Overlanding and camping – How to maximize your own comfort on a trip

1. Keep the fly sheet on your tent

Fly sheet on = keeps your tent dry + regulates the inside temperature of your tent.

Fly sheets not only protect your tent from rain, but they also act as great insulators. Cold weather can be an issue whilst overlanding (even in Africa), so if you don’t want to end up as a block of ice it is an important piece of advice to consider.

I tested the tent both with and without the sheet on, and it sure makes a huge difference. Especially in places like the Ngorongoro Crater, in Nairobi or Iringa where night time gets rather chilly.

2. Have a good sleeping bag

“Light” is good; “comfortable warmth” is better!

A good night sleep is essential when overlanding as days are long and often exhausting. In other words, make sure you bring along a sleeping bag that is both comfortable and, most importantly, warm enough.

Look at the warmth factor on your bag, and choose it in accordance with the area you are planning to visit.

I personally realized that while the sleeping bag I had bought was very light (only 150 g), it sometimes didn’t deliver enough warmth in my sleep (it has a comfort limit of 12-15 °C).  For optimal results in comfort, stick to a model that can bear temperatures of 0°C or less.

3. Close your door tent at all times

No creepy intruders beyond this point! Right, huh, Jen? 🙂

It might sound obvious, but keeping your tent door closed is key for three reasons:

  • It keeps unwanted bugs, mosquitoes and creepy little creatures away from your tent.
  • It keeps the inside of your tent clean from dust and sand particles.
  • It regulates the inside temperature of your tent.

Overlanding Trip Anecdote: Setting = Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Imagine this: it’s raining cats and dogs outside and we have all found the warmth of our sleeping bags for a good night recovery slumber. All you can hear is the sound of water droplets drumming down the fly sheet and the noise of thunder in a close distance.

All of a sudden, a deep “goat-like” scream coming from the next door tent: “HEEELP, HEEELP”, yelled Carly and Jen in unison! “What’s going on?”, replied Rob somewhat amused! “There’s A HUGE FROG inside our tent”, answered the petrified girls. “It’s too wet outside”, I jokingly added. “Good night”! 🙂

The problematic “monster frog” the next day 🙂

4. Keep the inside of your tent free of any unnecessary items

Keep it to a minimum. The more stuff you have in there, the less practical it becomes, and ultimately the…”smellier” it gets. Malodorous socks, shoes, or bulky bags should literally be banned from tents.

5. A good torch or head lamp is essential

This “high-power” electric torch is also very useful for animal viewing at night

Walking in the dark is not fun, especially when there are wild animals roaming around and you have to get out for a pressing need. A good torch or head lamp also becomes handy when searching through some of your stuff or simply to brush your teeth. 🙂

I traveled with Acacia Africa on this African safari expedition. For more information on this amazing trip, consult the 58-day Ultimate African Overlander.

3 thoughts on “Overlanding and camping – How to maximize your own comfort on a trip”

  1. You mentioned that you suggest a 0C+ sleeping bag…but not what season you went? Is this recommendation for winter travel, or summer? The temperatures are very different! 😉

    1. Hey Justin, thanks for your comment! There is no “winter” per se in the majority of African countries (apart from Southern Africa), so this recommendation applies in most instances. Unless you’re on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, in which case you’ll most definitely need better equipment! 😉

      My overland trip lasted 2 months overall (November 2010-January 2011), and the only time I could’ve used a better sleeping bag was at the Simba A campsite (Ngorongoro crater rim, Tanzania). The camp is above 2000 meters, so it can get really cold up there!

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