12 tips for camping under the stars

Our wonderful ambassador Anna McNuff shares some lessons from her adventures

Anna McNuff
22 July 2021

Anna McNuff is our awesome ambassador, inspiring girls to go out and get exploring.

Not only that, she was a Rainbow, Brownie and Guide, has been a rower for Team GB and has run across the country barefoot!

She knows how to have an adventure. And for your next trip, why not spend a night under the stars? Anna has done lots of camping, and these are her top tips for having a great night away.

1. Layer it up

One of the trickiest parts about sleeping outdoors is making sure you stay the perfect level of cosy as the temperature changes around you through the night. Have lots of small layers handy, like a vest, t-shirt and long sleeve top, so that you can pop another layer on or take it off during the night if you're too hot or too cold.

2. Keep your shoes in the tent

Sometimes, in all the excitement of clambering into the tent for the night, you might leave your shoes or backpack outside. Even if it's a dry night, they'll likely end up getting cold and no one wants to wake up to find a slug had made a home in your trainers! If you're sleeping in a bivvy bag, pop your shoes and backpack under a waterproof cover.

3. Have a groundsheet

Having something to put down on the ground beneath your tent or bivvy bag can make all the difference when you're trying to stay warm and dry. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just a standard waterproof sheet will do.

4. Check the weather

I'm always up for camping out, no matter what the weather but it's a good idea to check it before you plan your night under the stars. That way, whatever comes your way, whether it's wind, rain or sunshine, you'll be prepared for it.

5. Make yourself a pillow

Depending on where you're camping, you may not be able to have a blow-up pillow or an actual pillow so you can stuff all of your day clothes (which you won’t be wearing at night) into the sack that your sleeping bag came in or a small dry-bag and voilà! You have a snuggly pillow for the night without needing to pack anything extra.

6. Easy breezy

If it's a hot night, having the door flaps of your tent open makes the world of difference. A breeze running through will keep you nice and cool, plus tents can get stuffy so it lets any bad smells out too. Bonus!


7. Find a patch that's flat as a pancake

When you're choosing where to put your tent, make sure you choose the flattest piece of ground that you can find. There's nothing worse than spending the whole night trying not to roll sideways or gradually sliding down in your sleeping bag. To test the ground out, lay your groundsheet down and lay day on it on your back. Lift your arms and legs off the ground and if you don't roll off to one side or the other then you're good to go.

8. Comfort rules

Don't be thinking that because you're sleeping outdoors you have to "rough it". Take into your tent whatever makes you feel at home and cosy. And, if you're sleeping out in your garden, you could take anything from your bedroom you'd like: duvets, pillows, your favourite stuffed animal. Making your night under the stars as fun as possible means that you'll do it more often and have more fab experiences outdoors.

9. Starry night

Quite often when you're sleeping outdoors you'll find that you need a wee in the middle of the night! When you do nip out from the tent to go for a wee, remember to look up at the sky and see if the stars are out. I've done some of my best stargazing at 3am in the morning. I didn't want to get out of my cosy sleeping bag but I did. The stars were magical.

10. Camp on a hill

Hills are great for spending nights under the stars because you will get a fantastic view of everything around you. If you want a fantastic view at sunrise over breakfast, face your tent porch east, and if you'd rather enjoy a great sunset and a picnic dinner, then make sure the tent is facing to the west.


11. Consider a night-time hike

It's a good idea to set up your tent in daylight if you can because it makes it easier and means you won't be tripping over yourself and your friends. But once your tent is set up and the sun goes down how about getting your camp mates together, grabbing your headtorch and heading out for a night time hike? The stars will be out and there's something very beautiful about the stillness of nature at night.

12. Get a group together for campfire stories

Part of the fun of spending a night among nature is that you can chill out and chat to your friends or family. So how about getting a group of you together for the night, setting up a campfire near your tent, then sitting around and telling stories while roasting marshmallows? Maybe you could even come up with some spooky stories and creep your friends out!


Celebrate your adventure with our new 'Night under the stars' badge!

This badge is for anyone who wants to get outdoors and connect with nature. 

Whether you camp on holiday or in your back garden, go on an evening bug hunt or take a night-time stroll, celebrate your night under the stars! 

Buy the badge