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What Clothes to Sleep in When Camping?

What Clothes to Sleep in When Camping?

Many first time campers wonder what clothes to sleep in when camping. Camping doesn’t have to mean forgoing a good night’s sleep because with the right sleeping attire, you can sleep as soundly and comfortably as you do in your own home. 

When camping, sleep in clean, warm, and comfy clothes such as a long top and bottom. Wear socks and a hat if cold, and a t-shirt and shorts on warm nights. Avoid overdressing while in your sleeping bag, as this reduces the bag’s heat-retaining ability. For extra warmth, try covering the bag externally with extra clothes.

Camp nights can turn out to be a miserable experience if you don’t have the right attire. Keep reading to find out:

  • How to dress for bed when camping
  • How to keep warm at night
  • What to wear at night during summer and spring
  • How to layer your clothes while in a sleeping bag
  • How to dress for your safety while sleeping

What to Wear to Bed When Camping

Your sleeping gear will depend on where you are camping and the weather during your camping trip. For instance, if you’re camping in chilly weather, you want to have multiple layers on when sleeping to keep the cold at bay.  

Wear Versatile Clothing

While on a camping trip, you might not be in a position to pack many clothes since you will be carrying everything on your back. You thus want to pack attire that plays double duty. This way, you get to reduce your pack weight by choosing to sleep in the next day’s hiking clothes.

Layer for Warmth

When you are sleeping, you want to be comfortable. Go ahead and wear light PJs, underwear, shorts, and a t-shirt, or sweatpants. But if it gets cold during the night, add extra layers of clothes and a sleeping bag liner. 

If you’re camping in a cold place, wear the following day’s clothing or stuff them at the foot of your sleeping bag to warm you up. It’s also advisable to always pack a lightweight fleece jacket that you can sleep in when the need arises.

Note that as long as your sleeping bag bears the right temperature rating, you needn’t get worried over whether you will be warm enough at night. 

Wear Clean Clothes

At the end of the day, your clothes will be wet and sweaty. Ensure you change into clean, dry clothes before you sleep, as sweaty clothes will make it hard for your body to keep warm. You don’t want to catch a cold either. Besides, moisture spoils your sleeping bag by reducing its insulation. 

Don’t Overdress

A sleeping bag keeps you warm by trapping in body heat, so only wear what feels comfortable for the night. Besides, if you wear too many layers of clothes, you’ll get hot and sweaty. You may also over-compress your bag’s insulation, making you colder. 

There needs to be some space between your body and the bag to allow air to warm up. If it gets overly warm, simply unzip the sleeping bag slightly. 

Finally, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothes as tight ones cut off circulation, thus work against keeping you warm. Avoid cotton in cooler climates and sleep in wool or synthetic fabrics instead since cotton tends to lose its insulating ability when you sweat.  

Is It Warmer to Sleep With Clothes On or Off

Safety concerns aside – a raccoon might wander into your tent – sleeping with your clothes off in a sleeping bag does not make you warmer. The only way to keep warm is by layering your clothing. 

Generally, you are most likely to feel warmer when you sleep with your clothes on. This is because adding layers of clothing between yourself and the cooler air outside helps to create warmth. As such, every layer you put on helps to hold in more heat. 

Nonetheless, if it’s too hot, you are sweaty, and you want to avoid sleeping in soaked clothes, then it’s better to get rid of your sleepwear altogether. 

One good reason why you ought to avoid sleeping naked in your sleeping bag is that it reduces its lifespan. This is because you’ll need to keep washing it to get rid of sweat and body oils. So, if you still prefer to sleep without clothes, protect your bag by using a bag liner.  

Summer vs Spring Sleepwear While Camping

To ensure you sleep comfortably throughout the night, you need to wear sleepwear that complements the prevailing weather conditions. 

During summer, you want to avoid unnecessary sweating, so you don’t want to sleep in anything that will make you feel too hot. If camping in an area with mild night temperatures, a shirt and shorts will work fine. Consider replacing your sleeping bag with the bag liner if the nights get uncomfortably hot. 

Springtime weather is different, though. Temperature changes can be quite dramatic; thus, you need to be ready for anything by having a varied mix of clothing. The nights can also be chilly, so you will want to keep as warm as you can by wearing sweatpants or dressing in layers.

Thermal wear is also excellent for containing body heat and allows you to sleep comfortably without adding too much bulk. Using a pillow and sleeping pad helps too. A sleeping pad insulates your body against the cold ground, thus keeping you snugger at night. 

Note also that sleeping bags offer different insulation levels, so you may want to use a separate bag during spring and summer. Still, if this is not an option for you, wearing multiple layers is the way to go to avoid the cold.

How to Layer Your Clothing While In a Sleeping Bag

When camping, hot days could turn into cool nights, so you always want to be prepared for extreme weather changes. When the nights get cold, ensure to have some layers of clothing between your body and the cold night’s air. This is where you get into your socks, long-sleeved t-shirt or sweatshirt, and pants.

Layering is an excellent way to keep warm, but more than that, you can layer up or down depending on the temperature. Additionally, you can use your sleeping bag, liner, and pads to get you through a cold night. The liner adds about 10-20 degrees of warmth to your sleeping bag. 

Another way to stay warm is to line your sleeping bag’s inner side with a fleece blanket. The blanket helps trap in body heat while the sleeping bag traps warm air outside the fleece, thus enveloping you in warmth.

A general rule of thumb is to always pack a warm blanket or use a sleeping bag since it is much easier to uncover and cool off than it is to warm up. 

Is it Safe to Sleep in the Same Clothes You Cook in While Camping? 

You might want to keep the clothes you cooked in away from your sleeping space. This is because bears and raccoons might get drawn to your camp as they forage for food. And since your clothes might have bacon grease or strong food smells, you should avoid sleeping in them to avoid attracting such wildlife. 

Also read: How Do You Bear Proof A Tent?

On the same note, it’s best to avoid wearing strongly-scented deodorant or perfume for the same reason.

Final Thoughts

While it’s routine to cut back on the usual pleasures when camping, the one thing you shouldn’t compromise on is a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, you will have a lousy night, be grouchy all day, and ruin your camping trip.

Always dress lightly in clean, dry clothes but ensure you have dressed appropriately for the weather. If unsure of what to pack, carry a pair of sweatpants and a tee-shirt in your backpack, and you’ll be thankful come nightfall. 


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