A bad night’s sleep can dampen the spirit of any adventure trip. It can be hard enough trying to get a full eight hours rest when camping on the ground in a tent. Add in the noise from your travel buddies—late-night laughter, loud music or a snoring camper—and getting some quality sleep can be nearly impossible.
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to block out the noise and make sure you snag some serious shut-eye.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of blocking out unwanted sound is to wear a good-quality pair of earplugs! These super-soft earplugs from The Ear Buddy fit any ear canal and are lightweight. They come in a pack of 50 pairs, so you can share them with your camping group or keep a few on hand for later. These earplugs are also a good way of protecting your ears at loud music events and when operating power tools.
£11.90 / $8.99 | Buy Now
If you prefer to drift off with some mellow tunes, then a pair of noise-cancelling headphones are a perfect choice. These work by creating a noise-cancelling sound wave that is 180° out of phase with the ambient noise. This wave acts like a noise eraser: it cancels out the annoying sounds that surround you without diminishing the audio you want to hear. Most over-ear headphones also passively reduce noise by physically covering your ears with foam to help block out external sounds.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones were initially released in 2018. But their superb noise-cancellation performance and budget-friendly price means that these headphones remain popular today. They fit into a compact carry case for easy packing. And, if you run out of battery, you can continue to use them wired (without noise cancellation), making these headphones an excellent option for camping and travel use.
£235 / $184.99 | Buy Now
You could also try using a noise machine. Some noise machines produce nature sounds—like the sound of the ocean, rain or birds chirping. Others, called white-noise machines, kick out soft static sounds. You can even get noise machines that speak words or play the type of background music that you’re likely to hear in an elevator. In the end, it’s a personal choice and you need to figure out what type of sounds, if any, help you drift off.
If white-noise is your perfect slumber starter, this 3.5-inch sound machine from Marpac is a travel essential. All you have to do is charge the device via USB, select your volume level and sound option (bright white noise, deep white noise, or gentle surf), and hit the hay. It costs a fraction of many larger devices and, at just 110g / 3.8oz, it won’t weigh you down.
£34.95 / $29.95 | Buy Now
If you forget to come prepared, or don’t want to shell out for a noise machine, you can download a noise generating app for your smartphone. The Calm app features over 40 different soundscapes, from a crackling fireplace to a running washing machine, to help you nod off, and the built-in time fades the audio in and out to ease you awake.
An alternative to a noise-machine is a portable fan. As well as generating a white-noise-like hum, you get the added benefit of a cooling flow of air. This travel fan from OPolar is battery-powered, meaning that you don’t need a permanent electricity supply at your campsite. It also has a built-in reading light as well as an ambient blue light for dark nights under canvas.
£14.99 / $13.59 | Buy Now
Meditation and relaxation
This sleep hack is a little different; while the other methods on this list focus on blocking out unwanted noise, this one aims to deal with the problem by quietening the mind and “zoning out”. Calm is a great app that delivers easy-to-follow guided meditation sessions for different purposes. There is an extensive library devoted to meditation for sleep that aims to put you in a relaxed state where you can ignore any noises around you. The basic app is free so it’s definitely worth downloading and giving it a go.
Free (in-app purchases) | Download App