Having finally gone to sleep in a tent somewhere in the Andalusian woods, I was woken up by a piercing scream. It was somewhere around 2 or 3 AM, and the scream tore through the still, dark forest, evoking all sorts of horror movie scenarios. Sitting bolt upright, I listened, and the screaming continued for another minute or so, producing goosebumps on my arms. Slowly, I realized it was most likely a fox or a lynx catching its dinner – probably a hare – and, after a few more yelps, the woods were silent again. The hare, I assume, was no more.

Still, I couldn’t fall asleep again for an hour, and even then, I kept stirring and tossing. As a long-term insomniac, getting enough ZZ’s is a challenge for me – especially when camping. And since I haven’t camped in a year or so, getting used to the sounds of nature added another layer of restlessness. I’ve learned my lesson – here are the three items that help me sleep while wild camping:

Blackout Mask

Direct moonlight=brightly lit tent=no sleep. To avoid being disturbed by moonlight, I’m arming myself with a blackout mask: it costs pennies, doesn’t take up space, and can make a huge difference.

Earplugs

While some people find the sound of wind, squeaky tree branches, and rustling leaves soothing, I’d rather hear nothing at all, especially when there are fox vs hare dramas unfolding nearby. Good quality earplugs can do wonders when sleeping in a tent.

Comfy Pillow

I’d forgotten to buy a camping pillow and slept on a bunched up jumper for the last few nights – and it didn’t do me any good. From now on, an inflatable pillow is added to the camping gear setup, and it’s here to stay.

How do you get enough ZZ’s when sleeping in a tent? Share the hacks in the comments below!

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