This weekend was all about testing…. Before heading out to sleep in my tent in the middle of nowhere I thought I’de better check that I was happy with everything by sleeping out in it in the garden.

I have got the tent pitching down to a fine art and without reading the instructions it takes 10 mins at a leisurely pace and I’m sure this will get faster with practice ­čÖé The forecast Saturday night was for it to be quite chilly so I thought it would also be a very good way to see how warm the sleeping bad was and how many layers of clothes I’ll actually need to wear at night to stay warm. I have also bought a fleece for Millie to wear at night to keep her warm. She doesn’t normally wear a coat so it was quite interesting measuring her up for it and ordering it. I will say that after the first couple of minutes of wearing it she just ignored it and seemed quite comfy wearing it. I will also have a down filled jacket with me that I’m planning on letting Millie sleep on/under at night to keep her warm and if she does look like she is still getting cold then she can always share my sleeping bag !

Anyway, back to our first night out…. I pitched the tent in daylight, got out my mat and sleeping bag and put my bag of clothing in the tent as well (I’m planning on using them as a pillow) and then we went to the pub…. I’m steering clear of alcohol at the moment because it does seem to have an adverse effect on my sleep even if I only have one or two. When we got back I put Millie’s fleece on her and her lead and went out to the tent. Millie soon got the hang of what was expected and curled p on my jacket next to me and settled down….

Now I’m not sure if I mentioned the fact┬áthat we have two dogs but I’m only taking┬áone of them with me for a variety of reasons including the sheer amount of dog food I would need to carry ! Honey, our other dog, was not terribly happy about leaving the two of us in the garden and was pacing up and down the stairs indoors. Eventually Phill let her out in to the garden and that was when the “fun” started ! The first I knew was when the tent was “pounced” on so that we could be “rescued” by her ! I tried to persuade her that coming in to the tent and settling down would be a good idea but she was having none of it, she was also determined that she wasn’t just going to head back indoors and leave us sleeping in the garden because that just isn’t how things normally happen…. So, at about 1am I gave up and headed indoors…..

So, what did I learn ??

  1. Millie is going to be fine in the tent with me overnight, she will just curl up and go to sleep
  2. Practicing in the garden is just not going to happen
  3. I need to plan to wear a merino wool base layer and another long sleeve top at night inside the sleep bag if the forecast is for about 4 degrees
  4. I can fit all my kit in the tent with me at night and don’t need to leave anything in the porch section
  5. The sleeping mat is really quite comfortable ­čÖé

Even though I had to abort the night out I’m happy with the way it went, the next test will be a night out after a 20 mile training walk in a few weeks time.

I will say that I have never slept out on my own at night before and the thought of it is a bit scary; but, if you never do anything that scares you or pushes the limits of your comfort zone I think you have the potential to miss out on so many fun things in life and I know this is something I want to do and that I will most probably really enjoy… It is just getting out and doing it !

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