How to ‘sleep under the stars’ on expedition
Sleeping under the stars will be an unforgettable experience during your DofE expedition. There’s lots of things that you can do to make your stay in the outdoors fun and comfortable from choosing the right pitch to taking a stash of your favourite sweets (for energy after all that trekking!).
Firstly, choosing the correct tent is vital when sleeping under the stars. Look out for something with a porch to store your boots and pack at night plus good ventilation to stop condensation building up inside the tent. A tent like the Meteor 200 ticks all of these boxes and features a large enough opening to gaze out at the stars. Its poles are also identical so it is impossible to mix them up and super quick to pitch. Tents like this are light, strong and will protect you from any bad weather that heads your way during your expedition. View all DofE Recommended Vango tents.
A good tip is to split the weight of the tent between your group by simply separating the fly sheet, inner and poles and each taking a component. This will make your bag much lighter and your walk even more enjoyable.
Next, you will need to find a perfect spot to pitch your tent. You will be seeking somewhere with flat, dry ground that doesn’t have too many rocks or tree roots which may make it hard to peg out your tent. A sheltered site away from overhanging trees is ideal but if you have to pitch in the open point the tail of the tent directly into the wind to make it easier to access the tent and prevent any undue stress on the poles.
It’s always good to have a trial run of pitching your tent. It allows you to make sure you are familiar with the design and that you have all of the components plus enough pegs and poles to pitch once you are on expedition.
A warm sleeping bag will provide a comfortable night’s sleep on those cool summer’s nights. For maximum comfort while camping in the UK we suggest you opt for a 3-4 season sleeping bag to keep you warm whatever the weather.
Vango’s DofE Recommended Latitude 200 sleeping bag features Thermal-Reverb which reflects heat back to the user making it extra warm for its size and weight. If you use the bottom compartment in your rucksack to store your sleeping bag pop in your toothbrush and PJs for easy access after a long day’s walk. Be sure to pack extra clothing such as dry socks and extra layers so you can put them on once your tent is pitched and the sun goes down. View all DofE Recommended Vango sleeping bags.
Last but not least, make sure that you plan a nice warm dinner for the perfect way to wind down and re-energise yourself for the following day. Spaghetti Bolognese is one of our personal favourites for expeditions but your preference may be for a ration pack or even something more exotic.
Cook a small distance from the tent to keep your camp safe and make it a group activity where everyone pitches in for a well-earned meal. Once you have created a delicious meal, you can sit down in your sleeping bag and enjoy the sunset. From here your work is done. Let nature do the rest and once the dark sets in, you will hopefully see the galaxy and stars open above you: An experience you won’t forget.
Remember, preparation is key so make sure that you have all the essentials before you leave, you work together on expedition and that wherever you camp is left as though you were never there.
Use your exclusive DofE Card or voucher to save on tents, sleeping bags and more at your local GO Outdoors, Blacks, Millets, Ultimate Outdoors or Tiso store (Scotland only) and online.