Putting up your tent at the end of a day of hiking or during a trek in autonomy, here are some tips for a successful camp.
Ah! The joys of putting up your tent under the stars with a headlight, the weird noises of the night masked by the snoring of your neighbor, the deceitful rain which soaks your shoes remained posted in front of the canopy, the whistling bugs which have crept under the mosquito net… in short, all the pleasures of the bivouac. These basic rules will allow you to spend nights in the outdoors as beautiful as your days.
Table of Contents
1- Take the essential equipment
For those who do not wish to sleep under the stars, for reason of climate or of insomnia in the outdoors, it should be wise to underline the bare minimum to bring with you to optimize every part of the experience.
Sleeping bag: a comfort temperature will have to be defined according to your journey, but be aware that the temperature of 0°C/+5 °C remains the most practical.
Self-inflating pad or not? Certainly the question arises because you are free to take a foam pad with you. Certainly puncture proofed, but significantly less comfortable. To avoid any puncture, be sure not to forget a repair kit and be careful when you extend the self-inflating pad. Little worries under the tent, the risks are higher when you want to lie down outside.
Tent: of course it will have to be defined according to your objectives, but the model 2/3 persons – 3 seasons is ideal for two teammates. Especially as the half-additional space will be highly useful to install the backpacks and other gears inside the tent. Similarly, a front canopy of quality will help cooking protected from bad weather.
Camp stove: gas, gasoline or multi-fuels? One more time, your destination will define your need. The promise of a engaged trek abroad? The gasoline will be required. For a weekend of hiking locally, without airplane trip, gas will be sufficient. The multi-fuel solution will avoid you to make multiple purchases.
Headlight and multi-function pocket knife: no need to remind you of their needs.
Hammock: a practical solution for the night. Be aware to sleep across, on pain of severe soreness upon awakening.
Water filters / water drinking tablets: useful, because you will avoid carrying your stock of drinking water needed at the beginning of your trek.
2- Choose the location of the camp
Several obvious rules have to be established:
Camping authorizations depend on the legislation in force on the chosen region. It is not permitted to camp wherever we want. If it is a private domain, an authorization of the owners of the premises is necessary. For the rest, it is sufficient to comply with the regulations in force and pay the eventual fees. And even in the case of authorization, you will have to comply with certain rules (regulatory distance of roads or trails, fires allowed or not, etc.). Not putting up your tent near a refuge, except with the authorization of the caretaker.
The proximity of a herd and river banks whose flow could change rapidly in case of thunderstorm. Take a little bit of height, it is less bucolic but much more secure. Especially as it is advisable to camp at more than 70 meters of lakes and rivers, to protect wildlife that goes daily at the specific water spot, among other things.
3- Mounting your tent well
Above all do not wait until the night falls to install the camp. Clear the space where you want to put up your tent. Get rid of stones and other blunt objects. If you can, scatter a few loads of dry grass to significantly improve night comfort. Orient the main opening protected from the wind, useful for evening cooking. In the event of rain, or heavy shower forecast, dig a trench for draining.
4- Light your fire
Attention, it is often forbidden to light a fire, therefore please ensure you comply with the regulations in force, under penalty to make you wake up by a wet drop from a Canadair.
Choose your spot well, protected from the wind, if needed clean the necessary perimeter. Dig a pit in which your stack twigs and dry grass. Avoid gasoline to start the fire. Add twigs and dry leaves. Once started, you will be able to add bigger branches. This pit may also serve as a camp stove by placing a few stable stones around. Attention, camp fires have irreversible implications on the landscape and are to be limited to what is strictly necessary. Preferably, use fireplaces that have already been used. And burn only what has been picked up. Extend the fire to get only ashes, let the fire die out completely and disperse the ashes when cold.
5- Do not leave any traces
These rules are not only specific to wild camping but are to apply to your day-to-day hike.
Bring back what you brought with you. Inspect stopover’s and break’s places for any waste or remains of food and ensure to take with you all waste and garbage, sometimes even those left by others. Dig the excrement in fifteen to twenty centimeters deep holes in the ground away from the camp, trails or source of water. Hide each hole when task is complete.
Our footprints are not only limited to our garbage but also relate to our behavior when we are on site. You are camping in a natural environment, avoid disturbing wildlife living around you. Especially during the sensitive periods of breeding, nesting, during the growth of progenitors or even during the winter. Also avoid speaking loudly and making too much noise, learn how to blend into the landscape. Bring with you or burn any toilet paper used, as well as personal hygiene products.
Never leave food for wild animals. This can be harmful to their health and alter their natural behavior.
So now, it only remains for you to enjoy the pleasure to spend the night under the stars!