Sleeping outside is fun for all the family no matter what age you are but the fight to stay warm is real. Sleeping outside doesn't just have to mean camping away from home, you can also create a fun camping experience in your back garden! Before considering camping away from home please refer to the government website to ensure you are following government guidance.
Here in the UK, you can't let the cold weather get in the way of having fun because let's face it, half the year is cold. With this in mind, we decided to compile a guide with everything you need to know when camping outside, from top tips on staying warm to the equipment you will need for a comfortable, warm night's sleep outdoors.
Setting Up Camp
When camping away from home there are a few things you should look out for when setting up camp. Firstly we always advise you to check your tent before you go camping, especially if you have not used it for a while as you don't want to start pitching your tent miles away from home and something be broken or missing from your tent, or your tent is covered in mildew from the last time you used it.
Pitching The Tent
Pitching can be tricky if you're not familiar with the tent and especially if you're met with bad weather. The process is much easier if you have another person with you to help. Whilst it isn't impossible to pitch a tent on your own, it's a lot trickier and time-consuming. If you're camping solo then it may be worth looking at pop-up tents to save yourself the hassle.
When pitching your tent the first and most important factor you should consider should be where you want to pitch your tent, there several things you should consider: nearby facilities, privacy, a flat ground, shelter, and the weather should also be taken into consideration, for example, you should look out for wind and pitch your tent accordingly. Follow the instructions that are provided with your tent.
Top Tips When Pitching Your Tent
- Use a mallet to hammer your pegs at 45 degree angle into the ground
- Check your tent before you go camping
- Ensure you're pitching on flat ground
Equipment You Will Need To Sleep Outside
Sleeping bags are probably the most important piece of equipment you will need to keep warm during the night, although selecting the perfect sleeping bag can be confusing as there are so many different types out there. One of the most common types are square sleeping bags, however the less common mummy sleeping bag is also a great choice. Mummy sleeping bags are recommended for those who love the outdoors as they are much more insulated and feature an insulating hood. Sleeping bags also have a season attached to them that clarifies what temperature each sleeping bag is appropriate for, you can read more information about this in our guide on how to choose a sleeping bag.
Arguably the most important factor when sleeping outdoors, like a sleeping bag choosing a tent can be difficult as there are so many available you can often feel like you don't know where to start.
A good place to start is considering how many people you want to be able to sleep in the tent at one time and whether you need to go for a tent with more berth than you need for some extra leg room. Another key consideration to make is the weight and size of the tent if you plan on hiking to find the perfect camping spot as you will have to carry it around with you. For more help on finding the perfect tent for you, our tent buying guide will help support you in your decision-making process.
A sleeping mat is not to be overlooked not only does it help provide you with even more comfort than a tent or sleeping bag as it sits underneath your sleeping bag and acts like a big cushion. Not only does this add extra comfort level it also adds a layer of insulation between you and the floor again helping you stay warmer.
For a good night's sleep, you need to ensure you have a decent pillow and camping is no different, there is a wide range of camping pillows available from standard to inflatable pillows that are perfect for your adventures as they are compact making them easy to fit inside your backpack.
Top Tips For Staying Warm When Sleeping Outside
- Layering - It may seem like the obvious thing to do as layering is so important, it's also worth considering thermal clothing.
- Hot Water Bottle - If you take a stove with you and are able to boil hot water then a hot water bottle is a must-have to instantly provide you with some warmth.
- Eat - Eating fatty foods helps to keep your body warmer for longer.
- Hand Warmers/Heat Packs - These are great alternative to hot water bottles.
- Staying Active - Staying physically active such as going for a walk or run will help you to stay warm.
Every camping trip needs some fun games for when you're settling down for the night, no matter what your age there is fun to be had! We have selected our personal favourite campfire games that can be fun for all ages.
- Campfire Stories - No matter what your age, campfire stories are a tradition whether it be with your little ones and you tell fictitious stories or as adults and you tell stories of your previous camping experiences.
- Card Games - The type of card games to play will differ depending on the age range of those playing we recommend go fish and rummy.
- Two Truths One Lie - The game where you share three facts about yourself, two being the truth and one being a lie the other participants have to find out which is the lie.
- Truth or dare - The age old game of truth and dare is a classic and is always fun.
- Charades - Again another classic which can be even more interesting when played when the sun has gone down.