Few things on Earth can match the unsurpassed contentment of sleeping outdoors. “If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night,” Bill Watterson once wrote, “I bet they’d live a lot differently.” Amen to that!
The stars above, the clouds floating by like sailing vessels, the trees whispering in the breeze. And, of course, there’s the mosquitos, the rain, the crawling critters, and Mother Nature. Like I said, nothing better, with the only caveat being what comes next.
If you want to sleep under the stars, you’re going to need a plan. And coming up with that plan entails understanding what types of shelters are out there and what fits your personal or group shelter profile. During this tour of common shelters, we look at the most basic/minimal shelters and work our way up to more complete shelters.
Let’s hit the trail!
Here’s how this one works: You get tired, you make a fire, and you fall asleep under the stars. That’s it. Welcome to ‘cowboy camping.’
Why cowboy? You wanted an experience in nature. This style of camping places you cheek-to-cheek with (more…)
“Did you ever consider thinking like farmers think,” asked my wife, Christine, over breakfast the other morning. And by “you,” she meant guides, outdoor/adventure educators and those folks who love to explore the outdoors.
I answered her question with a shoulder shrug and a grunt, which meant I didn’t understand the query.
So Christine patiently explained. “When you see a farm in the winter it may look as if nothing’s happening. The fields look bare and quiet. Tractors and trucks aren’t out in the fields working. However, the farm still has work to do. The job of the farmer is to repair equipment, sharpen tools as well as skills and to make sure that come the first day of planting everything is powered up, runs well and doesn’t get in the way of important work getting done.”
“Oh, I get it! We shouldn’t just box up our gear in the off season and forget about it until we want to go on a trip or work. We should be spending the “off season” repairing, understanding and building our skills so nothing gets in the way of fun and important work.”
She has a good point.
So let’s look at some of the skills we can work on enhancing during those days when we can’t get out. The benefit of working on these skills is becoming a better outdoors person by being prepared to deal with issues in the backcountry. And doing this with friends and family creates the feeling you are in the backcountry if you use your imagination.
Let’s start with (more…)