Stuff Ya Gotta Have: A Good Night’s Sleep

slippers
January 19, 2011

 

 

What a day! You’ve spent it swimming in the pool, playing Frisbee, taking a hike and, of course, exploring the KOA campground you’ll be calling home for a few days. You haven’t had that much fun in a long, long, long time and you are both happy and exhausted. So you climb into the comfort of your sleeping bag or RV bed, close your eyes and…nothing.

Sleep can be elusive whenever you’re in an unfamiliar place, hearing unfamiliar noises and doing things that are outside the scope of your daily routine. So finding ways to help lull yourself into a peaceful night’s rest is something that you should plan for ahead of time.

First, try to stick to your evening routine as much as possible. If you take an evening shower or enjoy a cup of tea before bed at home, there’s no reason not to do the same thing at your favorite KOA, where warm water and comfortable facilities are easy to come by. Change into sweats or pajamas that are clean, warm and dry—you’d be surprised at how much it can instantly relax you. (Check out these great Merino wool base layers—perfect for catching some Z’s—from Cabela’s.) And consider bringing a few choice CD’s (with headphones, if you’re tent camping) to help you unwind.

Second, make sure you’re prepared for the weather. Even in warm climates, nighttime temperatures can leave you shivering. Think layers—both on your body and in your bed or sleeping bag, and look to breathable fabrics to help keep air circulating. Outdoor retailers like REI carry sleeping bag liners in a variety of fabrics can be used on their own in hot climates, as an additional layer on cool nights and some even have wicking properties that help to keep you dry. Portable fans, that use magnets to clip on to your tent, are available, as are portable heaters. Be sure, however, to use both in well-ventilated areas and according to manufacturer instructions.

Third, bring a comfortable pillow. Simple? Yes. Critical? Absolutely. Although many campers opt not to bring their bed pillow to the campground, finding one that’s the same (or at least very similar) will help you get a better night’s sleep. Many pillows made specifically for camping are smaller than traditional pillows, may not be as heavy and may not give you the support you need for maximum relaxation.

Last, put your mind at ease by thinking ahead. Put flip-flops and a flashlight (we like this one, from Maglite) near your pillow in case you need to get up during the night. Make sure you can reach a hat, bottle of water and gloves. Consider putting your coat in your bed or sleeping bag so that it’s warm when you get up in the morning. Taking these small steps can give you a certain sense of comfort and security by helping you to know that you’re prepared.

  • helen cavanaugh

    Hi there

    Just a rule of thumb that my Mom taught us 45 years ago, and until this day, when I camp I follow through with it,

    Keep as many blankets under you as over you, beleive me it works, thinks about it, a air mattress hold the cold air, and with equal amount of blankets under you keeps you from feeling the cold.

    Try it

    Helen

  • helen cavanaugh

    Hi there

    Just a rule of thumb that my Mom taught us 45 years ago, and until this day, when I camp I follow through with it,

    Keep as many blankets under you as over you, beleive me it works, thinks about it, a air mattress hold the cold air, and with equal amount of blankets under you keeps you from feeling the cold.

    Try it

    Helen

  • CB

    I installed heavy blackout curtains in my RV to block out all the light from the less considerate who insist on leaving on bright lights all over their RVs all night. If I am in my tent, I look for tent sites away from such things.

    My routine on the road and at camp pretty much follows my routine at home.
    A late walk will remove the edginess I get from driving and will acclimate me to the new environment, with its new sounds and such. It will also cause all the dogs at the camp ground to start barking louder so their owners will also not be able to sleep.

    Just as I do at home, I have a cup of camomile tea before retiring.

  • Linda

    I have one of those deep memory pads on my bed at home so purchased one for my motorhome too – same bed now as the one at home!!