Self-guided travel, known as “savage holidays” since Soviet times, has become increasingly popular in recent years. They are not only more affordable than package tours, but also provide more freedom – you are free to choose where to go, where to stay, what to visit. For overnight stays, you can use campsites with tent sites or simple houses, as well as the necessary set of amenities, including toilets, campfire sites, etc.
Such a vacation may not be Spartan at all – a modern range of goods for tourism allows you to get almost home comfort even in nature. However, you need to follow the indispensable rule of any tourist – take only what you really need. A backpack packed to capacity will not bring you any pleasure on the journey. And every experienced camper has his own list of things, which is mostly trial and error. For those who are just starting their history of independent travel, our article will help.
IMPORTANT: It is not necessary to bring everything that we will consider with you. Remember that the main thing is the convenience of movement, and a heavy and bulky backpack will only be a hindrance.
First of all, we will consider those products without which camping would be impossible in principle. These are some kind of meaningful elements of your equipment, the choice of which should be taken responsibly.
During your trip, it will practically become your home – staying overnight in full-fledged houses can be too expensive, besides, spending the night in a tent gives the rest a special touch of unity with nature. First of all, we determine the required capacity – both miniature 1-seater and spacious family models are on the market.
Do not take too small a tent – it will be simply uncomfortable in it. You should not choose the largest option – the larger the tent, the heavier it is. However, if you are going to travel by car, then the extra few pounds is unlikely to be the deciding factor. In addition, the supply of free space will provide you with more freedom for placement.
It is better to opt for models with a built-in awning – they are not only more effectively protected from moisture, but also easy to install. An important characteristic of the material of the tent is water resistance, the higher it is, the better.
Among the additional options for tents that will be convenient when stopping at a campsite, the following can be noted:
- a sufficient number of ventilation windows with protective valves;
- a two-layer front door valve, consisting of a solid and mesh layers – it will provide both good ventilation and protection from the cold outside; v
- pockets inside the tent – you can put glasses, a phone and other little things in them without fear of damaging or losing them;
- hook for fixing – it will be possible to hang a lantern on it;
- lockable vestibule – here you can place your things without fear that they will get wet in case of unexpected rain, and without cluttering up the interior of the tent.
2. Sleeping bag
A sleeping bag will provide you with protection from the cold and a comfortable sleep – if, of course, you choose it correctly. There are many important details to consider here. First of all, choose the type of bag that suits you:
cocoon – a classic version that fits snugly to the body and protects against loss of its own heat;
blanket – such models can be unfastened to the state of a full-fledged blanket;
combined – sleeping bags of this type can be used both as cocoons and as blankets.
Some models of sleeping bags can be fastened, thanks to which one large sleeping bag is formed, in which two vacationers will be comfortable at the same time.
An important characteristic of sleeping bags is the insulation used. More expensive models are filled with down, which combines minimal weight and effective heat retention. However, the fluff is quickly saturated with moisture and ceases to hold back cold air. Therefore, such sleeping bags should be chosen for negative temperatures. For warmer weather, synthetic insulation is suitable, which absorbs water to a lesser extent and dries faster. However, in frost, it shows itself worse than natural fluff.
For a more accurate choice of a sleeping bag for specific weather conditions, you should pay attention to such a characteristic as temperature indicators. They indicate under what conditions you will feel most comfortable.
IMPORTANT: you should not try to choose the warmest model of a sleeping bag, you may simply be hot and uncomfortable in it.
The size of the sleeping bag should be as comfortable as possible:
- it should not be small for you;
- there should be an air gap between your body and the inner surface of the bag;
- the optimal length is calculated by the formula “your height +20 cm”.
You can also buy camping pillows to enjoy comfortable sleep like at home.
3. Travel mat
This is a truly multifunctional item. There are many possible uses for this rug:
you can stay by the fire without fear of messing up or wet clothes;
a soft rug will smooth out uneven floors in the tent;
Its foam structure will create additional thermal insulation and cut off the cold coming from the ground.
The size of the rug should be such that your sleeping bag fits completely on it. It is better to choose the thickness as large as possible – in this case, the rug will be both softer and warmer.
On sale you can also find self-inflating mats, which, when the valve is opened, fill themselves with air. This is a kind of hybrid between an ordinary air mattress and a travel mat.
Additional comfort elements
To ensure a truly comfortable sleep, even for people with special sensitivity to cold and uneven ground, you can take an air mattress with you to camping. When deflated, they are quite compact and do not take up much space in the trunk of your car. After pumping, they turn into a full-fledged mattress – soft, high, comfortable.
On sale you can find various types of air mattresses:
- single and double;
- with and without headrest
- with different number of layers;
- with different internal structure.
To inflate such mattresses, both mechanical and electric pumps powered by the car’s electrical network can be used. The most advanced models are equipped with built-in electric pumps.