It’s happened to all of us wilderness fans at some stage, the most amazing day of hiking is ruined by an absolutely terrible night’s sleep outdoors. As a result the entire next day of outdoors fun is spoiled. A bad night sleep is never nice but it’s especially disheartening when you’re out in the woods on a camping trip. Not only will it likely put you in such a bad mood that your fellow campers might secretly hope you get eaten by a bear, it will also impair your decision-making and might even be dangerous.
Sleepy people think slowly and make poor decisions, and when you are out in the sticks far from assistance you want your synapses to be sparking as quickly as possible. This is especially true if you’re the responsible adult in the group.
Below are three tried and tested tips to help ensure that your next night under the stars is as sleep-filled as possible.
Invest in a good night time nest
Heading into the hills is great for your health but there’s unfortunately a lot of machismo around camping, some people (usually men) seem to think that because you’re getting back to basics you need put yourself through unnecessary suffering. Bear Grylls I am looking at you here! Well, I’m not one of those people and I’m here to tell you that choosing to sleep on a bare floor is impressing nobody, especially not your poor back.
Camping is about enjoying nature and nobody says you have to be uncomfortable to achieve this. In my opinion the exact opposite is true. The more comfortable you are, the better you sleep and the more of your attention you can give to enjoying nature’s bounty.
What I’m getting at is don’t skimp on your tent or sleeping bag and don’t be a skinflint when it comes to picking a good camping mattress. There are some amazing lightweight and comfortable options out there that won’t break the bank.
Don’t leave these purchases until the last moment, do a little research, try out a few options and find ones that suits your camping style, be it a lightweight and minimalist or something a little bit more luxurious.
Not sure where to start when it comes to camping beds? If you need a helping hand here’s a handy guide for you.
Always change for bed
One thing to make sure is that you always have at least one set of dry clothes to change into come nightfall. No matter how hot the day has been once the sun falls behind the ridge the woods can get very cold, very quickly.
Nothing will spoil a night in the woods more than being too cold to get to sleep. If you go to bed in clothes that are even slightly damp then as the night goes on this moisture will evaporate and will cause your body to lose heat. Once the shivering kicks in it’s very hard to warm up. At the very least this is frustrating and will spoil your beauty sleep. At the other end of the scale, being too cold can get dangerous.
Never use the clothes you’ve been wearing during the day as your pajamas. They may feel nice and warm at the moment but it’s highly likely they will be at least slightly damp. Either in the form of moisture they have collected during the day’s activities or simply from sweat.
Always make sure that you have at least one set of clothes packed away safely in a waterproof manner in your backpack. Dry bags work great but so does a simple refuse sack. Whatever you do don’t simply rely on your backpack to keep out the wet. Despite what they may claim, even the most top end hiking backpacks will let in the damp when subjected to a deluge.
Always bring accessories
The art of camping is about knowing what to pack and knowing what to leave at home. Two little things always, and I mean always, make it into my backpack – and I swear they are worth ten times their weight in gold.
The first is an sleep mask. Yes, like the one your mad Auntie Joan wears! When you’re sleeping in tent you learn one thing really quickly, the sunrise isn’t polite. A sleep mask will allow you to block out those frankly rude early morning rays and enable you to get a few more hours before the day really gets going.
The second is a pair of earplugs. Another thing that may shock novice campers is that the outdoors can get surprisingly noisy. Whether that’s other campers shuffling around in their sleeping bags, or well, early birds being early birds and singing their little songs.
Plus, if you’re a bit of a scardy cat wearing ear-plugs will make it less likely you’ll get freaked out by the cracking of twigs outside the tent in the night. Don’t worry it’s probably not a hungry bear or an axe murder…probably!
Well there you have it, three simple ways to ensure your next night in the woods goes like a dream and doesn’t turn into a waking nightmare. Happy camping!
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