The bumper stickers and memes say it all – “a bad day camping is still better than a good day working” or “I don’t need therapy. I just go camping”. Camping is a beloved pastime for many people, and for a good reason! Spending your days outdoors, surrounded by nature, is excellent for your health and well-being.
In 2019, over 40 million people in the US enjoyed a recreational camping trip, and these numbers have been relatively consistent for the past two decades. This includes everything from “roughing it” with nothing but a sleeping bag under the stars to more luxurious trailers at maintained campgrounds.
Many countries offered up free campsites during the pandemic and encouraged camping to get people outdoors while remaining safe. For example, in Iceland, families took advantage of free camping on open-land, year-round.
There are several benefits to camping for both your mind and body. When you camp, you are more active than you are at home. You need to set up your tent, walk to get water, etc. Rarely do you see people sitting around the campfire on their iPad or sending emails. Instead, they may go canoeing down the river, go for a hike, or go biking. When you are camping, you get more green time and less screen time!
Camping takes you away from your daily stresses. Work, household renovations, traffic, and noise are all removed so you can enjoy the simple sounds of wind rustling through the leaves, a rumbling river, or birds in the trees. Although it may not seem as luxurious as a trip to Europe, you will find a camping trip much more relaxing.
The relaxing effects of camping are enhanced by all the fresh air you get. When surrounded by trees, you are breathing in more oxygen and less pollution than you would in the city. When you are in a busy town with air pollution, your body functions with strain, and when you’re in the woods, this is gone. This increase in oxygen also causes your body to release the feel-good hormone serotonin that contributes to your camping bliss.
Further, when camping you are more exposed to the sun, which will help reset your circadian rhythm and increase vitamin D levels. Research has found that a sufficient amount of vitamin D can protect against diseases like some cancers and is vital for the development of bones and teeth.
One of my favorite benefits of camping it’s its effect on my sleep. Though it may seem strange, I look forward to bedtime when I’m camping, and you'll often find me escaping to my tent much earlier in the evening. This is because the experience is so enjoyable, and I sleep so well!
My experience isn’t unique. Many people sleep better when they are camping because of all the benefits listed above. With more natural light and less blue light, your circadian rhythm will work as it should. This means you won’t struggle to fall and stay asleep and will wake up feeling refreshed. There is a catch, though – you need to be comfortable.
Even the most experienced campers have had a rough night camping where they just couldn’t get comfortable. Perhaps they were too hot in their tent and sleeping gear or felt pain from a pillow that was too thin. These are often learning experiences when a camper realizes the importance of quality sleep gear.
The truth is, you won’t sleep well if you aren’t comfortable. It doesn’t matter how much kayaking you did the day before; if it feels like you are sleeping on a garden of rocks, it just won’t sleep well. And even if you do end up falling asleep, you are much more likely to wake up stiff or in pain.
The Best Sleep Gear For Camping
You need the right sleep gear and one of the most essential items in your pillow. A buckwheat pillow is perfect for camping! These pillows also referred to as sobakawa and are filled with buckwheat hulls. These hulls create a firmer filling with numerous benefits and are secured in a soft pillowcase made from fabrics like bamboo, cotton twill, or woven cotton. Here is why they are so great for camping:
Highly breathable. Because of their unique shape and structure, they don’t clump together. So, unlike other materials like memory foam or fiber filling, they allow air to freely travel through the pillow. A breathable pillow is vital because it will help prevent bacteria, sweat, dust mites, and dirt from being trapped in your pillow filling.
When you sleep outdoors, regardless of the season, nights and early mornings can feel damp. If your pillow gets wet from either morning dew or a thunderstorm, it can become a breeding zone for bacteria or mold. By having a breathable pillow, it will prevent this, allowing your pillow to dry quickly. Of course, this also makes it much more comfortable as no one wants to sleep on a damp pillow!
If you are a hot sleeper and sweat when you sleep, this is extra important. The same rules apply, and your sweat can become trapped in your pillow if it isn’t breathable. Additionally, particular pillows can make you feel even hotter. Buckwheat pillows will help keep you cooler because of their excellent airflow. And if you need a camping pillow during the hot summer months, you can opt for a cooling pillowcase over your buckwheat hulls. Cooling buckwheat hulls pillows are specially designed for people who sleep hot. The signature Designer Cool Touch Pillowcase will continue to feel cool during super hot nights.
Supportive. Though you try your best, your sleeping location may not be the best. You may not have found level ground, or the terrain could be rough and lumpy. When this happens, you don’t have to worry much when you have great sleep gear. Your camping pillow must be thick and firm enough to keep your head up off the ground and prevent you from feeling every stick, stone or bump under your pillow.
With a fiber or feather-filled pillow, you are much more likely to feel everything that’s underneath it; however, with buckwheat hulls pillow the firmer filling will prevent you from feeling any items underneath.
Additionally, buckwheat hulls pillows are fully adjustable. They are great for any sleeping position and can be adjusted to fit your body and liking. All you need to do is open the zipper and put in as many or as little buckwheat hulls as you want. When your pillow supports your head, neck, and shoulders throughout the night, you will wake up pain-free and refreshed.
Natural. You are spending your days breathing in the fresh air and enjoying nature – you don’t want to spend your night breathing in harmful chemicals and toxins. Imported pillows or those made from synthetic materials can contain chemicals, allergens, and toxins that you then breath in. Buckwheat hulls pillows are all-natural and hypoallergenic.
Our buckwheat hulls pillows are filled with 100% US-grown organic buckwheat hulls. This means there aren’t any pesticides or chemicals in your pillow – just all-natural support for your head! The pillowcases are also eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, and hypoallergenic. For example, bamboo is a natural fabric with these incredible benefits as well as being insulating, sweat-absorbent, and providing odor protection.
Though you can bring a full-size buckwheat pillow, there are smaller versions if you are packing light. For example, a travel pillow is 10” by 14”, making it more compactable. Though smaller, it gives you everything you want in a camping pillow. Alternatively, the bamboo buckwheat pillow comes in a compact size of 12” by 18” if you want something a bit bigger. However, if you are RVing or have lots of extra space, the Japanese size is 14” x 20” and the standard size is 20” x 26”.
In addition to having a good camping pillow, you need a sleep mat or mattress. Air mattresses are a popular choice for tent campers, but they are notoriously uncomfortable. Because they can lose air and are very sensitive to movement, it is best to have individual mattresses.
Sleep pads are single mats with an ergonomic design in order to provide greater comfort while taking up minimal space. There are various thicknesses and lengths, all of which come with different price points. Sleep mats range from $50 to upwards of $300.
For bedding, be mindful of the temperature. When surrounded by nature, in the mountains or deep within a forest, the temperatures drop more than they would in the city. Some sleeping bags have multiple layers, so you can easily adjust the layers to your comfort and preferred temperature. Just like sleeping mats, these also range in price.
To make the most of your camping experience and enjoy all the benefits (as well as a great sleep!), you need a good camping pillow, a solid sleep mat, and an adjustable sleeping bag.
The next time you go camping, bring a buckwheat pillow. With the right sleep gear, bedtime could become your favorite camping activity, too!