Many outdoor-lovers dream of mountain camping. And what’s not to love?
Each excursion is full of adventure. You get to breathe in the fresh mountain air and experience gorgeous scenery.
As fun as it is, mountain camping requires careful preparation. It can be miserable (and even dangerous) if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Here are a few essential mountain camping tips to help you plan your next adventure.
Do Your Research
Before setting out, make sure you do your research:
- Start by choosing a site that’s appropriate for you and your group. You don’t want to pick a spot that has terrain or weather too extreme for you to handle.
- Once you select an area, plan out your route. Know where you’re going to start and where you plan on stopping for the night. This will allow you to find a good spot and prevent you from getting lost.
- You should also research the weather. It is likely to fluctuate, but having a general idea of the temperature and possibility of storms will help you be more prepared.
Wear the Right Clothing
The right clothing will make or break your trip:
- First and foremost, you should have a good pair of hiking boots. They’ll keep your feet warm, provide support, and prevent blisters.
- When it comes to the rest of your clothing, avoid cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture, leaving you drenched in sweat and vulnerable to the cold. Instead, opt for synthetic fabrics. Their moisture-wicking properties will keep you dry.
- To prepare for changes in weather, use a three-layer system. Have a light moisture-wicking garment as your base. If it gets cold, add a fleece layer for warmth. The third layer might be something like a rain jacket to protect you against harsh weather.
Prepare for Nighttime
Nighttime may just be the most challenging part of your trip. On some mountains, temperatures can quickly drop below freezing when it gets dark.
When settling in for the night, keep these tips in mind:
- Pitch your tent on the leeward side of the mountain. The leeward side is the side that is blocked from the wind. It will be warmer and dryer than the windward side.
- Use a camping tent heater to stay warm. Companies make light, portable heaters that aren’t a burden to carry with you.
- Invest in a good sleeping bag. A sleeping bag will get you off of the cold ground. And, a high-quality one will provide plenty of insulation.
- Start your fire before it gets dark. Before the sun sets, it might feel too warm for a fire. But, keep in mind that temperatures can drop quickly. It’s easier to start a fire before it gets dark and cold.
- Bring a headlamp. Maybe you and your group are still on the trails when it suddenly gets dark out. Or, maybe you just need something to help you make your way around the tent. Regardless, a headlamp will definitely come in handy when it’s pitch black.
Prevent Altitude Sickness
Depending on how high you climb, your body may react poorly to the changes in air pressure and oxygen levels. Altitude sickness is real and plagues many mountain campers.
To prevent this unideal condition:
- Hydrate. Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat high-energy foods.
- Stay Calm. If you start having difficulty breathing, nausea, lack of coordination, etc., don’t panic. Overexertion will only make it worse, so take a rest. If necessary, get to a lower elevation to relieve symptoms.
Prepare For a Great Trip!
Mountain camping can be daunting, especially to beginners. But with these tips and a little preparation, you’ll have everything you need for the adventure of a lifetime!