Of all the methods of travelling with your partner, camping gives you by far the most freedom and by far the least privacy. Setting up your tent amongst untouched wilderness is pretty unrivalled for its feeling of being one with nature. It can be a truly incredible experience. But there are some specific difficulties associated which, if left unchecked, can put strain on your relationship. I hope this guide will help you identify and cope with these issues before they cause you problems.
1. When nature calls…
I don’t know about you, but I am such a girl when it comes to sharing a bathroom. It adds a whole new dimension when that bathroom is the great outdoors! This one really depends on what your relationship is like with your other half. A designated his and hers toilet spot out of view of the camp can work well, as can key words to indicate you need some alone time with a tree. Personally I favour the old ‘I’m just going to go for a quick walk…’ line and a quick scurry to find some tree cover.
2. Sleep deprivation
The tent was too hot, or the wind was howling through the canvas. Neither of you slept and you have the arduous task of packing up camp and cracking on with a day’s hiking. Little things can turn into big arguments very easily in this situation. It’s good to have a quick chat about this before you start the trip to discuss what your responsibilities will be when setting up and taking down camp, as well as the things that are most likely to annoy you. Other than that, this one is just about taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that your partner is feeling exactly the same way. Kindness and compassion are key here.
3. Running out of supplies
You TOLD him you needed to bring more snacks, you KNEW you needed another bottle of wine. But hey, you are in the middle of a beautiful place. And you didn’t bring it either. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember you are lucky to be where you are, not every day will be perfect. Just remember to be safe – carry enough emergency rations to get you back to the nearest store and have water sterilization options. Then in the worst scenario you just have to cut your trip a few days short to resupply.
4. Lack of privacy
This can be a biggie. In a tent there is very little scope for having some alone time. Combine this with the regular stresses of tent life, sleep deprivation and possibly long walks with heavy packs and you can have a pretty explosive mix. This is another thing that is useful to talk over before you embark on the trip. Maybe plan to spend a period of time each day pursuing your own activities – reading your book, going for a walk or meditating for a while. Even a short time in your own company can be enough to restore your sanity!
Camping with your partner changes a lot of boundaries – but going for days without access to a shower can be a toughy for some people to get over. Some people find it difficult to be *romantic* if they or their partner haven’t showered and preened themselves. This is pretty hard to do whilst camping. But you are going to be in some pretty romantic destinations, so you might want to try and get over this one. I carry a good stash of wet wipes and deodorant with me on a trip, and make use of camping by lakes and rivers to freshen myself up when I can. And when all else fails, I learn to breathe through my mouth… 😉
I will be putting my advice to the test this summer as I camp in the remote wilds of Northern Finland with my other half for a month. Stay tuned for candid updates and possibly some additions to the above!