Spending the night in under the open sky and under a dreamy starry sky sounds great – until you actually try to fall asleep for the night. The sounds of creatures flitting through the forest, the hard and possibly stony ground beneath you, and the endless loop of what-if situations that go through your head can make eye closure much more difficult. Oh, and do not forget that there is a lack of warmth or climate to help you get comfortable.
I was already there. On a trip with the backpack we heard that there was a bear in the area, and I rattled the whole night at the slightest sign of movement, until I collapsed exhausted as the sun rose.
But I & # 39; I also spent four consecutive months (when I was hiking at 700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail ) and slept next to people who seemed to have no concern in the world when they crawled into their sleeping bags at night. How do nature lovers manage to spend a restful night outdoors? I spoke with 1
. 1 Use a quilt for temperature control and white noise to suppress noise.
"I use quilts instead of a sleeping bag so I can stretch out my legs when I'm getting too warm," says Jill, 47, of Phoenix, Arizona. Bedspreads, such as this versatile Kammok Mountain Blanket ($ 135, kammok.com ), often consist of the same material as sleeping bags, but instead of buckling them up, you can lay them down like a sleeping bag over your body blanket.
Jill also uses her phone to mask outside noise. "If I'm not in the backcountry (and therefore not afraid to recharge my phone), I'll use the" Floor Fan "setting in the White Noise app ." By doing so, all those little random sounds (like leaves blowing across the floor) will convince your drowsy, paranoid mind that you're hungry animals crawling to your tent.
. 2 If white noise fails, use earplugs.
Sometimes white noise is not enough to calm you down. "Earplugs are a must for me," says Justina, 31, in Los Angeles, California. "I usually sleep without a tent so I can see the stars, but I do not really need [1965-0910] to hear the animals crawling on the campsite!"
3. Pack extra warm layers when you get cold quickly.
"I can not fall asleep when I'm cold, so it's imperative to put up a warm bed," says Maria, 33, of Washington State. [I bring a] Comfortable PJ set and wool socks, in addition to [a] thick sleeping bag and extra-warm sleeping bag. "If you're backpacking, you're limited to which you can wear on your back. But if you go to your campsite, there is no reason why you should not throw anything in the car just in case.
. 4 Find a distraction at bedtime and be sure to pee before lying down.
"I wear earplugs and read or play Solitaire [in bed]," says Kathleen, 25, of Phoenix, Arizona. "Keeping my bladder empty usually helps a lot."
5. If you camp with children, you should figure out some tactics to make them (and you) happy.
"As a mother, I only sleep when everyone else does," says Karen, 38, of Phoenix, Arizona. "That's why I have a light stick for my youngest, who is afraid of the dark, a Kleenex box accessible to my son with light airflow into the [the] tent to keep us cool all night to keep. and white noise on the phone, so we do not hear each other snore . "
. 6 Listen to a podcast.
In this sense, earphones can also offer some comfort in the form of music or voices. "I almost always listened to a podcast while I went to sleep [on a recent trip]," says Niche Veraldi, 25, in Corpus Christi, Texas. "It felt like I was falling asleep talking to friends. Even if I was abused by a bear, at least my friends were having fun. "
. 7 Choose your campsite wisely.
Often, the decisions you make about the campsite will have a big impact on how well you sleep. "Do not do a cowboy camp in mosquito country," says Amelia, 19, of Reno, Nevada. "Stealth camp not near a highway." (Cowboy Camping camps without a tent, and Stealth Camping camps in an uninhabited spot where you're not supposed to sleep.) Even small things like tree roots and whether or not the ground is flat on a sloped can make a difference. If you can, you should first find out where you will be camping. If you can not see the particular spot up close, it may even be helpful to look at a map to find out which spot is by the stream or away from the restrooms.
. 8 Bring the comforts of home.
If you're not backpacking, why not bring what ever possible? "Lavender oil on your feet, a warm drink before bed, and a pillow" are all ingredients for a pleasant night for Annelle, 27, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Be sure to check the area's bear population before bringing anything fragrant.)
9. Put a hot water bottle in your bag to stay warm.
"When it's very cold, I boil water, pour it into a Nalgene bottle, and throw it into my sleeping bag before going to bed," says Kenzie, 30, in Syracuse, New York. "I just tried it the other weekend when it went down to about 35 degrees and it was a total game changer."
10th Just bring a pillow – it makes a bigger difference than you might think.
"A light inflatable pillow makes me fall asleep and sleep a million times more often," says Isaac, 24, of Culver City, California. "I recently did a four-day trip, and I did not have one because I wanted to test if it was something I really wanted or was just a luxury, and my sleep was definitely worse." Try this compressible travel pillow from Therma -Rest ($ 20, amazon.com ), or this blow-up by Wise Owl Outfitters ($ 15, amazon.com ).