Sleeping Comfortably When Camping

Japan is in the midst of a camping boom, but one of the most common mistakes made by beginner campers is that they lose sleep because they can't control the temperature of their sleeping environment and end up being colder than they thought they would be. In this video an advanced camper explains the key points for getting a good night's sleep when camping.

Video Introduction: Choosing a Sleeping Bag and Mat for a Good Night's Sleep When Camping

Image of a man buying a sleeping bag
Photo:A man buying a sleeping bag

This video, titled "Getting Started Camping - Recommended Sleeping Bags and Mats for Beginners|Girl's Camping, Solo Camping, and Family Camping" (キャンプの始め方 初心者さんにおすすめの寝袋・マットは? 寝袋・マットの選び方編 編 女子キャンプ、ソロキャンプ、ファミリーキャンプの始め方 キャンプ初心者さん向け), was uploaded by "Camp Lab" (キャンプ研究所).

Have you ever gone camping and had trouble sleeping because it was colder than you thought it would be? In this article, we'll cover how to choose a sleeping bag and mat, as well as items that will help you get a good night's sleep when camping. Japan has four distinct seasons with each season requiring different temperature adjustments when camping. If you're planning on going camping in the future or are having trouble sleeping when camping, be sure to keep reading!

Regular Sleeping Bags vs. Mummy Sleeping Bags

Image of a sleeping bag
Photo:A sleeping bag

There are two main types of sleeping bags, rectangular sleeping bags and mummy sleeping bags. Let's take a look at how these sleeping bags differ.

Rectangular sleeping bags are characterized by their spacious interior. Another key point is that they can be connected to sleeping bags of the same maker and model. This type of sleeping bag is recommended for families sleeping with small children. For those seeking a more spacious feel, rectangular sleeping bags are great, but measures should be taken to preventthe sleeping bag from getting cold due to their spaciousness.
[Video] 0:44 - Rectangular Sleeping Bags

Compared to rectangular sleeping bags, mummy sleeping bags are snugger to the body. Although they may feel narrower than rectangular sleeping bags, the advantage is that they are warmer as there's less space between the body and the bag.
[Video] 1:16 - Mummy Sleeping Bags

Sleeping Bag Material – Down or Synthetic?

Image of down

Sleeping bags differ in comfort and characteristics depending on the material they are made of. The two main materials used in sleeping bags are down and synthetic fibers (such as polyester). Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each.

・Down Sleeping Bags
The pros of down sleeping bags is that they are lightweight and can be stored compactly. One of the main cons of down sleeping bags however, is that they are often expensive.
[Video] 1:45 - Pros and cons of sleeping bags - Materials

・Synthetic sleeping bags are generally more affordable than sleeping bags made of down. On the other hand, they are bulky and not easily stored.

Each sleeping bag has a comfort temperature labeled on it. Many people incorrectly interpret this comfort temperature though, so please be careful. For example, if a sleeping bag states "comfort temperature 10°C," it means that you can sleep comfortably if you wear clothes that can withstand a temperature of 10°C. Be careful not to catch a cold by mistakenly getting into a sleeping bag with light clothing.
When selecting a sleeping bag, it's important to check the comfort temperature, as it varies according to the amount of cotton used.
[Video] 2:19 - Sleeping Bag Comfort Temperatures

Using a Mat for Sleeping When Camping

If you sleep only in a sleeping bag without a mat, you may absorb the geothermal energy from the ground and become hotter or colder, which can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Therefore, it's important to prepare a mat for your sleeping area to avoid being affected by the geothermal energy.
[Video] 3:18 - Camping Mats

Staying Warm When Camping: Air Mattresses, Inflatable Mats, and Closed-Cell Camping Mats

Image of a man blowing up a camping mat
Photo:A man blowing up a camping mat

There are three main types of mats for avoiding the effects of geothermal energy. Let's take a look at the characteristics of each.

・Air Mattresses
Air mattresses are cushioned and comfortable to sleep on because of the air inside. However, it should be noted that over time, the air in the mat is affected by geothermal energy which is then transferred to the body.

When using an air mattress, use a hot carpet or cool mattress to manage the temperature over time.
[Video] 4:06 - Air Mattresses

Keep in mind that air mattresses can also be punctured. They may even puncture when being inflating or worse, when sleeping. Take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase an air mattress.
[Video] 5:15 - Points to keep in mind about air mattresses

The biggest advantage of inflatable mats is that they are made of urethane and are very comfortable to sleep on. However, like air mats, there is a possibility that they are punctured, and they are also susceptible to geothermal energy. The time and effort required to inflate and deflate the may can also be considered a disadvantage.
[Video] 5:41 - Inflatable Mats

・Closed Cell Camping Pads
Closed cell camping pads are easier to set up than air mattresses or inflatable mats. If you're looking to save time when setting up and taking down your tent, consider looking into closed cell pads. There are also types with excellent insulation properties and types that can be used on snow. However, they are generally not as comfortable as air mattresses and other types of mats, so be sure to consider this when purchasing a camping mat.
[Video] 6:32 - Closed Cell Camping Pads

Useful Camping Gear to Help You Sleep Better - Cots, Sleeping Bag Liners, Hot Water Bottles, Fans, and More!

Image of a cot
Photo:A cot

The video introduces several items that can help you get a good night's sleep when camping. Combine them with sleeping bags and mats to achieve a comfortable sleeping environment.

Cots are essentially foldable beds. Cots are separated from the ground so they are less susceptible to the effects of geothermal energy.
[Video] 7:47 - Characteristics of a Cot

・Sleeping Bag Liner
Sleeping bag liners are like sleeping bags made of a single piece of thin fabric. By putting it in a sleeping bag, you can increase your resistance to the cold. If you already have a sleeping bag, it's a good idea to buy an extra sleeping bag liner as a countermeasure against the cold. It is also a great way to save money compared to purchasing a new sleeping bag.
[Video] 8:07 - Characteristics of Sleeping Bag Liners

・Hot Water Bottles
Hot water bottles are great for warming the lower body. For those who are shorter, the inside of a sleeping bag tends to be colder due to larger air pockets. This is great for people who often get cold feet when sleeping.
[Video] 8:37 - Hot Water Bottles for Camping

・Disposable Hand Warmers
Disposable hand warmers can be put inside a sleeping bag in cold areas to protect against the cold. This item can be used in place of a hot water bottle.
[Video] 9:16 - Disposable Hand Warmers

Besides these items, hot carpets and electric blankets can make sleeping even more comfortable during the colder months. Furthermore, wood and oil stoves are also effective at protecting against the cold.
We also recommend each camper have their own fan, as it's an essential item to bring camping in the summer to protect against the heat when the hot weather is making it difficult to sleep.

Choose a Sleeping Bag and Mat That's Right for You and Enjoy a Good Night's Sleep When Camping!

Getting a good night's sleep is crucial to having an enjoyable camping trip. If you don't get enough sleep, you'll have less energy for camping activities the next day and you might be tired when driving home. Prepare sleeping bags and mats according to the season to ensure a comfortable night's sleep!

Written By
Last Updated : Jun. 3, 2022
鈴木 正孝(Masataka Suzuki)
A writer born and raised in Asakusa, Tokyo who loves traveling and novels

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How to Comfortably Sleep in a Sleeping Bag! Mats, Cots, and Other Useful Camping Gear!
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