Warning! This article is not for those faint of heart. You’ve probably heard about camping – pitch a tent, start a fire, cook a meal over a fire. Well, today we’re going to crank things up a bit and talk about extreme camping. Yes, we know it sounds like the teaser trailer of an upcoming TV series, but it’s actually a legit sport, practiced by many experienced campers and survivalists. In this article, we will show you the ABC of extreme camping and, of course, will be providing you with a small checklist of things you’ll need to bring along.
Extreme Camping 101 – How to Do it and Where to Go?
The difference between regular camping and extreme camping can be summed up like this. Imagine heading out into the wilderness (doesn’t matter if you’re alone or not).
At one point during the trek, a wild cliff appears. Of course, after you climb it, you start looking around for a place to pitch a tent. A regular camper will probably look for a cozy spot, probably by a stream running near the forest whereas an extreme camper will hang a hammock on the cliff and spend the rest of night dangling in the air.
Sound’s breathtaking, doesn’t it? Well, it is called “extreme camping” for a reason. So, if you want to take this step, you’ve got some prepping to do.
Step 1. Get in shape
Extreme camping will definitely put your nose to the grindstone. This means that before attempting anything, you should start getting in shape. Here are a couple of quick wilderness training tips:
- Try rationing your food – remember that out there you won’t have the luxury of shopping for food. While preparing for your trip, try to eat small portions (enough to appease the rumbling tummy but not too much).
- Sandbags in a backpack – to build endurance, you can try putting a couple of sandbags in your backpack and jogging around the neighborhood.
- Climb – there will be a lot of climbing involved, so you’d better find a suitable place to work on your rope/climbing skills.
- Cold showers – the nights can get very chilly when camping out. To increase your cold resistance, try taking cold showers at least one per day.
Step 2. Work on your wilderness survival skills
Being there all alone (just you and whatever Mother Nature throws at you) is not quite what you would call a very comforting thought. This is why it’s imperative to work or hone your survival skills. Here’s what you’ll need to work on.
- Fire – if don’t already know how, learn how to make a campfire using various utensils (waterproof matches, lighter + fluid, flint + steel, rubbing sticks).
- Knife – apart from being the survivalist’s most treasured possession, the knife is a versatile tool. Learn how to chop wooden stakes (tent pegs or building a shelter), hunt, and improvise weapons.
- Steel yourself – being out there alone, can be overwhelming. You need to learn how to be determined and calculated – when to take a risk and when to back off.
- Food and water conservation – remember that a human being can survive three weeks without food but only three days without water. Take one or two sips each time you feel thirsty, ration your food in case something goes wrong, and always have another water recipient at the ready.
- First-aid – remember that you will be all alone out there. If something goes wrong, the chances are that you’ll die before help arrives. That’s why it’s crucial to work on your first-aid skills. Learn how to improvise splints, bandages, debride/clean/suture a wound, how to treat a snake bite, and how to fix dislocated limbs.
Step 3 – Gearing Up
We’ve talked about getting in shape, survival skills, and now it’s time to say a couple of things about extreme camping gear.
- Tent – No matter how seasoned you are, you’ll still need a tent. A camping tent for base camping is the ideal choice for survivalists – it’s light, you can pack and pitch it in a matter of seconds, and it doesn’t take too much space. Trust us – spending the night on a bare cliff might make for a good Instagram story, but, in the long, it’s not worth catching pneumonia.
- Hard shell jacket.
- Lightweight backpack – remember, that this is no ordinary camping trip. You should take the things you can’t live without. For this, a lightweight backpack is more than enough.
- Knife – go to your local military store and pick up a knife. Don’t forget to sharpen it before venturing into the wild.
- Flint and steel. You could also try starting up a fire using two pieces of wood.
- Lightweight sleeping bag.
- Climbing gear – get a harness, cord, rope, and webbing. Remember that you will have to traverse cliffs and other inaccessible locations and not all of them can be climbed without safety gear.
- Water recipients – two aluminum water bottles should be more than enough. Best go with the 34-ounce version.
- Food – dry food’s your best ally against hunger. Don’t burden yourself with too much food and don’t overeat.
- Flashlight – we know how hardcore you are but do make sure to bring a flashlight with you. There’s no point to stumbling around in the dark just to prove your prowess. That’s how accidents happen.
Step 4 – Figure out where to go
All dolled up and no place to go? We can easily fix that. Pick a date and take a moment to take a look at these breathtaking extreme camping places.
1. Pitching a tent against a cliff
How more extreme can you get? Pitching a tent against the side of the cliff is enough to give any adrenaline junkie a run for his money. Just make sure to secure the tent to the side of the cliff before going to sleep because you don’t really want to end up at the bottom in the dead of night. We heard that the Alps are gorgeous this time of year.
2. Camping in the snow
Yes, you read it right – no tent, no fire, no anything. Just pull out your sleeping bag, place it on the ground, and wait for the Sandman to come.
3. Ice Cave Camping
The Ice Man cometh! Well, if you’re really into extreme snow camping, you could try spending one or two nights inside a snow cave. For this, you’ll definitely need a sleeping bag and a thick winter jacket. Don’t forget to light up a fire and to make yourself a nice cup of Joe because hypothermia’s no trifle.
4. Camping out in a blizzard
If you want to combine camping against a cliff and snow, you can also try pitching your tent against the side of the cliff during a blizzard and to wait it out. Believe us that there’s nothing more frightening and thrilling than snow hitting the tent’s canvas and the moaning sound of ropes.
As you can see, extreme camping’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Out there, you have to be ready to handle things on your own. However, it’s always a good idea to share this amazing experience with someone as in love with the extreme as you are. As a bonus, we advise you to tell someone where you’re going before setting out. The road’s riddled with unforeseen dangers and, sometimes, calling for help is impossible.
Photo: creative commons license from Wikipedia