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First Night Out: In Camp

How to choose a campsite, set up camp. and sleep comfortably.
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»Set up your bed Right after pitching your tent, unstuff your sleeping bag so it can fluff up after being compressed in your pack. Put a clean, dry pair of socks, a book, and/or writing material next to your bag so you won’t have to dig around at bedtime.

»Sleep warm At high elevations, even summer nights can dip toward freezing. Stay cozy by changing into dry baselayers; add a midlayer, light puffy, and/or a hat. If it’s really cold, have a slow-burning bedtime snack, like a chocolate bar, to keep your metabolism cranking overnight. Still chilled? Do jumping jacks before getting into your bag, situps once you’re zipped in, or take a tightly sealed Lexan bottle filled with hot water to bed.

»Take care of business The major difference between backpacking and car camping? In most cases, no toilets. Here’s how to use nature’s restroom.
- Pack a toilet kit consisting of hand sanitizer, TP/baby wipes, and extra zip-top baggies—or skip the TP and baggies in favor of natural materials like leaves, smooth stones, or snow. Pack out TP.
- Find a spot at least 200 feet from camp, trails, and water sources (bonus: great view). Use a trowel to dig a 6- to 8-inch-deep cathole. When you’re done, completely fill in the cathole with soil and sterilize your hands.

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