Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - June 22, 2005)
Getting comfortable camping
Camping, hiking and getting back to nature is the
latest craze for Americans of all ages.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|A little planning can make a
trek back to nature comfortable and enjoyable.
Manufacturers are busy endeavoring to keep pace with production and the latest,
innovative designs to meet the markets demands.
Although a bonanza for the consumer, so many choices may seem overwhelming.
Tents: Tents provide a place of privacy in the middle of wide-open spaces and an
intangible feeling of security once youre zipped inside for the night. Choose
a tent based on weather, activity and number of people.
Sleeping bags: A sleeping bag is one of the most essential pieces of backpacking
equipment. The right bag will keep you warm and comfortable, and perhaps more
importantly, the right sleeping bag will help you get a good nights rest.
Sleeping bags come in various degrees and shapes. According to your needs you can
purchase double sleeping bags, sleeping bags with adjoining zippers, close fit
mummies, broad girth mummies, rectangular bags, down filled and synthetic
Sleeping pads: Try spending a night on bare earth with your sleeping bag and you
will, from that moment on, desire some sort of sleeping pad. Depending on what kind
of camping and hiking you plan the choices are varied from a 35-pound pop up bed to
a few ounces of closed foam.
Weve reviewed and tested a variety of equipment. Its essential that
you perform your own research, but wed like to share what has proved tried
and true for us over the years to offer you a starting point.
Primarily we participate in two types of camping: base camping and
backpacking-lite. Backpacking-lite means every single ounce counts. Every thing you
need to survive you carry on your back. Since we usually backpack from our main
base camp well begin by discussing Base Camping first.
We found the one room Eureka Tetragon 9 (9x9) online at REI. It suited
our budget, while also including the rugged, dependable features necessary. This
tent also has ample standing headroom near the center. At first when we received
our Tetragon 9 we were disappointed that the new design didnt incorporate a
seamless bathtub bottom (the seams came in direct contact with the earth) as our
Tetragon 7 (7x7). We immediately phoned the manufacturer. Eureka
assured us that their method of folding and stitching were fashioned in such a way
that our tent was guaranteed to be leak proof. Eureka did, however, send us extra
I meticulously resealed each seam inside and out. This may have not been
necessary, but this tent has proven completely waterproof through many a Florida,
Georgia, North and South Carolina storm. The tent fly covers and shelters the tent
down close to the ground. Inside, the rectangle clear windows allow plenty of light
and the large venting system keeps the humidity controllable. Although this tent is
not recommended as a four-season tent we have experienced temperatures below 32
degrees and been quite comfy.
Setting up base camp:
Tip 1: When setting up base camp we choose a flat, clean spot between two
reasonably close trees and attach a rope between the trees about 2 or 3 feet above
our tent. We then fold a tarp over the rope (tent style). This protects our tent
from falling branches and debris damage.
Tip 2: Suspend another tarp over your cook table. Put your wood under the table up
off the ground and place a piece of plastic over that. Now you have a dry place to
cook breakfast and dry wood to build a warm fire.
Tip 3: Use a footprint (specially designed heavy plastic) underneath tent to
protect tent floor from abrasion and wear. Footprint should always be smaller than
If it turns cold: Tip 4: We carry a smaller tent for backpacking. If a sudden cold
front does happen your way you can put the smaller tent inside the larger tent
giving you extra protection.
Tip 5: If you expect the temperatures to drop at night, place your folded clothes
at the boot of your sleeping bag. Now you have warm clothes to put on in the
Tip 6: Protect your head in and out of bed. If you are a cold sleeper wearing a
fleece or knitted toque/beanie will help maintain your body heat. You may also
consider wearing silk or wicking long underwear. The tighter sleeping bag fit is
warmer. Always consider using a sleeping pad to maintain body heat from being
pulled into the cold ground. Do not use an inflatable mattress in really cold
conditions. They pull the heat from your body. Consider using a bag liner, these
can raise the temperature of your bag by 10 degrees.
Tips for a warm sleeper: Do not wear cotton. It holds the moisture to your body.
Use one of the newer self-wicking fabrics. As well, a sleeping bag with a wider
girth will give your body room to vent.
With a little planning camping can be a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Back
to Nature will continue this camping series; including backpacking-lite in coming
You may contact Karen at: MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com