When choosing a sleeping option for camping or hiking, comfort should be your top priority but you should also pay attention to things like weight, packed size, and price.

So, what is the best thing to sleep on when camping? In this blog post, we’ll list some of the best sleeping options for campers and hikers so that you can get a good night’s rest no matter where you are.

Comfort is Key

The most important factor to consider when choosing a sleeping option for camping or hiking is comfort. If you're not comfortable, you're not going to be able to get a good night's sleep. And let's face it, when you're camping or hiking, you need all the rest you can get!

Ground Surface

The ground surface is important because it directly affects the comfort of your sleeping surface. If the ground is hard and lumpy, it's going to be difficult to get comfortable. However, if the ground is soft and flat, it will be much easier to find a comfortable position. When considering the ground surface, pay attention to things like rocks, roots, and uneven terrain. These can all contribute to a uncomfortable night's sleep.

Padding

Padding is important because it provides cushioning between you and the ground. This cushioning can make a big difference in your comfort level. There are a variety of methods for adding padding to your sleeping surface, ranging from air beds to sleeping pads and foam pads.

Room to Move

On the one hand, if you're cramped up in a small space, it will be difficult to get comfortable.  On the other hand, some campers really enjoy being cocooned in their sleeping bag (or hammock). Give some thought to what you'd prefer.

Weather Conditions

Have a think about whether you want to sleep close to the ground or elevated. The season you are travelling may have an impact here.

Generally air beds, camp cots and hammocks are good for hot weather as air can circulate under you. Paired with a warm weather sleeping bag, you'll have a comfortable night's sleep.

In winter you would benefit from an insulated sleeping pad/air mattress or using a hammock under-quilt.

The Best Sleeping Options

Sleeping Pad

One of the most popular options for sleeping while camping is a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and thicknesses, so there’s sure to be one that fits your needs. Sleeping pads provide insulation from the ground and cushioning for your body, making them ideal for use in a tent or under the stars. Some even come with built-in pillows!

Camping Hammock

Another great option for sleeping while camping is a camping hammock. Hammocks are lightweight and easy to set up, making them perfect for backpacking trips. They also offer a comfortable place to sleep no matter where you are, whether you’re in the middle of the woods or just in your backyard. Just make sure you have something from which to hang your hammock and you remember hammock straps!

Air Bed

The great thing about air beds is that they provide a luxurious alternative and are especially well suited to campers with mobility challenges. Generally they are heavier and bulkier to transport, so certainly not appropriate for backpacking.

Camping Cot

For campers who prefer to sleep elevated off the ground, camp cots are a great idea. They can be challenging to set up until you know how, so it is always best to read instructions and have a practise run before you go out camping. We love them because of the space underneath that you can utilise.

Foam Mattress

This option is best for car camping, as a foam mattresses, relative to air mattresses and sleeping pads, can be rather bulky to transport. For quick setup however, they are quite useful.

How To Choose?


When choosing a sleeping option for camping or hiking, comfort should be your top priority. But you should also pay attention to things like weight, packed size, and ease of setup.

Ultimately, it really depends on what your needs are. If you need something lightweight and easy to set up, a camping hammock might be right for you. And if you need something cushioned and insulated, a sleeping pad could be perfect. If you're still unsure, pop over to our review posts on some of the best sleeping options out there. Just click on the links below.

BEST CAMPING MATTRESS FOR COUPLES: Good Sleep, Happy Days
Bad night’s sleep ahead of you? To avoid grumpiness on your romantic getaway, look into getting a good camping mattress for two.
BEST TENT COT - Wish Your Knees Could Cope With Camping?
Could you bring a ‘real’ bed camping?Much as we all love camping, sleeping on the floor with knee problems can be hard work! But you do have options.
BEST CAR CAMPING SLEEPING PAD: Comfy Sleep From Your Car?
Cracking Choice is reader-supported and thanks to your clicks (at no extra cost to you) we may earn a small commission on qualifying links. Learn more here. Looking to get a good night’s sleep while car camping? Sleeping in your car is a great way to save money, and with
BEST AIR MATTRESS FOR CAMPING - Luxury Sleep Meets Camping!
Are you a camper who prefers a solid night’s sleep on a ‘real’ bed not on a sleeping pad on a tent floor? Then this one’s for you!

No matter what you choose, just make sure you get a cracking night’s sleep!

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