A & J’s Tips to ZZZZZZ Well in the Woods

We were asked last summer to contribute to an article for Canadian Living Magazine. In the name of space our advice was short and sweet for publication and if you know us by now – we are “conversationalists” – right!? See it here….How to Sleep Anywhere

So we thought we would share ALL of the advice we originally sent in plus a few more. Please feel free to add your own advice or personal experiences in the comment section. The more the merrier, so we can all rest well out there!

Car Camping and Glamping Tips

With young families, we tend to do a lot of car camping. This means the luxury of a blow up mattress, or cots and full bedding in a large tent.

  • Ensure your blow up mattress holds air. Bring duct tape. There’s nothing worse than the dreaded 3am sink-to-the-centre, and breathing in your significant others “out breath!” If using a cot, make sure the ground is level, with no roots underneath to cause any instability. They can be a bit tippy if the ground is uneven or if you, yourself are a bit uneven after some bevies around the fire 😉
  • Outfit your mattress or cot with sheets, even if you’re using a sleeping bag on top. We always outfit our bed with a pretty sheet (enter a vintage floral one from the 70’s) This provides comfort, and is appealing to our girl-eyes and our “need to nest” syndrome. Like crawling into bed at home, we look forward to that well prepped, pretty bed. Maybe that is a woman thing, but we can tell the husbands appreciate it too.
  • For cold weather camping, bring a hot water bottle. These are great to prep when the S’mores are toasting, and feels so good on the toes. They can really take the chill off when getting under the covers.
  • Alternatively, some summer nights are HOT! This is where drug store gel ice packs come in. Freeze ahead of time, and then have in the cooler. Tuck one in your pillow case for a super cold side of that pillow to calm the heat.
  • Spritz your bed with Sweet Dreams aromatherapy from Rocky Mountain Soap Co. We use this at home all the time and it’s perfect for the tent, as it gets rid of that musty tent smell, and the calming scents help you drift off under the stars.

Tips for sleeping comfy (& lightweight) while camping in the backcountry hiking, skiing or snowshoeing:

While some of the above tips may not work for efficiency in lightweight backpacking & tenting, you could still use some  of the above ideas in other ways. Perhaps you are not bringing a full bottle of aromatic spritzer, but maybe a small vile of lavender or eucalyptus oil to dab about?  Might be nice? And of course some of the tips below are handy for car camping and glamping too.

  • ThermaCare heat wraps. These are not only handy for our ailing backs or ahem – PMS, but they are a slim and trim heat source with little weight for the pack. They are sticky so you don’t lose them like a water bottle can disappear into the night. No need to boil water either and easy to pack out of the woods. Must follow the Leave No Trace rules right!?
  • Onesies with trap doors. Ok – the hard core adventurists are probably eye-rolling here, but none the less – onesies are the bomb. They are perfect for cold nights under the sleeping bag, but also provide a nice single layer on warmer nights when you want to kick the sleeping bag off. Plus – an easy go to the bathroom system and other stuff….we will just end that here….
  • Base layers from some of our favourite brands, Woolx and Bambool can make a difference. Use under onesies for those colder nights.  They don’t itch either – itching is not fun, not comfortable. Layer under onsies for winter camping.
  • Wool socks. Our new faves are from Treeline Outdoors  – they are uber pretty too.
  • Hand warmers / foot warmers are a good lightweight addition if needed.
  • Therm-a-Rest Pro lite sleeping pad (we like it) – warm enough for 4 season use. Something that can roll up for easy pack and carry, but padded enough to keep your body from hitting the dirt on every roll over. Place a few tree boughs under your tent or pad too for an extra layer between you and the ground – see note below about that.
  • Put stock into a good sleeping bag that suits you and your sleeping style. Yes, try to go lightweight of course, but this is an item to really take stock in and consider that you intend to spend about 8 hours wrapped like a taco.  {Side note: I, Alannah, prefer a sleeping bag I can really move in – I am a kicker and a mover and rotate like a toasting marshmallow. I know it is more practical for weight and size to travel with a mummy-style bag, but I really prefer the rectangle bags with a side zip. I have yet to find the perfect sleeping bag for backcountry trips 😦  I also do not like a slippery sleeping bag – you know the ones that slip right off of the sleeping pad or cots….duct tape – I have used duct tape to tape my bag down before!}
  • Create as level a sleeping area as possible on mother nature’s carpet if that is where you chose to rest. Tree boughs have come into play here too if needed – not that we want to be hacking down forests at all – be diligent about it and use what you can and only if necessary. This is more of a wilderness survivalist thing.
  • Touque – always bring a touque no matter the season. Nothing fancy needed here folks. Use a plain old, black fleece lined, no itch, hat. If too warm for a fleece hat, use a thin liner styled hat – and pull over your ears – because nothing NOTHING is worse than hearing mosquitos buzzing around your head! Plus head and ears sticking out of your sleeping bag can get cold and you want to keep that brain warm and operating!
  • Ear plugs. Enough said. See above note about mosquitos. Plus if you are in a campground and next to the partiers (although join them we say) then you might want to drown out the fun times.
  • Lip stuff – chapstick – whatever you want to call it – make sure to go to bed with your  lips covered.
  • Hot camolmile tea and a water bottle. Before we lay to sleep we have a calming, hot, sleepy tea. And by our sides at night, there is always have a water bottle – both home and away.

Have some tips? Let us hear them!


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