You’ve had a long day at work. What do you look forward to when you get home? A hot meal? A glass of your favorite libation? A soft bed? These are things you look forward to after a long day in the backcountry, too — but one of them is often overlooked and unplanned for. It’s your campsite bed setup. Most campers sleep on a mismatched hodgepodge of sleeping gear, and then wake up with a kinked back and a nasty attitude. This can be avoided easily if you simply take the time to consider your sleeping style and properly pair your sleeping bag, pad and pillow. For back sleepers, side sleepers and stomach sleepers, the following three setups will ensure a good night’s rest under the stars.

The Back Sleeper


You’re one of those dudes who sleeps like a petrified mummy in a sarcophagus? Good. Your setup is the smallest and lightest of them all. Since you won’t be tossing and turning as much, go with a mummy-style bag. It’s snug, packable and cozy. Pair it with a mummy-shaped sleeping pad and a soft, inflatable pillow that forms to your neck, and you’ll slumber like a dead Egyptian pharaoh.

Summerlite 32-Degree Down by Western Mountaineering $390+
Comfort Plus Sleeping Pad by Sea to Summit $170+
Down Pillow by Exped $59+

The Side Sleeper


Of all the sleepers, side sleepers require the most specialized setup. The sleeping bag should roomy, with ample wiggle room for your arms and legs. NEMO’s unusually shaped Rhumba stands out as one of the only, if not the only, sleeping bags designed specifically for side sleepers. Most important, however, is the sleeping pad. You’ll need something nice and plump, otherwise, your pelvis will touch the ground. And, of course, a plush microfleece-lined pillow you can dig your face into.

Rhumba 30-Degree Down by NEMO $240
SIM Comfort Sleeping Pad by Exped $169
Fillo Pillow by NEMO $40

The Stomach Sleeper


The stomach sleeper’s setup is essentially a hybrid of the back sleeper’s and side sleeper’s. It should be roomier and more plush than a back sleeper’s setup, but more streamlined than the side sleeper’s. The sleeping bag should emulate a fat mummy, the pad should be plump and baffle-less, and the all-important pillow should be the coziest bag of heavenly clouds you can find.

Down Hugger 650 #3 by Mont Bell $209
BaseCamp Sleeping Pad by Therm-a-Rest $70+
Cloudrest Down Pillow by Western Mountaineering $70
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