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Unplanned situations - Overnight stays in the wilderness

What to pack for the night and how to be safe and warm?

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Unplanned situations - Overnight stays in the wilderness
Inserted: 20.07.2019
Author: Vladimír Kubík © gigaplaces.com

Perhaps each of us sometimes likes to escape to the peace of nature, enjoy the distant views from the tops of the mountains, or just want to relax from the hustle and bustle of the day for a few days. What do we have to prepare for and what to take with us to spend the night? Let's try to take a closer look at this article.

Sleeping in the wild

What about sleeping in the wilderness?

For some of us, even sleeping in the wild in the woods can be a problem. So let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in a sleeping bag, hammock and some equipment for a comfortable sleep in nature. We will take a closer look at the dangers we may encounter at night.

Sleeping bag

Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in a sleeping bag

Sleeping bag
Author: Vladimír Kubík © gigaplaces.com

Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping on the ground.

Sleeping in a sleeping bag on a mat has its pros and cons. Advantages: – All you need is a piece of flat sleeping space. We practically don't need anything else. – With the right choice of mat and sleeping bag, we have high thermal comfort even in a colder environment. – With the right choice of place, this is perhaps the most comfortable way to spend the night. Disadvantages: – Necessary protection against ground moisture. – In the event of rain, we must ensure that rainwater does not run directly under us and we are not lying in the wet. – We do not always manage to find a suitable dry and flat place to sleep (wetlands, sloping or rocky terrain …). – In some areas, sleeping on the ground is also dangerous (poisonous animals, flash floods …).

Hamaka

Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in a hammock.

Hamaka
Author: Vladimír Kubík © gigaplaces.com

Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping in a hammock.

Even sleeping in a hammock has its pros and cons.

Advantages: – We do not have to deal with the terrain at all and look for a flat place to sleep, we sleep in the air. – Thanks to gravity, we sleep horizontally even on a steep slope. – Ground moisture and water running down the ground during rainfall may not bother us either. – We are also protected from unpleasant and poisonous animals that live on the ground (ants, snakes …). Disadvantages: – We have to have something to tie a hammock. We need two fixed points at a reasonable distance. – „Cold ass syndrome“. The pressure of our body on the bottom of the sleeping bag causes the compression of the insulating layer of air and our thermal comfort decreases from the bottom. – Not all of us get used to sleeping „on a banana“ in a curved hammock.

Equipment for sleeping in nature

Basic equipment for spending the night in the wilderness.

Equipment for sleeping in nature
Author: Vladimír Kubík © gigaplaces.com

Sleeping equipment

What to bring for the night?

We don't need that much to sleep in the wilderness. Whether sleeping on the ground or in a hammock, it is essential to have a quality sleeping bag. The choice of sleeping bag depends on the thermal comfort that is marked on each product and on the material from which it is made. We probably have an idea of what areas we will be moving in and what temperatures we can expect there. Equally important is the weight and also the price. Various reviews on the Internet and recommendations can help us with the choice of sleeping bag … When sleeping on the ground, bottom insulation is also needed. Today, various types of mats are available on the market. From classic foam to self-inflating to specially designed for sleeping in a hammock. The choice of a suitable mat is again up to us. When sleeping in nature, we must also take into account rain showers and thunderstorms. That's why it's good to have a waterproof tent or plastic bag with you. The size of 3×3 meters proved to be good for me. It is a dimension that is abundantly sufficient even in stronger winds, when it rains a little from the slope and thus the dry space under the tent is reduced. A headlamp or some light source is also needed at night. It is also advisable to have spare batteries with you. In frost, battery life is significantly reduced.

Danger when spending the night in the wild

When spending the night, we have to be careful where we sleep.

Danger when spending the night in the wild
Author: Vladimír Kubík © gigaplaces.com

Choosing a suitable place to stay.

Danger when sleeping.

Choosing the right place to spend the night in the wild can save our lives. Therefore, before camping, it is advisable to look around and find out what possible danger may surprise us. So what should we look at and what should we look for? Rubble and avalanche slopes: Especially in the mountains we have to look mainly at each other. A beautiful romantic idyll at a mountain lake with a beautiful scenery around can suddenly turn into a fight for life, when loose boulders from the rubble slopes start flying at us from the ridges of the mountains at night. These boulders and stones can reach several meters in weight, and certainly none of us would even want to imagine what happens when such a boulder rolls over the human body. Sleeping under avalanche slopes is also dangerous. Lightning floods: Even sleeping in dry riverbeds is not safe. Lightning floods often occur in many areas. I don't think any of us want to find ourselves in a situation where we have to deal with something like that. It's not just about the rolling water, but mainly about all the deposits and mud that the water carries with it … Wildlife and poisonous animals: It is not good to choose animal paths to sleep and thus actually lie down directly in the path of the animal. In the best case, it will be just a deer, and in the worse case, for example, the boar of a wild boar with piglets. It is also good to look around to see if there are any signs of the presence of other animals, such as bears, which also live in our country or in Slovakia. We are mainly looking for droppings that contain remnants of undigested berries, grass or blueberries, as well as bear tracks and bear trees that are scratched (the bark of the tree is delicious, bear hair is caught in the bark, traces of claws …). In areas where poisonous animals occur, we must also proceed very carefully with the choice of a suitable place to sleep. Trees: When choosing a place to sleep, it is advisable to look for trees. On the windward sides of the forest, trees are often uprooted by winds and a subsequent fall. We don't even camp around lonely trees, which are very exposed to the wind. It is also not advisable to sleep near trees that are in some way infested and in danger of falling. Food: In areas with bears and other animals, for example, it is advisable to store all food outside the camp or bivouac at a sufficient distance (approx. 200 meters). It is suitable to hang food on a tree to a height of at least 4 meters.

Storing food with bears

As far as possible from the camp and as high as possible …

Storing food with bears
Author: Vladimír Kubík © gigaplaces.com

Finally ...

Legislation and recommendations

At the end of this article, I would also like to draw attention to the legislation and restrictions regarding camping and outdoor camping. Free camping or bivouacs are not allowed everywhere. Before the planned departure, it is good to find out what are the restrictions and prohibitions in the given locality. We can easily get into a cross with the law and pay considerable fines. And even ignorance of the law does not excuse … In the next article we will take a closer look at how to spend an emergency night without the necessary equipment …

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