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Hey, do you like camping and backpacking with your friends? Of course you do. So obviously you’d like to be invited on lots of trips. How do you get invited on lots of trips? You learn how to be a good tentmate, and make your tentmate’s experience a good one. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

1. Hydrate
Drink a lot of fluids before you go to bed, to ensure you are well hydrated and able to get up to go pee plenty of times during the night. It is a good idea to put your headlamp in a location where it will be hard to locate when you need to pee, such as the bottom of your sleeping bag. When getting up to pee, maximize movement inside the tent: Don’t just unzip your sleeping bag a couple inches and slide out-go all the way down to your ankles. Put on a couple jackets before you go out, maybe even some Gore-Tex. Turn your headlamp on its high setting before you do all of this. If it’s snowing, leave the tent door open while you’re out there doing your business.

2. Manage Your Stuff
If you have wet clothing items such as socks and shirts, put them on your tentmate’s side of the tent. Pro tip: They will dry overnight if you can sneak them into his/her sleeping bag.

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3. Fart
Try to eat foods that give you gas, in both quantity and volume, as well as those that produce strange and interesting smells in high intensities. Your tentmate will enjoy periodic breaks from breathing fresh mountain air, as well as trying to come up with words to describe his/her new experiences with the sense of smell. Try: lentils, textured vegetable protein, other high-fiber foods.

4. Share The Warmth
Nothing beats spooning for maximizing bodily warmth. Especially if you’re just friends. If your tentmate seems not-so-keen on the idea, explain that it’s a common technique used in alpinism, and usually changes nothing in previously platonic relationships. Or say, “Dude, my nose is cold, just let me put it against your neck for a few minutes,” or “Come over here, you big teddy bear.”

5. Illuminate
Always keep your headlamp on its high beam, which will be helpful for reading your book long after your tentmate has shut his/her headlamp off and gone to sleep. When speaking to your tentmate, make sure to point your headlamp beam directly into his/her eyes.

6. Bring Snacks
Who wants to go all the way over to the bear canister to get a midnight snack? Grab a bag of crunchy foods to eat in your sleeping bag just in case. Corn Nuts, carrots, peanut brittle, and Doritos all make great midnight snacks.

7. Be A Good Conversationalist
In a tent, you’ve got a captive audience-and likely a good friend along for the trip-so take advantage. Now’s the time to talk about some of your problems, fears, and worries-relationships, digestive issues, hemorrhoids. Don’t you remember being a kid and staying up all night talking and goofing around at someone’s slumber party? Why should the fun end just because you’re an adult? I mean really, when you look back on the trip, you’re not going to talk about all the fun you had sleeping. If your tentmate seems to have dozed off while you’re talking to him/her, a friendly “Did you hear that? I think it was a bear” usually gets them re-engaged.


For more, well, okay for some actually practical tips from Brendan Leonard, pick up a copy of: Surviving the Great Outdoors: Everything You Need to Know Before Heading into the Wild (and How to Get Back in One Piece).
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Photo: Matt Gross

Brendan Leonard is a contributing editor to Adventure Journal. Follow him at his blog, Semi-Rad.

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