We are currently in the heart of the camping season for many people. This article is not really aimed at recreational campers, but rather at wilderness camping enthusiasts. Here are some survival tips that will help you enjoy your expeditions.
Choosing the right place for your camp
It’s not easy to find the perfect place to set up camp. However, we have a list of criteria that might make your life easier:
– A beautiful view to brighten your awakenings.
– A water source less than 100 meters away.
– A place isolated from strong winds, but with a light breeze to keep mosquitoes away!
– Rocks or logs that can be used as chairs.
– A pair of trees to hang a tarpaulin or hammock.
– Firm ground. Avoid muddy or sandy soil.
Stay warm on a cold night
You sleep in your tent, well wrapped up in your sleeping bag, but still feel cold on cooler nights? There are a few simple tricks to make the most of the warmth in your sleeping bag. Here is a list of actions to take good care of it:
– Every morning, when you wake up, leave your sleeping bag in the sun to dry out the moisture accumulated during the previous night.
– About 30 minutes before going to bed, shake your sleeping bag well to inflate it with air and place a bottle of hot water at the bottom of the bag.
– Before going to sleep, do not drink coffee or too much water (or beer). Instead, eat small snacks. This will prevent you from having to get up to urinate outside and digestion keeps your body warm.
– Always sleep with your face uncovered as your breath can create a build-up of moisture in your sleeping bag.
Travel (even lighter)
If your goal is to camp with as little equipment as possible, this stuff is for you. Since you may be walking for long hours during your hikes, it’s important that your backpack is easy to carry. Here are some ideas you can apply to the main objects of your excursions:
– Big leather hiking boots, they’re heavy! Instead, wear boots with synthetic uppers.
– Change your traditional flashlight for a light headlamp. These take up less space and are more practical!
– Replace the big classic tent with a tent shelter. Some of these tents weigh less than 2 pounds.
– To cut your way through the dense forest, you may need an axe. However, this can easily be replaced with a wire saw. This tool really takes up less space in your bag and weighs barely 1 pound.
– You will probably need to cook a few meals. Don’t bring a gas stove. It forces you to carry extra fuel. Use a wood stove, which is lighter and more practical!
– Backcountry camping is not a fashion parade. Bring only what you need: a comfortable sports kit, a raincoat and warm clothing. We strongly advise you to bring your Konifer watch!
– Put all your food in lightweight, re-sealable plastic bags. Original packaging is often too large. As for your liquid, use a “water pouch” style water bottle.
Eat like kings
Stocking up on food for several days in the wild is not easy.
Before you leave, remember to stock up on snacks and meals that keep well and don’t take up too much space in your bags! Here’s how to feed yourself like kings during your expeditions:
– Many companies, such as Happy Yak, sell “dry ration” type meals. These meals don’t take up much space in your luggage and offer all the nutrients you need to be in great shape. You can easily heat them on the fire with your wood stove.
– If you run out of food during your adventure, we have a tip for you a little lower down!
Understanding bear behaviour
The forest belongs to the animals and that includes bears. These big beasts often stay away harmlessly, but encounters can happen. Here’s what you need to know about the two behaviours generally seen in bears:
– A defensive bear seems stressed. A defensive bear seems stressed and seems to be unsure of how to act. It moves back and forth, often with its mouth open. In this situation, talk to the bear in a calm voice. Do not throw anything and do not make sudden movements. Walk away quietly. If the bear steps in your direction, stop and continue to talk calmly and then back away slowly. If the bear charges in your direction, use your bear pepper spray (a necessary and inexpensive tool for wilderness camping) and run away.
– An aggressive bear will approach you carelessly and won’t stop to think. In this situation, stay alert and speak very loudly to intimidate it. Shout and walk away quietly without running. Try to look taller than he is. You can stand on a rock or a tree trunk. If the bear charges, use your pepper spray and run away.
– Also, be careful where you leave your food. Never leave it in your tent because you don’t want to be woken up in the middle of the night by a hungry bear. Place your food in a tree or in a pole designed for this purpose.
Boil water to make it safe to drink.
If you run out of water during your stay in the forest, don’t panic. There is a very simple technique to drink stream water safely: boil it. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
– Bacteria, viruses and parasites are eliminated from the water when it reaches a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. So when it reaches boiling point, you can drink it safely.
– Before treating your water, boil a small amount of water in the pot. Swirl this water around in the pan to disinfect it.
– Boiled water tastes flat. You can add flavouring to it to make it taste better. If you don’t have any flavouring, pour your water from one flask to another to aerate it. This will give it an oxygenated taste.
You can also purchase specially designed products before you leave, such as water purification tablets and filters.
Orienting yourself with the stars
Did you forget your compass? No problem, the stars are there for you. They can help you easily find north, east and west.
– The North Star never moves. It’s always within 2 degrees of true north. Learn to recognize this star and you will never lose your way!
– The moonrise can show you east and west. Before midnight, the bright side of the moon faces west and after midnight it faces east.
– Even if it’s not night, you can still get information. Indeed, the sun is a good indicator of the time of day.
Running out of food? Eat grasshoppers
It may seem strange or disgusting, but insects make very nutritious snacks for emergencies:
– On average, a grasshopper contains 20.6 grams of protein and 5 milligrams of iron.
– To make eating easier, remove the legs and head of grasshoppers.
– Cook before eating. Cooking kills the grasshopper’s internal parasites. You can skewer the insects with a small stick to cook them gently on the fire.
We hope you will try some of these tricks. Of course, there are hundreds of additional survival tips for wilderness campers. Feel free to share with us your own forest adventurer “tricks”!