Essential equipment for a perfect camping tripA suitable tent, a comfortable sleeping mat and a warming sleeping bag are all essential for a great camping trip. But how can you tell which ones will really help you survive once you’ve left the city behind?
There’s no better way of escaping the constraints of civilisation than to drop it all for a few days and set off on a camping trip into the wilderness. You’re instantly gifted the chance to rediscover yourself, as your list of concerns is whittled down to just three simple things:
- How far to walk that day
- Where to pitch your camp for the night
- What’s on the menu for dinner
Protection from the elements: the right tent
The be-all and end-all of a camping trip is, of course, a robust tent. As nice as the idea of sleeping directly under the stars on a warm summer’s night is, the reality can sometimes be a lot less comfortable. Left exposed, rain, plunging temperatures and swarms of mosquitos will certainly make for a pretty uncomfortable night’s rest.
For these reasons, investment in a portable roof over your head is unavoidable. A good trekking tent will always have a waterproof outer layer and a breathable inner tent. To avoid stewing in a zipped-up tent on a hot, humid night, whilst remaining protected against bloodthirsty insects, mesh mosquito net inserts are a minimum requirement. Likewise, for adequate airflow the tent should feature vents that can be securely closed, to keep it wind and waterproof should rougher weather strike.
To keep your luggage dry and, ideally, provide space for an indoor kitchen, a separate entrance hall is another prerequisite. This should be spacious enough to allow at least a foot of distance between a camping stove and the tent walls. It goes without saying that the tent’s design should include a sufficient number of guy lines and peg fastenings to ensure it can withstand even the stormiest of conditions.
Recommended: After a hard day’s hiking, the time and effort required to pitch your tent can seem more than a little daunting. It’s moments like these that pop-up and inflatable tents were designed for. French manufacturer Quechua’s Fresh&Black range can be erected in seconds and features a special inner coating that keeps the interior cool in summer and dark for a perfect night’s sleep.
Lie comfortably: the best sleeping mat
As well as the right tent, you’ll need to find a suitable surface to rest your weary body on after a tough day on the trail. A good sleeping mat must be comfortable and offer good insulation – qualities that are best found in inflatable models.
Recommended: If you want more than air between you and the cold ground, take a look at the range of mats made by U.S. manufacturer Exped. These inflatable models are also filled with goose down or synthetic fibres, providing great insulation as well as a high level of sleeping comfort.
Wrapped up warm: the appropriate sleeping bag
Last but not least, to guarantee a restful night you’ll need to look for a matching sleeping bag. Mummy-style sleeping bags, with a hood, a thermal collar and a well-insulated zipper, are an excellent choice. Before you buy, be sure to find a good balance between spaciousness and a firm fit. If the sleeping bag is too tight, you’ll over-heat; vice versa, if it’s too wide you won’t be warm enough.
Recommended: Clothing tech firm Ravean has developed a sleeping bag liner you can wear like a jacket and still look good in round the campfire. To keep you warm in colder climates, the liner has a temperature-controllable heating element, powered by 12-volt lithium polymer battery that can also be used to charge your smartphone.