Second only to flight tickets, your greatest expense on the road is almost certainly accommodation. Sure, you can couchsurf or stay with friends but hostel and guest houses will end up eating big chunks out of your travel budget.
So it makes a lot of sense to have your own tent.
Where Can You Camp?
In a big city your options are limited, for sure and a tent can call in unwanted attention from both police and thieves, but if you’re in a smaller town then you usually only need to walk out for a kilometer or so before you start finding fields to put up your tent. Try to make sure it’s not full of cows.
If the area feels a bit sketchy or you want to have a few comforts at hand like a hot shower then you can use campsites but they tend to charge for both you and your tent, making it sometimes as expensive as a hostel bed.
Which Tent to Buy?
Mostly people end up buying cheap sweatshop-made tents for 25 euros that let in the rain in strategic places so you have to leave spare socks in the corners to soak up the water and wring it all out in the morning. The tents are heavy for their size, they tear easily and making love in one is something of an undertaking.
Look, if you’re going to be travelling a lot and you want to be able just to walk off into nature when you feel like it and sleep, invest in a good tent. The best one you’re going to find is the Double Rainbow Tarptent. It weights 1.2 kilos, sleeps 2 people AND 2 backpacks, you can put it up in about 3 minutes and it’s nicely ventilated for the summer.
The downside is that it costs $275 and you have to order it from the US. It’s not great in windy conditions and the colour is an uninspiring grey. But other than that, it’s the traveller’s best friend.
To avoid paying customs tax when you order the tarptent the trick is to order it to the address of a trustworthy American friend, have them take it out of the packaging and post it to you with a note saying:
‘hey man! Thanks for the loan of the tent – it rocked!
Catch you this summer?