The Unexpected Kid's Toy Hack That Makes Your Tent Unbelievably Comfy

You've spent the entire afternoon hiking and then stayed up later than you planned, eating s'mores and chatting around the campfire, and you couldn't be happier to zip up your sleeping bag and drift off to sleep. Unfortunately, there's a tree root digging into your back. Everyone has been there – you think your campsite is clear, and then as soon as you try to fall asleep, you feel a lump. For folks with conditions like sciatica and arthritis, sleeping on the hard ground can be enough to trigger a bad pain day, even without any unexpected rocks under the tent making the situation worse.


Whether camping alone, with your friends, or with your entire family, it's incredibly frustrating to wake up with a sore back on the second day of your camping trip. Fortunately, some innovative campers have discovered an inexpensive hack to make their tents more comfortable: Lining the floor with kids' foam tiles. As strange as it might seem, you could soon find yourself adding play mats to the list of fundamentals you bring on every camping trip.

Line your tent with foam play mats

These colorful interlocking mats are a staple of daycares and playrooms, but they might soon become a camping staple, too. Usually, these foam tiles pad the floor so toddlers can be comfortable crawling around on their hands and knees and won't hurt themselves if they fall. While you're unlikely to do too much crawling around in your tent, having some cushioning underneath you when lying down can help protect your hips and shoulders.


The foam mats might be the little boost to your usual sleeping bag or bedroll you need to keep yourself from waking up stiff. While some campers put their foam mats under their tent, between the floor and the ground, putting them inside the tent is generally considered a better idea so they don't get dirty. Best of all, this hack is pretty inexpensive to try for yourself. You can buy foam floor mats at many big box stores for less than $1.50 per square foot tile.

Other ways to take care of your back while camping

Whether or not you want to try using interlocking playroom foam tiles to keep you comfortable while camping, protecting your back is vital. The last thing you want to do is throw your back out on the first night of your trip. The first thing you should always do, whether you plan to cushion the floor of your tent or not, is thoroughly clear your campsite before you set up the tent. Not only is an unexpected rock under the tent uncomfortable, but it can rip your tent floor, meaning that you'll have to find other ways of keeping water and bugs out of your tent until you return to civilization.


If you really need a more comfortable sleeping arrangement, you may want to bring an air mattress or mattress pad instead of just a sleeping bag. Sleeping pads are definitely comfortable and keep you warmer than sleeping on the ground, but unlike foam tiles, high-quality ones can cost $200 or more.