Camping Gear Guide Intro
Any overnight foray or adventure in the wilderness is going to involve camping, and preparation and proper gear is
likely to make the difference between a night of rest or a night of fitful sleep. Rest is important to maintain
physical stamina and perceptive sharpness in order to enjoy the adventure. But I see many adventurers gloss over
the camping aspect of an adventure, and prepare poorly for camping – either underpacking or, more often,
You need to ensure that the gear is suitable for the particular camping trip you are undertaking; you need to
juggle the issues of comfort and lightness and volume. And of course you have to assume that you will be camping
away from any road, something that necessitates carrying the gear on foot over a considerable distance, or having a
porter haul the gear, particularly on adventures in foreign lands. Beware of underpacking, but beware doubly of
overpacking: I meet many adventurers in my work, and the general tendency is to overpack or pack pieces of gear
that are just too bulky or too heavy, causing consternation and discomfort to carry – even if you use a porter, the
porter may complain or become uncooperative, or simply refuse to work. So, bear one thing in mind: choice of
camping-related gear is more important in the outdoors that choice of walking pants or jacket for example.
Even if you are joining a tour in which the camping is entirely organized by the tour operator, make enquiries to
check that the tour operator makes proper preparations and uses the suitable gear for a high level of comfort. You
should directly take care of your personal comfort zone by taking your own sleeping bag and mat and pillow.
Sleeping bags are not swappable for hygiene reasons; as for mat and pillow, only by taking your own can you
ascertain your personal comfort zone (a tour operator might only provide a basic mat and probably no pillow). As
for other gear, consider investing in a good and light tent, and take it with you even in organized tours at the
other side of the world – using your own tent is akin to sleeping in your own bed: it feels more comfortably
familiar, allowing you to sleep with greater ease.
You should strive to purchase proper gear, which will be light and portable enough – and still offer a high degree
of comfort – to carry with you on all trips, whether that’s going for a weekend in a nearby national park or
traveling half way across the world to trek in the Himalayas.
If you are camping in an organized campsite, you can presume that your tent will sit on flat
and grassy and well-drained ground – the most suitable ground for camping. But if you are camping in the wild,
especially along a trail that’s unknown to you, finding a proper campsite requires some planning. In most cases the
campsite will be imperfect. To start with, you need to camp near a fresh water source (lake, river, pond, or
spring), but you need to consider the geography and terrain and climate so that you do not unwittingly end up on
the banks of a river that might be susceptible to flash-floods if it rains hard throughout the night. Bear in mind
that in dense forest, finding a flat and grassy and safe site near a river might not be easy, and if you are unsure
about the conditions you will encounter, take with you a sickle and a small plough in order to optimize a campsite.
Careful pre-trip research about the terrain is crucial, so that you can prepare yourself for all eventualities. And
don’t forget that you should always arrive at a campsite at least one hour before darkness, just in case you need
to do some work – pitching a tent in darkness in the best of conditions might be slightly unnerving, so imagine the
dreadfulness of arriving at a wild campsite that might need some cleaning up in the dark.