s always possible. If you have a wool sleeping bag, you can be sure that your sleeping bag won’t absorb any water and keep you dry the entire night.
- They keep you warm. There are different temperature ratings associated with sleeping bags. That means that each type of sleeping bag is designed to supply you with a specific level of comfort. The best part is that some are created to prevent excess sweating and discomfort in areas of high heat!
- They’re pretty cheap. The cost all depends on what level of comfort and material the sleeping bag provides. But, there are many affordable options under $50 and even more options if you increase your budget to about $100.
Before you decide to consider other sleeping options, you should think about what your past experiences with sleeping bags have been. If you’ve had no problems and enjoy the authenticity of sleeping on the ground, there’s no sense in changing your habits now!
Most sleeping pads are used directly beneath sleeping bags to increase the comfort of sleeping on the ground and encourage greater heat production to keep you warm! Whether you’re using them with a sleeping bag or not, there are still many benefits of using sleeping pads.
- They help to maintain body heat. When you’re using a regular sleeping bag and sleeping directly on the ground (or in a tent), there’s a huge chance that you’re losing body heat as it soaks into the ground. Sleeping pads build a barrier between you and the ground, allowing you to keep more body heat and stay warm throughout the night.
- There are several different types. Depending on how much effort you’re willing to put into setting up your sleeping pad, you have quite a few options. You can opt for the simple foam sleeping pad that only requires you to roll it out or you can choose an inflatable version instead!
- They’re really cheap. Unlike sleeping bags, you can expect to save a lot of money and maintain your warmth with the purchase of a sleeping pad. You can get a few cheaper options for less than $25, but some of the better choices are less than $50.
If you love using a sleeping bag but notice that you lose body heat quickly when the temperature drops at night, you should think about adding a sleeping pad to your current arrangement. You don’t have to get rid of your beloved sleeping bag and you can still stay warm!
These won’t entirely replace your current setup of a sleeping bag or a sleeping pad, but they’re definitely a requirement when it comes to a comfortable night’s sleep while out in the woods! They’ll help to keep you from waking up in the morning with intense neck pain and allow you to sleep comfortably through the night.
- Some have anti-slip features. When you’re spending the night in a sleeping bag or on a sleeping pad, it’s not unusual for your pillow to slip and slide on the smooth texture. With a pillow built for camping, your pillow will stay exactly where you want it through the entire night!
- They’re easy to transport. Pillows can take up a lot of space and they’re a hassle to carry around if you’re backpacking or hiking. Many camping-specific pillows easily fold and can even be deflated to easily store in your bag or backpack for the next leg of your journey!
- They can be comfortable. Just because they’re more portable doesn’t mean you’re risking comfort. Some camping pillows are actually made of comfortable memory foam material to reduce your risk of waking up with neck pain.
You don’t necessarily have to buy a camping pillow, but they’re a great tool for keeping you comfortable during those long nights spent camping.
More Comfortable Options
You might love camping but hate the usual sleeping arrangements. It’s completely understandable that you find sleeping bags and sleeping pads uncomfortable. Lucky for you, there are more comfortable options that are still affordable!
Nobody said that camping has to be uncomfortable! That’s why air mattresses, hammocks, and camping cots are great alternatives to the usual sleeping bag or sleeping pad. With each of these options, you can save some money while enjoying your camping trip a little bit more.
The average air mattress is the next step up from sleeping bags and sleeping pads. You’ll be getting a much more comfortable night’s sleep while still being able to experience the authenticity associated with being out in the forest when camping!
- They’re easy to transport. Because you’re inflating your air mattress when you get to your destination, air mattresses need to be portable and easy to transport. You can very easily roll your air mattress up and pop it in your bag before continuing your journey!
- They’re easy to set up. With an air mattress, all you have to do is use the electronic or manual pump in order to push air into the mattress. When your trip is over, you just have to open the cover and roll the air out of the mattress and you’re ready to go!
- It’s like sleeping in a bed. If you really value your bed at home or require the support provided by a typical bed, air mattresses are a great alternative. In fact, it’s very similar to bringing your bed from home all the way out to the wilderness with you!
When you want to experience an authentic camping trip but remain comfortable at the same time, air mattresses are the best option. Having a comfortable night’s sleep is the best way to ensure a pain-free and comfortable camping trip!
Many state parks now offer a unique camping method: Hammock camping. These parks have designed heavy-duty metal frames that allow you to hook your hammock onto them and enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep!
Now, you might think that hammocks are comfortable when you’re relaxing out in the backyard. But, there are some things you need to think about before spending the entire night out in a hammock.
