Sleeping Under Stars – A Campers Guide to Outdoor Shut-Eye
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Camping! It’s a pleasant pastime that often inspires nostalgia alongside a well-placed craving for toasted marshmallows. But as a low-cost holiday idea that will most certainly have you reconnecting with nature and sleeping under the cosmos, camping is also something that we hikers do quite a lot. If you’re a novice camper or an experienced trekker who’s looking for some extra tips, follow this handy guide to creating comfort in the great outdoors.
Prioritise your sleep
As is usually the case with attaining comfort outdoors, keeping warm is vital above all else. It’s best to source some quality sleeping bags as well as sleeping bag liners, to ensure that you’re totally insulated from the biting cold. For us hikers, we never know where our next adventure might take us, but we do know that it will usually be somewhere that gets quite cold at night! And wearing a sweater and tracksuit pants as pyjamas usually doesn’t cut it!
If you’re looking into becoming a regular camper or getting into backpacking, it’s recommended that you invest in full-body sleeping bags designed specifically for alpine conditions, that is to withstand temperatures around zero to ten degrees. A good quality tent and tarp is also key for ensuring that you’re totally insulated as well as protected from any snow or rainfall. Just think about it in terms of how powerful a good night’s sleep can be in most contexts. You don’t want to ruin your entire getaway by being tired, grumpy, and sorely sleep-deprived.
First aid and insect repellant
Whether you’re camping for the weekend or embarking on a backpacking adventure, you’ll be sure to rest easy so long as you have a substantial first aid kit, packed with antibacterial hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, bandages in different sizes, gauze, painkillers and anti-inflammatories, and useful tools like tweezers, scissors, safety pins, and pocket knives. And as for the insect repellant? We can all agree that the peskiest downside to being in the great outdoors is being bitten by a variety of very determined bugs. But bug bites can be more dangerous than you might think.
It’s always handy to have multiple bottles of sunscreen and insect repellant. If you’re uncertain of how much you’ll need to pack, it’s a good rule of thumb to pack a bottle per person (or two of each if you’re travelling alone), just in case you experience any leaks or lose any belongings along the way. Remember that whilst you’ll need to apply sunscreen rather liberally, your insect repellant should sit in a fine layer on top of your applied sunscreen, and should ideally be reapplied every few hours to ensure maximum coverage. Just remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
Organisation and preparation
You want to be prepared for anything, but it’s also essential that you know roughly what you’ll be preparing for. Before you leave for the wilderness, you should always do some hefty research on the areas you’ll be visiting. This means having a basic understanding of the flora and fauna of the area, any notable landmarks, any of the region’s rules and regulations regarding camping and campfires, as well as checking the local weather forecasts to ensure that you won’t be camping in a lightning storm. You’ll also need to source some quality camping supplies, such as sturdy pots and pans, utensils, cooking equipment, torches and lanterns, and storage options that will ideally keep your food items away from your non-edible, chemical-based supplies. Follow this extended guide for beginners if you’re looking for a thorough checklist to get you well-prepared for your next camping trip.
Even with all my advice and all the other online resources that are at our disposal nowadays, it can take a little trial and error to master your camping game. Mistakes will happen, and the best we can do is to learn and grow. That’s what travelling is all about anyway. But rest assured, if you take these steps to camp with care, you’ll be ready for any and all adventures that come your way. Enjoy the journey ahead, and I wish you happy camping, all my budding world explorers!