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Backpacker Magazine – March 2011

The Manual: Couples Camping 101

Use these proven methods to make sure your first romantic camping foray into the wilderness isn't your last.

by: Lisa Jones

Learn the art of romantic camping.
Learn the art of romantic camping.
Learn to light a fire with one match. (Supercorn)
Learn to light a fire with one match. (Supercorn)

Light a Fire with Just One Match

The only thing hotter than cozying up by a campfire? Impressing your date by sparking an instant flame.

1. Collect a couple handfuls of dry twigs and dry tinder, such as shredded bark, moss, or leaves (or pack dryer lint).

2. Build, depending on personal preference, either a lean-to (A), teepee (B), or log cabin (C) structure out of twigs. Pack the interior semi-tightly with tinder, but leave open spaces for airflow and a small space below the structure for inserting a match, which, let’s face it, is sexier than a Bic (maybe it’s the dramatic striking sound).

3. Light the match out of the wind and close to the tinder. Hold the flame to the fuel; when coals form, blow softly to add oxygen.

4. Gradually add sticks; start pencil-diameter, then increase size.

5. Make chairs out of your sleeping mat and a chair kit (like the Big Agnes Cyclone SL; $40, 6 oz., and huddle close.
Find step-by-step video instruction at

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
Feb 14, 2014

While we were dating, I treated my now-husband to tuna noodle casserole and hot chocolate for lunch on a snowshoe day hike. He'd been an avid hiker for decades and had no idea how easy it is to eat *real* food while hiking. He was hooked; the other people who were at the ice caves were jealous.

I am now firmly in charge of meal planning for hiking trips, and he hasn't eaten a freeze-dried meal since.

Star Star Star Star Star
Feb 14, 2014

Hilarious, but valid points!

Vinnie G
Oct 19, 2011

Ramen, wow you haven't seen what I can do with Ramen. It might be one of the 2012 best pics for food if I send in my different styles of

Shawn D.
Mar 08, 2011

I took my wife (then my girlfriend) backpacking / climbing Saddleback Mt. in Rangeley, Maine back in 1976. This was her first wilderness experience.
She loved the hiking, and the camping, BUT, she did not enjoy the climbing! My suggestion for a first timer is to backpack a level, easy to moderate trail, and not put a first timer on any steep mountain climb. We have since enjoyed many hikes, backpacks, and camping trips together. My wife thinks climbing is just too much effort. So I now climb with our 25 year old son.. JMO
Shawn D. Medford, Ma.

Feb 15, 2011

Over 40 years ago, I took my new wife on her first camping trip. We only hiked about 1/4 mile into some heavy brush next to a not-so-romantic irrigation storage lake/canal. But we had a grate time even though it was impossible to sleep both of us in my one-man jungle hammock. We also had a thick blanket that we used to sleep the rest of the night on the ground. In the last 42 years, we have camped all over Mexico , the USA and part of Canada and we are still happily married!!!

Feb 11, 2011

Consider base camping in a Natl Forest campground where there are bath facilities and day hiking. Some campgrounds are actually very remote, some backed up right next to wilderness. Or pack in only a mile or two, then same thing, day hike.

Consider caching a rose-in-vase, small italian style table and chairs, some cookery if needed, tablecloth, and maybe even a screenhouse (that's severe, but doable) in buggy areas.

It's amazing what bears will leave lying about in the wilderness....

Feb 11, 2011

I find that if we are going on short overnight hikes that a pack of colgate whisp's can really freshen the breath in the morning and the are super light weight.


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