A home in the great outdoors

Living in a house or apartment isn’t for everybody. For many it’s just too much of a hassle or an expense. For others it’s too fixed and permanent, while other people may feel it’s too unnatural. After all, humans have only been living in modern houses and apartments for a very short time. We’ve spent most of our history inhabiting caves and mud huts rather than brick and concrete buildings.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that many of us don’t like houses and apartments and are choosing alternative ways to live. Some people live in trailers or converted buses, others build tree houses, and many, especially nomadic types, live in tents. There is a big difference, however, between the tent that you put up in your back garden as a child and the tents that people choose to live in full-time.

By far one of the biggest complaints you hear from people when they stay in tents is that they can’t sleep well. There are a whole number of potential reasons for this, but if the area you are sleeping on is rough and uncomfortable, you’re unlikely to be able to stick it out for any extended period of time. Conventional mattresses are problematic – they get wet and dirty easily and become home to all kinds of bugs. On top of that, they are difficult to clean and get dry and extremely cumbersome when it comes to moving them. So it seems obvious that the best bet for getting a decent night’s kip is from using an inflatable air mattress. There are plenty of different types, so you can check some of them out at http://www.sleeponair.net/ if you’re thinking about getting one.

If you haven’t actually chosen your tent yet, you’d do well to visit a few shops and talk to some veteran campers. You want something that is going to remain sturdy and protect you and your possessions from the elements, bugs, mosquitoes etc. while not getting overly hot or cold inside. It should be ventilated. It needs to stay firm in the ground, too. If you’re going to live in in for months or years, buy a large tent. You’ll need room to maneuver in, especially during bad weather when you may want to sharpen your tools or just stretch out. Consider whether you want your tent to blend in with the environment or not. If you do, this will help you choose the right color. You can always add foliage, mud or your own ghillie cover to give it added camouflage. Consider how much weight and bulk you can carry, too, especially if you plan to move around from place to place.

You can put down thick carpeting on the ground mat if you want to make the base more comfortable, but bear in mind this will also be difficult to clean and a burden to carry with you. Pillows, of course are another option, but a better and more lightweight option is to rest your head on a clean t-shirt stuffed with other clothes. Most people who live in tents try to keep their possessions to a minimum as they usually just create unnecessary work and weight.

Lightweight, solar powered appliances can be a godsend – a kettle will allow you access to clean water quite quickly in difficult circumstances. Use a shovel to bury your natural waste, although food scraps should be stored in a sealed, metal container which will hide their smell. If this is not possible, dispose of carcasses or bones etc. well away from your tent.

In fact, you should prepare, cook and eat food away from your tent. You may end up spilling food or blood in the area which will attract predators and scavengers. The last thing you want is to wake up with a hungry bear outside your tent. The bear will be able to smell you and its claws will make short work, first of the tent and then of you.

If you are planning to live in an area where there may be bears, you should carry a firearm of a caliber great enough to stop a large bear with one shot. Of course, nobody wants to have to shoot a bear, but you wouldn’t have too many regrets if you knew that the bear was planning to rip you apart and have you for lunch.

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