All the camping gear

Sleeping beauty? The quest for a full night’s sleep when camping

I am not fun when I’m tired. I have always loved my bed and continue to do so. There’s nothing nicer than snuggling under a warm duvet with a good book or the TV on. Many decades ago (at least, that’s how long ago it seems) I could spend whole days in bed, going downstairs only to fetch food and drink before returning to my “pit” (as my mum referred to it).


Luckily The Tinies have always been good sleepers. Not in the beginning. No, I was not one of the lucky ones blessed with children who slept through from being minutes old. But once we got past six months we were able to look forward to twelve hours of uninterrupted peace.

They are both still relatively early risers – 6am is not unusual, even on a weekend – but I know that’s fairly average and I’m just grateful it’s not 5-something.

Unfortunately they also seem unmoved by the later nights & fresh air we often have when camping, so despite not settling down until 8.30pm or 9pm, we’re still invariably woken around 6.30am.

The issue of sleep is therefore a critical one, especially now we have two camping weekends booked and paid for.

Husband has solved the more immediate problem of how we will get to the campsite with all our gear in tow, so now it’s on to the practical matter of how on earth to get a good night’s sleep.

We currently have a double airbed and double sleeping bag. (What can I say? Even after nine years I still like snuggling up with my husband!)

But given that at home we have a king sized bed and duvet which he always manages to steal (he’ll tell you otherwise, but don’t believe him) it’s crucial we find a solution that doesn’t leave me without covers or pulled about all night as he tosses and turns.

I’m by no means an expert, but it seems that there are four basic options for what to sleep on, which is my immediate focus:

  1. an airbed
  2. a camp bed
  3. an inflating or self-inflating mat
  4. a memory foam mattress topper (as recommended by my friend and fellow camper, Lexical Lou)

I don’t mind spending money on getting a good night’s sleep. Neither does Husband, although he’ll tell you his preferred option is 5) a hotel room. I just don’t want to repeatedly spend money in the quest for seven uninterrupted hours (or eight, if I’m totally straight with you).

On this occasion, no amount of internet research or window shopping is going to reveal the perfect solution for us. Instead I have crowd-sourced (posh name for asked people on Facebook & Twitter) what others recommend and have then blagged the loan of said recommended kit.

So far we have the offer of a memory foam mattress topper and a couple of Thermarest XLs. If we can’t borrow them for the weekends we’re away I am seriously considering spending a night on my office floor to try each of them out so that we can make an appropriate purchase.

I just don’t like the idea of a camp bed. They just seem narrow and instinctively I feel like I’d fall off several times. As Husband feels the same #2 isn’t really an option.

The kids appear to have slept fine on their airbeds, so I’m not considering changing their kit just yet. But if we don’t sort our sleeping arrangements out, it might be me calling off the camping, never mind The Husband.


3 thoughts on “Sleeping beauty? The quest for a full night’s sleep when camping

  1. Phil Daniels

    We are off on our first camping trip on Easter Monday and have discussed the same issue many times. We have decided to try camp beds, but we are taking airbeds ‘just in case’. However, we are getting on a bit and trying to get up from an airbed may be a bit of a struggle!
    Now, I am 6 ft and about 14.5 stones and I tried out a few camp beds at various shops. None of them seemed up to the job. Then we went to the Spring Camping and Caravanning show at the NEC last month and the Outwell Posadas was on display in the camping section. It is strong, light and doesn’t rock when I move about. It is also easily big enough to take my frame. I got two at a very reasonable price! We also managed to get a load of high quality 3-4 season sleeping bags (also Outwell) at a very good price. The Wife seems happy enough with the sleeping arrangements so that’s got to be a plus!

  2. Emily

    Hi, have subscribed to your blog to hopefully get to know you before the MADS, congratulations on your final spot. I’ve no good suggestions as I’m not much of a camper but have been very tempted since having a family especially as hubby loves it – so I’ll really enjoy reading your tips and getting some ideas.

    1. admin

      Hi Emily and thanks for subscribing. I’m not sure how helpful my tips will be, I just tell it as a find it! We’re by no means experts, hence the blog title. The extended version is all the gear, and no idea!

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>