How to Sleep Comfortably in a Tent: 7 Expert Tips

how to sleep comfortably in a tent

A large reason that many people dislike tent camping is that it can often be tough to sleep well at night. Between uncomfortable sleeping bags, outside noises, early sunrises, and more, it’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Fortunately, we have learned a few things about sleeping comfortably in a tent that almost makes us prefer it to the comfort of our beds. Continue reading below to get our 7 expert tips on how to sleep comfortably in a tent.

Quick Answer

Here are the 7 best ways to get a comfortable night’s sleep. You can read the rest of the article below for more specific information.

  1. Choose the right bedding, including a sleeping bag, pad, blankets, and a camping pillow

  2. Set your tent up on flat, clear ground

  3. Prepare for all weather conditions

  4. Sleep in a dark and secluded area

  5. Follow scientifically proven good sleep habits

  6. Keep your tent interior clean

  7. Get plenty of exercise during the day

tent at night

1. Choose the Right Bedding

Without the sleeping gear, you’re going to have a hard time falling asleep, even if you’ve got everything else figured out. That’s why we put it first on our list of tips to follow. Make sure that you have the following 3 items covered if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping Bag

The first and most important item is your sleeping bag, which as the name suggests, you’ll be sleeping inside. There are a few major points to get right when deciding which one to bring on your trip.

First off, you want to get a sleeping bag that looks comfortable. Make sure it has good reviews before buying at the very least.

In terms of shape, there are two primary options you can go with. There are rectangular sleeping bags, which are larger, more traditional types that people take car camping.

These sleeping bags are generally more comfortable since they give you extra space to move around, but are not as warm in colder weather.

There are also mummy bags, which are smaller and made for colder weather and backpacking. While they might have less room, the small size and sleeping bag liner will effectively trap your body heat inside the bag, keeping you nice and warm when you need to be.

Beyond the reviews and sleeping bag shape, it’s also important to check the temperature rating.

If you’re camping in cold weather, make sure to buy a sleeping bag with a temperature rating at least as low as what you expect the nighttime temperature to be. Otherwise, you might be freezing instead of sleeping.

As a final note here, there are options beyond sleeping bags if you want to maximize your comfort. If you have enough room in your tent, a cot or air mattress will feel a lot more like your bed and have you sleeping well at night.

You could even get a full camping mattress if you want to go full glamping, although this would be hard to transport in your average-sized car.

sleeping bags in tent

Sleeping Pad

If you do choose a sleeping bag over a cot or mattress, you should also invest in a sleeping pad to make it more comfortable. Sleeping pads make sleeping in a tent more comfortable by adding some cushion between you and the hard ground.

In addition, they’ll also act as an insulation layer when it’s cold, preventing any ground chills from reaching you in your sleeping bag.

When you’re shopping for a sleeping pad, make sure that you get one large enough for your sleeping bag. It should be at least as long and slightly wider so you don’t roll off at night.

Pillows & Blankets

Last but not least, grab a pillow or two and some blankets from home before you head out on your camping trip! The blankets will help keep you warm, and it always helps us to fall asleep when we use the same pillow as we do at home.

2. Pitch Your Tent in a Good Spot

You should always pitch your tent on flat, clear ground when you can. Sleeping on a slope is no fun, and could even be dangerous if it’s steep enough or near a large drop.

As for clear ground, you don’t want rocks or pinecones digging into you when you’re sleeping. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also damage your tent. If you can’t find a clear spot to set up your tent, then you should clear out a patch yourself to satisfy this condition.

tent at night on flat ground

3. Prepare for the Weather

You should be prepared for any weather conditions you might encounter while camping. If you have the space, pack a few extra blankets and a sweatshirt in case it gets cold. To prepare for the heat, you should bring along plenty of water and perhaps a fan.

You also never know when it might rain, so make sure that your tent is adequately waterproofed and that you have your rainfly with you. Lastly, pack all of your stakes and guy lines in case it’s a windy night and your tent could use some extra stability.

person sheltering from rain in tent

4. Go Somewhere Dark and Quiet, if Possible

While there are benefits to camping at a busy campsite with others, getting a comfortable night’s sleep is not one of them. Whether you’re with a group or alone, it will be easier to sleep if you move your tent somewhere dark and quiet.

If you like to sleep in, this also might mean positioning your tent behind a tree or rock so that it blocks the sunrise.

Even still, some level of light and noise is unavailable. If you don’t mind wearing an eye mask and ear plugs, those are easy ways to block out the light and sound.

Another option is darkening your tent walls. You can either buy a tent with darkroom technology, which is designed to keep the interior of your tent pitch black at all times, or you can blackout your tent yourself if you don’t want to buy a new one.

tent in the dark

5. Follow Good Sleep Habits

This is not tent specific, but it’s important to follow good sleeping habits whether you’re in a tent or at home. This means making sure you:

  • Go to sleep around the same time each night

  • Avoid screens for an hour before bed

  • Don’t drink water less than an hour before bed, and use the bathroom before going to sleep

  • Spend time outside and be physically active during the day

  • Follow your normal pre-bed routine that you do at home

The good news is that when you’re camping, it should be even easier to follow these healthy habits than when you’re at home. After all, you’re already outside all day which will be a huge help to your circadian rhythm.

If you follow the above tips along with doing your normal camping activities, you’ll be exhausted shortly after the sun goes down.

person sleeping in tent

6. Keep Your Tent Interior Clean

Your tent floor can get super dirty over time, especially if you’re camping in bad weather or doing a lot of hiking.

It’s easy to track in mud with your shoes or other gear, even if you’re trying not to. Just like sleeping in a dirty bed, it’s uncomfortable to be in your sleeping bag surrounded by dirt.

That’s why we recommend cleaning out your tent each day you’re on your trip. Pack a small broom and pan in your car if you can, clear the floor, and sweep all the dirt out every morning.

Additionally, it can help to leave your dirty shoes and gear in a separate section from your sleeping area. If your tent has a vestibule, this is a great use for it. If not, it may be a good idea to leave this equipment outside.

clean and open tent

7. Get Plenty of Exercise During the Day

The more tired your body is during the day, the easier it will be to get a good night’s sleep. It’s also incredibly easy to be active on a camping trip.

You could go on a hike in the woods or some nearby mountains, go fishing or swimming in a lake, play outdoor games like capture the flag, and more. The possibilities are endless. Anything beyond sitting in your tent all day will be a huge help to your sleep ability.

person hiking


Sleeping outdoors in a tent is not always the most comfortable thing in the world. However, if you follow the tips we’ve mentioned in this article, we guarantee you’ll get the best night’s sleep that you ever have.

Do you have anything special you do to help you sleep comfortably in a tent? If so, please let us know in the comments. Happy camping!

(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *