19 August, 2022
With record-breaking temperatures for the UK recently, this is a perfect opportunity to spend the night out in the wild. If you want a trip where you don’t have to carry your own tent or don’t have the funds for a tent, take a look at these 5 ideas for sleeping outside without a tent.
A friend and I recently decided to try "cowboy camping" - this is exactly what it sounds like: sleeping (almost) on the ground and beneath the stars, much like the cowhands of yore. This was something I had always wanted to do but had never had the nerve to do without the protection of a tent. Armed with a sleeping bag, roll mat and pillow, we headed off to the beach with a swimming costume, torch, snacks and pyjamas. It was a perfect night, waking up to the sun and sleeping under the stars. The one thing I would say is bugs can be a problem. But you can get nets, sprays, patches and even
anti-insect sleepwear to combat this.
Also known as a bivi bag, bivvy or bivouac, it is basically a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag. It will protect you from condensation and enable you to be more discreet when wild camping. Look for a waterproof but reasonably breathable bivvy bag. A bivy shelter is the same thing as a bivy sack except that it comes with poles to allow more room. This is ideal for longer adventures as is light and will keep you more protected than just a sleeping bag.
If you don’t want to be on the floor, a hammock is one to try. Some people find them more relaxing than tents. A forest or woodland is a good choice so you have trees to suspend it from. If there’s any chance of rain, you’ll still need a rainfly. You can make your own using a tarp and paracord.
Instead of a tent, you could construct a tarp shelter – either a big one with full coverage on both sides or a minimalist tarp that covers just one side. It should keep you dry and offer some privacy too. Whether you are using a tent or not, a ground tarp is recommended. A ground tarp will help keep you and your gear clean, dry and prevent damage.
If you don’t have a tent, sleeping in your car or truck is always an option. Just fold down your seats flat and put a sleeping bag down. A few cushions, blankets or pillows will help to make it more comfortable and will allow you to ‘camp’ stealth mode in case of bad weather.
Regular contributor Natasha Sones has an outside adventure travel blog: www.natashasoneseditorial.com/blog. With three children, three dogs and a husband she enjoys days out, travelling, walking, paddleboarding, camping, stargazing and much more! Follow her blog or her Instagram account: @natashastarseeker if you love adventure lifestyle articles. You can see more of Natasha's blogs here
I have an outdoor adventures blog. Having three children, I am particularly interested in getting outside with my family. I aim to make every day an adventure, especially with my children, husband, dogs and friends. From exploring new cities to being in our campervan with the dogs, we like an adventure. We live near the sea and forest and explore every day.