Camping doesn’t have to stop when you turn 60. In fact, you will probably have more time and be able to really enjoy it. However, you may need to upgrade your gear or treat yourself to a cot to do this comfortably and safely.
Sleep Off the Ground
Get a cot. If that means you have to get a bigger tent, get a bigger tent. A cot means that you
- will not be chilled by the ground
- will avoid getting overheated because you will have airflow
- can use more cushioning and sleep more easily on your joints
- will not get wet if the tent leaks
A cot will also give you something to push off of when you go to stand up in the middle of the night and in the morning. Getting off the ground when you are stiff and cold is tough. On old joints, the process of getting to your feet can be downright hazardous. An air mattress is more cushion than sleeping on the ground, but getting off an air mattress first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night will be quite challenging. A cot will give you structure.
Invest in Taller Chairs With Sturdy Arms
Your old camping chair may not work for your current back, hips, and knees. If you are tall or heavier than in years past, get a folding chair that is properly sized for your body right now. A chair with a high, structured seat, a sturdy pair of arms and a comfortable ratio of the hip to knee and hip to the shoulder will greatly improve your camping experience.
Get a Flat Stove
The world of camping stoves has gotten quite convenient. If you have been working off a tall water boiling unit, treat yourself to a nice stable gas or butane stove that you can light easily and don’t have to worry about tipping.
Invest in a Headlamp
Skip the flashlight and treat yourself to a rechargeable headlamp. A headlamp means that if you have to get up in the middle of the night, you can enjoy both light and access to both your hands. Everywhere you look, you will have light and can easily get in and out of the tent, visit the facilities or whatever else you need, and get back into bed without having to manage the flashlight.
Pack or Rent a Clamshell
If you are camping in Michigan, go ahead and set up your tent before you go to make sure your screens are in good shape. Michigan is lush, green, cool, and probably packed with mosquitoes. In addition to a tent, consider also investing in a clamshell that you can bring with so you have somewhere cool to hang out that offers both shade and bug protection.
Get Some Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are an excellent tool for seniors on a hike. They offer a bit of stability, build great balance, and get the upper body involved as well. If you are traveling with an older camper or are an older camper yourself, trekking poles can also hold off an overexcited dog who wants to jump and play until the owner can control their pet. This is not about abusing the dog, but if an excited, friendly pup knocks you down, your camping trip will be over quickly.
Consider Getting a Solar Generator
Having portable power means you can keep your
all charged up. Because there is a risk of running down your car battery and getting stranded, it’s not a great idea to just use that cigarette lighter adapter. It’s just too easy to leave things hooked up when you get to your campsite.
If you love the outdoors, you don’t need much new gear to make it enjoyable and easy as you age. However, what worked 20 years ago could leave you feeling pretty rough in the morning. If you just don’t have the space to store new chairs or a cot, consider investing in a screened hammock. In one of these, you can enjoy relaxation and sleep in a bug-free environment.