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How to camp in a tropical paradise

Bora Bora, view from Bloody Mary's

If you’re like me, your experience with camping has been mainly in the mountains and not in a tropical paradise. In fact, before reading this post, it’s possible that you never considered the possibility of camping on the beach in Bora Bora. Well, now you have.

In fact, there is only one campground in Bora Bora, the third-most visited island in French Polynesia. This campground is on a sandbar called a “motu”.

Bora Bora camping on a motu

At first impression, camping in Bora Bora sounds amazing. Access to the warm weather, the shallow bay, the scenic beauty, the biodiversity of plant and animal life, and the cultural experience are all incredible. But there are two major downsides: warm night-time temperatures and lots of mosquitoes and no-see-ums.

Sleep tight

The reality is that it is difficult for most people to have a good night’s sleep while camping. That is, unless you are backpacking for a large portion of the day and are exhausted when night comes. Unless you are a thru-hiker, the sleeping bag, bed and pillow are not part of your usual nighttime routine, and good sleep can be hard to come by. Add in temperatures above 75 degrees Farenheit (24 degrees Celsius), and a good sleep can be nearly impossible.

That said, there are a few solutions: you can use a portable, rechargeable fan to keep the air moving while you sleep; you can do some heat acclimation prior to such a trip; and you can take advantage of daytime siestas.

Using a rechargeable fan is the easiest way to keep your body cool while camping in tropical climates. Just getting the air moving will help your body release any extra heat. Wade and Dani have a list of fan options, including one with “Bora” in the name!

Heat acclimation is the process of using either warm days or time in the sauna to adapt to warm temperatures. Within weeks, you can stimulate capillary and nerve growth that are crucial for body cooling. Check out this detailed brochure by the Army Rangers for more specific information.

Lastly, daytime siestas are time-honored traditions in all tropical and subtropical climates. It has been shown that siestas are actually slightly longer in the summer in tropical climates, even though the temperatures hardly increase from the tropical winter.

Don’t let the bugs bite

Being prepared for biting bugs is a huge part of tropical comfort. You know how to prepare for this with your favorite repellent, but just in case you need ideas, here are some more options. But you may not know that another great option is a mosquito-repellent coil infused with citronella. They are the perfect, long-lasting option in the tropics that will keep bugs away for hours and are easy to pack with your luggage.

There you have it! Whether you are planning on going to Bora Bora, or the Dominican Republic, or Thailand, you now have a few tools to have a great sleep beneath the stars in a hammock or underneath the netting of a Trekker Pyramid. Let us know in the comments below if you have braved the tropics with a pack and a tent and, if so, where.

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Top 4 reasons to use a hammock

camping hammock with tree straps

While Hammocks aren’t for everyone, here are Our Top Four Reasons to use a River Country Products Hammock on your next backpacking trip:

Hammocks can make it easier to fall asleep

Researchers have found that the rocking motion of hammocks allows people to fall asleep much faster, which can be nice after a long day on the trail.  It can even help people with insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

Hammocks provide deeper sleep

A sleep study found rocking while sleeping allows people to sleep better in a noisy environment.   A benefit whether you’re camping with loud friends or can hear the constant sounds of nature.  

Hammocks are more comfortable

Many people report hammocks to be more comfortable and better for their backs and hips.   Comfort while sleeping is the number one reason people give for avoiding camping or backpacking, so switching to a hammock might just provide that much-needed comfort.  

Hammocks allow you to set up camp faster and in places less accessible to tents

Sometimes you just don’t want to hunt for a nice, flat spot to pitch a tent, if in a wooded area Hammock spots can be easy to locate and Hammocks are often much faster to set up then pitching a tent.   

Bonus: RCP’s Hammocks include a rain fly and cost only $38.95, one of the cheapest and lightest sleeping options available.  

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Hammock + Tree Straps = The Perfect Pair

hammock tree straps backpacking

Although a seemingly small change, the addition of two 10 foot tree straps to our backpacking hammock makes a huge difference in set up time and convenience. These hammock tree straps are simple to use and are now included with every hammock.

The tree straps are rated at 400lbs (though the hammock holds just 320lbs), and are made from a durable stretch resistant polyester. The stitching is also reinforced making the straps stronger. Another great feature are the 15 connection points for your hammock. These small loops make it easy to adjust the tightness of your hammock setup without retying a knot or removing the straps.

Finally they weigh just 5.2oz each and pack down to a small size, perfect for taking backpacking, camping, or in your backyard. The orange stitching also makes them more visible in the evening and at night.