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The Perfect Base Camp

5ws-of-tentsite-selection

Think you’ve found the perfect base camp? Remember your five W’s.

Finding and setting up the perfect camp is central to any adventure.

We’ve collected the “dos and don’ts” for three of our favorite camping experiences.

The Developed Campground

Sometimes you need a quick fix of nature and a campfire. What’s easier than rolling up in your car to live out of the back for a night or two? For a finding-your-sanity adventure or to introduce camping to a new love or young kids, a developed campground is a great place to start.

Do: Find the quietest space. This will likely require multiple laps around the campground to identify – much to the chagrin and ridicule of your new love and/or children. They’ll thank you in the morning.

Don’t: Park next to the bathroom. Enough said.

Do: Go traditional. Bring your own firewood. Pack s’mores, a dutch oven, board games and any other luxuries you wouldn’t carry for more of a wilderness-style trip. Live it up.

Don’t: Forgo a tent. You may be tempted to crash in the car, but don’t cave in. There’s just something about a tent that pulls the full experience together.

The Wilderness/Backcountry Campsite

By definition, you’re backpacking in and nature provides the amenities.

Do: Orient your site toward the morning sunrise. Regardless of how excited you are to wake up and take in the spectacular views, it’s much easier to get out of your bag when the morning sun hits you with its warmth.

Don’t: Camp too near the trail. Few things are more disconcerting than the sounds of other people when your goal is to surround yourself with wilderness.

Do: Bring a pen and paper. No, you don’t need to journal your deep thoughts – unless you’re so moved. It seems like every trip generates a new idea of what to pack next time. Jot those brainstorms down!

Don’t: Rely on the weather report. Even if NOAA calls for balmy days and crystal clear nights, never be tempted to forgo your rain jacket and a few insulating layers. At least in the mountains, the only thing reliable about the weather is that it will change. And, oh yeah, make sure your gear is prepped and proofed before you hit the trail.

The High Alpine Basecamp

Of course you’re always careful to respect your safety and the health of the environment, but high altitude camping takes it to a new level (pun intended). The fragility of both your basic needs and the high alpine ecosystems are paramount.

Do: Bring down camp booties and extra batteries. Booties are lightweight, low volume, saviors of toes and keepers of happiness. Altitude is torture on batteries, so be sure to keep some extras on-hand (and warm) for headlamps and cameras.

Don’t: Underestimate the wind. Select a tent that can handle high, sustained gusts and some snow load.

Do: Bring lightweight entertainment, like cards, dice and a good sense of humor. Most likely you’re making a summit attempt and Mother Nature may or may not accommodate your desire. Be prepared for downtime.

Don’t: Confuse arrogance with confidence. Camping at high altitude is a learned skill. Teamwork is crucial and preparation is a requisite. Watching the sun rise and set over the curve of the earth is something that few on the planet will ever experience – enjoy.

Regardless of how you prefer your adventure, be prepared and leave only footprints.

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Tent Care

Why should you care for your tent?

UV exposure can, for many tent fabrics, be devastating to their performance. In some cases only two weeks exposure can lead to a reduction in the tear strength of the tent fabric by half.

Weathering, dirt and dust can cause water to be absorbed into the fabric of the tent itself, as the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) become less effective. It is at this point that you will find water leaking through vulnerable areas such as seams.

When water, dirt or dust sits on the tent fabric it reduces its breathability. When breathability is reduced, water vapor inside the tent is no longer able to pass through the fabric, and instead condenses on the inside.

What should you do?

Before your camping trip, set up your tent to check its waterproof condition. This is also the perfect time to give your tent a little extra love by cleaning it with Nikwax Tech Wash. If you notice your tent is no longer repelling water, treat it with Tent & Gear SolarProof. Tent & Gear SolarProof provides superior waterproofing and doubles the useful life of fabrics by protecting against UV damage.

How should you do it?

  • Tents are best cleaned, waterproofed and UV protected when pitched. Never machine wash or tumble dry them!
  • Place the tent in an area that will drain easily and is free of excessive dirt or dust.

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Cleaning

  • Add Nikwax Tech Wash (100ml in 6L of water) to a bucket of water and mix until foamy. Sponge all over the tent.
  • Rinse off thoroughly until the water runs clear.
  • Allow to dry naturally (if not applying waterproof and UV protection). Ensure it is completely dry before packing the tent away.
  • Don’t forget to sweep/ shake out the inside of the tent.

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Waterproofing and UV protection

  • Ensure you have the right volume of product. As a guide, 1L of Tent & Gear SolarProof will protect approximately a large 8 person tent (70 square meters). If using the new Concentrated Tent & Gear SolarProof, dilute as per the instructions.
  • Apply the Tent & Gear SolarProof to a wet, clean tent ensuring that you pay particular attention to any seams.
  • Wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.
  • Allow to dry naturally

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Nikwax Concentrated Tent & Gear Solarproof : Complete protection for your tent at a better value

New Nikwax Concentrated Tent & Gear Solarproof provides high performance UV and waterproof protection to double the life of your tent or gear, at a great low price per square meter.

  • Waterproof performance to the maximum testable standard
  • Long lasting UV protection
  • Easy to apply even to a wet tent
  • Safe WaterBased, non flammable and fluorocarbon free
  • Easy to carry and store concentrated formula

Nikwax tent UV protection