Are you heading to the great outdoors? Before gathering your gear, make sure to check out these tips from the Domestic CEO on what to bring, how to pack, and what to do for the most successful camping adventure.
Mr. Domestic CEO and I recently enjoyed a camping trip, and as we took in the great outdoors, I began to think about all we have learned to do--and not to do--when it comes to overnighting in nature. There are definitely some key things to know if you want to have a successful camping trip! Here are my best tips:
If the Tent Fits.
Make sure you have the right tent for your needs. If you plan on backpacking to your campsite, for example, it’s nice to have a very lightweight tent that packs up fairly small.
Also consider how many people your tent needs to sleep. If a tent is advertised as sleeping 6, that usually means six fairly small people. My husband is 6’2”, so he has to sleep diagonally in our 4-person tent. With him in there, we definitely don’t have room for 3 others--which means our 4-person tent is actually a 2-person tent for us! Be sure to check the dimensions of a tent before purchasing it. Multi-room tents are nice if you are camping with a family, as kids can have a room separate from mom and dad.
In addition to noting how many people are sleeping in the tent, take into consideration what sleeping gear you will use. If cots are involved, you’ll need a little extra space. Are you using sleeping pads under your sleeping bags? It’s best to measure things out and do the math, so that you are sure that when you purchase a tent, it will actually accommodate all your needs. Will your pets camp with you? Make sure there is room for them, too.
Most seasoned campers take along a large tarp or canopy to cover the food area and provide shelter if it rains. Tents are great for sleeping, but if Mother Nature decides to send down some moisture, it can be very nice to sit at a table under a canopy while you listen to the sound of the rain. Rather than being cooped up within the 4 small walls of your tent, you can still enjoy being outdoors while staying dry during the rain--or stay sheltered from a scorching sun.
Sleep Like a Baby
Part of the allure of camping is that you are sleeping outdoors...sort of. The fresh air, the stars, and the sounds of nature can lull you into some of the best sleep of your life--unless, of course, you are sleeping in a cheap sleeping bag on rocky ground.
Be sure to invest in good sleeping gear. If you plan to sleep in the back of your SUV or truck bed, an inflatable air mattress can provide comfort. The same goes for sleeping in the tent. Air mattresses are easy to inflate using a pump with a detachable DC cigarette cord. Simply plug your pump into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter and inflate any air mattress quickly. Many pumps can also be used for deflation, too.
Lightweight, foldable cots are another sleeping option. If you feel better about being off the ground, then a cot is your best choice. Staying dry is much easier when using a cot, too. Then if any rain water makes its way into your tent, you’ll still be dry!
If backpacking is your thing, invest in a good sleeping pad. These pads are lightweight, inflatable, and will ensure you never feel the rocks or the cold ground beneath you.
Choosing the right sleeping bag is also key to a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors. Make sure you purchase a sleeping bag that’s designed for your height and body type. Sleeping bags designed for women are wider in the hip area, and that small change can make a big difference in your sleep quality. If your sleeping bag is too long, you may end up in a tangled mess. If it’s too short, you will constantly be kicking the end.