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I don't sleep well when camping...
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Joey Dawson
(inabag) - F

Locale: Northern VA
I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 12:14:42 MDT Print View

I have had enough of not sleeping well. I have tried various pads, most recently a Z-Lite and a custom Kookabay insulated pad. I can never get comfortable on the ground. I am constantly turning from side to side to my back, and I slide all of the place, or fall of the sides and I get all scrunched up in my bag (Montbell #5). I am a side/stomach/back flipper at home, but end up getting into a comfortable position and sleeping well. When camping I wake up every hour or two.

So I am thinking about trying out a hammock. But before I do that, is there some magic advise or piece of gear I am missing out on? I like sleeping in a tent, and I am not sure I want to hang out in the trees.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 12:17:00 MDT Print View

In preparation for each backpack trip, I sleep on my carpeted floor for a night or two. That way, I get used to firm sleeping near the ground.


roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
same here on 05/02/2011 12:23:44 MDT Print View

i am exactly the same way you are...

and going with what Bob said, you sleep in your bed the whole time and you body is used to the firmness of your mattress...

i believe you would have the same problem if you were to sleep in the sofa for example or a different bed... like a hotel's or something...

for my next trip, i'll probably do what bob suggested and sleep in my pad on the floor for a couple nights before i go out backpacking... this might help...

another thing you could do is take benadryl before going to sleep... i don't do this, but i hear some people do and it helps...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 12:34:41 MDT Print View

Melatonin is a dietary supplement that is supposed to promote sleep. It is not as harsh as real sleeping pills.


te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 12:43:07 MDT Print View

sleeping in a tent - if by that you mean full coverage you can get that with (over) your hammock.
2 main hammock types. 1)with bug net 2)without bug net

with a fully netted/enclosed hammock and a tarp like the one in this photo, might you look at this pic and see that it is much like a sheltered tent, only in 2 pc.
imagine that you are in a bivy, with a tarp over you (most versatile set-up, in terms of ease of use and such) but you are in a bivy off the ground. get an underquilt, a quality hammock, and a large tarp you can do a variety of pitches with.

photo courtesy of mountainfitter


Derek Kind
Quilts on 05/02/2011 12:43:44 MDT Print View

Have you tried quilts, Joey, or a wider sleeping pad?

Edited by berethorn on 05/02/2011 12:44:18 MDT.

Tyson Marshall
(sheepNgeese) - MLife

Locale: Ventura County (formerly PNW)
Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 12:47:21 MDT Print View

"I am a side/stomach/back flipper at home, but end up getting into a comfortable position and sleeping well"

I am the same way, but I can also sleep comfortably on a couch, ground, train, bus, car, plane, etc. BUT, I think the best sleep I get is in a hammock. Take it FWIW.

The only reason I don't backpack with a hammock is merely because I don't have a UL setup.

Joey Dawson
(inabag) - F

Locale: Northern VA
RE: Quilts on 05/02/2011 12:50:06 MDT Print View

I have not tried a quilt - however I sleep with my bag open quite often because I can't stand being confined in the bag. The montbell is roomy compared to any other bag I have used, but I still like being able to move around without something bunching up underneath me. I am curious about quilts, but I just dropped $200 on the bag last year. I have yet to upgrade my tent situation, and I was moving in the direction of getting a MLD cricket for the summer. Now I am thinking about a Blackbird and tarp setup as well.

Wider sleeping bag might help with turning over and falling off the sides, but I am still worried about the overall feel of the pad. My Kookabay pad is an excellent piece of equipment, but I am not sure it fits me at this point.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Kookabay on 05/02/2011 12:56:29 MDT Print View

The Kookabay pads are not as comfy as I expected either. I came from a Big Agnes air pad of the exact same dimensions that somehow was significantly more comfortable, supportive, and had more give where it counts. I regret at the very least getting the 2.5" Kooka instead of the 3.5".

It also inflates slightly narrower than claimed, which is an issue because I end up scrunching up my shoulder to keep them on the pad.

So, I wouldn't discount the possibility that a different air pad could help you out. Lots of people get by with way less comfortable pads, but I'm not one of them.

