Planning a Camping Trip: Sleeping

A pair of sleeping bags

When I first started tent-camping with my kids, sleeping seemed like a no-brainer. I mean, camping=sleeping bags, right?


Sleeping bags are an easy way to camp when you go somewhere cool, or late in the fall or early spring. The first time we went camping was in August in upstate New York. Even when it dipped down into the 50’s at night, the tent stayed relatively warm. I ended up sleeping on top of my sleeping bag for the most part, or shifting it on and off as I was alternately cold and hot.

I found a little comfort in a tent by investing in a couple of self-inflating airbeds and sheets. I kept these with the camping gear. After a trip I would launder the sheets and put them back with the gear. This way, everything was all together for the next trip. We’d bring blankets from home in case it was cool. Only one time we needed the sleeping bags, and that was when we camped again in upstate New York on Columbus Day weekend. There were snow flurries that time.

Now we’re in a pop-up, but I’m applying a similar strategy. I just ordered a set of sheets for the “mattresses” in the camper. I’ll launder them after a trip and repack with the supplies. We’ll bring our own pillows and any blankets we might need. I have so many blankets around that I’ll likely put a few right in the camping gear as well. One day these may all become part of gear for a trailer.

Only you can judge your level of comfort. I tend to run hot all the time so I don’t need much unless we’re down in the 50’s or lower. We’ll see after this trip if I think I need an air mattress on top of the foam mattresses in the pop-up. We used those air mattresses I had for camping in the house so I might need new ones. A regular trailer has a bed and everything inside is much more protected from the elements, along with having more storage space.

Your comfort level is important during your camping trip. You can “rough it” and still be able to sleep comfortably.

2 replies »

  1. I need to start planning and going through our stuff. We go every year but I inevitably forget about stuff that needs replacing. We’ll be camping at 9,000 feet so it’ll be super cold at night. I think my sleeping bag is rated 20 degrees but I’m going to throw an extra blanket in.

    • We mostly camp lower elevations. Even up here, the highest mountain is 6000+ and we probably don’t go much more over 2000 even in the notches. We were talking a while back how summers when I was a kid we used to bring heavy blankets and my Mom would close up the windows at night to keep the heat in. Sometimes my Dad would have to light a fire in the morning in the fireplace – it got that chilly at night. Don’t see that at all during the summer anymore.

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