#GetOutside in June: camping/sleeping outdoors
I always used to hate camping. On my first big cycle tour, around the coast of Britain, I eschewed canvas for a plan and a bed each night. Writing for Al Humphrey’s blog I explained why this not only gave me two months’ worth of comfy sleeps, it also saved me loads of money. My first micro-adventure involved a rough night in a farmer’s field. But since then, I’ve learned to love camping (though I’ve never been brave enough to just bivvy). It’s so simple and freeing, to be on the road and not worry about accommodation. It’s one of the best ways to be on the same wavelength as the natural world. And, done right, it can be very cosy.
My ‘do it right’ kit list is as follows:
Watertight tent with separate inner (I know this sounds obvious but one of my early camping experiences involved sleeping with my head in a puddle. This might be why I used to hate it so much)
Good quality sleeping mat/mattress – I have a military grade roll mat and a robust, packable inflatable mattress
Snug sleeping bag – mine is four seasons and comes with a hood
Luxury item – mine is my actual pillow off my actual bed. I use a vacuum-pack bag to keep it small enough to shove in my panniers.
So, here’s your challenge for this month: sleep somewhere other than your bed. It doesn’t have to be secret ‘wild’ camping, it doesn’t have to be at the top of a hill (though there are loads of reasons to do that – check out microadventure king Alastair Humphreys), it can be in a camp site with a shower block and a bar, it can be at the foot of your garden, it can be in the wilds of Dartmoor. It can be a proper holiday or a weekend, or can just be one night. Look at the stars; sip tea from a thermos; cosy up in your tent with a good book; listen to the owls; be awoken by the gentle nudge of dawn. There are loads of ways to do it, and each one of them will give you a story to talk about.