For most of us a good night’s sleep is a vital part of any holiday or short break. You’ll often hear people bemoan of uncomfortable nights under canvas but with the latest camping technology and our top three tips it really doesn’t need to be like that.
1. Choose the best bed for you...
Usually the best option will depend on your circumstances and personal preference. To help you narrow your options here’s a run-down of what’s on offer;
Sleeping Mats – Previously thin sheets of foam these have now been superseded by self-inflating mats. These compact air filled mats are the most space efficient option, both when set-up and packed away. They are also pretty robust and provide a better degree of insulation from the ground making them ideal for backpackers, festival goers, and those with limited space in the tent, rucksack, or car.
Airbeds – Very much the mainstay of the car camper, the airbed is arguably the most comfortable alternative. Not only are they thicker than other options but also have the greatest degree of firmness adjustment. With a range of manual and electric pumps available they are now simple to both inflate and deflate. They are also the most cost effective option.
Campbeds – Less compact, but more luxurious. They raise you much further from the cold uneven ground helping to improve comfort and warmth. The extra height provides a particular advantage for those with bad backs and creaky knees. Being so much further from the floor makes getting in and out much easier. If this benefit appeals it’s worth noting there are now super deluxe raised airbeds that do the same job.
2. Keep cosy while you kip...
Being cold is never pleasant, especially at night, so if you feel the cold try these toasty tips. Firstly go to bed when you are warm this will heat up your bedding more quickly and get you off to a good start. After sitting around in the evening a brisk walk to the shower block or a few star jumps will soon raise your temperature. Alternately some hot food before bed will also do the trick.
The other option is to layer up. Now I know that’s stating the obvious but things like a hat and neck gaiter are often forgotten. These not only seal in heat where it’s easily lost, but are also quick to remove if you get too hot. Another way you can layer up is using a fleece liner. These inexpensive additions can add up to 5°C or a whole season rating to your sleeping bag.
The other place you can add a layer is between you and your bed. This area is commonly neglected and on colder nights you can lose a lot of heat this way. To combat this simply slip another sleeping bag, duvet, or cheep foam mat between you and your bed.
3. Do Not Disturb
Sleeping in unfamiliar places is often unsettling at first. At a campsite sound carries easily, so if you think this might bother you be sure to pack some ear plugs.
The other thing your fabric abode isn’t the best at keeping out is daylight. This can be particularly troublesome if you’ve had a late night and could do with a lie in (festival goers take note). The simple solution is to pack an eye mask and sleep till your hearts content.
Keeping a tent cool is a challenge. The best solution is to pitch where there is morning shade if somebody hasn’t already beaten you to it. With smaller tents creating your own shade is possible by using a tarpaulin or parachute silk. Just be sure to leave a gap between your canopy and tent otherwise the effect will be lost. Finally, there are a few things you can look for when buying a tent. Having a door or large vents at either end of your tent will help create a cool flow of air, but by far the best solution is to splash out on a polycotton tent. These tents are not only cooler when it’s warm but are also more durable, and are for many reasons a more pleasant place to stay.
Last but not least, there are ways to minimise disruption when spending a midnight penny. Portable toilets and toilet tents are becoming ever more affordable with a full set up possible for less than £100. With luck having en suite facilities should save you becoming too awake on the trip to the toilet block.
We hope we’ve laid that out nice and clearly for you. If you have any suggestion on how to prevent your kip from being curtailed we’d love to hear them; although if you could leave it until morning as it’s way past our bedtime...