Let’s be honest. We’re all unique and there are different aspects of camping that we dislike most. The key to making camping more comfortable is to identify what it is that keeps you from enjoying the experience and find a solution for that one issue.
Once that has been resolved, look for the next more uncomfortable part of camping for YOU and come up for a solution for that as well.
One by one, you will figure out the best way to make camping an enjoyable experience for your entire family!
When we first began taking trips together, we used a tent. Believe me, it wasn’t our preferred mode of lodging but it was the one that fit best into our budget. When thinking about past camping trips, the dreaded story I told most was having to leave the tent and walk to the bathhouse in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, there was an easy solution for this problem. We purchased a cassette toilet which was a game changer. Suddenly, we could take care of our bathroom needs at night without much more hassle than what we would encounter at home. It was a win!
Next, we tackled the difficulty we had sleeping while in a tent. Laying on the ground isn’t ideal for getting a good night’s sleep. And it’s extremely difficult to maintain proper temperature control when sleeping in a sleeping bag.
When we purchased a comfortable air mattress and brought along sheets and blankets rather than sleeping bags, we slept so much better.
Below, you will find some common camping difficulties listed along with 20 tips we’ve discovered on our trips for making camping more comfortable.
- Air mattress – This is honestly the most important purchase you can make for yourself. If you can’t get comfortable you aren’t going to get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping is key to enjoying your camping trip!
- Sheet that Stays on Mattress – For comfort, we always recommend bringing along a sheet and blankets rather than sleeping bags, if at all possible. If you have an RV-sized mattress, though, one of the most difficult things about sleeping is that your sheet will often come loose in the night. Two ways we’ve discovered to fix this issue are using some inexpensive sheet suspenders or purchasing a deep pocket fitted sheet that doesn’t slide off of your mattress in the first place!
- Ear plugs – Campground noise was another issue that used to keep me awake at night. This was especially true when we were in a tent and the campers around us wanted to stay up late around their campfire talking loudly. It’s amazing how much a cheap pair of ear plugs will help with this problem. You may also choose to keep your ear buds in and have soft music playing instead.
- Heater/Fan – No matter what the daytime temperatures are like, it can often get quite chilly in the evenings. We found that bringing a heater along with us was essential – especially when traveling during the spring or fall. But we had several occasions where we also needed to use it during the summer. We like this heater because it can oscillate and you can use it as a heater or a fan depending on your needs. We have used it both in our tent as well as our tiny camper and it has worked well in both situations.
Nighttime Bathroom Needs
- Cassette Toilet – This option seriously grossed me out before we gave it a try. Who wants to think about sitting in the corner of your tent to use the toilet?!? Not me! But honestly, this has been the biggest game changer. There’s something about camping that tends to make me wake up repeatedly at night feeling the need for the restroom. Maybe I’m not sleeping as deeply? Being able to just get up and go at night rather than having to get dressed, open the tent zipper, and walk to the bathhouse (even when raining) has made me way less reluctant to spend time in a tent. We purchased this cassette toilet because it fits underneath the seat in our tiny camper and our only complaint is that it’s a long way down to the ground. We also only use it for #1. There are lots of other porta potty options you can use for both #1 and #2 if you’re willing to do some research.
- Chemicals – We have tried a few different chemical brands and our favorite by far has been this lavender scented chemical pack. Porta potties don’t do a great job of flushing so we also keep a bottle of water with a few drops of lavender essential oil next to the toilet so we can “flush” everything down the bowl and into the tank. This keeps everything smelling very clean even during longer trips!
Hard to Make Meals/Coffee
- Vacuum sealer – Making meals while camping can be messy and difficult. Plus, who wants to waste precious time preparing them?!? This causes lots of campers to go for the easy meals like hot dogs or something that can be cooked inside of aluminum foil over the fire. We’ve been able to maintain our healthy diet while camping by preparing our meals at home before we go, vacuum sealing them, and freezing them. That way, all that’s required at the campsite is to open the bag and heat them up. You can do this over a campfire using aluminum foil, on a camp stove, or in a microwave. We’ve also seen electric lunchboxes and portable ovens that look pretty cool but we haven’t tried those personally yet.
- Camp refrigerator – Using a cooler with melting ice is such a pain! It gets old having to monitor and constantly replenish the ice as well as dry things off as you remove them. We upgraded to a portable refrigerator and it has made everything about meal preparation so much easier. I can store our prepared and frozen dinners inside of it for as long as I want without worrying that they’ll thaw before I’m ready to use them.
