Conventional wisdom holds that camping with a tent means an automatic rise in the discomfort quotient.
The object of any camping and hiking trip is to explore the wilderness and natural world. Modern materials and camping gear have been designed to make life on the trail quite a bit more comfortable than what it's imagined to be. Lightweight tents, cooking equipment, and bedding have evolved a long way since the days of cumbersome, heavy camping gear. Selecting the right backpack to carry all this lighter stuff into the woods helps ensure that your adventures will be memorable, but not as backbreakers.
Because every day will end with the need to sleep, put some thought into what you'll be sleeping on. For the weekend getaway, where you won't be venturing too far into the wilderness, consider selecting a one-inch-thick piece of foam rubber as a bed. Other more pricey options include self-inflaters that feature slabs of open-cell foam sheathed in waterproof nylon. They have a value, and while not exactly the most compact of sleeping pad choices, an open-cell foam mattress for your tent is one of the most decadent options available to the outdoor camper. Slumbering on foam may make you feel like a king!
Roughing It? What About Enjoying It?
There are many other alternative sleeping options, but a simple open-cell foam mat is just one way you can trim the roughing-it factor from a shorter trip. Other ideas include bringing along premade gourmet delights. If you have a portable gas stove, you can precook, package, and bring some favorite foods to spice up your short excursion.
When eating, you might want to take along some good liquid refreshment besides water. In many wilderness areas, of course, glass containers are prohibited; you may be morally barred from bringing anything breakable into camping and hiking areas.
To avoid breakage, consider carrying liquids in reusable plastic water bottles. If you'd rather not have one more container to throw away (and you don't mind adding another item to your checklist), fill several wineskins before the trip.
Weighty foods are sometimes only practical for the weekend outdoorsman who doesn't plan to hike for more than two or three hours at a time. Hardier adventurers can choose from a variety of specialty foods designed to provide energy, but not weight. For example, adding a little water can bring to life quite a few freeze-dried foods, powdered beverages, and other magic potions that transform themselves into great camping food.