Like all great real estate, it is all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION, especially in the primitive camping business. You want to put the tent or hammock not too low, not too high but somewhere in the middle where the ground is level and free of debris that would make sleeping uncomfortable. I will explain how we do it at Naps Happen campground.
I found this nice and shady spot under a big oak tree. The ground drains water really well so it doesn’t create a mud hole where we sleep. The enormous oak tree provides all day shade to keep me and my supplies cool along with a nice view while at base camp. The ground is level so I don’t roll to one side in the tent. If you have to sleep on an incline, make sure your head is elevated higher than your feet so the blood doesn’t rush to the head. Only bats and opossums are good at sleeping upside down. Scenery is important because it helps with relaxing and meditation. As for the hammock, keeping it off the ground is key so you don’t have animals sniffing on you in the middle of the night. I love nature but I also like my privacy just like the rest of us. I would say at our campsite, four or five feet off the ground is fine. The biggest thing out here are hogs, deer, raccoons, rabbits, turkey and of course humans. Once you set up shop you really don’t want to move around a lot unless you are hunting, fishing or gathering wood. I would recommend doing these things either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid over heating in the middle of the day. If you have to do it during the hottest part of the day, bring water and some kind of hat or stay under shady trees if possible to keep you cool. Light colored clothing that reflects the sun is also a plus when camping. I recommend white or light colored shirts, this would also help other people see you if you become lost or wonder on a hunting property by mistake. As you can see I didn’t have a lot of supplies, just the most efficient supplies for our trip.
This is our new farm camping site. In this setup you can see the ground is already flat, debris free and next to some trees for late afternoon shade. Around noon the sun is everywhere so we like to duck under the trees for shade access and a few exercise workouts on some home made equipment attached to the tree. There is a rope climb and some monkey bar handles all along the tree branches, a look out platform for another great view of the pasture including but not limited to, double rainbows in the day and shooting stars at night. This adds to the relaxation and meditation we all need in the struggle of life. These are just some of the remedies you can experience while getting back in tune with nature.
This is my favorite spot to date. This is at Naps Happen campground next to the Suwannee River and second magnitude Gornto spring. Knowing that this site is so close to a big water source, this would tell me that the area is prone to flooding and I need to find the highest spot in elevation to set up my tent. Once I have found a level place to setup the tent, start making the bed on the inside. This is important if you want a good nights rest. Build the bed like a birthday cake with all the fluffy stuff in the middle and the warm layers such as sleeping bags, cover the outside like a hearty blanket. The fluffy stuff I use is a queen size Corda Roy’s (Shark Tank Winner) beanbag bed. You can put regular queen size sheets on it for added softness. Please visit the link on our page to find out more about the variety of beds Corda Roy’s manufactures. There are a lot to choose from! The next most important is fire. You want the fire close to the tent but not too close so it doesn’t burn down in the middle of the night from ashes or coals sparking from the fire. In the picture, the fire is situated down hill in front of the tent door and in a bowl shape area to conceal any wandering flames. Surrounding the fire with rocks, dirt mound, hearty logs, metal ring or bare surface with no flammable debris is fine. If you use bare surface, make sure it is wide enough so the flame has difficulty spreading outside the contained area. Now that you are all sweaty, I would recommend the solar shower option with 5 gallons of clean water to use. Essentially it is a thick plastic bag that heats in the sun and has a hose attachment that allows the water to trickle down as you need it. I can hang it in a beautiful tree and imagine myself in a mystical nature scene while showering, when I get carried away. Or use it as an extra water source for cleaning cooking equipment or just wash the hot spots as needed. Truly a primitive experience 🙂 After you have made a nice spot for the fire, unfold some chairs and take a break, you made it this far. Once rested you will need to gather fire wood while someone else prepares food. The person collecting wood should bring the machete or axe to cut those awkward pieces of wood to carry back to camp. Making more than needed trips can waste precious energy and you want to conserve that stuff because conveniences are limited. You can snack as you go but the trick is to use the day light to collect enough wood to last the night, so you don’t have to look for it in the dark. You have flashlights in case you need them but I’d rather search in the daylight. Don’t forget about bugs. I had a citronella tiki torch that helped with the mosquitos. Using one of those Therma Cell devices is a huge benefit as well. I bought mine at Wal-Mart for $20. Any outdoors store should carry one such as Tractor Supply or Ace Hardware. I also had long sleeves and pants with an organic repellant that was sprayed on my skin. If you do spray it on the skin make sure to use natural products from nature, after all that is where it came from. Any citronella infused repellent is ideal. You can use deet but only spray it on your clothes and avoid the skin if possible because it soaks into the skin and thats not good. Why you ask, just try to read whats in it and you’ll know why. They don’t even tell you… Remember it’s not a lotion, just a repellant 🙂 Once you have enough wood to last the night, enjoy your hard work around a cozy fire, comfortable chair with food and drink, because you earned it.
Le Bon Temps Roulé !!!
Here is a checklist we use when we go camping.
Water (drinking and washing hands)
Food (anything cooked by fire or from a cooler)
4 person tent
Sleeping bag + Pillows
Lantern / Flashlights
Sleeping mats (thick foam / rubber mats or similar)
Machete / Axe
10ft x 10ft Tarp
Fire grate + Grill rack
Tiki torch with citronella fuel
Lighter or magnifying glass + Kindling
First aid kit
Long sleeves + Pants, Hat + Closed toed shoes