Camping without a tent? That might well sound like the type of disaster you would rather avoid! Indeed, it can often be a tricky situation, especially when you haven’t planned for it and are left tentless on account of damage or theft to your equipment.
However, it might come as something of a surprise that many people do this deliberately and have a unique and enjoyable camping experience when doing so. Undoubtedly, camping without a tent comes with its challenges, but there are many appeals too.
Rollercam, manufacturers of overland tie down straps, says that camping without a tent is also a survival skill, one that you can use whenever your lack of tent is not intended. In nature, there are all manner of natural shelters you can find, and makeshift shelters you can construct.
So, if your ratchet straps break as you’re hurtling down that country road, and you find out you have no tent when you arrive at the camp spot, learning how to camp without a tent could just be the skill you need at that moment.
What’s the Appeal?
In any case, learning how to camp without a tent is top skill for any discerning camper. Nevertheless, there’s also a reason you might go ahead and decide to do it deliberately. If you haven’t sone so before though, it’s wise to bring along a tent anyway. This way, you can try it out without committing fully to having no tent.
But what is the appeal? Well, tentless camping – also called bivvying – is firstly a survival challenge. Just like wild camping and overlanding, camping without a tent brings an element of resourcefulness and survival to the camping experience, something which many campers are actively looking for when camping.
But it’s not just for survival-junkies. Tentless camping can also be a breeze and genuinely relaxing. Tents can often be stuffy, and their main function is to protect you from the elements and any insects that might be feeling hungry. Nonetheless, if you have good weather and insects aren’t a problem, then tentless camping can simply be a better way to get sleep. Think of a vacationer relaxing in a hammock on a beach – that’s a form of tentless camping!
Tips for Camping Without a Tent
So, whatever the reason you might be going without a tent, here follows some general practical tips that can help you make the experience a success – or at least not as uncomfortable as it could be.
Camp with a Tarp
Tarpaulin is due a mention just for being the classic tent alternative Of course, you are not going to find any tarp in natural spaces, so this might not be any good if you’ve been caught out. That said, you can always bring a tarp as well and store it folded up on your person or in your car.
Find a Natural Shelter
If you are in a forest, you can hunt for a hollow or depression of some sort within which to crawl inside your sleeping bag and make it through the night. Perhaps you’ve also found a spot on the beach sheltered from the wind by a large outcrop.
Abandon Shelter Altogether
This rather depends on having clement nighttime temperatures but, if you can be assured of that, sometimes simply picking a spot that’s reasonably flat and using your jacket as a pillow can be a real experience.
Whatever you think of the practice, learning how to camp without a tent can either be an important camping survival skill or it can be one way to take a fresh approach to your next camping trip.