A couple of months ago I spent an incredible two weeks camping in various different parts of the US. Having only camped as a child, I was definitely nervous about my first proper camping experience as a plus size adult.
Before the trip, I had SO many worries.
Would I be too big for the tent? Would I be able to lift the equipment? Would my stomach make it uncomfortable to sleep on the ground? Would I be able to get out of my tent in the dark? Would I make the person I was sharing with too uncomfortable? Would I be able to set the tent up easily?
Although mostly irrational, these fears were on my mind constantly in the months running up to my trip.
What really happened, of course, was I had the best time I could have imagined. I’m a complete camping convert and because of that, I’d love to share some of my top plus size camping tips with you.
Top Tips For Camping Whilst Plus Size
Ensure You (Or Someone Else) Can Carry All Of Your Equipment
Although a tent and sleeping bag can be quite lightweight, a lot of other equipment you need to camp can be quite heavy. From cooking equipment to gas canisters, you need to be sure you (or someone else on your trip) can lift everything you’ve packed.
Whilst you will be able to park next to your campsite, moving things backwards and forwards each and every day can start to become quite strenuous. If you think you’re going to struggle, you might want to look into buying lightweight equipment or asking assistance from people who works on the campsite. Most of the time, they’ll be more than willing to give you a hand.
Size Up When It Comes To Tent Size
If you’re worried about the amount of room you’re going to have in your tent, it might be worth sizing up. Although it can be a little overwhelming, there are various different sizes of tents available to buy. Chances are, you’ll be able to find something you feel comfortable with in no time.
One of the best ways to find out whether or not a tent is the right size, of course, is to do your shopping in person. By visiting a number of different camping stores, you will be able to see whether or not you’re going to feel comfortable in the space you have.
If You Struggle To Set Your Tent Up, Ask For Help
Setting up a tent can be just as complicated as it looks, especially if you’re plus size.
I found that although I was able to follow instructions easily, bending down time and time again wasn’t always easy (especially after a busy day). With another person helping, setting up and taking down my tent each time we moved to a new campsite was an absolute breeze.
I find packing light incredibly difficult but after severely overpacking for my camping trip I have well and truly learnt my lesson. Lifting my suitcase in and out of the tent and trailer each and every day was incredibly difficult and if I’d been much more strategic with my packing, I wouldn’t have had this issue.
Take A Suitcase That Is Easy To Move Around
Although it wasn’t often, there were also times where we had to take our luggage across pebble stones and gravel. Because of this, I would DEFINITELY consider packing a backpack instead.
If you’re travelling in your own car, it might be easier to leave your luggage there.
Use A Camping Mat (Or For Extra Comfort, Use A Self-Inflating Mattress)
The first few nights of my trip were incredibly difficult as I only had a thin camping mat to sleep on. Although it was better than sleeping on the ground, I really couldn’t find a way to get comfortable enough to sleep easily.
After a couple of sleepless nights, I decided to give in and buy myself a self-inflating camping mattress. Although it cost me a steep $40, I had absolutely no trouble when it came to sleeping afterwards.
If you’re worried about comfort at night, I’d definitely recommend adding it to your must-have list.
For an affordable version, you can visit Amazon here.
Size Up When It Comes To Your Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags tend to come up naturally small so it is definitely worth sizing up. Personally, I find it much easier to use a sleeping bag that can be opened up like a blanket, rather than trying to squeeze into a mummy-style sleeping bag.
If you like to have a lot of room when it comes to your blanket, it might be worth investing in a double sleeping bag. Although they’re a little more expensive they will give you all the room you need to move around and get comfortable. For my next camping trip, I’m definitely going to buy this one!
Choose A Campsite With Great Facilities
Depending on where you’re camping, you might find that some campsites don’t have a lot of facilities. Whether they require you to use a drop toilet or you’re forced to go without a shower, they’re not often considered plus size friendly.
If you can help, make sure you’re researching the facilities that are available to you beforehand.
Ask For The Closest Available Spot To The Bathroom
Speaking from experience, some campsites can be ABSOLUTELY huge. With just a couple of bathroom facilities dotted around, you might want to consider requesting a spot that is close by to the main amenities. Although you may find these spots are the first to be booked, it definitely can’t hurt to ask.
Choose A Campsite That Is Easy To Get Around
On a similar note, it is definitely worth researching the available campsites in the area you’re going to be staying, especially if you struggle with mobility.
Although you may not always have a say over where you stay, those that do have the opportunity to choose definitely shouldn’t waste it. Take a look at site maps, working out how easy it is going to be to get from one place to another. There is nothing worse than a 10-minute walk to the loos in the middle of the night, trust me.
Make Use Of The Camp Karts
If you do find yourself far away from amenities, renting a camp kart could be the perfect solution. Whilst they may cost a little extra, they’re a great way to get from A to B (as long as you can drive one, of course).
Personally, I had nightmares of me driving one right into a lake.
Pack Comfortable Clothing
If I had ONE tip to give to anyone before going on a camping trip it would be to pack comfortable clothing. I didn’t pack strategically when I was on my trip and found a lot of the time, I didn’t have anything to wear when we were at the campsite. This meant that most of the time I was trying to set my tent up or take it down whilst wearing a summer dress. It was not my smartest idea, that’s for sure.
Cycling shorts and a t-shirt would have been the PERFECT alternative.
Have you ever been camping before? What are your top tips for plus size campers? I’d love to know if I missed anything!