In today’s post we want to share our experience of living 4 full months in the small two person tent. We were able to cross 3 countries, hike more than 500 kms and spent 125 nights in it. And we truly think it was one of the best summers in our life. We will tell you how it was in general, what difficulties we faced, what priceless lessons we learnt from it and why in our opinion everyone should try it. We hope it will be an inspirational post for you! Let’s begin!
It is all started when we left for a hiking trip at the start of June and we didn’t have an exact plan for how many months we are going to travel but we knew that it will be at least for a couple of months. And previously we already had some experience of a long hikes but it was only for a month. Also at that point we knew that we are going to stay exclusively in the tent every night because for us it is part of the joy when hiking and indispensable part when we are travelling. So we knew we won’t stay anywhere else.
First we did a TMB hike which was quite a challenging start and we had to carry lots of food supplies with us. But nevertheless we enjoyed camping out on that trip mostly in the wild even though sometimes it was very hard to find a spot because of the difficult terrain. Here we probably survived the most nights with the thunderstorm and it was really intense. Every morning we were awarded by the amazing views out of the tent and often we couldn’t believe our eyes, so beautiful it was.
After 11 days hiking in Alps we moved to the coast to do the Cinque Terre trail. It was a very short 3 day hike but one of the most challenging again because of the very rocky and mountainous coast. But still we were able to wild camp 2 nights and one night spent in the campsite.
Then we started our Via Francigena trail where we planned to cross all the province of Tuscany in Italy. Right from the beginning we realized that there won’t be many campsites on the way so we were ready to stealth camp almost every night. We did this hike in July and it was probably one of the hottest months to be there. So we really suffered from the heat and even at night the air was so stuffy that it was hard to breathe. The hike was going mostly through the fields so we had to camp right on them. We made sure to camp close to the tree line and out of the routes so that nobody could spot us.
After that we had some rest days in the most secluded and quiet campsites we’ve ever been in the outskirts of Siena, Italy. It was a perfect place to surrender to nature and its peace out of the big car roads and people movement. We spent some beautiful days there, just chilling out, observing nature, swimming in the river and getting the best sleep ever.
And finally closer to the end of August we travelled to South Tyrol region in Italy where we planned to do some hiking trails in Dolomites mountains. We spend the first week in the campsite in the little village called Glurns situated very close to Austria and could appreciate the wonderful Venosta valley with its endless apple plantations, incredible lakes and mountain views.
Then we had another two weeks travelling around Dolomites and discovering their one in a kind beauty. There we spend only one night wild camping in the forest because it is very hard to find a spot to camp there and also because the rules about wild camping are very strict there. But fortunately there were quite a lot of campsites and so we stayed most of the nights there. Apart from incredible mountain views every morning and breathing the freshest mountain air we experienced probably the coldest nights there. The temperature dropped down to a zero degrees Celsius and it was the first time when without extra blankets it would be impossible to sleep.
And that was the end of our 4 months journey full of adventures.
Now that you know a brief summary of our trip we are finally ready to share with you the lessons we learnt from this incredible experience. We’ll start with the more significant ones.
1. Easy displacement.
First of all having a tent with you and camping out allows you to move from place to place very easily you just take everything in your backpack and you’re good to go. And if you don’t like the place you change the location right away.
But the downside is that you have to carry it all on your shoulders which really is a small price to pay for what you get in our opinion. Also in some noisy places it gets really noisy in the tent because there are no walls to isolate of course. So choosing the right quiet places is important.
2. Having your own little space everywhere you go.
This is one of the most important advantages for us. Because we are the type of people who always need to have our own private little area. Also it takes us a lot of time for us to get used to the new place. So we just love coming in our own small home every evening and we don’t mind the sizes of it. And just for having this home-like feeling it is irreplaceable to us.
3. Lessons of minimalism.
Living in such a small space for a long time teaches you priceless lessons and even can change your life. It is minimalistic approach to things in action, you train this skill every day. You realize that you can carry everything needed with you and after some time you don’t feel any lack of extra things. And when you come back home from it you clearly can see the huge amount of unnecessary things laying all around you. Thanks to this experience we downsized the amount of things we have at least in half. And we still working on it. It clears up your mind and changes your perspectives. We realized that emotions and feelings are more precious than anything in life and our happiness doesn’t depend on things and they don’t define us.
4. Connection to nature.
When you are sleeping out every night you start to listen to nature and animal sounds and better understand their life. You start to hear more sounds and notice more little things around you that before you didn’t have a chance to see. Because if we think about the time we’re normally walking in nature how much time is that? One-two-three hours only? And how many times we are able to spot any animal or hear some sounds? Not too often. And here you get to experience it every hour without interruption and it is the most beautiful thing ever. You don’t have to leave the house and go somewhere – you are already at the place. And so we went to sleep with the owl’s sound, fell asleep with the roe deer and woke up by the bird’s song. That is simply impossible to experience in any other way rather than being in the tent. The amount of inspiration you get is unbelievable – new fresh ideas come to your head and you want to create, to draw, to write and it just never ends. So it is a truly immersive and deep experience with lots of discoveries to make.
5. The weather is important.
Of course the disadvantage of that is the weather. You become really dependent on it and feel every little change. If it’s windy – you going to feel it by the tent movement, if it’s raining – raindrops won’t let you sleep, if it’s humid – it enters in the tent very easily. Also if you don’t have the right equipment it can get really cold. But this summer we realized that it can get very hot as well when the air was so stuffy and it was hard to breathe even at night. So good weather plays a huge part in it.
6. All the space around you is home.
That is also one of the best things about camping out – the amount of space you have available to you and the ability to always look at the horizon. When we came back home it felt so suffocating at first to stare at the wall and have just a square room around you. The lack of space is real.
7. The fresh air.
The air you breathe when you’re out is not the same as in the room – this fact know most of the people. And the temperature we sleep in normally is too warm in the room. But when you are sleeping in the tent you get the best sleep in your life because you’re breathing the freshest air and the temperature on a summer night drops down to around 17 degrees Celsius which is the perfect temperature to sleep in. So you wake up with the clear head and new great ideas.
8. Wild camping is challenging sometimes.
Wild or stealth camping can be pretty difficult depending on the country and the region. And you better learn the rules and laws about it in advance. They can be very confusing so we just sticked to the rule of setting up a camp at the dusk and leaving early in the morning and normally it works just fine. Of course it’s important to find a good camping spot out of car roads and everybody’s sight. Sometimes in the hardest areas or crowded areas we spent hours looking for it and when you’re already tired that’s not something to be excited about. But this will make sure that your night will be all quiet and peaceful.
9. Cooking out
This is another one of our favorite things to do when camping. There is a magic of making your own simple food and eating it out in nature. It tastes so well not mentioning the good appetite you have when you’re camping out. Nothing can beat it.
10. The best views out of your tent.
When you’re hiking and camping out you wake up every day with a different view. And sometimes it completely takes your breath away whether it is the glorious mountains summit, the peaceful lake or spectacular oceanside in the beautiful morning light. The amount of beautiful sunsets you can meet are also countless.
So that was our story sharing one of the best summers in our life hiking and camping out. Hopefully there was enough reasons to convince you to try it yourself. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, start with several nights, then weeks and see how you like it. We truly believe that camping out is something everybody has to try. So let us know if you would you like to try it or maybe you already did – then we really want to learn about your experience and your lessons learnt. Leave it in the comments below, that will be really appreciated by us and many other people just starting out. Make sure to check out the full trip reports of the hikes mentioned that you can find here on our website.