Saturday, December 16

Comfortable Camping

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I love camping.  Getting away from the city for a while and becoming one with nature, watching the stars, cooking over an open fire.  Such a joyous and happy occasion that can quickly become not so joyous if you are unable to get a good night’s sleep.  It’s difficult to try and sleep anywhere besides your own bed let alone in a cold, damp tent on the hard ground. I am an excellent sleeper, no matter where I am.  I could be sleeping on a slab on concrete and a bulldozer could plow through right by me and I would not wake up!  I think I go into a coma when I sleep.  My sister, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.  Drop a hair on the floor and she wakes up!  Growing up in the same house as her and sharing a tent with her on countless family camping trips has taught me some valuable lessons on making camp sleeping arrangements as comfortable as possible.  Now I will share those tips with you. 

First and foremost, make sure to pack some mats, pillows and warm sleeping bags.  Bringing various layers of sleepwear is also a good idea since you don’t how hot or cold it will get at night. 

When choosing your campsite here are some things to consider when picking a site where you will get a good night’s sleep:

  1. Look for a site that is away from other campers and away from high traffic areas like the washrooms or cookhouses.

  2. Look for a site that is away from light sources like street lights or lights from buildings.

  3. Try not to camp close to the public campfire areas or the chatter and singing will keep you up all night!

  4. Look for a site that is as grassy as possible with little no rocks and try to find a site that is flat with minimal sloping.

  5. Try not to camp directly under trees.  If it rains overnight, the rain drops that fall off the limbs will make a lot of noise when they fall on the tent and braches scraping on the tent due to wind will also make a lot of noise.

  6. Try not to camp near a site where there is a dog that will bark at every single that moves.

  7. Avoid camping to close to the main road or highway or anywhere where a lot of traffic will pass by.

When setting up the tent, make sure it is well anchored against high winds.  Once the tent is set up, leave the mats, pillows and sleeping bags in the warm car until you are ready for bed.  If you put them in too early, they will be cold and damp when you crawl into them later.  When you are ready to go to bed, put some towels under the mat first.  This seems to help make a hard ground a bit more tolerable.  Keep the pillow inside the sleeping bag instead of on the ground outside it so it will stay warmer and refrain from sliding all over the tent through the night!  If space allows, sleep as far away from the side of the tent as possible as they tend to get damp throughout the night and if it rains, even a small hole in your tent can cause massive puddles to form close to the walls.  Trust me, I’ve woken up in my share of puddles! 

Another way to warm up your sleeping quarters will only work if you have some sort of power supply or better operated hairdryer.  Just turn it on and “blow dry” your sleeping bag before you get into it. Lighting candles in your tent also generates heat that stays trapped in the tent for quite a while.  Be careful though!  Never leave them unattended and never let them touch the flammable walls of the tent!

If it is too warm to wear layers when you first go to bed, make sure you leave some warmer clothes close by in case it does get cold later in the night.  The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of the night is looking for something in a cold, dark tent while you are half asleep. I usually stuff extra clothing at the bottom of my sleeping bag.  The ensures that it is easy to find and my body heat will keep I t warm until I need to use it. 

When you get up in the morning , roll up your sleeping bags, mats and pillows and put them in the car so they will be warm again when you need them next.  Sleeping in a tent doesn’t need to be uncomfortable.  Follow these tips and you will get the best possible sleep and be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest!

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