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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)

Go Ultracomfy, Not Ultralight

Review your partner’s gear list (or pack together) so you can add items a
backpacking novice might forget: headlamp, extra socks, moleskin, camp shoes. Then weigh his or her pack. “It should be no more than 25 percent of his or
her body weight,” says Michelle Waitzman, author of Sex in a Tent: A Wild Couple’s Guide to Getting Naughty in Nature ($15, And since comfort is key, here are Waitzman’s eight essentials for canoodling campers.

>> Two plush sleeping pads, plus a coupler strap We like Cascade Designs’ 2-inch-thick
Therm-a-Rest TrailPro (reg. length: $80, 2 lbs., and its Therm-a-Rest Universal Couple Kit ($17, 2.4 oz.) to connect the pads.

>> Pillows Such as the Feathered Friends Geoduck ($35, 6 oz.,

>> Double sleeping bag Good bets: Big Agnes King Solomon ($330, 5 lbs. 3 oz.,, the Sweetie Pie Bag Doubler (summer: $39, 19 oz.,, or two bags that mate

>> A silk double-sleeping-bag liner This makes your old down bag feel like satin sheets and keeps it clean. We like Cocoon TravelSheet Double Size ($100, 12 oz.,

>> PJs to replace sweaty clothes Try Patagonia’s saucy Active undies ($20-$39,

>> A home comfort “This could be fudge, cream for your coffee, even a hairbrush,” Waitzman says.

>> Mood lighting Think a candle lantern, bandanna over a headlamp, or LED tea lights.

>> Fresheners Breath mints, lip balm, and wet wipes like SweetSpot On-the-Go Wipettes ($5, And for a fresh aroma, place a bundle of cedar or pine needles in the tent.

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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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