Tent Size And Great Sleep Camping

Tent size matters and comfort makes you sleep better.

This is really the MOST IMPORTANT matter when it comes to "Camping In Style!" Your only as good as your sleep right? A tiered camper has wimpy hikes, a dull eye for nature and an overall crummy feeling that takes the whoo hooo out of camping. You'll become a real camping grump without good sleep...... “What was I thinking? Camping is saposto be fun? Ugh!”

There are a few things to consider here when getting a good night sleep and "Camping In Style". Let’s first talk tents then what to sleep on and finally bedding.

Let me ask you a few questions first

How many will be sharing your tent
Will your dog or dogs be in the tent with you
How handy and patient are you and your co-campers
How many days will you be camping

Now take the amount of campers x's patients + days camping and you have the formula for the size tent you will want with how much work it takes to put it up. Yeah like that made since...........

Last year I finally broke down and bought a two room tent. My reasoning was that with a tall husband who doesn't like to tent camp, a young kid and a big dog with separation anxiety we needed more space. So I decided to do more three plus days camping to make the most of the effort it takes to put up the bigger tent. (Less than 30 min. to assemble)

That being said. You have to decide what you need, what you’re willing to tote and how much work you want to do putting up your tent. I would make sure whatever size you buy, rent or borrow that the tent has good reviews and says easy to assemble. EBay, Craigslist, REI and Colman are good places to start. You get what you pay for here. Usually the more expensive tents are better quality and easier to assemble.

Personally if you’re going for a bigger tent I really like the two rooms. One side for sleeping and the other for your cloths, pets, dirty shoes, and things you want out of site when you leave the campground. I find this makes camping so much more enjoyable because I'm not crawling around a mess of cloths with no place to put anything. Again if you don't have kids or pets a smaller tent is perfect.

When the label says a five person tent they measure five bodies side by side. So about two to three persons minimal per one camper makes for a comfortable size tent.


Sometimes when I'm packing my car I say to myself "Geeze I'm bringing every thing but the kitchen sink" I feel like a pack rat and my husband inevitably says "Gosh Ruth how much more are you going to bring?" I hate hearing that because if I didn't bring it all he would complain about how uncomfortable car camping is. Not to mention I spent many years taking pride in camping light so my ego takes a hit.

There are several ways you can go with the bed.

Air Mattress (best bang for the buck)
Camping Pad (costly, great for one person, saves space, one of my favorites)
Foam (awkward, heavy, bulky) not worth talking about

I have one thing to say about air mattresses. INTEX. That’s it. I stop there. No other air mattress will last. They all leak, break, leave you sleeping on the ground by the end of the night. The others SUC_ ! So if you’re going with an air mattress get a quality brand that is for outdoor sleeping. Make sure to read about blanket and how to keep an air bed warm or you WILL be cold and sweaty at the same time. 

Now onto camping pads. These are the best way to go really. If only one or two of you are camping or cost is not an issue. These pad can cost about $200 each. You can cut down bulk with these and still be comfortable. I ask you this. Do you care if you have a crease in the middle between tow beds, do you care that you may need to use a sleeping bag and it may be separating you and the one you want to snuggle with? The ones that my girlfriend Kim and Mike use for rafting trips is the best I've seen yet. They are called Paco Pads and are made out of PVC and are about 3" thick, they really are comfortable and virtually indestructible.
Otherwise do go by rating and reviews. Check out REI for ratings

NOW LETS TALK Sleeping Bag vs. House Blankets

Rule number one with an air mattress is whatever the outside air temp. So will be the temp of the air in the bed you’re sleeping on. (Not as much of an issue with pads) It's like sleeping on ice that makes you sweat. It's the ickiest feeling ever. Simple solution. Place a sleeping bag or duvet between you and the mattress PLUS a wool blanket.
If you like to keep it simple and cuddling up with someone isn't important then buying a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the temperature your camping in will do just fine. Still a wool blanket under you will keep an airbed warmer.
The other thing I see over and over again is campers bringing as many blankets and covers as they use at home. If you’re camping in Tahoe anytime of year it gets down to the 30's or 40's at night. So bring enough blankets to keep you warm plus one or two. Here is what I bring as crazy as it sounds.

1 Intex queen airbed
1 wool blanket to sleep on top of
1 duvet to sleep on
1 set of flannel sheets
1 duvet to cover up 
2 blankets from my bed at home
1 fleece camping blanket "just in case"
3 feather pillows

I sometimes feel like my camp bed is totally equal to home. So I encourage you to take your bed seriously.

Melatonin time release sleep aid
Taking a bath before bed makes for a clean feeling sleep
Ware slippery leggings to keep warm without catching the sheets
Ear plugs
No water or beer three hours before I go to bed
Knowing for sure I packed all my food in bear box and took everything out of my car I also checked again to see that nothing is in my tent other than water so when I hear noises at night I can feel confident that it's not coming from our campsite.
Use a fan for white noise


  • Bring ear plugs to help block out noise esp. if you go to bed early or sleep in late
  • Find a place to pee away from you tent before you go to sleep (if that's your style)
  • Place a tarp under your tent and fold the edges under if you expect any rain
  • Ware a base layer of silky or slippery leggings and long shirt for bed
  • Keep your socks in your bed to keep warm for wake up
  • Take melatonin or sleep aid just in case
  • If your using an air bed insulate from the cold air in the mattress with wool and sleeping bag
  • A clean camp is a quiet camp
  • You get what you pay for when buying a tent


ATVCamper said…
I remember our first camping trip with our air mattress. We thought it would insulate us from the cold ground but we froze that first night. We now always use a wool blanket like you stated and we sleep like babies.
Julie said…
For the average family only the largest tent will do so that everyone has plenty of room inside to sleep and keep a few personal items. This ensures that there is enough floor space available to set up air mattresses and cots for each member of the family for the night.
pheobe22 said…
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