Tent etiquette: Tips for travellers

If you're a solo traveller heading off on a mobile camping safari, chances are you'll be sharing a tent with a complete stranger.

And it doesn't take long to get over the awkwardness of trying to get changed in a space the size of a shoebox and settle into a nice routine. In my experience, I've always found that sharing a tent can be a really nice way to get to know someone in a short space of time.

There are just a few things to remember, so stick to these and you'll all be happy campers in no time!

Keep a tidy communal area
Your bag can be as messy as you like - screw your dirty socks up in a ball and shove them inside your pillowcase for all I care. The main thing is to keep the "communal" area tidy. In a tent, this generally means the doorway and the space between your beds. There's nothing worse than going to bed in the dark and tripping over a backpack.

On our recent Peregrine trip to Botswana, we were lucky enough to have a little folding table between our beds, which was perfect for all the things you need close to hand - face wipes, torch, tissues, sunscreen and insect repellant. If you don't have one of these it's often a good idea to stash them under the bed or create a shared area where you can both keep things.

Share and share alike
Camping is a funny old thing. You'll probably remember to pack 14 pairs of underpants and spare walking shoes, only to discover you've left your toothpaste on the bathroom bench. But the good news is your tent-mate has probably remembered it. So don't be afraid to ask.

I woke up one day with a weird rash on my tummy, and showed it to my tent-mate. She happened to have some cream for it, and was more than happy to share. She said something along the lines of "I'm just glad someone can make use of it. I knew I packed it for a reason!"

I was so grateful. And when it turned out she needed to borrow an electrical adaptor to charge her camera battery I was more than happy to return the favour. That's just the way it goes with camping. This is not a time to be precious about your things, because camping karma means you'll often need to borrow something one day too.

Zip it
Don't be the one who forgets to zip. Going to bed and discovering a tent full of mosquitoes (or worse) is beyond frustrating, and it's nearly impossible to sleep with a lung full of bug spray.

You should take it in turns and share the zip load each night. It might sound silly, but you will spend a lot of time zipping in and out of your tent while on a camping safari. And at night there's twice the work thanks to the outside cover on your tent. 

What tips do you have for camping with other people? Share them below, then head to Twitter and Facebook to tell the rest of the Peregrine community.

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Read more blogs about this Botswana trip.


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