Helping the Kids Sleep Past Sunrise

July 8, 20142

Tent camping always meant that the kids woke up when the sun came up. One of the things I really like about the popup camper is that we can shield this bright light from them and get a little more snooze time in. Here are the tricks my wife and I use.


Look at the image above. Which do you think would help your kids sleep better – the dark or bright bunk? You can reduce a substantial amount of sunlight by installing Reflectix insulation between the canvas and screen of each bunk end window. You can also try the PopupGizmos product for extra shade on top of the bunk end (although we haven’t found this necessary for our camper or children).

A Bunk Divided

Our kids share a bunk, and when one wakes up, so does the other. Until, that is, I installed this simple mod…

sheet divider for popup camper bunk

The picture above shows a black sheet simply hung over the bunk end pole to divide the space. It works equally well for helping the kids get to bed at night (here are mine sleeping hard).

Morning Movies


Once the kids do wake up, we sometimes let them watch a TV show or portion of a children’s movie on an iPhone or iPad in the morning. This is the only screen time they get while camping, and if it helps them stay quiet while my wife and I sleep..then we allow it!


Sometimes my wife and I will take turns hosting a quiet breakfast with the kids while one of us gets to be lazy that morning. Above is one of those such occasions (my wife was sleeping in). This also helps keep the kids quiet in the morning when trying to be extra respectful of our neighbors.


If the kids are using headphones, you’ll want a splitter like the device shown above.

Double batteries and an interior 12 volt charging outlet helps this tradition continue even on a 1-week trip.



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I've been camping regularly since I was a kid, from quick Cub/Boy Scout trips to week-long backpacking trips and everything else in-between. We got a popup camper when our kids were 1 and 3 years old to enjoy more time outdoors together alongside a few conveniences like heat and running water. Since then, we've spent over 75 nights together as a family in our popup camper. I've learned a lot about the intricacies of a popup tent camper during this time and love to share those lessons here for the benefit of others.