How to make camping more comfortable

The call of the wild can be irresistible. Camping enthusiasts often insist there's nothing better than sleeping beneath a star-filled sky, and anyone who's experienced a night under the stars would likely find it hard to argue that point.

Comfort and camping are not exactly synonymous. In fact, many people look forward to roughing it in the wild and intentionally eschew comfort in an effort to create what they feel is a more authentic camping experience. But those who want the best of both worlds can try various strategies to combine camping and comfort.

· Focus on a good night's rest. A good night's rest can be elusive for novice and experienced campers alike. Thankfully, campers can explore various options to make their nights out in the wild more conducive to sleep. The outdoor recreation experts at REI note that there are three types of sleeping pads: self-inflating, air and closed-cell foam. REI recommends air pads or closed-cell pads for backpackers, as these are lightweight options that won't make backpacking more difficult. Self-inflating pads work better for car camping, as these are heavier but also thicker and wider than the alternatives, providing more comfort and support. Bring along a pillow from home or an inflatable camp pillow for added comfort.

· Invest in a good cooler. It's easy to take food and beverages for granted when planning a camping trip. However, when camping for a weekend or longer, a good cooler can ensure food and beverages stay cold without forcing campers to make routine ice runs. Lightweight coolers with thick walls and sufficient insulation won't prove a chore to lug to and from the campsite and they will be highly effective at keeping meat, fish and beverages cold during your trip.

· Increase your body heat before going to bed. Nighttime temperatures can dip even when camping in summertime. Few people find it easy to fall asleep when they're cold, but a few simple tricks can ensure you're warm and comfortable when it's time to call it a night. REI recommends wearing long underwear overnight and putting on a fresh pair of clean, dry socks before going to bed. In addition, eating a light meal or snack before bed will start the digestion process, which can warm your internal body temperature and make it easier to sleep comfortably.

· Spice things up. Food cooked over an open flame is undeniably delicious, but it's easy for campers to forget that such meals are made even better with spices. But foods made around the campfire need not be bland. Spice bottles are portable and don't take up much space. Salt and pepper are must-haves, but it's easy for campers to tote along additional favorite spices to make mealtime that much more palatable.

Camping and comfort may not go hand in hand. But there are many ways for campers to enjoy a comfortable night in the great outdoors.



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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