The Travelettes Guide to Camping
As much as I love camping it is very much a rather contradictory topic.To me it really is no more than some romantic illusion mostly shaped by dubious Tumblr photos: a blond girl with long wavy hair wrapped in colorful shawls, her skin is sunkissed. She’s barefoot but a beaded anklet decorates her right foot. At twilight she sits silently by the bonfire, surrounded by her best friends while leaning on her boyfriend’s shoulder. The fire’s sparks light up in her eyes. At dawn she is first to wake up, strips off all her clothes and takes a dip in the cool lake…
Bla bla bla – Hello! It’s reality calling in! I have gone camping many times throughout my life and it never turned out like in a dream. Your wavy hair turns into dreadlocks because you forgot your brush at home. The beaded anklet rips the first time you take care of firewood and you cover your feet in shoes as soon as you have to go to pee. Twilight is your least favourite time of day – as it is the bugs’ and mings’ favourite. Nevermind sunkissed, your skin is glowing red with burn, the make-out session with the Universe has lasted a minute too long and – naturally – you forgot to bring sunscreen. After all this was never supposed to be some sort of beach holiday. Your boyfriend might still be there, but he’s probably annoyed at hearing you whine about bites, burns and scratched open feet and your iny, hot and dirty tent is not the ideal space for make-up sex. The lake is ice cold – no way you’re going in there.
But why should any Travelette go camping then? Well, of course there is the romantic fireplace, your friends and lovely, peaceful nature surrounding you! To get your camping trip somewhere in between scenario 1 and 2 you should definitely read the Travelette Guide to Camping.
The Tent and its position
Camping is all about gear and the tent should be right on top of your list. If you sleep in there alone a tent for 2 persons is big enough, but if you want to share with your best friend or cuddle up with your significant other think about buying a bigger one. Depending on the size of your group you could also pool your money and buy one for the group that could fit several bunks – like a multi-family house.
The last thing we want is to feel uncomfortable in our tent, so certain preparatory measures are important:
- Choose a tent which allows you to stand up straight instead of the common ball-shaped ones that make you duck all the time. These higher tents usually are a bit bulkier, but as long as you are not going on a hiking-camping trip that shouldn’t be any problem at all.
- While usually it is nice to be woken up by the sun it’s pretty annoying to put your tent on a sunny spot. It gets very hot and you will wake up hours before the sun actually rises. Find a shady place and bring a (air) mattress which you can use outside for the warmer mornings.
- Try to find a tent with several doors and use natural ventilation as air condition.
For more qualified aid with getting the right tent, make your way to an outdoor retailer!
There are sleeping bags for every occasion and weather but these two babies are something very special:
Imagine you’re spending a cold night in a tent and all you want is to cuddle with your love, but there are these bulky sleeping bags between you. The outdoor brand Big Agnes designs doublewide sleeping bags for couples which give you both warmth and space.
As an alternative you could also buy two sleeping bags with compatible left/right zippers but these will be a little less comfortable to open up individually.
As I’m always complaining about the limited legroom in a normal sleeping bag, a Selk’Bag sleeping bag would be the obvious solution for me: a body shaped sleeping bag which allows me to move my legs as much as I want and is a great asset to costume parties.
Most camping trips will bring you to either a fully equipped campground or the camping site of a music festival. Both have the advantage that you may bring your camping stove – or you may not but do it anyways just like everybody else.
However, if you recall the image of dream-camping gas cartridges and unsteady stoves do not match it too well… a bustling bonfire is a much better choice. But how to place a pot over it, when you do not have a camping tripod at hand? Constructing a Finnish log fire might be the best solution – it gives off light and warmth, and has a flat surface to put your pots and pans on. Yet you will need certain tools to build it in the first place.
You see, it’s not easy to cook a meal in the wilderness. Also consider the danger of open fire – dry grass or wood could easily catch fire and turn your cooking pit into a raging forest fire.
As we don’t want our inner culinary princess to suffer from canned-food-poisening here is a helpful blogpost by QuietJourney with easy camping recipes – my favourite is the Fire Pit Sundaze: foil + banana + marshmallows + chocolate + fire = nom nom.
Other necessary equipment
There is no way I could give you a complete list of what to bring on a camping trip. It always depends on the circumstances, length of your stay, time of the year, your camping destination etc.
Anyways, there are certain things I tend to forget myself – so here’s my DO NOT FORGET list for camping and outdoor trips:
pocket knife, can opener, lighter, matches, baking soda, sunscreen, hair ties and bobby pins, insect repellant, a scarf, a pillow (or something else to bed your head on), gaffa tape to fix holes in your tent, extra socks, flashlight, hand and face wipes
…I bet I forgot plenty of other things… Check out Love the Outdoors’ (very intense) checklist.
Hands up, who doesn’t own a smartphone? Whether it is an iPhone or an Android, they all have one thing in common: short battery life. A day or two is all you’ve got, depending on how much you use your device; and even an external battery won’t give you more than another day.
Getting a Bio Lite Stove seems like the perfect solution for every Travelette who can’t survive without her phone or mp3-player – it kills two birds with one stone: it’s a portable stove working without fuel AND it converts heat into electricity, hence you can charge your devices with it!
And if you happen to break your phone here’s a neat infographic about how to use the broken parts as survival gadgets.
You see, improving your next camping trip is definitely manageable. And yet then again, there’s always Glamping…