James McDaniel
I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 13:01:53 MDT Print View

Quit wasting your money looking for a magic bullet(that operates on the ground). I had the same battle, hammocks saved me....sorry, you don't want to hear that;->

Randy Smith
(PapaSmurf) - F

Locale: Dream Hammock
Re: Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 13:03:55 MDT Print View

I'm also a side sleeper at home, flopping side to side all night long. Only difference sleeping in a tent was the added sore hips in the morning. Then I tried a hammock one weekend. When I'm out in my hammock, I sleep peacefully through the night. I usually fall asleep and wake up in the exact same position and have even slept with my reading glasses resting on top of my chest from the night before.

Your results may be different, but I'd pursue a UL hammock setup and see if it helps you the way it has helped me.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Hammock on 05/02/2011 13:09:29 MDT Print View

Hammock's are far more comfortable than any sleeping pad I believe. Hips and shoulders are always the pressure points on a pad, but there are no pressure points in a hammock so you don't have the soreness or stiffness. With that being said, hammock sleeping takes a little getting used to since most of us sleep on a flat mattress every night. You will most likely pay a weight penalty for 3 season hammock use too. See if you can borrow someone's hammock for a night before you buy the entire setup to see if it works well for you.


Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 13:12:07 MDT Print View

I used to be the same way. What worked for me was a good pillow (not a clothes in a stuff sack setup), a Prolite Plus (wide long), and an extra wide bag.

William Cummings
(rcummings1) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 13:39:28 MDT Print View

A decent pillow, a 25" wide pad, and 2 nights on the floor at home help me. Otherwise the first night I toss and turn till 4AM. The second night I usually pass out from exhaustion and then hit my groove on the 3rd night. I use an Exped pillow and prior to getting it just used the stuffed clothing in a sack method. Combined with sleeping on the floor and getting a pillow, it immediately improved my sleeping.

Ginger Allman
(gindavall) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Re: I don't sleep well when camping... on 05/02/2011 13:43:46 MDT Print View

Just like you, I side sleep and toss around a lot. You've already thought of the obvious things...big enough bag and a good pad. Make sure you have a supportive pillow if needed (the Exped one is great). Aside from this I think there is a "learning curve" to it. The first weekend I spend camping I was awake the whole night. Over time I've gotten better. I've camped 35 nights out in the last year. Now when I roll out my Prolite Plus and lay down my Montbell bag and blow up my pillow I start to feel cozy just looking at it. It's home. And I sleep almost as good as home.

Another your tent to your advantage. Do you prefer having your head or feet higher? Do you prefer having a slight "dish" to the site so you're cradled? Small fluctuations in the flatness of your site can make a huge difference, too.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
zzzzzz on 05/02/2011 13:57:37 MDT Print View

i use a neo air .... feels like sleeping at home for me

i also make sure that im dead exhausted by zzzzz time ... makes it MUCH easier to sleep

Joey Dawson
(inabag) - F

Locale: Northern VA
Prolite Plus on 05/02/2011 14:24:45 MDT Print View

The ProLite plus sounds promising. Would have to go with a large to get the wide...which is 33oz....ouch. 2x what my Kookabay is...but if I sleep comfortably, then it is worth it.

Might sell my kookabay, try out the prolite...and if that does not work out, sell that and go for a hammock!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Natural sleeping aid on 05/02/2011 14:37:24 MDT Print View

I'm usually so d@mn tired from driving and hiking the first day that on the first night I sleep like a baby. I guess the first day effort is a "natural" sleeping aid.

From then on my old Thermarest Lite mattress is all I need, even for a geezer like me.

If I use my WM Megalite as a quilt on warm nights I sleep even better.

sleep on 05/02/2011 16:27:38 MDT Print View

level ground is key for me, and sleeping on stomach. Prefer to sleep on pad and use bag as quilt unless cold enough that need to get in. With the megalite I can roll over and sleep on stomach too pretty easy.

Andrew Troicki

Locale: Sydney
Red wine on 05/02/2011 16:30:06 MDT Print View

is a great sleeping aid. My girlfriend & I always take 'decent' amounts on one or two night trips. Be carefull though, have had a wee bit to much before & then had to do a 1800 ft ascent the next morning..... worst dry mouth I have ever had