Backcountry camping gives us the unique chance to shed our urban luxuries and enjoy being closer to nature. But that doesn’t have to mean giving up the comfort and revitalization of sleep. With the right gear and preparation you too can sleep soundly and appreciate the simple joys of the wild.
Pick Your Spot Wisely – Even the slightest slope will be uncomfortable and cause you to slide off of your air pad. Avoid rocky areas or places with the potential for standing water. This will attract mosquitos, and nobody likes mosquitos.
Invest in the Right Gear – Air pad, pillow, and temperature appropriate sleeping bag are a must. Do some research and test it out in store before making a purchase.
Sleeping Bag: If you’re going to splurge on anything, put your money towards a well-insulated sleeping bag that suits your sleeping style and regional climate. You typically get what you pay for, and a cold night’s sleep can really put a damper on the remainder of the trip. I tend to camp above 9K feet so I went all-in on the Marmot Lithium Sleeping Bag.
Pillow: You can’t bring your full sized Tempur-Pedic from home, but you can get close. The Nemo Fillo Backpacking Pillow packs down to the size of a Nalgene water bottle and provides far more support and comfort than a handful of bunched up clothes under your head.
Air Pad: Different strokes for different folks. I prefer the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Pad because of its quick inflation, thickness, weight, and 4-season use.
Avoid Layers – Be sure to sleep in DRY clothes. Don’t overdress. Knit hat, base layer, long underwear, and merino wool socks should do the trick.
Forget Me Not – Ear plugs, Advil, Chap Stick - staples for every trip. Snoring neighbors, high altitude headaches, and chapped lips won’t make for pleasant dreams.
Tricks Of The Trade – Sometimes experience is the best teacher.
Stuff dry clothing at base of your sleeping bag to reduce empty areas.
Still Cold? Crack open two hand warmers and throw them at the bottom of your sleeping bag.
No Hand Warmers? Boil water, pour it in your Nalgene, and place it by your feet.
Eat a warm meal. Digestion will help circulate heat.
Pee three times before bed OR have an empty bottle handy (sorry ladies). You don’t want to contemplate leaving your warm tent at 2am if you can avoid it.
Last but not least = Kick back. Relax. Disconnect. And keep it wild.
Have some helpful tips? Let us know in the comments below!