- Coffee Maker – When we first began camping, we purchased a silicone funnel, heated up water on our camp stove, and made pour over coffee. The benefit to this method is that it’s cheap and doesn’t require you to bring much extra gear with you. We have since upgraded to bringing a coffee maker with us. We fill it the night before so all we have to do is roll out of bed and press a button to enjoy our coffee in the morning. It’s definitely a splurge but on cold mornings it’s so nice not to have to go outside and fire up the camp stove to enjoy our coffee!
Uncomfortable While Not Sleeping – Bad Weather
- Outdoor shelter/canopy – Another area to pay attention to if you want to camp in comfort is your campsite. I don’t know about you but it seems like every time we go camping we have at least SOME bad weather to contend with. As tent campers and now tiny RV campers, we’ve had to put some thought into making a comfortable outdoor space. One addition we have appreciated is our pop-up canopy tent. We like to put this up overtop of the door to our camper and our picnic table to give us shelter from rain. It also helps shield us from the hot sun as well. We also purchased some walls for our canopy so that we can put up privacy screens from nearby campsites which are too close. And they also do a great job of blocking the wind and the rain. We can put these up or down strategically depending on the situation in which we find ourselves.
- Outdoor rug – The majority of our campsites have had at least some dirt patches on them. And quite a few of them have been ALL dirt. We bought an outdoor rug that we place near the door of our camper/tent and that really helps to keep the dirt down inside. Plus, it just makes our campsite much more livable. We love ours!!!
- Comfortable camp chairs or hammock – No one wants to sit on a picnic table bench all the time. Adding comfortable camp chairs or even a hammock definitely makes camping more comfortable. We’re still trying to find a super comfortable camp chair that also folds down compactly so if you have suggestions please leave a comment. We currently bring our zero gravity chairs with us but they are bulky to pack so we are hoping to replace those soon.
- Sweat wicking, breathable, waterproof clothing – People who camp tend to enjoy hiking and spending lots of time outside. But your comfort level goes way down if you clothes are drenched in sweat or wet from a heavy dew or rain. Wearing clothes that are specifically designed to perform well in these conditions makes such a difference! It’s worth the investment! We also bring along breathable rain jackets to cut down on the wind and to help keep our upper bodies dry.
- Dress in layers – One day may be warm and the next might be cool or damp. Bring along plenty of layers to help you adapt to whatever weather is thrown your way.
- Bring cold weather gear even in the summer – We always check the weather before we go on a trip. But if it’s at all questionable, we often bring along winter hats, ear muffs, gloves, and winter coats just in case. These items stay in the car unless we need them. But we’d rather err on the side of caution and have them with us if the weather takes a turn so that we don’t freeze.
Dirt, Bugs, and Campfire Smoke
- Lightly scented baby wipes – Campers typically don’t take showers as often as they do at home. But they tend to get even dirtier than they do during their regular lives. We’ve found that having a generous supply of baby wipes with us on trips is an asset. Being able to clean yourself off before going to bed feels amazing and it helps keep your bedding clean. We love this brand! The scent is light and it has worked well for Michelle’s sensitive skin.
- Bug spray and citronella candles – There’s nothing worse than sitting down to enjoying nature only to be chased inside by bugs. There are lots of different solutions for this problem depending on where you’re headed. Just be sure you consider this when you’re gathering your gear.
- Sunscreen/After Sun Care – You’re going to be spending a lot more time outside so it’s important to consider this as well. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than a bad sunburn!
Can’t Wind Down Before Bed
- Ebooks – Most of us are used to having some kind of wind down time before we head to bed. When we’re camping, we often need something to help us don this as well. We enjoy downloading books on our phones before we leave home. Most libraries have apps like Libby or Hoopla that will allow you to check out ebooks.
- Streaming – Be sure to check the cell coverage at your campsite before you go. We like to camp in state parks and most of them don’t have good enough coverage to allow you to stream. Keep this in mind before you go so that you don’t end up inside your tent without any options. You may want to consider bringing a movie or two with you to help you clear your mind before heading to bed.
There’s no such thing as a bad camping situation – just bad camping gear. With the above tips, you can make camping a more enjoyable experience which will help motivate you to get out there more often and make wonderful memories!