The Camp Champ
Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"When pitching your ideas doesn't pan out, go for a drive and pitch a tent"
The spread of Coronavirus and the associated lockdown has been a frustrating experience for most of us. While working from home has a great many advantages, not everyone is a homebody all the time. Sometimes the spirit of adventure beckons us to step into the sunlight and walk amongst tall grass to be bitten by bugs. In this post, I wanted to share my experience of spending a day in the woods in the bosom of nature, lulled to sleep by the gentle breeze - Actually, it wasn't all that rosy, but it was definitely a great experience.
We are first-time campers, and yet we wanted to experience it all - Setting up our tent, cooking our own food and generally enjoy being in the midst of open nature. Our search for a good camping spot around Bangalore culminated when we discovered Camper's Creek on Camp Monk. There are multiple suitable plans depending on your temperament and budget - starting with a full plan where the camp provides you with tent and food, all the way to a simple plan where you can get your own tent and cook your own food. Although we were first-time campers, we went with the lean plan of getting our own tent and food.
To start off, Decathlon and Amazon are great places to purchase camping equipment. And there is a wide array of products that can sometimes get confusing for a first-time buyer. I am a huge fan of AmazonBasics, a brand known for value-for-money products - great products at affordable rates, and I decided to purchase our tent from there. The tent is quite spacious and easy to set up. There are some tents that claim to be 4 person tents, but you'll end up packed like sardines in them. Pitching a tent on your camping ground is quite different from setting up the tent in your drawing room. The blowing winds made it quite challenging to manage it. As my friend said, all the bugs appear in production while beta testing invariably goes through smoothly.
For the sleeping arrangements, standard sleeping bags are your best friend. We got one from Amazon and another from Decathlon. They were both of decent quality - Again, make your choice depending on the weather and the location of your camp. I used the one from Amazon, and I found it quite comfortable. The ground is not going to be flat and nice - There are going to be all kinds of stones, big and small, and a vanilla sleeping bag on the floor may not be sufficient. While air mattresses are generally preferable, we decided to make do a really thick blanket on the ground. It performed its job well.
The tent has enough cross ventilation and the nets prevent insects from entering your temporary home. However, a sneaky critter managed to enter the one time I left the entrance open a little too long. Getting the pesky bug out was a little annoying. A general recommendation is to carry a bug spray - which we did, but I didn't use it on the fella. Mosquito repellants like Odomos may be another great add-on to keep the pesky blood-suckers away.
As the sun sets and the dusk settles in, the eerie wilderness, crickets chirping and trees rustling can get unnerving for some. We carried a nice little lamp from Decathlon. It was comfortably small but bright enough to do its job well. The folks at Camper's Creek were kind enough to lend their solar-powered lantern to us. A lamp is definitely helpful for your base, but I would also suggest carrying a torch in addition. While your cellphone has a built-in torch, I would suggest conserving your battery for more important things.
Food and water are the most important items to carry. The day was hot, and we chugged two out of our three water bottles quite early in the day. I felt we should have carried more water. We purchased a small camping stove and associated IsoButane gas canisters to prepare some piping hot food at the camp - After all, the experience is important.
We carried food that was good for camping, while also being easy to carry, took little space and didn't leak. This includes instant noodles, instant poha and a couple of biscuit packets. We also carried a small bag of veggies containing a couple of onions and tomatoes, garlic, a capsicum, and a few spices and condiments like black pepper, chilli powder, salt. Decathlon also sells camping dishes, pans and spoons that get packed into a neat little unit.
Hot chocolate can be an enjoyable drink as you gaze into the stars.
As this is our first time, we wanted it to be a car camping experience. Camper's Creek also allows us to take our vehicles into the camping ground. We parked our car in their space and pitched our tent next to the car. Having your car next to your tent can help offer a sense of security. In case you are scared, it would be advisable to have your own can of Pepper Spray. Camper's Creek is safe - The property has electrified fencing around to deter animals.
One last parting tip - Be sure to check the weather. It was quite hot inside the tent as we went in the peak of summer.