Camping out in a forest can be a very fun and exciting way to spend time with your friends or family, but if nobody can sleep well, problems will inevitably arise. Make sure you’re ready for whatever comes your way, and have a good plan for great sleeping.
Bring Your Earplugs
There’s really no such thing as complete isolation in forest camping, because the woods are full of noisy little critters, many of which only come out at night. You could also be close enough to running water to hear the babbling of a brook that might keep you up. Of course, there’s always the possibility of other campers staying up late without being considerate of others. No matter where you’re going to camp or how much noise you think you can handle, bring along earplugs. They are very inexpensive and don’t take up a lot of space, so it’s no big deal if you decide never to use them.
Choose The Best Spot To Pitch The Tent
The most important consideration for where you put the tent up is the ground beneath it. Make sure it’s on a flat surface with soft ground. Preferably, you will all be resting comfortably on a bed of pine needles, but if that isn’t possible, opt for bare ground with little to no rocks, stumps or tree roots protruding. In the even that the best spot sits on a hill, arrange your sleeping gear so that your head is uphill, or towards the top of the hill. Look around for other possible interference like foot traffic or low branches.
Keep Flashlights Ready
Even if you can arrange a perfect night sleep for your camping crew, there are bound to be some evening interruptions. Equip everyone with a personal flashlight that can unobtrusively be stored under the pillow. These little gadgets can be purchased for just a few dollars and will come in very handy for trips to the latrine or simply for finding out what an odd noise was. Don’t forget to check on batteries and pack a few extras too.
Test The Air Mattress At Home
You certainly don’t want the air mattress deflating on you out in the woods, so try it home at night on your living room floor. Make sure it’s clean and that the bedding you intend to use fits properly. Also, bring along the repair kit that it should have come with, or buy one at the store before leaving. Keep it in a handy spot, just in case you spring a leak during your outing.
Buy A High-Quality Sleeping Bag
Most of the better sleeping bags available are categorized according to warmth factor. Check the temperatures for the forest you’ll be visiting, and choose a sleeping bag accordingly. Test the zippers and length before heading out too, so you won’t be struggling after dark at your camp site. In the event that you’re bringing an old sleeping back, be sure and wash it or air it out ahead of time.
Store Food Properly To Avoid Nocturnal Visitors
Nobody likes their venture into the forest to include nighttime scavengers. This can be a primary cause of restless or lost sleep. Keep everything edible in air-tight containers, and wash all dishes, utensils and pans properly before turning in. Make sure all food items are a good distance away from where you will be pitching the tent or unrolling your sleeping bag. This is also not the time or place to enjoy a midnight snack as you doze off; keep the smell of food off all bedding materials.
Mosquito Nets And Screens
If you’ll be using a tent, check to make sure the screens have no holes before you pack it up. Repair any rips you notice, even little ones as they can easily turn into something larger and more problematic during packing, unpacking and set-up. When no tent will be used, purchase a mosquito net that can be hung on a branch. It should be large enough to allow for a little tossing and turning without coming down on you.
Avoid Scary Stories With Kids Around
While campfire stories are a wonderful tradition to keep on your trips to the forest, keeping them rated G can avoid nightmares with little ones. Your children may even refuse to go to sleep if the stories they’ve been told are particularly realistic and scary. Tell pleasant tales that don’t involve monsters or bad guys running out of the woods, and everyone should be able to sleep better.
Sleeping well while camping means the entire adventure is more enjoyable and everyone feels their best. Have a good plan to keep your camping party sleeping sound and be prepared for fun!