First trip of 2020 and what a way to kick off a new decade than with a basic tarp camp enjoying the great outdoors. The Brecon Beacons offers some stunning scenery and hills which are tall enough to offer some walking into higher country.
Forecast was a mixed bag, wind with rain but with chances of sunshine breaking through. This weather would normally warrant a tent, shelter that completely cuts you off from the view. So this year I would be working on a means to pack lighter, utilise more open style shelter techniques and strive towards a simpler method of moving though the land. One that would maximise views when resting and sleeping.
Arriving just after dark which meant a long moonlit hike up to the start of the upland areas. I tried to use the last of the natural light to navigate my way and managed without having to turn on the head torch. Honing one’s senses is part of the exercise offered when operating outdoors.
Basic tarp Camp
Up on the high ground and a suitable spot located. Utilising two hiking poles and a small tarp you can be out of the wind and rain in no time. Another positive is that you sleep surrounded by fresh air and expansive views. In sharp contrast a tent locks you away from all the wonder you have come to enjoy in the first place.
There are some specific ‘hill’ style tarps on the market but alas I do not own one of these. Instead I use a more traditional rectangular shape which sadly has certain drawbacks. For example it is very hard to completely close off the weather from sneaking in to your shelter area. To solve this a bivi bag has to be brought along too but the wind still gets to you.
Another problem is that a tarp does not trap any heat and so in the colder months this choice of shelter makes for an even colder trip. Seems like a tarp may not be the best idea due to these problems but when you bed down with the stars above all visible from your place of rest it makes it all worthwhile.