Sunrise while camping at the Pawnee National Grasslands.
Sunrise while camping at the Pawnee National Grasslands.

How to Have (Good) Sex in a Tent

Quietly, is the short answer. Or as loud as you want, if you're way out in the middle of nowhere.


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I guess the truth is that a tent isn’t going to be the limiting factor to banging in the backcountry, but there are still some tips and tricks for maximizing the fun. So here you go.

#1. Manage Moisture

Tents are, at the best of times, damp places. Work up a sweat in one, and you’ll see the result of your efforts in water droplets dripping from the inside of your rain fly. As nighttime temperatures drop, these could cause you to sleep cold. Before getting busy, take the time to stake out your rain fly to maximize airflow under it, and open any vents your tent may include. Many tents are designed to be oriented in a certain direction toward the wind, so consult your instructions to maximize stability and ventilation. Oh, and make sure all your camping gear is dry.

#2. Use Protection

Gathered on down clusters, your sweat, saliva, oils, and other bodily fluids will reduce the lofting ability of your insulation and, therefore, its performance. A simple sleeping bag liner or blanket will act as a protective barrier, extending the life of your expensive sleeping bags.

#3. Reduce Odor

While a liner or blanket will keep a lot of liquids off your sleeping bag, it can’t prevent all of them. It’s a good idea to wash your down sleeping bags. Do so infrequently, and only in a front-loading washing machine, which is gentler. A dedicated down wash, like that made by Nikwax, will be easy on the fabric while restoring the clusters’ loft. Dry your bag on the lowest setting with a tennis ball or (clean) shoe inside the dryer to knock the down back into shape. And allow enough time for several drying cycles.

#4. Clean Up

A pack of unscented baby wipes will make post-sex cleanup a breeze, which will be especially nice if you don’t have access to a shower. You can also use a handful of wipes to selectively clean certain parts of your body ahead of time if you’re worried about looking and smelling nice. Store anything scented or flavored in your bear canister at night.

#5. Leave No Trace

Take along a dedicated Ziploc to pack out any used wipes, condoms, or similar sex-related consumables. They don’t biodegrade, so they shouldn’t be left behind.

#6. Mind the Gap

A unified surface makes sex and post-coitus cuddling much more comfortable. I consider the Exped Megamat Duo to be the finest surface out there upon which to have sex, with an ideal rate of bounce and degree of support. But it’s too heavy and too large to take anywhere you can’t take your car. Big Agnes makes an ultralight 40-inch-wide two-person sleeping bag/pad combo that’s actually lighter than carrying two equivalent one-person setups.

#7. Set the Mood

A small Bluetooth speaker can help cover up noises coming from or getting into your tent. A set of LED string lights or a headlamp in a stuffsack can provide a dimmable, indirect source of lighting.

#8. Start Cold

Your perceived temperature at rest will be lower than it is once you’ve worked up to athletic activity. Go ahead and remove all clothes before you start, as doing so mid-activity may prove to be a mood killer. Down blankets and quilts make ideal insulation for intimate moments, enabling you to easily shed, fold, or add them as required.

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