On my journey through Africa, I was often asked by friends and strangers back home whether it isn’t dangerous to just pitch your tent in the bush or by the roadside? And I was often told by locals that it really is dangerous to camp in the wild.
What about deadly snakes and poisonous spiders? What about lions and hippos?
What about being robbed or attacked.
The reality is, of course, bush camping can be dangerous. So can crossing the road. But in the same way that you always look left and right before stepping off the pavement, it’s only common sense to be selective with your camp spot.
I always look for a secluded spot where I shouldn’t be seen by people and certainly not from the road. If I know there are ‘dangerous’ animals around, then I either don’t camp in the bush or I do what I can to minimize the risks. For example, always zipping up the tent inner to keep out snakes, spiders, scorpions etc. If there could be lions, I make sure I’m inside my tent well before sunset and don’t get out again until the sun is high in the sky (no matter how desperate for the toilet!). If there could be hippos, then I don’t camp where they may choose a route down to the river…
Well that was all in Africa. Now I’m in Canada, but the same rules apply. Only now I have to be careful about bears, rather than lions. That means carrying bear repellent spray everywhere in case of a chance encounter and keeping the camp spot spotless from food. Bears love the smell of food. So that means cooking away from the tent and storing food at a distance too. That’s not good when I wake in the middle of the night with food cravings, but it’s small price to pay.
In, 20 months of bush camping between the UK and Cape Town and now a month under canvas in Canada, I had no serious encounters.
As chance would have it, my closest encounter came just a couple of days ago, ironically, when I was in town.
Walking to the shop, a sudden gust of wind sent unsecured items flying. I had to dodge a piece of flying sheet metal by jumping into the road before continuing down the pavement, when a tree fell down just a few feet from me. I emerged, slightly surprised, with nothing more than a lot of dirt and leaf debris in my right ear. The parked car wasn’t quite so lucky!
You see, there are risks in all walks of life. Of we were scared of every potential threat or danger, then we’d procrastinate in bed all day. But that’s no way to live. Better to get out there and take a chance. You never know when fate will deal the fatal blow, but it’ll probably be when you least expect it.
We are big fans of Nemo, we love their approach to tent designs and fresh out of the box this morning, we have got a load of their new Astro sleeping mats. These are going to be a serious alternative to the Thermarest Neoair as the pack size is smaller although they weigh a touch more. The reason they weigh a bit more however is due to the whopping 2.5 inches of height they have and the fact they are a little more durable. Dare I say it they are also a little quieter as well when you toss and turn!
They cost £89.99 normally and you can find them on the Webtogs site here, BUT we also giving one away with every single Western Mountaineering sleeping bag and Nemo Tent that you buy for a limited time only.
So if you feel the need for a little more comfort in your tent life, or wanted any more reasons to invest in one of the best down sleeping bags or lightweight tents out there, head on over to Webtogs to check them out!
We had our mate Rick down from Nemo recently to talk through the new tents they have got coming out for next year. This year was our first year of stocking them, and we have all been very impressed by the build quality and low weight of the range.
Next year sees them stepping up a gear and so you have the Obi 1 and Obi 2 tents that weight a paltry 900g and 1.2Kg in their lowest weight incarnations, the Gogo goes from 900 g to 600g through the use of their new Osmo breathable fabric and you have a brand new 4 season mountain tent that sleeps 3, the Alti, weighing just 3.2kg.
Check out our preview on You Tube below. Personally I can’t wait to get hold of an Obi but which ones from next year tickles your fancy?
I’m off to the Brecons this weekend, and Keith gawd bless him, got an advance copy of the tents we are stocking for next year, the Nemo Morpho. I am now officially super excited about this as we pumped it up in the back garden of the offices to take a look.
You may have gathered that the special feature with these tents is that the poles are air poles or air beams, you blow them up. Now before I saw these, I was worried about the robustness of the air poles themselves. Having seen them in the flesh now I have no such worries. They resemble two half tires going around the tent and are just as thick and solid. Design wise it has some lovely touches with a collapsible inner and a really flexible front mesh that can be opened from the front or side. It’s also huge and at just over 2kg it looks like my new fav lightweight two man tent.
I’ve got a couple of photos for you to take a look at above along with the short video clip below, I’ll let you know how I get on this weekend – next week!