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just doin my job..
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I don't know where you are but my biggest thing would have to be mosquitos. those little buggers can really mess up a persons sleep. I was out in the summer for a two night hammocking trip and we didnt have enough citronella oil or a spare wick, so the second night we didnt have a lamp.. I wasn't getting any sleep just trying to ignore them so I left my hammock and made a bed next to the fire, threw a couple logs on and went back to sleep.

fire helps keep the bugs away when theres nothing else.. but it would have been much nicer on the hammocks with our lantern..
 

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ruralist
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If your in the northern hemisphere take the southern flank of a hill to get some warmth at night. But not a steep hill, or you won't kip. I've never kipped on a serious slope but that's what I learnt. Don't sleep in a dip, ditch or gorge, if it's gonna rain (or just don't). If you sleep under thick canopy and surrounded by densely packed trees it might be less windy but could be more cold. I have a rollup foam sleeping matt, which weighs nothing and takes the pinch out of it and also pack fresh leaves underneath the tent but is just a luxury really. Take a torch, or you will freak out. Or better yet do the night out when its fullmoon. Take an emergency survival blanket in case you overestimated your sleepbag's potential. Have enough bottled water unless you know natural water is safe in the area. If you arent sleeping in a camping area and are going off path I assume you know map reading, unless you just know the area locally really well. Only time I camped in dangerous animal situation was with one german chick and one scot, in a jungle. All I had was a broken lock knife, but since you have the opportunity to prepare, buy pepper counter measures. And more than anything the little animals can be a b!tch, take anti mozzy spray and a mozzy net if you don't have a tent and avoid boggy areas that are rife with them. One of the other things I've always thought putting down is will any humans come by here? It freaks me out to think what some drunk yobs could do with a bottle of brandy and a lighter to a tent and so like to camp within thicker brush areas that provide more concealment (plus it feels cool picking a defensive position :D: )

There should be other suggestions on the way soon, sit tight. Come on everyone he's thrown himself before us.
 

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Use some type of a foam pad or gather enough wilderness debris (leaves, grass, pine needles) to make a thick bed. The purpose is to keep your body insulated from the earth, because it will suck the heat out of you. Even if a sleeping bag or blanket is utilized, your body weight will compress it down to zero thickness. If you use a hammock, it will be more comfortable to some degree, but you will still need an insulating layer of some kind between you and the hammock. Also consider if dangerous game is in the area, a hammock can place you right at their feeding level. Hammocks also prevent a quick escape because they can be difficult to get out of in a hurry without landing on your face.

When sleeping on the ground, be prepared for creepy, crawly things to walk over or hide under you. Many times I've hand some Daddy Long Leg Spiders run across my face at night.

Ensure you sleeping area will not flood and there are no branches or other items that could fall on you.
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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1,403 Posts
does anyone have any tips on staying out the first time?
Apparently you're in Massachusetts so the answer depends on the time of year. If soon, then you'd want a sleeping bag good down to around freezing ( or a good wool blanket) and perhaps a way to get out of the dew (tent, under a lean-to or something.) This time of year bugs shouldn't be too much of a problem, but the deer flies might still bother you a bit.

Where are you camping? Near the Quabbin? Closer to Boston? Out near Great Barrington? Mt. Greylock? In a camping area or out in the wilderness (yes they do have a few acres of old growth forest in Western Mass.)

Allan
 

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I have to second the mosquitos bit. After a long day of wandering and foraging I kinda curled up and had a late siesta in the bushes in Wailea (not on purpose, I was totally burnt out and wasn't thinking). I woke up at around 10pm and moved down onto the beach with my mosquito net over me, suspended by the little grove of trees I like to sleep in. When I woke up, my arms didn't look bad, but later they started itching and I realized what had happened. That little nap off the beach got me 178 mosquito bites on my arms alone. The lesson of this story is not to doze off in humid climates off the beach without any nets. Or around stagnant water either, lol.

I like sleeping without any sort of covering or shelter down in the sand on the beach especially, but anywhere else I at least build a small shelter out of branches and leaves. Of course, you may not be talking about sleeping outside in the same context. Camping or more like living outside?
 

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I hear the bagpipes
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279 Posts
What time of year, what terrain, how long will you be diong this, and why are you sleeping outdoors? The answers to these things will point the way toward a good solution. In the mean time, hiking and survival books will cover the basics of most situations. Without further specifics, it's hard to give any specific advice, but if you have more details, I'm sure you'll get some good answers here!
 

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Wanderer
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Bring tent or other shelter, sleeping bag and pad, food and water, and lots of different ways to start a fire, an axe to chop wood, and perhaps a cooking stove with fuel and utensils. Allow lots more time to set up camp and cook than you would at home. That's not a very "survival" oreinted camp-out, but I would like you to maximize enjoyment of your first overnight in the woods, so go prepared. Build a fire, set up camp, fix dinner, and enjoy. You can learn more about camping, and get into the "survival mode" and learn those skills later. Make your first one the best.
 

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HOPE4BEST&PREP4WORST
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I know that it gets friggin cold sleeping outside without some sort of cover. I thought that I was big bad macho mofo but it gets damm cold in the wee hours of the morning if your body heat is just floarting away into the cold air. Never go to sleep outside right after taking a bath or at least dry out first unless you want to experience hypothermia and risk death. I still can't believe how cold a summer morning in the Texas hills can be.
 

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Deo VIndice
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Suspend or lay a tarp over the top of your tent in case of rain. You'd be suprised how quick someone or something will make that roof leak, especially if you get a small puddle and some clown decides to push up on it to get it to run off!

Also, never be the first to fall asleep...especially if sleeping on a cot...My nephew did that last year...we drug him off into the brush and watched the raccoons run all over him! Well, OK, maybe the bread crumbs helped too! :)
 
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Modern Day Nessmuk
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If you're not going with a tent..... have a fire up during the night. I switch between a single person backpacking tent, and wool blanket/tarp configuration for myself.
 

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You'll just have to train yourself. I never sleep well in a different environment be it a hotel or whatever. It takes me two nights to fully adjust. I can sleep in a sleeping bag, but never in my life have I slept well in one. I move around too much.
 
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