• Family Tents Pro

What is The Best Way To Sleep On Your First Camping Trip?

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Over my many years of tent camping, I've slept on many different types of sleeping materials.

What is the most comfortable way to sleep in your tent? There are several methods for sleeping in your tent. You can sleep on a pad, a best camping cot, a camping air mattress, or even in a hammock. These methods all differ significantly. It depends on you and where and what type of camping you are doing.

Over the years, I've camped in many different ways and places, but no matter what, you still need a great night's sleep. A family camping trip for an extended period will need a different sleeping support method compared to a weekend fishing trip with your friends in the wild. Also, the tent's size will play an essential role in the sleep method that you choose.

Sleeping on a pad in your tent is excellent for short overnight stays or hiking. These pads are thin and easily packed into your tenting gear. A Best Camping Mattress filled with air is also another great alternative as they also pack into a small footprint. No matter, you need to choose the most comfortable camping option.

A Best Camping Cot will offer you improved comfort and can utilize a mattress pad or a Camping Air mattress. These items are more bulky and heavy and not exactly suited to hiking as they take more space to pack. They also are heavier. So the increased comfort comes with a price.

Another factor will be the tent you are sleeping in. Dome tents and A-Frame tens have limited headroom and will not be ideal for the larger cot or Frame Supported Air Mattress options. These smaller tents work best with pads and low profile camping air mattress options.

Large Cabin Tents, Multi-room Cabin Tents, Large Dome Tents, and Bell Tents will all have an increased headroom. This headroom makes these tents an excellent choice for Best Camping Cot and frame camping air mattress beds. These tents are typically intended for more extended stays and family camping. They are heavier and bulkier, so adding a full-frame camping air mattress or heavy duty camping cot to your packing list is not so much of an issue.

Over the years, I have learned to try and pick the most comfortable sleeping option for your Style of camping and the tent you will use.

Sleeping Pads.

These pads will offer you minimal to good sleeping comfort. Keep in mind that you will still be sleeping on the ground. If this Style of sleeping is a concern, then a pad may not be for you. They are best for hiking and camping on the go.

These sleeping pads can range in price from $15 to $100. The lower-priced options will typically be a thin foam pad that is easily rolled and unrolled. This pad offers minimal comfort but is less expensive and great for on the go camping and hiking.

Sleeping pads can also more support with thicker foam. Still lightweight, these will cost you more money but also add more comfort. These roll into a larger footprint, so keep that in mind. Comfort and cost, and rolled size are related.

Air Sleeping Pads are on the upper end of the cost spectrum but will also offer you a great night's sleep. Some are self-inflating, while others require a small pump. Either way, they are at the peak of price and comfort. These will roll into a size between a thin foam pad and the thick foam pad, so they are better on the go than some options.

Air Mattress.

Air mattress options today can be twin size up to queen size. They can also be low profile and also a traditional mattress style. These mattresses will cost between $50 to $100. They can be self-inflating or require the use of a pump. Regardless, this option for sleeping will provide you improved comfort on your trip. However, they are bigger and bulkier, so you shouldn't make this your choice for hiking or camping on the go. These air beds also require more time to set up compared to the air pads.

This increase in effort is due to the overall size and thickness. Simply put, they require more air. This issue is also why you will sleep better and with more comfort. The cushion level on an air bed can be just like sleeping at home.

Remember, just like the sleeping pad. You will still be on the ground. You may be a couple of inches higher, but in the end, you are always on the ground.


Heavy Duty Camping Cot options will offer you a more traditional sleeping style. You will be off the ground basically at the height of a smaller bed. This cot frame will provide you with a mattress pad. These all vary by thickness. You can find these that resemble reclining lawn chairs or frames that offer pads for increased comfort.

Cots will cost in the range of $40 to $100, and to say it, you will get what you pay for. If you opt for the cheapest cot you can find, you will not receive much in the way of quality and comfort. The mid-range to more expensive options will offer you a stronger frame and a more comfortable mattress pad.

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With this option, you will increase your comfort, be well off the ground, and have a designated sleeping area. On the other side, heavy duty camping cot frames are bulkier than traditional sleeping mats. Basically, they are a lawn chair designed for sleeping, and they are typically designed for one person, although you can find a larger option.

Framed Air Mattress.

Now, this option is by far the most comfortable camping option. It is also the most expensive. However, if you are on an extended family camping trip or you have back issues, these best camping mattress beds can offer you the comfort you need with a raised bed.

These best camping mattress air beds will typically be queen-sized, so you will need a larger family tent to accommodate this level of comfort. These beds are an excellent fit for large and multi-room cabin tents and bell tents. Air Frame Beds will cost between $225 to $500 depending on the options you choose.

You can find them cheaper. However, the level of quality and the amount of weight they can hold is decreased. In my opinion, you will be purchasing a disposable bed. You should choose a quality camping beds for adults that will last more than one season.

The average good quality airbed will include a pump or even be self-inflating. These models usually come with more robust pumps that will inflate the bed quickly and make sure that it stays inflated.

These models are undoubtedly the heaviest and bulkiest sleeping option that you can choose. However, they are the most comfortable and worth the price, especially if a great night's sleep is a must for you and your partner.


For a final thought, I'm throwing in the hammock. You can purchase these as stand-options with a frame, or you can hook to a couple of trees.

This sleeping method will cost you between $20 to $60. These hammocks can be purchased in a variety of colors and sizes. You can also buy them with mosquito netting and awnings to protect you from the rain. Many options are available for this method of sleep.

So, if you love the feeling of swinging in the air while you sleep, this method is the choice for you. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to roll and carry.

To use this hammock inside your tent, you will need to purchase a frame you can hang from. This framework will cost approximately $70. Again, you will be well off the ground, so this method could be a choice for you if this is a need.

In the end, we've gone through several methods and mediums for you to sleep on. Some are simple and cheap. Some are comfortable and expensive. First, you need to decide what type of camping you will be doing and then choose the best sleeping method for you and your family.

Additional concerns like tent size, Style of the tent, and any back issues will also be factors to consider. Once you look at all of the variables, you can then pick the best sleep method for you.

We are Family Tents Pro. Our goal is to give you the information you need before you go camping to make it the best camping trip possible. We may earn a commission if you purchase through our affiliate links.

Finally, we have more valuable information on our website at www.familytentspro.com. This information is designed to help give you the best possible camping experience, no matter the camping style or the tent you are using.

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