Mom Goes Camping

Help! My Kids Keeps Rolling Off their Sleeping Pads When Camping

kid rolling off sleeping pad camping

Both of my girls wriggle around the tent when sleeping.  I’ve woken up to kicks in the head only to find a kid completely backwards from how they started!

I wouldn’t mind all their wriggling, expect that rolling off the sleeping pad can cause some issues when camping.  For starters, the pad can’t do its job of insulating you from the ground if you aren’t on it! When my kids end up against the tent walls, they also touch the fly – which can cause condensation and leaking problems.

Over time, I’ve developed these methods help keep my kids on their pads while sleeping in the tent.

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1. Attach the Sleeping Bag to the Pad

If the sleeping bag is connected to the pad, then  your kid won’t be able to roll off of it.  Your kid can still slide around in the tent, but at least the pad comes with them so they will be warm!

There are a couple of few that you can connect the bag and pad:

  • Sleeping bag with a pad sleeve: The bag is literally attached to the pad so won’t come off of it. The only kids bags that I know of with this feature are the Big Agnes Little Red and Wolverine. The small fits a 20×48” pad in the sleeve and the larger fits any size pad. Available at Amazon, Backcountry, Campsaver and EMS.
  • Pad loops: Some sleeping bags have loops on the side. You can also sew them in yourself. Use a pad strap like this mattress connector from Therm-a-Rest or these Sea to Summit quick-release straps.  Put it around your pad and then use G-hooks to attach the loops to the strap.
  • Put the pad inside the sleeping bag: This is also smart if your kid’s sleeping bag is slightly too large. The pad fills the extra space so it’s easier to heat. It will be a snug fit in many sleeping bags though.

Big Agnes kids sleeping bag with pad sleeve


2. Use a Pad with Bumpers

Some inflatable pads have built-in bumpers (aka side rails).  The bumpers help keep you centered on your pad so you are less likely to roll off of it.  This only works with less-wriggly kids though. 🙂

Klymit Static V is a really comfy and warm pad with side rails.

klymit static v


3. Improvise Bumpers

You can also improvise bumpers by putting your backpack, shoes or other bulky items on each side of their sleeping pads.  And, even if the kids do end up off their pad, at least the backpack underneath them provides some insulation.

When it’s time to sleep, I’ll use the backpack as an improvised bumper.


4. Cover Entire Tent Floor with Pads

This is what I started doing when camping with both my kids.  Since the entire tent floor is covered with pads, they are insulated no matter where they end up in the tent.

I still use bumpers around the sides of the tent though.  Otherwise they could end up touching the outer fly and condensation occurs.

Pro Tip: This works best if you all use the same inflatable pads. Then you can attach the pads with the Sea to Summit straps.  If your bag has loops, then you can attach everyone’s sleeping bag in place too!

tent floor covered with four sleeping pads


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About the author /

Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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