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Camping Adventures

The fun exercises on this page prepare you for camping adventures. Expect to get wet often.

Overnight camping trips can be great fun with the right kit. The challenge is to carry your sleeping bag and dry clothes for the night safely across the water. Maybe you can build a poncho raft, or have a floating container you pull behind you.

The amount of clothing to take depends on the length and variety of your trip. Ponchos are essential as rainwear, swimwear, shelter, tarps and ground sheets. Take several ponchos per person for more versatility.

If you only run down to the local beach for the day, you can simply jump in and then walk around in your wet clothes, or relax in a small beach tent while your clothes dry.

For longer trips you may want a waterproof backpack, a simple tent, bivvy bags, several changes of clothes, plus ropes to dry anything wet.

Equipment Float Pack

This water crossing adventure is great wet fun for two people. If there are more in your group, team up in pairs. The idea is to move dry kit over a stretch of open water, like a tent and sleeping bags to a nearby island.

You need:

  1. Two army ponchos to build the raft and the shelter.

  2. Two or more full sets of clothes and ponchos per person,
    one set to swim in, the rest to keep dry in your pack.

  3. Adequate healthy food supplies.

  4. Extra sets of dry clothes and towels left in the car for the return trip.

Build Your Pack

With two army ponchos construct a poncho raft so you can safely float your dry stuff across a calm bit of open water.

Tie your army ponchos into a floating waterproof pack with a rope to keep your food and spare clothes dry when you cross open water.

Fold the other two ponchos around to keep the pack completely dry.

You want to keep the weight of your pack down. Wear all the clothes that can get wet during your swim.

Swim Across

Now comes the fun part. Keeping in mind any currents and wind, map out a route towards your destination. There may be obstacles or shallow areas you want to avoid. Enter the water carefully. Pull your poncho pack along behind you. Make sure it floats well.

Erect a Shelter

On arrival spread your army ponchos out so they can dry. Use them as a tent or shelter, one as groundsheet, the other suspended above, facing the wind direction.

If you have enough ponchos, like four or more, you can build a cosy tent with ground sheet and cover on both sides.

Did you bring sleeping bags? In warm weather you can button ponchos up so they make long bivvy bags. Ponchos are great windbreakers and warm-up shelters. You can freely move around in them.

Swimming Sessions

Once camp is setup, it's time tp jump back into the water for some fun, keeping your clothes on to stay warm. This also helps build strength and stamina. Anorak or hoodie with cargo pants will make this even harder. Swimming in ponchos is a useful skill too.

If the terrain is suitable do some cross training, like running through the forest or along the shore, crawl through a deep mud hole, then jump into the water and swim a good distance. Repeat until you're almost exhausted. This is a great exercise you can enjoy often.

Stay Dry for the Night

When you're done with swimming, change into dry clothes and hang the wet ones up to dry. Then settle down for the night and enjoy your food. Cuddle up for a good sleep with your friend. You want to be fit the next day.

Morning Swim

Waking up at sunrise by a beautiful lake is a wonderful experience. For your morning swim keep your dry overnight clothes on, as it is cruel to put on the cold clammy clothes from yesterday's swim.

Longer Dry Breaks

For any longer breaks after swimming change into dry clothes to stay warm for your next adventure. It's also more exciting to start a swim in dry clothes, slowly wading into the water. Whenever you take a rest, snuggle up in your poncho shelter to stay warm. Getting cold is not part of the plan.

Return Swim

As on the outbound swim, wear any clothes that can get wet on your return swim. Put everything dry into the poncho pack carefully, make sure it floats and stays together. Swimming back should be easy as you know the route.

Once all the gear is loaded into the car there might be time for a final swim while you're still in wet clothes. It's a great way to relax after your trip. The extra sets of dry clothing in the car will be welcome for the journey home.