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Do you fancy a bivouac this summer? Does eating by the stove warm you up?

Discover Muule 's 5 best tips for a successful bivouac in the great outdoors. Enjoy adventure and peace with our practical tips!

1° Leave for how long?

The best way to know is to get started! Depending on your comfort and experience, you can adjust the duration of your bivouacs over time.

To begin with, a first family bivouac can last 1 to 2 nights, this already allows you to have a good overview. You will be able to plan what will await you if you decide to leave for longer. Especially if you are with children, it is best to be able to test the equipment and get them used to it.

Once you have gained experience, 2 to 4 nights allow you to explore more and feel a real break from the urban world. The most addicted will tell you that they can go away for entire weeks independently.

The main thing is to anticipate preparation and physical condition. Whether you are leaving for 1 night or 15 days, you must always consider the weather conditions. This seems obvious but always check the weather forecast before you go. Extreme conditions may limit the length of your stay.

Warning: weather conditions can be very changeable in the mountains.

2° Bivouac with children

You are already won over by the bivouac, you love the tranquility, nature and magnificent landscapes.

You will surely want to share this experience with your children, let them discover nature up close, observe the stars, listen to the sounds of animals.

It's true that it's tempting to let them taste these simple pleasures of life. Despite this, your children will probably be reluctant to sleep outside of their beds at home. Here are some tips to make the experience enriching for everyone!

For a first outing: choose a place that is easily accessible in case of emergency, without aiming too big. Children don't need to travel long distances to be happy. Starting with 2 to 3 kilometers, for a first time, can be more than enough.

Generally we recommend a hike of 2 to 6 km for children aged 4 to 8 years old, this is the ideal distance so as not to disgust them.

A good spot should provide space to run and play, without immediate danger. The more fun the place is and provides something to have fun, the more success you will find with your little ones. Prefer a flat area, sheltered from the wind, enjoying the sun, and close to a water point. Avoid dangerous areas such as cliffs and streams.

What's better than a night in a tent to introduce your children to nature!

3° How to set up camp?

Bivouac is great, it allows you to decompress, to disconnect from the worries of work to reconnect with the beautiful spaces that nature offers us. But so that these moments remain fun and do not turn into an ordeal, here are some rules of good conduct for creating a good bivouac area:

  • Set up your bivouac at the end of the day and pack up camp at daybreak. It's more pleasant for other hikers than seeing a camp in the middle of nature.

  • Avoid areas with animal droppings or odors and do not trample flowers or tall grass. They are refuges for wildlife.

  • Always prefer a place protected from the wind and discreet, even if it is not the most beautiful, your sleep will thank you for it.

Choose flat areas to pitch your tent.

  • To avoid humidity, do not camp at the edge of a lake or in a basin, locate the tops of hillocks or dry areas.

  • The use of pegs must be automatic, even if the tent is self-supporting , especially in the mountains where the wind tends to pick up quickly.

  • In bivouac, your stove is your best friend, fire your enemy. Even if we all love the warm side of a nice campfire, in addition to being ineffective for cooking your pasta compared to a stove, it is most often prohibited in parks and the south of France in general.

  • To prepare the ground, spread the branches and stones as far as possible, your back will thank you. Overall, you must keep in mind that any roughness in the ground will harm the quality of your ground, will complicate the anchoring of your tent and may also damage it.

Camp set up in the middle of the desert.

  • Camps under isolated trees should be avoided, as there is a risk of attracting lightning. It can be smart to practice setting up the tent once or twice, it's never pleasant to struggle after a long tiring day of walking, an unpleasant surprise comes quickly.

  • Even if they are tempting and look welcoming, you have to be wary of the meadows, they can be occupied by herds. And in addition to risking disturbing the shepherds, it can become really dangerous when approaching livestock.

  • For the thorny issue of toilets, we advise you to dig a fairly deep hole, leaving the pile of earth next to the hole. A small trash bag next to it for paper so you don't throw anything into nature. All you have to do is plug the hole when leaving the area so as not to leave any traces.

4° How to prepare the meal in bivouac?

Now that you have found your ideal campsite, you will need to think about something to eat. But what should you eat in bivouac to regain energy and sleep well to be ready for the next day?

First of all, only make a fire if absolutely necessary; use a stove for your meals. If you really must make a fire, isolate the fire area with stones and keep your distance from the tent and other objects.

When bivouac, the ideal is to always favor dry, light and easy to prepare foods such as pasta, rice, quinoa.

If you want protein, small cans of fish can come in handy. For vegetables, we recommend lentils and red beans, they will provide you with carbohydrates, you can also bring dehydrated vegetables or freeze-dried soups.

For snacks we can only advise you not to forget dried fruits, all the oilseeds that you like are suitable! Energy bars can also give you the boost you're looking for.

Cooking vegetables in a Jetboil stove.

On the practical side, the best organization is to provide zipped bags with the necessary quantity depending on the number of people, so that the dosage is already ready.

When bivouac,freeze-dried meals are an excellent way to eat a balanced meal full of nutrients, plus they are light and easy to transport. They can be welcome on an evening when you don't have the time/desire to cook and you need to eat quickly.

With a gas stove , the range of dishes is limited only by your motivation and inspiration. You can definitely try pasta carbonara, sautéed vegetables. Modern stoves heat up quickly and are very reliable, with a suitable cooking pot and a wind shield, you can work miracles!

With a gas stove, the limit is your imagination!

5° What should you take to go bivouac?

Sleeping in a tent cannot be improvised! Here is the basic equipment to spend a comfortable night in the bush:

  • Sleeping bag : the comfort temperature must be defined according to your destination, but be aware that the temperature 0°C/+5°C remains the most practical. You can look for three-season or summer bags.

  • Self-inflating or inflatable mattress : For the more adventurous, a foam floor mat may be enough. But if you are going for several days, you will surely opt for an inflatable or self-inflating mattress. Remember not to forget a repair kit and be careful when laying out the mattress, the risk of puncture quickly arises, especially outside of a tent on the ground.

Sleeping bag and mattress: the minimum for a successful bivouac

  • Tent : its weight and dimensions are obviously to be defined according to your objectives, but a 2/3-seater model in 3 seasons is ideal for two people. The additional half-space will give you the opportunity to place bags and other belongings in the tent, useful for keeping all your belongings protected and dry.

  • Stove : gas, gasoline or alcohol? For a bivouac weekend in France or Europe, without air transfer, the gas stove will be more than enough. If you are going abroad to an isolated area, choose gasoline, you will always be sure to find it everywhere.

  • Water filters/tablets : They allow you to filter the water from the streams encountered, and therefore avoid carrying too much water at the start of your trek, which should not be neglected. Mountain water, although pure, can quickly become contaminated by local wildlife.

Article written by Colin de Muule on May 23, 2024.

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