Skip to Content

How to Camp Without a Tent

Hammocks offer an easy way to sleep off the ground (photo: Pixabay)

Hammocks offer an easy way to sleep off the ground

Tents can be useful, but it takes a lot of energy to carry them. They're heavy and can take up a lot of room in your backpack, which is why you may be eager to try an alternative. What if we tell you that you can learn how to camp without a tent?

Our team did the research, and we discovered you don’t need a tent for camping. Take a look at the tips below, and get yourself ready for your first tent-free adventure!

Tips for Camping Without a Tent (Warm Weather)

Did you check the weather forecast and it seems like the weather will be hot these days?

If you have never camped without a tent, it would be smart to pick warm and rain-free weather for your first trip.

You won’t have to worry about rain, and that makes things easier. However, you will still need to invest time and effort to prepare for the night.

Here are the essential tips you should consider:

Find a good shelter – there is no rain, but it may be windy during the night. That is why you should look for a position where you will be protected from the wind.

Don’t stay near the water – it is not only that you can expect a lot more bugs, but big animals might come to drink water.

Choose popular parks and other safe places – you need to consider wildlife because you don’t want a bear getting into your camp in the middle of the night. Always stick to popular parks, and get local rangers or authorities to confirm the safest places for camping.

Inspect the area for poisonous plants – poison sumac, oak, and ivy are some of the plants that could cause problems. If you are not an expert, avoid all plants that have three leaves.

Always use a bug spray – you can even consider a mosquito net, but a bug spray is essential, especially if you are sleeping on the ground.

Find a level ground for sleeping – you wouldn’t want to find yourself waking up at the bottom of a hill, would you?

If it is your first time to sleep outside without a tent, we would suggest taking one as a safety net.

You might not need it, but if you feel like you are not ready for a tentless sleep, you will have an alternative.


Building a Quinzhee (photo: Sterling College)

Below-Zero Camping Without a Tent

Things get a bit trickier when the temperature gets below zero. If you don’t feel like entering survival mode, you should consider getting a cold weather tent. But if you are ready for below-zero temperatures, get prepared for a real adventure!

First of all, the ground is cold, and possibly, wet. That is why you shouldn’t sleep on the ground. You can use a hammock, sleeping bag, and even a light pop-up tent.

For those who want to enter full survival mode, here are several options:

Trench Shelter – use snow to make two walls, and close the top to protect yourself from rain. The idea is to create a small shelter so that you can stay warm during the night.

Bough Bed – get some logs and arrange them on the ground. Use leaves, grass, and boughs to make a sleeping mattress. Keep in mind that this won’t protect you from the wind, rain, or snow.

Quinzhee – similar to an igloo. The building idea is simple – make or find a big snow pile, and make a hole in the middle. It will take skill because this shelter carries the risk of collapsing on top of you during the night.

If you don’t want to do it the easy way and use a waterproof tent, we suggest a combo of trench shelter and bough bed.

You should always get everything you need ready before nightfall. It's easier to find everything during daylight hours, and you can relax knowing that you are ready for nighttime.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about bugs if the temperature goes below zero.

Despite that, you may want to wear a beanie hat to stay warm. We lose a lot of heat through our heads. 


We hope that our quick guide on how to camp without a tent offered helpful tips ahead of your next adventure.

The crucial thing is to be careful to protect yourself from animals and bugs and build a proper shelter. If it is cold outside, you also want to ensure that you are warm.

As long as you achieve that, you are set for one of the most memorable camping experiences of your life!


If you decided to try camping without a tent, you certainly need to have a good and affordable sleeping bag for your adventure. The WildProofGear team offers its research for top-rated budget sleeping bags.

Read their full review at  


This story was brought to you in partnership with WildProofGear. 


Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends: