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what do people wear to go sleeping in a tent

What do people wear to sleep while camping in a tent?

Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing suitable sleepwear when camping.

Since sleeping in a tent with just a few millimetres between you and the ground can be so challenging, it makes sense to choose the right clothing and gear to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.

Choosing the right sleepwear for camping

A restful night’s sleep can ensure that you’re fresh for another day exploring the great British countryside.

Whilst getting your beauty sleep whilst camping isn’t always easy, it becomes much easier when you’re wearing the right clothing.

With the right sleeping attire, you can sleep as soundly as you do in your own home. 

What to wear when sleeping in a tent varies greatly depending on a number of factors. These include where you are camping and the weather during your camping trip.

Naturally, if you’re camping in cold weather, you should wear multiple layers at night to keep warm.

Layer up for warmth (but without overdressing!)

Layering up can help you to stay warm and comfortable whilst sleeping in a tent.

A combination of a base layer, thick fleece, and a waterproof outer layer (instead of simply water-resistant) is ideal for camping in winter.

Wearing multiple layers traps the heat close to your body, insulating against the cold. You can always add extra layers in the night if the weather’s particularly chilly.

Wearing thermal underwear is advisable since it will not only provide a layer of warmth but also absorb and remove your sweat to keep you more comfortable – a process called ‘wicking’.


Whilst layering up is the key to keeping warm when sleeping in a tent, it’s important not to overdress.

Since a good sleeping bag will keep you snug by trapping body heat, you should only wear what feels comfortable for you during the night.

Wearing too many layers of clothes can result in you becoming hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.

You’ll also risk over-compressing your sleeping bag’s insulation, making you colder.

There should be some space between the bag and your body to allow the air to warm up.

Versatility is key

Versatility is essential when choosing sleep attire for camping.

Whether you’re travelling to the campsite by car or hiking with everything on your back, chances are you won’t have much room for many clothes.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to pack clothing that does double duty.

Choosing to sleep in the next day’s clothes can help to reduce your pack weight.

Wear clean, dry clothes

Although it can be tempting to sleep in the clothes you’ve been wearing during the day, this isn’t advisable since they are likely to be wet and sweaty.

Changing into clean, dry clothes for bedtime will make it easier for your body to keep warm throughout the night.

Sleeping in damp clothes can leave you feeling cold, making it harder to drift off and sleep soundly.

Besides, it’s also true that moisture can damage your sleeping bag, reducing its insulation and compromising its ability to trap heat efficiently.

Invest in a good quality sleeping bag

A good quality sleeping bag can help you to sleep soundly whatever the weather outside your tent.

Sleeping bags can help you to stay warm and comfortable even during the winter months. In the UK, sleeping bags are season rated, making it easier to know which bag is best for each season. Ratings range from season 1, which is designed for summer camping, to season 5, which is best suited to expedition-style camping, protecting against temperatures as low as 40°C.

For a winter camping trip in the UK, a season three or four sleeping bag may be more appropriate, with each suitable for temperatures as low as -5 and -10°C respectively.

Don’t forget your sleeping mat

Don’t forget to invest in a decent sleeping mat for your camping trip.

Offering you comfort and warmth, it’s essential if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

A sleeping mat provides cushioning on uneven ground, giving a softer, more mattress-like feel. Insulation from the ground is necessary for keeping warm throughout the night.

Although your sleeping bag helps prevent the loss of body heat into the air, the ground actually conducts the heat away at a far faster rate. A sleeping mat stops this from happening, helping to keep you warm and snug.


There are many sleeping mats on the market, including self-inflating mats, air-filled mats, foam mats, and air beds.

Which one you choose will depend on various factors such as your budget, the temperature outside, and your pack size.

Sleeping well whilst camping in a tent can be difficult, however, it becomes a whole lot easier when you’ve dressed appropriately.

When wearing the right sleep attire and with the right sleeping bag and mat, you stand a much better chance of getting a restful night’s sleep.


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