Camping is exciting and an adventure for everyone, although it can get rough out there for everyone without the right equipment. And the right equipment can be hard to come by for us tall people. Everything seems to be designed for 5’5”-5’10” and squeezing into that is going to be a tight fit. So here are some suggestions to make sure your camping is one size fits all, or at least the size fits your all.
Where to Sleep
Your first line of defense against uncomfortable camping situations is going to be research. Unfortunately for you, the extra height and reach your tall frame allots you also means that you must find specialty gear. I’m not talking specifically clothing (although it does help with comfort, pick up some of our t-shirts before you head out), but you won’t be able to just buy the first tent or sleeping bag you see on Amazon.
Research the exact dimensions of any sleeping bag you’re going to buy and compare them to your own sizes. The average sleeping bag will have you sticking out the top from the chest up, so aim for something a good foot or so longer than that.
Your tent has a little more leeway on its dimensions and will vary greatly depending on your camping style. Most rough-and-tumble tents aren’t going to be particularly tall, their goal is prevent the elements from coming in. As such, they’re going to be relatively small and fit only one person.
Larger, more comfort-oriented tents are designed with multiple in mind, but are much more spacious and might have room for you stand. Larger tents also take up more storage and time to assemble, so plan according to how much space you need versus how much time you want to invest in camp setup.
If you’re not tent camping, there’s still some struggle ahead. Hammocks are especially popular nowadays, but again, they’re designed by the average person in mind. Frequently you can find a good quality hammock and discover your limbs will be dangling out of it like an adult in a children’s bed. As with any tall camping equipment, go as big as possible. Even the largest hammocks won’t swallow you whole, unless you’re clearing seven feet. Likewise, with camping mats—which aren’t strictly necessary, but some people don’t sleep well on the uneven ground, even with a tarp or tent floor between them.
Another way to avoid dangling feet is car camping. SUVs and other larger vehicles tend to have space in the rear to lay down back seats, providing a good spot for an alternative sleeping arrangement. Depending on the vehicle’s technology, you can even shoot for a compact SUV. If you enjoy the open air, opt for a truck bed. Just make sure you bring enough cushion to lay in the bed of the truck.
The rest of your camping trip probably won’t frustrate you because of your height, thankfully. Most other activities and campsite options are doable by anyone, though you might have a bit of an edge. A common camping practice is to hang food and other belongings from a tree limb to prevent a bear (or other wildlife) from snooping in the middle of the night. The recommended height is eight to ten feet off the ground and at least eight feet from the trunk of a tree, which is much easier manage when you’re already tall. You may also be in high-demand from your fellow campers, especially those with oversized tents that need a good reach to set up properly. So, revel in your handiness around the campground.
As with any trip, make sure you pack well! Double and triple-check your supplies before heading anywhere. Lists are your best organizational tool, even for the road trip alone. If this is your first trip or you’re just concerned, don’t be afraid to overpack. Extras only take up space, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Toiletries and food are usually things you run out of quickly, so prioritize those for your extras. Create a meal plan for each day and stick to it strictly! That’s where the extras will come in, as you’ll be able snack if you want to without cutting into your lunch or dinner. Bring plenty of water, too, and avoid any sort of sugary or carbonated drinks. Camping involves a lot of physical activity and stress, and those sorts of drinks can dehydrate you more than anything else. It’s important to stay well-fed and hydrated.