The Ultimate Tent Setup In 6 Steps

Upgrade your camp gear and sleep better under the stars this spring

If you’re like us, you’re itching to get away for a weekend of camping. Campfire beers, marshmallows, starry skies, daytime hikes—all that good stuff. To make the most of your time outside, it’s best to ensure a good night sleep, so instead of throwing a bunch of gear ideas at you, we’ll stick to 6 ways to improve your sleep setup. From tent and lantern to sleep system suggestions, we're here to help you dial in your tent setup this season.

Pick the Right Tent

If your the only one sleeping your tent, a two person offers more than enough room for you and gear. If you’ve got a partner and a pooch, go for the three person, and store your gear in the covered vestibule. You’ll be spending little time in your tent while camping, so keep things minimal. We’re digging this Big Agnes x Burton two person tent. It’s reasonably priced, made in Steamboat Springs, CO, and comes with a lifetime warranty. And don’t worry about the trippy camo colorway, reflective guyline and webbing will ensure you find your way home even after a couple coldies.

Don’t Overdue the Sleeping Bag

No one wants to be cold, but waking up drenched in sweat sucks too, so investing in a proper three-season bag is the way to go. The classic Fjällräven Singi is a solid choice. It’s lightweight, hyper packable, making it suitable for both car camping and backpacking, and super warm, thanks to plenty of down insulation. Extra insulation over the core and footbox will insure you stay cozy through the night and across the seasons.

Get a Legit Pillow

For ages we used rolled up pants or jammed a hoodie in our sleeping bag stuff sack. Those options work, but aren’t ideal. We suggest, instead, grab a proper camp pillow, like the DriDown Pillow from Sierra Designs. It’s lightweight, packable, warm (shout out 600-fill down insulation), and can be used as lumbar support on long drives or flights too.

Consider a Cot

No long does cot mean a military surplus wood and canvas behemoth fit only for forest service cabins. Therm-a-Rest has been innovating in the space for a while now, and their UltraLite Cot is one of the lightest and smallest packing cots available. It breaks down easily, can be set up without tools, and features reflective materials to help retain body heat. Plus it’s a hell of a lot more comfortable (and quieter) than an air mattress. Though we wouldn’t recommend using it for backpacking, just car camping or light hike-in sites.

A Light Is Always Nice

This is not a replacement for your headlamp. Always pack that. But a nice, small lantern can be handy when there’s a burn ban in effect or you just want mellow vibes without the risk of beaming your friends in the face with your headlamp. The LED Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini has been our go-to for a couple seasons now. It’s tiny, folds up even smaller, has multiple modes, and can charge your photo or camera battery even.

Bring a Speaker

A bluetooth speaker is lighter, smaller, and knows more songs than a bro with an acoustic guitar—and you can turn it off without a potential confrontation. Just don’t fall asleep with it on. After all, the sounds of nature are way more beautiful than anything on your sick new playlist.

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