Camping without a tent can save you a huge amount of luggage weight and extra packing. While the idea of spending the night next to a fire with nothing but the stars in the sky is usually romanticized, it isn’t as basic as just tugging along a wool blanket though. However, it can still be done when you take the right steps, without having to compromise on a comfortable, good night sleep.
1. Build a Sustainable Fire
Even in the summertime, fire is very important for camping. Regardless of how warm it is, you should have a campfire anyway. The most obvious of the many reasons for this is the much-needed warmth.
The last thing you want is rummaging around in pitch-black darkness trying to look for firewood. Fire will also help with the wildlife. Most wild animals are naturally afraid of fire, and it will, therefore, keep your campsite safe.
And if you don’t know how to build the perfect camping fire, this REI infographic will definitely help.
2. Choose the Right Time and Place
Why is camping without a tent often associated with the western side of the United States? One of the reasons is that the climate there is drier, and the nights are comparably warmer in the months between late spring and early fall.
Whenever cold weather or rain is in the forecast at the time you go for your next camping trip, it would be best if you tag your tent along, even if it’s not part of the plan to use it unless when it’s absolutely necessary.
In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, Greatist rounded up the best places to camp in the country. You’ll learn the coolest features of each natural wonderland, how much it costs, and the best time of year to visit.
3. Have a Tarp
There are particular areas in the United States like the South and the North East that have enough temperature variance and precipitation that necessitates some form of shelter on most camping trips. In case your goal is light packing, then it’s best to at least bring a tarp. It will give you the much-needed shelter from precipitation and other weather elements.
As a rule of thumb, if you are serious about going camping without a tent, you should bring a tarp. You’ll be surprised at how many times you will end up using this amazing item. Below I’ve listed 25 different tarp shelter designs to help you get started.
4. Be Prepared For the Cold
While some purists may beg to differ on this, having some light shelter will still count as ‘roughing it’ for most campers. Even in the summer, bringing along a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag can help to insulate you from the cold ground.
The last thing you want is getting caught outside and having no warmth to help you in the cold night. Be sure to also bring a range of different types of clothes.
While you don’t have to bring your entire closet, ensure you have something for unexpected changes in weather.Learn how to choose what clothing to take on your backpacking trips, and how to layer it with this video:
5. Have Some Solid Foundation of Survival
When camping in some of the popular places, the chances of getting lost are fairly slim, but you just never know sometimes. Skills such as shelter building are not that complicated to learn, and watching a few videos on YouTube can give you the necessary basics.
You can also learn useful tactics such as weather-proofing yourself, lean-to shelters, etc. Keep in mind that it will be very satisfying the first time you use the skills you learned.
There’s no greater test than being able to survive in the wild. It’s just you and the great outdoors, along with your tools. Here’s the simple “rule of 3’s” you need to remember: 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water and 3 hours without shelter. To hone your survival skills, click to check our Survival Pinterest Board.
Camping Without a Tent: Is It Worth It?
Camping without a tent is an enticing idea for those who like adventures. One begs to question if it is it safe and worth it though?
Members were asked the same question in an OregonHikers.org forum. Generally, camping without a tent is safe with the added benefit of watching the stars over your head. However, rain, dew, getting cold, and animals disrupting your sleep are some factors why some prefer sleeping in a tent.
For the sake of getting a good night’s rest try the new VITCHELO® Pop Up Tent. Made to be painlessly set up by one person, the VITCHELO® easy setup tent assembles in a matter of seconds & packs away into a neat 35.4-inch circular rucksack when not in use.
Finally, with the right preparation, it can be a rewarding experience that doesn’t have to put your health at risk. All you need is to choose your materials wisely, and some persistence in tackling whatever hurdle nature might bring.