- You’re directly exposed to the environment. This shouldn’t be much of a problem if you’re camping in the summer away from bugs and rainstorms. Yet, this could prove to be a problem if it suddenly gets really windy, a storm rolls through, or the mosquitos are out in full force.
- They might not be comfortable for long periods of time. You love your bed at home because it provides the firmness that you need to support all areas of your body. A hammock can provide the same, but you might wake up with aches and pains after eight hours spent in a hammock.
- Some parks have rules against hammocks. Very few parks currently offer the structures involved in hammock camping. You might be able to bring your own hammock on your camping trip and attach it to two trees, but some national and state parks ban the use of ropes on trees. You need to make sure you’re permitted!
Hammocks are a very unique way to sleep when you’re camping. You might want to try it out on your next trip, but make sure you’re allowed to do so and that you have backup sleeping options if the hammocks get uncomfortable!
We all love camping, but sometimes it’s uncomfortable to be lying right on the hard ground while trying to get a good night’s sleep! That’s where camping cots can come in handy, providing a more comfortable experience away from the discomfort of your physical camping environment.
- They keep you off the ground. Camping can be really uncomfortable when you’re sleeping on a rock, the ground is hard due to the low temperatures at night, or there are bugs roaming around freely. With a camping cot, you’ll be raised high off the ground to protect you from each of these things!
- They provide a little more support than a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags provide some support when they’re heavily cushioned, but they can only do so much. A camping cot is made of material or fabric that slightly gives when you lie on it, providing more natural support to your back and neck while sleeping.
- They’re pretty sturdy. Though they’re physically pretty small, camping cots can provide a lot of support when you’re sleeping. You won’t have to worry about breaking the cot when you readjust your sleeping position or move during the night.
If you’re looking for a sleeping option that’s pretty similar to a bed, yet still easy to set up and take down, camping cots might just be the best option for you!
The Luxury Options
If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money on your next big camping trip, investing in (or renting!) a campervan or cabin can make your average camping trip well above average! Rather than sleeping on the ground or being exposed directly to the environment, you can rest in complete comfort.
Yes, these options might “ruin” the typical camping experience, but that doesn’t mean your trip won’t be enjoyable. In fact, campervans and cabins are ideal for those who’ve never camped before or for larger families.
RVs or Campervans
If you’ve got the money to spend and truly enjoy luxury, getting an RV or campervan (at least for the night) will provide you with a superior camping experience. Aside from the negative of having to spend a lot of money, there are a lot of positive features associated with campervans.
- They protect you from the environment. This is probably the reason you’re considering a campervan in the first place. With a campervan, you’ll be completely closed off from the environment and won’t have to worry about low temperatures at night or a sudden rainstorm!
- You can sleep in an actual bed. The beds might not be all that big, but you still get to sleep in an actual bed when you use a campervan! Rather than rolling around on the ground over rocks while avoiding mosquitos, you can sleep in the comfort in a bed with an actual pillow.
- They can provide electricity. Camping is meant to keep you away from modern technology and expose you to nature, but there’s no harm in having constant access to electricity. If your campground offers electrical hookups, you might be able to watch TV in your campervan or even charge your smartphone!
Campervans are extremely convenient, combining your method of travel with your shelter. Just make sure that you follow the RV and campervan regulations set by the park or facility that you’re camping at!
Most major campgrounds offer their own cabins for rent on a nightly or weekly basis. Though not at all equivalent to sleeping in a regular home, there are positives of renting out a cabin for your family on a camping trip.
- They have beds or bunk beds. They won’t be the beds you have at home, but they will keep you from developing the aches and pains of sleeping on the ground. Plus, you’ll be sleeping inside a physical structure away from bugs and small critters.
- You might have electricity. Not all cabins or campgrounds offer electricity, but some might. This makes cabins great for families with young children that might be used to having electricity. This will allow your family to keep in touch with the outside world on your first camping trip!
- You have greater access to running water. Now, you probably won’t have running water in your cabin, but you likely will have bathrooms and showers available nearby. This is great for anyone that likes to keep up on their hygiene, especially young children!
Cabins might take away from the regular camping experience, but they are great alternatives for families and small groups. You won’t have to worry about setting up tons of tents and sleeping bags and you’ll be much more comfortable throughout the night sleeping.
You might be so used to camping with the old tent and sleeping bag combo that you didn’t even realize that you have other sleeping options when camping! Here are the benefits of each sleeping option to help you choose what’s best for you.
- Sleeping bags and sleeping cots are best for anyone looking to save some money and get an authentic camping experience.
- Hammocks, camping cots, and air mattresses are great for anyone looking for a little more comfort while still remaining out in the wild.
- Campervans and cabins are ideal for those who might have limited camping experience, people with large families, or anyone looking for “genuine shelter.”