When you think of camping out for one or more nights, then most people think of snuggling up in a sleeping bag inside a camping tent.
Few people think who have actually gone camping outdoors seriously imagine camping out without a tent. But those who have never tried it may daydream about it. Certainly we have Hollywood to thank for hundreds of romanticized Westerns and adventure movies where the heroes lie down next to a camp fire and pull a blanket over themselves.
The reality is that one blanket wouldn’t be anywhere near enough, and with nothing underneath them as a barrier to the cold and damp from below, they’d be lucky to get any sleep at all.
John Wayne only had to lie down for the cameras. But you need to get a proper eight hours of shut-eye… warm and dry.
So yes, you can enjoy camping without having to carry a tent along with you… As long as you know what you’re doing.
You have to take care of several things that a camping tent would have normally done for you…
(1) Shelter. Mainly this is keeping off the rain from above, and in windy weather, from the side as well.
(2) Insect Proofing. This can be by having a mosquito net of some kind, or else smearing yourself with insect repellent. (Better than nothing, but not particularly effective.)
(3) Keep your Sleeping Bag Dry. Even if it isn’t raining overnight. Your sleeping bag can be soaked from above with dew and with moisture sucked up from below by your body heat. The cold ground also leaches away your body’s warmth, which is why experienced campers like to have more insulation beneath them than above them! (A mattress or foam sleeping pad normally provides this.)
Three popular ways of camping without a tent are to make use of a camping tarp, a camping hammock or a bivvies. All of these have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. But most of them are lighter and quicker to set up than a camping tent. And that’s just what the hiker or lightweight camper needs.
A camping tarp won’t keep away any insects, but it will keep the rain and dew off you overnight. It doesn’t weigh as much as most tents but it does take some skill to set up right.
A camping hammock is a bit like a one-man tent without poles. String it between two stout trees or supports and you’ve got it made – in the shade. These babies even have rain protection and insect mesh. So no mosquitoes.
A bivvies is the smallest, lightest system of keeping your sleep sack dry, you warm and the insects away from your skin. It’s also very low-profile and works as an emergency survival bag for hikers out in the wild as well.
David Harvey has enjoyed recreational camping for more than 40 years, sleeping alone or with friends in tents large and small, summer and winter. He has been both a Boy Scout and a Scout Leader, and still makes use of his camping gear whenever he needs a break from his Internet Publishing pursuits. David is a the publisher of several web sites, including http://www.1campingtent.com/camping-without-a-tent.htm
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