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When camping enters your life, no matter your age, it's difficult to do without. The amazing feeling of waking up to birds’ songs, opening your tent door and being surrounded by nature – it almost feels like going native, back to the time when man was sleeping under starry skies. We truly believe CAMPING IS FOR EVERYONE…as long as you are well prepared. Here are a few tips we use to get ready for our camping adventures. See you out there!
Insider tip – Have a Plan B up your sleeve. Check if your campsite offers cabins or roofed accommodation, alternatively make a list of other accommodations nearby and their contacts and be ready to call them if the weather turns awful. Don't get caught in a storm!
- Sleeping bag liner – This provides few precious extra degrees of warmth and help keep sleeping bags cleaner. Learn more HERE. Our choice: Cocoon
- Insulate your tent from the ground – Use a ground cloth for more insulation, Make sure it`s the right size for your tent (our choice: Big Agnes). We sometimes use our picnic mat with weatherproof backing inside our tent as a carpet for extra insulation (Kathmandu).
- Sleep with your spare clothes – Stuff all your spare clothes in your sleeping bag while sleeping. By filling up the space, your body has less space to heat up.
- Wear a beanie – We loose body heat through our heads quite easily during the night if we don`t cover it properly as it`s the only part of our body exposed, even with a mummy sleeping bag hood. A beanie will make the trick.
SET UP CAMP – Try to reach your campsite before night falls as it will be easier and faster to put your tent up, especially for first users. Familiarize with the weather forecast before your camping trip and with the campsite layout and location – here below are a few tricks to make your camping experience as comfortable as it can get:
- Wind? - Place your tent upwind whenever possible and far from camp fires to avoid smoke coming your way.
- Rain? - Look for campsites with a bit of tree cover (check they are healthy trees of course – no dangerous dangling branches) – this will give you a better cover in a light rain. With heavier rain set your tent up on the high ground to avoid flooding and water to accumulate around your tent.
- Sunrise and sunset? – Tree cover can also block some of the early morning sun. If the campsite location allows for beautiful sunsets, try to face your tent towards West so that you can enjoy it.
- Door facing? – This depends on the terrain and your exposure. Preferably orient your tent with the door shelter facing prevailing/expected winds.
- Pitch the tent flat - If the ground is not perfectly flat then orient your heads uphill.
- Hammer – Useful to drive tent pegs into the ground. We use rocks or a pan for rocky grounds.
- Clear the ground before pitching your tent – Treating your tent well will avoid unwanted holes and tears.
LITTLE THINGS - Especially when camping in the wilderness and not in a proper equipped campsite, few small objects can make your day easier. We usually pack these extra items (in no particular order of importance): mosquito repellent and sunscreen, a clothes line, a pocket knife, ear plugs, a whistle, a First Aid kit, garbage bags, toilet paper.
LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS – Camping is a great way to be immersed in untouched nature. That's why it's so important to minimize our impact on the environment. Refrain from collecting shells from the beach; don't feed wildlife; don’t leave your rubbish behind; bury toilet waste; rinse your dishes with just water, don’t use any polluting product.
STAY HYDRATED – Don't get thirsty during your adventure! Always take with you one big water bottle or a hydration bladder suitable to your needs (1L for a short hike or 2L for a longer day). If you are planning to stay in the wilderness for a while and drink from stream/ rivers/lakes, buy proper water filtration/ treatment/ purification systems (like ultraviolet sterilizers/SteriPen, water treatment drops,…) on the basis of water quality at your destinations. Learn more HERE.
START A FIRE – Knowing how to start and manage a fire is a ‘camping life’ skill. Familiarize with the main fire starting methods and bring them with you - a lighter or matches to start, and any other emergency methods such as cotton pads dipped in wax, charcoal pieces, alcohol prep pads (taken from your first aid kit). Even potato/corn chips or any greasy snack food are great fire starters.
Check if camp fire is allowed, then gather all materials to burn, build a teepee shaped fire with a foundation of small, dry tinder (shredded bark, mosses, grasses) to spark the kindling (small twigs and sticks, bigger pieces of bark). Keep the fire going adding larger wood logs once the kindling is burning.
Know how to extinguish it – stir the ashes and keep pouring water on it as much as needed.
PACKING UP – As important as setting up camp. Dry your tent completely before packing it as it can get mouldy and hence damaged. If still wet after packing, make sure to air it out in the sun when back home. Do the same with sleeping bags and liners. Clean poles and pegs from dust and dirt to avoid rust and recharge all your batteries and lighting on your return to be ready for your next adventure.
CAMPING FOOD & GEAR – Choosing the right type of food and cooking gear is of paramount importance, especially when camping away from civilization. Make lists of the number of total meals, food quantity and cooking utensils needed for each meal – consider how you will carry everything and the gear already at disposal during your trip. Learn more HERE.
- Don`t forget little things matter such as foil, garbage bags, cleaning cloth wipe, rubber bands,…
- Store food securely – Keep food in secure containers and coolers outside of your tent – you want to any damage to your tent from small or, even worst, big hungry visitors (like bears in Canada?).
RECONNECT WITH NATURE & PEOPLE – That`s camping! Make sure you enjoy special moments with friends around a camp fire, a beautiful sunset from a mountain top, a book in the tree shade…. Bring some games with you – beach volleyball or rackets, freebee, board games, puzzles, a water-proof pack of cards (Kathmandu – recommended to stay light-weight), a musical instrument or speaker to play music in front of a bonfire. Relax with a book before bed – go light with an e-reader instead of paper books for multi-day hiking trips (our choice: Sony – also buy a cover with light).