Waking up in the woods when camping can go one of two ways. Either you arise sore, and it takes a fair amount of stretching before you are ready to face the day, or you feel refreshed having slept in comfort. After a couple of nights, the soreness can worsen which can ruin a trip altogether. This is why it is important to make sure you have the right camping sleeping option whether you are with your family, or setting up alone.

We take a look at some of the most common options that are going to help you get the maximum amount of comfortable sleeping hours when camping.

Camping Sleeping Options

Camping Cot

These are known for offering plenty of comforts but are not so convenient to take from place to place. If you are hiking as part of your camping trip, it might not be the best option. The aluminum frame might be sturdy but it can be heavy so not everyone sees them as the best option. However, because they keep the user off the ground, a camping cot allows air to circulate underneath which can keep you cool and can be placed inside or outside the tent.

Air Mattress

A camping mattress can come in a few options but will most commonly be an air mattress. The size is a big factor and there are plenty of options. These are ideal or families and can usually be hooked up to a vehicle to pump the air so they inflate in a matter of seconds. The thickness of the air mattress will often determine how comfortable it is, as will the material. Both of these factors also influence how well insulated they are which is important when camping at certain times of the year.


These are similar to mattresses but are not usually available in large sizes. For the solo sleeper, they can be comfortable, inflate easily, and found in either foam or inflatable options. Foam pads are good because they do not require inflating although they take up more room and can be more difficult to transport from place to place.

Camping Cot Vs Mattress Vs Pads

The best camping sleeping option depends on several factors. If size and space aren’t an issue, then a mattress gives you more room to move around and comes in larger sizes. This makes it better for families and couples to share. Anyone looking to save a bit of space should look at a sleeping pad, especially an inflatable one.

In terms of durability, a camping cot holds up well, especially with the sturdier materials used and can give you more storage space underneath. These are heavier to carry as well. For minimal effort, we like pads as they are smaller, easier to. inflate, and compact. Anyone considering a camping cot could double up with a small mattress of sleeping pad to add to the comfort.

Professional LED Flashlights

Sleeping Bags and Accessories

There are different options here and no matter what camping sleeping set up you opt for, you are going to need the right sleeping bag to ensure your comfort throughout the night. The best options are as follows:

Double Sleeping Bag

Good news for the couple, double sleeping bags allow you to hold each other close at night and share a space that would otherwise be an impossible task. You should still expect similar insulation to a single sleeping bag although one person does have to carry the added weight. Waterproof double sleeping bags are good in case of leaks and look for a product with a comfortable lining and adequate insulation.

Ultralight Sleeping Bag

For anyone trekking long distances, an ultralight sleeping bag is a great way of saving some of the backaches that comes with a heavy camping bag. You still want water resistance from damp conditions and a product that packs down small. Sometimes these are best suited to summer sleeping but can weigh as little as 1lb 10 oz.

Sleeping Bag Liners

Another important accessory for your camp is a sleeping bag liner. They can provide a much-needed degree or two of insulation to help warm you in the night. A sleeping bag liner placed inside can also give extra comfort and be the difference between feeling a chill and being just right.

Important Camping Sleeping Accessories

Air Pump

Some mattresses and pads will come with an air pump included but if this is not the case, make sure you invest in one as it will make life a lot easier. There is nothing worse than having to inflate a large mattress yourself late at night, especially when a pump can get the job done in a matter of seconds. There are different options. Some products can be connected to your car, others are rechargeable and if you are nowhere near a power source, foot and hand pumps are a good substitute to take the strain off your lungs.


Again, these come in an inflatable form that can reduce the space they take up in your camping bag. A regular pillow can be fine for a short trip, especially if it is just being moved from your car to the tent and nowhere else. Otherwise, inflatable pillows don’t take long to inflate.

Eye Mask / Ear Plugs

Although these might not be top of your list of camping accessories, they can help you get a good night’s rest when the dawn chorus is in full swing or the morning light starts creeping in hours before you are ready to wake up properly. Neither product takes up a lot of space or weighs a lot so it can help you get a proper night’s rest without slowing you down.

Quality Torch

Everyone wants to set up camp with plenty of daylight but the fact is, this isn’t always the case. They can be found in a solar-powered format so you can recharge them in the day and use them at night or a compact torch that still has enough power to make set up easier. Otherwise, an LED lantern is a good idea, especially when you need to find a place to relieve yourself in the night.