I think we can all agree that camping is awesome! There are few things that feel better than finding the perfect camping spot with an amazing view, setting up your shelter for the night and settling down to enjoy a hot meal with good company as you watch the sunset.
But, there is always room to improve that experience. Here are 5 backpacking hacks to help you camp better.
1. Leave No Trace:
This hack is more of a mental one that helps all of us who venture into the wild. We all might go backpacking for various reasons but it’s usually to simplify our lives for a few days and see somewhere beautiful.
The goal is simple, leave the wild looking like no other human has been there. There is a special feeling visiting a place that appears pristine.
Pack out everything you brought in with you, maybe pick up garbage along the trail. If you built a fire ring and had a fire make sure it is fully out and then take your fire ring apart, soak the ashes in water and then spread them around. The scattered ashes will act as fertilizer for the environment around your camp.
If you can, don’t have a fire at all. A lot of times you don’t need it and you’ll see the milky way and stars better at night without it’s light in your eyes.
2. Carry Duct Tape with you always:
I don’t mean you need to carry the entire roll, just a few meters of it wrapped around something you bring with you backpacking. I wrap a few meters around the shaft of one of my hiking poles but you could wrap it around your water bottle or a cut a narrow strip of it and wrap it around a fire lighter.
Duct tape can be used for any number of camping fixes like stopping an air mattress from deflating after a puncture. Closing a tear in a tents rain fly, holding together a broken tent pole. The list of uses is endless.
3. Stuff Don’t Roll:
Do you usually roll up your sleeping bag, clothes and tent? Tents and Sleeping bags usually come pre-rolled up in their packaging but this isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to pack them when backpacking.
Usually you will end up with a lot of air space between the rolls that is difficult to remove or compress out.
Try stuffing your tent, clothes and sleeping bag into a compression sack next time you go backpacking. You will be amazed at how much smaller it will be inside your pack.
4. Face your Tent into the Wind in the Buggy Months:
Conventional wisdom will tell you to face your tent away from the wind. But if you are camping in summer and it is buggy it might be better to face your tent door towards the wind. The reason for this is that the bugs in the area are going to try and shelter from the wind on the lee side of your tent. If the lee side is your tent door then they will be waiting there, ready to join you inside when you open your tent to get in.
Face your tent into the wind and the bugs should congregate on the back of your tent, leaving you free to get in and out without being attacked.
5. Leave the Tent at Home:
The beauty of camping is that there are no hard and fast rules as to how you should do it (aside from leaving no trace of your camping).
Don’t always feel the need to bring a tent. Sometimes all you need is a sleeping bag, pad and maybe a bivouac sack or tarp.
The conditions outside aren’t always cold, buggy or rainy. Like having different arrows in a quiver, practice different types of camping depending on your intended location so that you can tailor how you will be sleeping to the expected conditions.
Weather forecasts are highly accurate at least 24 hours into the future. If I’m heading out and the forecast says it will be warm with no wind and it’s late enough into the year that I know the bugs will be gone then I’ll leave the tent at home and just camp out in my sleeping bag and pad. The bivouac sack I use is to protect my sleeping bag and pad from getting dirty but also in the freak instance that the weather changes I can zip it up and be protected from the weather.
So there you have it, 5 ways that you can upgrade your camping experience while backpacking. What are some of your favourite tips, tricks or hacks for camping?