How to Turn Your Tent Into Your Comfort Zone

  in  General Travel Tips
Camping is my passion, yet I admit I get a little bit frustrated when people bring up the subject of my favourite pasttime. Normally the conversation revolves around all the discomforts they suffered: mozzies, the tent was too hot/too cold, they couldn't sleep well, they got bored, the food was horrible etc. Camping gets a bad press only because most people don't know how to camp. And the reason they don't know how to camp is because they have little experience of it.

There's a pain barrier you must break through in order to know how to camp well. Most people refuse to go through it and quit half way - normally by the second week, all the camping gear is in the back of the car as they've decided to move to a hotel and live a "civilised" life for the remainder of their holiday. If only they had persevered!

Camping well is about eliminating one discomfort after another - until you get to a point where your tent becomes your comfort zone. And if you do get to that point (and I promise you, that will happen), you will stumble upon an incredible realisation: the world truly becomes your oyster. All you need is your tent, some equipment, and you can take yourself deep into nature almost anywhere in the world.

Things you need to consider:-

Sleep comfort
I use a cut-to-size foam pad that rolls up easily for my mattress. My pillow is shallow in depth - just the right height for me.

Temperature Control
This is a big one. In summer, it can get very hot at night, so my tent has mozzie-proof flaps I can open to let in plenty of air and let the breeze blow through. In colder climes, I bring with me a sleeping bag with an appropriate tog level. I always err on the side of having a slightly lower tog, and compensating with extra clothing if it gets a bit colder than anticipated. I control my own body temperature by adding/removing those layers of clothing. I always ensure I have a very warm hat and gloves. I also ensure everything is kept in waterproof bags - keeping everything dry in cold temperatures is absolutely essential to being both safe and comfortable.

Healthy Food
Eating well when camping really helps you enjoy the experience. I carry a small bag of rice with me - which is heavy in and of it self (1kg), but it can last for up to a week. Finding water is not usually a problem. I boil the water to sterilise it, then add the rise and steam boil it with a lid. If I'm really out in the wilderness far from my "base" (my car), then I'll carry light things like dried vegetables and fruits, and curry powder. I never tire of the curries I make. If my car is nearby, well...I can really go to town with some meals, adding tinned tuna and salmon. Nuts are a great healthy snack wiith plenty of calories to keep you energised.

Keep hydrated
I avoid alcohol completely when camping. I like a drink, but not when camping. Camping for me is a kind of purification. I drink plenty of (sterlised) water and keep hydrated. I've had a few drunken camping trips. Purgatory.

Use the phone only for emergencies
Being in nature is a rare opportunity for most people these days. Soak it in when you go camping. Keep your phone on only for emergencies - avoid browsing and checking Facebook or news. The whole point (for me) of camping is to get away from all that.