Sleeping Systems for Camping with Kids

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A good sleep system ensures that the whole family can rest well on a camping trip, waking up refreshed and ready to embrace the next day of outdoor exploration. Learn what gear you really need for your family!

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A good sleep system is more than just gear – it’s a crucial to have a restful night so that you can have a successful day with your family.

Imagine a day filled with outdoor activities, laughter, and shared moments around the campsite. The promise of a peaceful night’s sleep is what can turn a camping trip into a comfortable and enjoyable experience for every family member. 

Once you have kids, you know how important it is that everyone gets a good night’s sleep!

The right gear helps everyone feel rested and ready for another day of adventures. Here are some great tips for choosing which sleeping equipment is right for your family camping trip.

What gear do you need to help sleep when camping with kids?

A sleep system is made up of all the things you bring with you to sleep with and how they work together to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. This is more than what family friendly tent you have, It’s about more than just staying warm; it’s providing each family member with a comfortable space to rest.

Picking the right sleeping bag for your kids can be a challenge, but there are a few considerations to help make the choice simpler:

  • Pick a quality bag with a good temperature rating about 5-10 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than you are expecting to experience and bring an extra blanket from home just in case.  
  • Make sure the zipper works easily and that your child can use it. If your child struggles to use the zipper, or the zipper gets stuck in the fabric a lot, this could cause issues with middle of the night potty breaks.

When it comes to choosing the “mattress” that you sleep on while camping, there are a lot of choices. Here are some things to think about when picking what is right for your family:

  • Air Mattresses – The most cushioning of the options, these also take up the most room and require you to inflate them to set up. They are also prone to deflating (especially with big temperature changes at night). Really thick ones can also cause a safety risk if young children roll off of them and get trapped in between the mattress and the tent wall.
  • Self Inflating Pads – These are a mix of an air mattress and a sleeping pad. They are convenient and easy to set up, but don’t offer as much cushion support as a thicker air mattress.
  • Sleeping Pads – Foam sleeping pads are easy and affordable. They come in a variety of thicknesses, and are budget friendly and reliable choices.

Whether you want to bring a cot or not is up to your family. Depending on the space your tent gives you and how many people are sleeping in your tent, bringing cots could help improve your sleep system.

  • Traditional Cots – Cots help lift you off the ground, which help create a more even and supportive sleeping surface, and makes getting in and out of bed easier. They also help with air flow because
  • Bunk Bed Cots – These stackable cots are a great way to maximize floor space and fit more people into your tent comfortably. They are fairly easy to set up, but they do tend to weigh a lot. They also have specific weight restrictions, so make sure you pick a set that will work for your family’s needs.

What pillow you sleep on can make or break your night.

  • Pillows from home – Bringing your own pillow from home is a great choice when you need reliable comfort for you, and a sense of familiarity for your kids. But they also tend to be bulky and take up a lot of space.
  • Camp pillows – Camp pillows come in various sizes, shapes, and densities and are very portable so they take up less space. But it can be tricky to find the perfect one that fits you best.

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