Camping has remained a popular outdoor activity, despite the increase in affordable vacation packages. The adventurous hikes, sleeping outdoors under the stars, swimming in rivers and lakes, as well as the wide range of camping spots to choose from, makes camping a favorite outdoor activity for many people. However, not everyone has the skill or experience to go on a remote camping trip and rough it out in the wilderness. The good news is that you can still enjoy the experience that the great outdoors offer, without sacrificing comfort and luxury. Here are some tips and tricks that can make your camping trip more comfortable.
Pack the Right Tent
You will only enjoy a comfortable camping experience if you carry the right tent. Therefore, it’s important to choose a tent that can comfortably handle the conditions that you will be camping in. There are two main types of camping tents; three-season camping tents and four-season camping tents. Three-season camping tents are general-purpose tents that are suitable for most camping situations. They are designed for summer, spring, and fall camping trips. Unless you are camping during winter, 3-season tents will provide adequate cover and protection from the elements. They weigh approximately 4 to 10 pounds, with a peak height of 3 to 5 feet. Due to their versatility, three-season camping tents are popular with kayakers, cyclists, hikers, and backpackers, among other outdoor enthusiasts. Three-season tents are equipped with features such as zipped and open panels, which boost ventilation while mesh inner bodies help to minimize condensation.
Four-season tents, on the other hand, can be used throughout the year. Therefore, if you are planning to go on a winter camping trip, or you are likely to encounter extreme weather conditions, then you should carry a four-season tent. It will protect you from heavy weather, strong winds, rain, and snow, thus helping to keep you comfortable and cozy. Whether you opt for a 3-season tent or a 4-season camping tent, make sure that it’s spacious enough to accommodate you and your gear. It’s highly advisable to carry a tent that can accommodate at least one more person, even if you will be camping alone.
Apart from the tent, you should also carry a tarp, regardless of when or where you will be camping. A tarp is a versatile piece of gear that you should always have with you during a camping trip. In case the ground where you intend to pitch your tent is wet, you simply lay down your tarp under the tent and it will protect you against moisture. And if it rains, you can put it on top of your tent to prevent moisture from seeping inside your tent. You can also tie your tap to two or three trees to create a shaded area.
Set Up a Comfortable Sleep System
Having a nice place to sleep is an important part of making your camping trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Apart from protecting yourself against the elements, you don’t want to be sleeping on hard, bare ground – as you might end up with pains and aches in the morning. A comfortable sleep system should include a sleeping pad, an air mattress or a cot and some soft, cushy pillows. There are different types of sleeping pads that you can purchase for your camping trip – self-inflating pads, air pads, and closed-cell foam pads. Each type has its pros and cons.
- Self-inflating air pads: Just as their name suggests, self-inflating sleeping pads fill themselves with air automatically. You simply open its valve and the air will fill its chamber automatically. As a result, it will save you the time and energy that you may have spent inflating it manually. Self-inflating pads are compact, comfortable, and versatile. They also provide exceptional insulation. You can adjust their firmness by simply releasing or adding air. On the flipside, self-inflating pads are more expensive compared to closed-cell foam pads.
- Air pads: These are inflated by pumping air manually into the chamber, using a hand pump. Due to their open-core design, air pads tend to be highly packable, lightweight and well-cushioned. Some feature a layer of insulating foam as well as some heat-reflecting materials, making them perfect for cold conditions. Air pads are ideal for car camping, lightweight camping, and backpacking. Side sleepers will also love sleeping on them.
- Closed-cell foam pads: These are made using dense foam, featuring tiny air pockets. They are durable, lightweight, and more affordable, compared to air pads and self-inflatable sleeping pads. Their main drawback is the lack of adequate cushioning. Closed-cell foam pads are ideal for ice climbing, mountaineering, bike touring, ultralight hiking, and thru-hiking expeditions. They work best with back sleepers.
If you are planning to go on a car camping trip, then you should carry an air mattress. Air mattresses come with a sealed air chamber, which provides a comfortable sleeping surface. But unlike sleeping pads, they don’t have any insulation. Air mattresses are available in a wide range of sizes. Camping cots are also an option when it comes to camping outdoors. When buying a camping cot, you should consider the comfort factor, weight, portability as well as ease of assembly. Also, if you opt to use a cot during your camping trip, you should remember to bring a blanket and some pillows. Furthermore, camping cots don’t have adequate padding. Therefore, you should consider packing some additional padding so that you can sleep comfortably.
Prepare for the Elements
As much as the predicted weather patterns for your camping destination may appear friendly, it’s always wise to prepare for the unexpected. Therefore, whether you are camping during spring, summer or fall, you should always carry proper gear and clothing, to make sure that inclement weather doesn’t make your camping trip uncomfortable. You should carry clothing both for warm and cold temperatures. But don’t carry too many clothing pieces for cold weather, unless you will be camping during winter. Also, it’s advisable to carry an alternate heating or cooking source for those rainy and cold evenings.
Keep Your Tent Well Lit
Once the sun sets and you’ve put out your campfire, your tent will become extremely dark. A good outdoor lantern will help to light up your tent, making it easy to move around and find what you are looking for. Also, if you intend to read a few pages of your favorite novel, the lanterns will provide the illumination that you need. You should also carry a headlamp.
Plan for Entertainment
Whether you are going on a solo camping trip or you will be camping with your friends or family, you need to bring some entertainment. For instance, you can bring fun games like cards or horseshoes. Also, remember to pack a few of your favorite beers. If you are car camping or RV camping, you have adequate space to carry enough beers for the entire trip. You should also carry a hammock or your favorite camp chair, to sit on as you read your novel or enjoy beers. You can also make your camping trip even more enjoyable by carrying a portable speaker. There are plenty of options on the market when it comes to portable speakers. Some are even solar-powered, which means you can always enjoy your favorite music, in case you don’t have electricity.
Cook Delicious Meals
A camping trip is not complete without good food. And the good news is that cooking during a camping trip is not as hard as some people assume. You simply need to invest in decent quality camping cookware such as pots, pans, aluminum foils, skillets, and grills. For breakfast, you can prepare omelets, apple cobblers, and blueberry muffins, among others. During lunchtime, you can prepare hot dogs and sandwiches. As for dinner, your options are endless. For instance, you can prepare fish and combine it with your favorite dishes, and then wash it down with a glass of wine. Remember to carry some spices to make your meals tastier and more delicious.
From hard sleeping surfaces, annoying bugs, fire-starting challenges, and complicated tent poles, camping outdoors may appear as if it’s only reserved for people with special survival skills. However, you can still enjoy the great outdoors, without having to rough it. With the above tips, your stay outdoors will be more enjoyable, and you will always look forward to your next camping trip.