Cranky Camping 101

I am not a morning person. Nor was half of our crew this summer, and gritting your teeth and bearing it can start to feel like a challenge after your third or fourth camping trip. If getting up early is not your strong suit, or if you find it hard to see bright sides when you’re tired and hungry out in the field, here are some of my tips on how to avoid cranky camping.

  1. Straighten Your Sleeping Bag

Upon awakening, straighten out your sleeping bag and lay in a different position than the one you woke up in. As you’re snuggled in your sleeping bag, listening to the hustle and bustle of morning sounds, which include your teammates and other chatty forest creatures, take a moment to stretch. Everybody is waking up, yawning and stretching just like you.

  1. Salute the Sun

As you crawl out of your tent, look up at the sun and stretch to greet it. Do a little yoga if that’s your thing. Think about how cool it is that you’re waking up in a different place. If it’s rainy, stay in your tent for a little while. Listen to the rain and imagine it soaking into the ground beneath you. Think how happy the worms are that the earth is getting nourished! As you go about your day, remember your morning stretches and the happy worms.

  1. Observe and Reflect

I always look forward to lunch breaks for a reflective moment of calm. I also like to critically think about the different aspects of what I’m doing. How does the dirt feel on my hands? How might this place have looked a year ago? What kind of hidden creatures live here? It may seem silly at first, but it’s a good way to get your brain gears turning.

  1. Use Daylight as Your Clock

When you’re finally settled down, whether it’s at the dinner table or in your tent, notice the world around you settling down to sleep. If you can, don’t use a flashlight (although a headlamp is an extremely useful tool when needed); this makes my internal clock function a lot better if I’m going by the light of day instead of artificial light.

  1. Remember Your Pillow

It took me three tries to finally remember my pillow, but I’m telling you, it’s worth the reminder note. Just this one comfort from home can make camping a whole lot more enjoyable.

  1. Get Cozy

As you’re wrapping up your day, get excited to get cozy in your sleeping bag! Hopefully you brought a comfy pillow, socks, sweatshirt, and hat if you’re in a cold climate. If not, don’t worry—the campfire awaits! Get a good night’s sleep! Above all, take it one day at a time.


Alicia getting comfortable at camp in San Juan Island National Historical Park

– Alicia Raftery, IMBY Intern

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