I sleep wonderfully some nights. Others I sleep not so well. Others I sleep not at all. A lot depends on the weather of course. But the effects of weather can be lessened if a good spot is chosen. And that is maybe the biggest factor in sleeping, living like this, camping, choosing a good spot.
What's a good spot then? It depends—do you sleep on the ground, in a tent, or in a hammock, or in some other contraption, in a tree? But generally, a quiet place is best, where not many people go—and even less go after dark. Run to where others flee is a good suggestion. Where others stay-away-from at night, for fear maybe, that is a good spot to go. That is a good spot if no one else is there.
If someone else is there, at a spot secluded like that, then chances are that they're no good. Living like this, like a bum, introduces you naturally to other bums, real bums, alcoholics and drug addicts and mentally unstable. You attract what you are like afterall. But you are a smart bum. You don't drink or otherwise alter your senses, because you need constantly to be alert out here. You keep your mind, and always use it.
Look for signs of activity at your spot. Are the pop cans there still shiny and new? Or are they rusted-out, for example. Or are there no pop cans at all, a very good sign. Is there a patch of flattened grass or ground nearby? You may be intruding on another's spot. Or someone may have intruded on yours.
Very important this is. The first sign of any intrusion you notice at your spot, go—to a new spot, because you can, while you can. Unless you are willing to defend that spot, to stay, and to accept the consequences that come along that decision.
And you must be like a ghost. Make camp after dark. Be gone before the sun is fully up. Stay away during the day.
Me, I prefer grass spots. Grass is soft, and I sleep on the ground. But grass is wet in the morning, the dew. But that is how it goes.
Pines are maybe my very favorite place to sleep though, under them. The fallen needles make a bed, very sofy. And they smell good, pines—aromatherapy. And, if it rains,—no tent I use either—pines are trees. And from trees I can hang a tarp, to protect myself from the rain. But pines very often are littered with vines which grow under them too. But that's how it goes.
A tarp is very important—sleeping on the ground, in a tent, in a hammock. In all cases a tarp is good. But to hang a tarp requires some practice. Mostly you must know some knots—timber-hitch, clove-hitch, trucker's-hitch, double fisherman's knot, prusik knot, the bowline, the taut-line-hitch. So then you must have trees correctly spaced at your spot, and some string too—parachute cord.
Wandering-round, however, you are not always near grass or pines or trees, or any nature at all. A spot flat enough to lay my body, then, is a requirement. But sometimes I am sleeping uphill or downhill or on some other incline or decline. So a soft spot then at least I must have. But that is not always either, finding soft ground. So safety is maybe the main thing.
When you sleep, you are vulnerable. Choose a spot you don't think you'll be spotted. Choose a spot a bit difficult to reach. So that, if someone is coming to wake you, you'll hear them coming before.
Safety is a very real concern, but it's usually never so necessary. No one is as crazy as you to be out at that spot after dark. No one sleeps outside. Even the poor guys stay inside, the real bums, the drug addicts and alcoholics, the dangerous. For the most part, you should be alone out there.
And with the biggest risk, with the most trouble and labor, comes the biggest rewards. And I've never slept so wonderfully than when I've slept outside. The Earth breathes all round me, all over me, unprotected by walls. Unprotected by walls, she caresses me, the Earth, like a mother, and protects. I am a living being, a seed, a child of hers, sleeping in her bosom, safe and warm at home I am. I've never slept so wonderfully when it all does go correctly.
And I just sleep. If I've slept terribly for some days, or not at all too, then I sleep more easily, more deeply, better. It all works-out. And 5 hard days make for one perfect night. And that one perfect night is worth those 5 hard days. And more hard days will come, to be sure. And they will pass too.