Sleeping Outside Without a Tent: Make it Safely!

sleeping outside without a tent

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.

While it is not recommended that you consider to sleep outside without a tent, it is often unavoidable. If you find yourself in situations where you cannot pitch your tent or if you don’t have a tent, you will need to try something else. Keep in mind that sleeping outside without tent can be dangerous if you are not experienced. The term for sleeping outdoors without a tent is considered bivouacking and means creating a makeshift shelter.

Fortunately, this article aims to give you knowledge. While we cannot give you the experience of reacting when outdoors, we can educate you on what to do and what to avoid. The following article will look at the safety of sleeping outside without a tent and ensure that you take the right measures to enhance the experience.

Legal Aspects Surrounding Sleeping Outside Without a Tent

The term bivouacking is used to coin camping without a tent, but in many places around the world, it might not be legal for you to do so. You might need to check the laws of your country and the camping site before taking on this endeavor. Here are some of the common laws from the most popular countries around the world:

United States

In the US and Canada, laws surrounding bivouacking or camping without a tent are clear. For the most part, you are not allowed to do so, aside from a few specific locations. In wilderness areas, it is completely forbidden. However, in areas that allow it, you will need a permit to ensure you take the right precautions.


Laws in Europe are slightly different, and it is allowed for the most part. In Scandinavian countries and Germany, you can do this almost wherever you like. However, the Southern part of Europe is far stricter, and you might not be allowed to do it. You might even be liable for fines when doing it in areas that are not permitted.

Australia and New Zealand

Much like in the United States, it is forbidden for one to camp in the wild if there is no campsite. It might not be controlled as much, but you can be liable to hefty fines when you are caught. If you want to camp without a tent, you might need to get a permit to ensure that you are allowed and have the correct safety measures taken.

Dangers You Need to be Prepared for

As you might have guessed, there are plenty of dangers that come with camping without a tent. Many beginners like to ask whether it is safe to sleep outside and this means you will need to take all of these dangers into account. Here are some of the risk you might need to deal with, but it is not a complete list as many hazards are area-specific:

Animal Attacks

bear attack while sleeping outside

Is it safe to sleep outside when there are wild animals around? This is a question you will need to answer for yourself. For the most daring adventurers, it might not be an issue, but eventually, their time could run out and they will be attacked. You will need to scout the area to ensure that you have a basic understanding of the animals you are dealing with, especially predators. Bear attacks are common in certain areas around the US.

Weather Changes

While you might be planning your trip during the summer and take all the gear to keep you dry when the rain comes, you cannot be fully prepared for nature. There are many instances of flash floods that can wipe out entire camping terrains. If you don’t have any form of protection, you might need to scramble to find some shelter.

Insects You Need to Deal With

While you might not have a fear of any insects, they are found almost anywhere. If mosquitoes don’t bother you, there are plenty of pests that can be a nuisance while you are sleeping. In the desert states like Arizona, you might come across scorpions that could try to find some heat close to your site during the night.

However, the rattlesnake is one of the most dangerous predators, and much like any snake, they often look for heat. These snakes are deadly, and many people have lost their lives while encountering the rattlesnake.

Temperature Fluctuations

While it might be hot during the day, the temperature can plummet at night, and this could leave you in the cold. While freezing to death in the summer is not something that happens often, you might be at risk of hypothermia. When preparing for your trip, you might need to keep this in mind and ensure sufficient heat generation.

How to Sleep Outside Without a Tent – Tips and Tricks

how to sleep outside without a tent

Now that you have seen some of the dangers, you have a better understanding if it is safe to sleep outside or not. You might be reconsidering your position about it. However, if this is not the case, you should educate yourself on the basic tips and tricks to keep you safe. Here are some of the tips that we would recommend to sleep outside without a tent.

1. Planning and Preparation

One of the first things you need to do is planning. Once you have found a site that will legally allow you to do so, you need to study the area. A simple Google Earth shot can provide you with some basic information that will help you in preparing. You can also ask around and even call the area to get some information on the site.

The planning and preparation should reveal all the dangers you might encounter. If the area is riddled with bears, you might need to consider some bear spray. The No products found. should be a good addition. It will give you plenty of range, and it has been proven to keep bears at bay and allow you to escape.

2. Buying the Right Gear

While you might not be taking a tent, you still need the right gear to survive. Things like your survival knife are vital and could sustain you when creating a makeshift shelter. Additionally, you will need to start a fire, which means even more gear. However, safety is the most important thing you will focus on at this point.

If you have let someone know you are going out on your own, you should have an emergency device that can alert someone if something goes wrong. While many people have survived the outdoors, many have died. The Garmin 010-01879-00 InReach might be expensive, but it could save your life in bad situations.

3. Elevation Off the Floor

We have discussed the dangers of sleeping on the floor and how scorpions and snakes might use you for heat. However, you will need to prepare to elevate yourself off the floor. This can be in the shape of a camping cot, but these are expensive and very heavy. It might not be viable when taking a minimalistic approach.

The camping hammock might be your answer here, and it is only a fabric setup that will fit into your backpack. By practicing at home, you should be able to sufficiently set up the camping hammock for elevation. Alternatively, you can build a sleeping space, but you need to get off the floor as much as possible.

4. Ensuring You Stay Warm

Sleeping outside without a tent can be dangerous, and as we have mentioned, you run the risk of slipping into hypothermia. As part of selecting the right gear, you need something that will keep you warm. The traditional sleeping bag is one of the best options, and when compressed, it does not take up too much space.

Alternatively, you can use the fire at night. Creating a fire tends to scare off predators, and it could heat the ground around you. If there are coals in your fire, you can bury them, and the heat will seep up from the bottom. It could help you in setting up the perfect spot to sleep under the stars.

5. Protection for Your Gear

If you don’t care about getting wet and sleeping outside, you might want to rethink your decision when it comes to your gear. Camping gear can be very expensive and you will need to keep it away from the rain. While you can do this by building an outdoor shelter, waterproofing is often important to ensure it remains dry.

There are plenty of backpacks and durable rain flies that should be of assistance. Additionally, the tarp can also be used to create a makeshift shelter. It does not have the same protective features as a tent, but having something to protect you from rain could help.


If sleeping outside without a tent is on your bucket list, these tips should help you be prepared. Much like anything outdoors, it is best to always prepare for the worst to ensure that you can handle anything. The outdoors is a fun place and can give you tranquility. However, it can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t take the correct measures.

Previous articleDoes Boiling Tap Water Make It Taste Better?
Next articleIs Walking on an Empty Stomach Beneficial?