7 Tips On How To Be A Good Tentmate

Hey, do you like camping and backpacking with your friends? Of course you do. So obviously you’d like to be invited on lots of trips. How do you get invited on lots of trips? You learn how to be a good tentmate, and make your tentmate’s experience a good one. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

1. Hydrate
Drink a lot of fluids before you go to bed, to ensure you are well hydrated and able to get up to go pee plenty of times during the night. It is a good idea to put your headlamp in a location where it will be hard to locate when you need to pee, such as the bottom of your sleeping bag. When getting up to pee, maximize movement inside the tent: Don’t just unzip your sleeping bag a couple inches and slide out—go all the way down to your ankles. Put on a couple jackets before you go out, maybe even some Gore-Tex. Turn your headlamp on its high setting before you do all of this. If it’s snowing, leave the tent door open while you’re out there doing your business.

2. Manage Your Stuff
If you have wet clothing items such as socks and shirts, put them on your tentmate’s side of the tent. Pro tip: They will dry overnight if you can sneak them into his/her sleeping bag.

3. Fart
Try to eat foods that give you gas, in both quantity and volume, as well as those that produce strange and interesting smells in high intensities. Your tentmate will enjoy periodic breaks from breathing fresh mountain air, as well as trying to come up with words to describe his/her new experiences with the sense of smell. Try: Lentils, textured vegetable protein, other high-fiber foods.

4. Share The Warmth
Nothing beats spooning for maximizing bodily warmth. Especially if you’re just friends. If your tentmate seems not-so-keen on the idea, explain that it’s a common technique used in alpinism, and usually changes nothing in previously platonic relationships. Or say, “Dude, my nose is cold, just let me put it against your neck for a few minutes,” or “Come over here, you big teddy bear.”

5. Illuminate
Always keep your headlamp on its high beam, which will be helpful for reading your book long after your tentmate has shut his/her headlamp off and gone to sleep. When speaking to your tentmate, make sure to point your headlamp beam directly into his/her eyes.

6. Bring Snacks
Who wants to go all the way over to the bear canister to get a midnight snack? Grab a bag of crunchy foods to eat in your sleeping bag just in case. Corn Nuts, carrots, peanut brittle, and Doritos all make great midnight snacks.

7. Be A Good Conversationalist
In a tent, you’ve got a captive audience—and likely a good friend along for the trip—so take advantage. Now’s the time to talk about some of your problems, fears, and worries—relationships, digestive issues, hemorrhoids. Don’t you remember being a kid and staying up all night talking and goofing around at someone’s slumber party? Why should the fun end just because you’re an adult? I mean really, when you look back on the trip, you’re not going to talk about all the fun you had sleeping. If your tentmate seems to have dozed off while you’re talking to him/her, a friendly “Did you hear that? I think it was a bear” usually gets them re-engaged.


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18 replies on “7 Tips On How To Be A Good Tentmate

  • Willis

    Haha, classic. I’d add number 8:

    8. To keep your feet maximally dry, disregard the vestibule and wear your boots all the way into the tent, especially in rainy/snowy weather. Store them in between your head and your tentmate’s.

  • Tim

    Corn Nuts have the additional benefit of enlivening the atmosphere and serving as counterpoint to your tent-mate’s gas.

  • abomb

    Once on a backpacking trip down to the Colorado in the Grand Canyon, I farted so profusely in the tent with my girlfriend that come morning she thought the river party sharing the beach had placed the groover near our tent. It wasn’t totally my fault, the river party kept stuffin us with food and beer. Which is a good reason to camp where you might run into river parties… Honestly I might be kind of proud of myself, sorry…

  • Katie

    Pack your things as last minute as possible in the morning so you aren’t the one who has to put away the dewy rain flap. Or cooking gear. Or anything that is too much for you to carry. Pro tip: UNPACK all of your things the night before, and spread them around before you fall asleep, to ensure your late pack up, adding extra room to your side of the tent.

  • Stacey

    8) Be sure to help your tentmate by adjusting the air of their sleeping pad in the middle of the night to ensure maximum comfort.

  • toeknee

    Eat your veggies the day before to get estra vitamins, lots and lots of aspargus is good. And of course, it’s cold outside, so use a pee bottle in tent. Bonus: the aspargus fragrance will add to the experience for your tent mate.

  • Leigh McClurg

    8) Let the air out of your neighbors inflatable sleeping pad. Once it has sufficiently deflated your neighbor will feel motivated to get up and start boiling water for breakfast (Yes, somebody has done this to me before. Haven’t shared a tent with them since.)

  • Mikey

    8) Don’t use your headlamp when nature calls so that you don’t wake anyone else up. Instead, stumble around in the dark swearing loudly, then try to find your way back to your sleeping pad by feeling up your tentmate.

  • Privateer

    I have to nix number one, I’d rather have a tent mate wake me up when they go pee than deal with the thrashing in pain and screams, even if they try to be quiet, that leg cramps bring on. Drinks on me 🙂

  • birdgirl

    Wear the same clothing and socks for an entire five-day backpacking trip, then yell at your tentmate how you haven’t been able to take a shower when she complains about the smell.

    While lying in the tent and rubbing your fingers between your putrid toes, mention in an off-hand way, “MY pack is lighter than YOURS!” Then smell your fingers, dig through a stuff-sack of communal food, and offer some well-handled beef jerky to your tentmate.

    When nature calls in the middle of the night, roll over towards the tent door, unzip the door, whip it out, then pull the tent floor back towards you so you can just lie there and relieve yourself without moving further. When your tentmate wonders about the smelly, wet tent floor and ground sheet the next morning, claim ignorance.

  • Ryan Smith

    Ah man! I’m guilty of at least 3 of these. One of them wasn’t really my fault as I intended to put my wet socks in my sleeping bag but accidentally placed them at the bottom of my partners. (Okay so it was my fault).

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