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Camping in the mountains: How to prepare?

Nature lovers, summer is upon us! The perfect time for new adventures! You fantasise about spending a night under a tent in the mountains, lulled by the sound of a stream and woken up by the sound of cowbells? Novice or experienced campers looking for a refresher, Glisshop presents here the the 4 mains steps to take into account when planning your camping trip. Because going out in the mountains requires preparation!
prepare your bivouac well

1/ Preparing to camp in the mountains: finding the spot and planning your route

First of all, before imitating John Muir on North America’s wild trails, know that the European mountains are the ideal playground for enthusiasts of the great outdoors. Indeed, they offer numerous camping spots, each one more beautiful than the next.
There are various ways to find a place to pitch your tent:

  • On the Internet

    Google is YOUR friend. If you have a destination in mind, there is a large number of websites and Facebook groups (for example Backpackers des Alpes for the Alps). You can ask for advice and find the most beautiful places to fall into the arms of Morpheus.

  • Going to tourist information centres

    In addition to holding an impressive amount of information about their area, they will tell you where it is possible to pitch your tent, but also where wild camping is forbidden. Well yes, in the mountains, you find numerous protected areas (National and Regional Parks, nature reserves, etc...), to protect these zones of freedom. You cannot do whatever you want either!

  • Asking the locals (we swear they won't bite)

    They are probably the best way to know where to spend the night in their mountains! Get some coffee at the town’s bar and rely on your talent to tame the natives. You will find the Grail and a memorable landscape just for you! !
Camping compas
Then to plan your route to the camping site, you will find all the hiking maps for sale at Very detailed, they will be of great help before and during your adventure to navigate. For even more efficiency, pair a map with a compas (to the condition of knowing how to use it).

If you cannot bear paper there is a free app to download on your phone, Géoportail. In addition to ultra-precise base maps, it can locate you. Useful when you are off the trail, lost in a fog you could cut with a knife because you have not followed the instructions for the next waypoint!

However, keep in mind that a paper map does not weight much and does not require any power to work, unlike your smartphone. If your smartphone’s battery is dead, you will still have something to navigate. Paper rules!

Last piece of advice, DO NOT OVERHESTIMATE YOURSELF! Very beautiful spots are within an hour of hiking from the parking lot. You will often see on social media people pitching their tents in remote areas. As for you, take the time to get familiar with the concept, the equipment, do not skip any steps, you will have a lot of fun!
bivouac map

2/ Preparing to camp in the mountains: Watching the weather

Secondly, as you may already know, in the mountains, the weather can change suddenly, especially in summer, as the period lends itself to thunder storms. Trust me, finding yourself at camp at 2 000 metres of altitude and being victim of a storm menacing to snatch away the tent , I would not wish it on my worst enemy (okay maybe only on my worst enemy).

So before setting off to spend the night in the mountains, you have to carefully study the weather. For example, the Windy app gathers data about the weather in real time and for the upcoming hours: cloud density, rainfall, wind speed and direction, everything. This will reassure your partner who asks whether you will get Netflix up there.

By the way, you should know that you should never go out in the mountains alone . If there is no one to go with you, always inform someone close of your destination, route you want to take and think about going to a rather popular spot. You will be surrounded by hikers and in case of a mishap, it is always nice to have a shoulder to cry on (humanity is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?). In addition, spot on your map the location of refuges or bothies close to your camp, where you can potentially take shelter.

Finally, if the weather is uncertain, always have a plan B, to avoid being presented with a fait accompli on D-day.
bivouac in rainy weather

3/ Preparing to camp in the mountains: the essential equipment

Camping is an amazing experience anyone can enjoy. However, it is critical to take great care of bringing with you a few essentials that will allow you to be ready for the potential hazards of an adventure in the middle of nature. Glisshop offers here a non-exhaustive list of the main items to put in your backpack. You can find here our 100 % outdoor corner.
Camping equipment Apparel (in addition to your hiking outfit) Accessories
Backpack Gore-Tex style waterproof layer First aid kit
Trekking tent Dry base layer for the end of the day Emergency blanket
0° sleeping bag (Yes, it gets cold in the mountains at night, even in summer) Down jacket Lighter
Trekking sleeping pad Hiking trousers Cord
Inflatable pillow 1 pair of socks Knife
Cooking kit Beannie Aluminium mug
Camping stove 1 pair of gloves Water filtering bottles
Gas cannister You can pack all your clothes in a compression sack to save a maximum amount of space.
accessory bivouac
When all these items are meticulously packed in your backpack, try it on!

Indeed, it is super important that you wear your backpack before you go. You will get a chance to change the organisation of its content, evaluate your priorities and decide what you can afford to add or not.

Then, note that you will need lots of water on a bivouac. To drink, cook and clean the mess kit. A great option is to use a filtering straw enabling you to drink from the streams and lakes on your way. Just make sure the place you are going to has some. It will prevent you from scouring morning dew on a quest for the precious liquid!
bivouac equipment

4/ Preparing to camp in the mountains: leave work at home!

This is the final step to follow and probably the most important! The mountains open their doors for an amazing moment of reconnexion with the elements, stress free and fuss free. Open your eyes, breath the energy from the locations and enjoy the moment!

Thank you for reading these few lines, see you outdoors!

bivouac tent