Will Camping Overnight Be Exhausting?
Will camping overnight be exhausting? The answer to this question is definitely YES.
If you don't get a good night's sleep, you will feel extremely tired.
The vast majority of people give up on camping after just a short experience because they can't get a good night's sleep. It may seem unbelievable, but it's true that many people have a not-so-good experience on their first night camping, and it completely turns them off from camping again.
As a person with a considerable amount of camping experience, I have slept in various enchanting settings, ranging from the lush forests of the Dabie Mountains and the tranquil banks of the Yangtze River to the vast grasslands and snow-capped mountains of Tibet. I've slept in the simplest makeshift shelters, regular four-season outdoor tents, military tents, sandpits, cat ear caves, and foxholes. Through all these experiences, I have discovered some recurring patterns:
First thing you need to know: the first night is the toughest to endure.
The main reason for the difficulty on the first night is the change in sleeping environment.
Sleep is a tricky thing, which is really hard to say: some people can't stand any light, while others need a small night light. Some prefer a high pillow, while others like to sleep without one at all. Everyone has their own unique preferences, but when you go camping, the sleeping environment inevitably undergoes changes, making it harder for people to fall asleep.
It's practically impossible to replicate the exact sleeping conditions you have at home while you're out in the wilderness. As a result, the first night of camping is generally the most challenging. The following day, you feel groggy and extremely uncomfortable. If you manage to get an hour or two of sleep on the first night, you're considered lucky. However, if you can't manage to close your eyes all night, you're in real trouble. You find yourself in a state where sleep is elusive, and when you're awake, you end up with a headache.
Generally speaking, on the first night of camping, you can usually manage to doze off for a brief period, even an hour or two is sufficient. However, if you find yourself unable to sleep, don't get anxious or frustrated; it's best to stay calm and simply lie down to rest.
The second day is crucial: learn from your discomfort on the first night and take steps to improve your sleeping conditions.
Therefore, camping overnight can be tiring, but it's not impossible to overcome. You need to focus on two things:
- Surviving the first night
- Improving the environment during the second day.
Surviving the first night is essential, and you should take note of the following aspects:
Make sure you don't freeze yourself to death. In reality, it's not just the cold that's a concern; the wind can be even more brutal. Avoid setting up your camp in windy areas, and ensure your tent is fully windproof.
If that's not possible, find ways to protect yourself from the direct impact of the wind. During my military training days, I had to sleep in sandpits. I would dig a hole in the sandy ground, place a tarp and a sleeping pad, and keep my clothes on while wrapping myself in a blanket and a sheepskin coat for camping. In the Chaidamu Basin in October, the nights were already freezing, and 'snow in August' is no joke. In a sandpit, you get no protection from the wind, and to be honest, it's almost impossible to fall asleep. Initially, I was worried about sand getting into my sleeping pad and blanket, so I tried to separate them with the tarp. However, in less than two hours after nightfall, I gave up and just pulled the tarp over the top to block the wind. At that point, who cared about the sand anymore? Anything was better than freezing to death.
Excessive humidity can be incredibly uncomfortable, leaving you feeling sticky all over, and your skin sticking to everything it touches. It's very unpleasant and makes falling asleep nearly impossible. Moreover, if moisture gets trapped inside your sleeping bag or blanket, it becomes even more uncomfortable, and as the night goes on and temperatures drop, it can turn uncomfortably cold.
During border patrols in Tibet, there were times when we had to sleep in gullies. The water vapor from India collided with the Himalayas, creating clouds and mist, which led to extremely high humidity. It felt as if you could wring rainwater out of the air. In such conditions, you need to protect yourself from both rain and moisture, and it's best to avoid using sleeping bags with synthetic linings. My trick was to bring along a small piece of thin plastic sheeting, lightweight but with a decent surface area, and place it underneath my sleeping area to insulate against moisture.
3. Snakes and insects:
It's advisable to opt for a screen canopy tent and complete enclosure to minimize any unnecessary risks. Snakes don't negotiate with you. Generally, snakes won't actively attack humans, but they can't predict whether you'll attack them. In case of a misunderstanding, if one bites you, even if it's non-venomous, it can still be a terrifying experience. So, when you venture outside your tent at night, make sure not to be careless and always use your flashlight when needed.
Before setting up camp, at least take a moment to survey the area. The world is vast, and there's no need to jeopardize your life by camping in a gully or under a cliff. There are plenty of safe places without the risk of mudslides or avalanches, so why do you insist on seeking excitement and putting yourself in harm's way? What's the point?
On the second night, you have the advantage of a full day to make improvements based on the challenges you faced with sleeplessness on the previous night. How exactly you can enhance your camping experience is something you'll need to figure out for yourself, as the environment and individual needs can differ. However, I do have a few items that I always bring along and would like to recommend to you.
1. Entrenching tool (Military Shovel):
A versatile tool! It can dig trenches, chop wood, level the ground, and even be used in combat! It's an absolute essential for any household trip, military march, or camping adventure! Just make sure to avoid buying those 'multi-functional' folding gadgets from online stores. Instead, look for the simplest and most functional type – the kind issued by the military!
2. Plastic sheeting:
Don't go for anything too thin or too thick, and definitely avoid those fancy ones. Opt for the simplest type, similar to the kind used in agricultural plastic greenhouses. It's lightweight, durable, and incredibly versatile. You can use it for setting up tents, as a groundsheet, to collect rainwater and dew, and even to create an impromptu water pool by digging a hole and lining it with the plastic sheeting. There's no limit to its usefulness; it's a must-have for various camping needs!
3. Mineral water bottle:
Any regular mineral water bottle can prove to be far more versatile than you'd think. Wrapped in a towel, it becomes a pillow; placed under a wooden board, it can help with balancing. It can hold water, serve as a makeshift raft, and even act as a filter. The possibilities are endless!
On the following day, make the most of your time to make some improvements, and coupled with being genuinely tired, you'll find it easier to fall asleep on the second night and recover quite a bit. This process may repeat itself for a while, but as you gradually become familiar with the environment, it will get better.
Therefore, camping can be tiring primarily because of the changes in surroundings and the need for adaptation. If you mentally prepare yourself, it won't be as uncomfortable as you might expect. The key is the second day; figuring out ways to improve your situation on that day will help you get through it. It's at this point that you can truly start to enjoy camping.