Camping is one of North America’s favorite pastimes and something that people of all ages can enjoy. It is a relaxing way to unwind and recharge, and allows you to take in nature and escape all those city noises that can be so bothersome.
But camping does not mean that we always need to “rough it”. Many campers, including myself, have at one time or another accidentally slept on a rock or stick, pitched a tent in the rain, or found packed the wrong set of clothes for weather. Instead of resigning yourself to the likelihood of being uncomfortable, why not add a few items to your kit list that will make camping an even more relaxing experience?
Here are few tips that will help make your camping experience more comfortable and pleasant.
1. Tent size
One item that is going to give you a nice and relaxing rest is the right tent. Having a tent that provides extra room for you and your fellow campers will make it easier to sleep comfortably, so it is a good idea to go up one size in your tent selection to ensure there is enough space. However, a word of caution: the larger the tent, the more space you will need to find to pitch the tent. Large tents run the risk of winding up in more uncomfortable locations as you will often have less options to pitch it where it fits.
2. Cook what you like
Just because you are sleeping outdoors does not mean you need to give up the foods that you enjoy. Nearly any food can be cooked over a campfire, you just need to make sure that before you go camping you have all of the right ingredients and cooking kit. You can still enjoy lasagna or pie, you just need the right supplies and equipment.
3. Air mattress
Of course, some people will scoff at the idea of using a pad or an air mattress while camping, but it’s likely they’ve never tried one. There is no reason to suffer simply because you’re camping. So invest in getting a pad or mattress to go under your sleeping bag. Those who insist such ‘luxury’ is unnecessary may be walking a little less upright the next day, while you’ll have had a lovely and comfortable night’s rest. You can even use a pool floaty, which has the adding benefit of keeping you dry while sleeping in the event of a flooded tent due to a rainstorm.
You should absolutely bring all of the pillows you normally need to sleep comfortably. Sleeping in a tent does not mean you need to wake up with a crick in your neck and a sore back. Don’t make yourself suffer, just pack the extra pillows.
5. Check out the bathrooms
Before you book a camping site, check out the bathroom and shower facilities. Camping has a tendency to make you dirty with all that hanging out round a campfire. Add on a sweaty hike and you may find yourself smelling a little riper than you normally do. While some people think that this is just part of camping, others would be happier if they can get clean. Most state parks have shower facilities somewhere on site. Working toilets and sinks also make life easier.
6. Keep your bag warm
Sliding into a cold sleeping bag is definitely not something anyone looks forward to on a chilly night. It can be hard to get yourself warm enough to sleep well if you are starting out cold to being with. A good solution for this is to bring a hot water bottle. Using your campfire to heat water, put it into the water bottle about 15 minutes before you plan on going to bed. Then when you do, you’ll have a wonderfully toasty bag waiting for you.
7. Bring an umbrella
Perhaps not something that you considered bringing on a camping trip, but a large beach umbrella may help you keep your campsite dry in times of rain or keep the intense sun off of you on a hot day. Either way, you’ll have shelter or shade when needed.
8. Pitch your tent in the right spot
Where you put your tent can make a world of difference to your camping experience. You will need to check the ground and remove any rocks, sticks, and other debris. You should also make sure that you are on level ground. If you are on a slope, you run the risk of sliding in your sleep, something that usually results in a rather grumpy camper. Besides getting things right at ground level, you need to look up a check the situation above you too. Widow makers, or dead trees, have a tendency to lose branches in high winds, which can tear a tent and ruin a trip. Healthy and young trees, however, can provide rain cover.
9. Pack lanterns
Of course, you’ll already have a lantern and flashlight, but think about how much light you’ll have if you have several lanterns on the go. Your campsite will be a brighter place and you’ll be able to enjoy your camp long after the sun sets. The ambiance can be magical, and more light means the chance to play games or tell campfire stories.
10. You don’t need to sleep with everyone
A common mistake when camping with friends is the assumption that you all need to share a tent. Even if there are only two of you, you absolutely do not have to share a tent with anyone. Bringing individual tents will allow you to sleep in peace rather than listening to the snoring of someone else.
Camping is supposed to be a fun and exciting adventure, but you do not need to be uncomfortable or miserable in the process. So allow yourself the creature comforts you deserve and camping will be as relaxing as it should be.
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