Making Camping Trips Doable With AS
Last updated: July 2023
One of our family’s favorite pastimes has always been going away camping.
I’ve missed quite a few of those trips over the years thanks to AS. It always tugs at my heart a bit when I see the photos of places I didn’t go, but I’m so glad my husband still made the effort to give our kids some fun times away even when I couldn’t be there.
We’re preparing for another camping trip next week and I’ve been thinking about all the little tweaks we’ve learned along the way to make camping easier with my AS in mind. I thought they might be helpful to share.
One thing I’ve learned (the hard way!) is that rough off-road tracks are simply a no-go for anyone with AS. This has meant some of the remote locations we used to visit are no longer an option, but that’s ok. Dirt roads with corrugations and unexpected pot holes are just a recipe for pain, strain, and injury. Nowadays we stick to the road more traveled and still get to some great camping spots.
The time of year we go has also been modified to accommodate my needs.
I once loved sitting around a campfire on a freezing cold night, but winter camping is no longer possible unless I want to end up in a world of pain and stiffness. Camping in the warmer months is still so lovely (apart from the snakes!) and my body copes a lot better than it ever did in the cold.
Tools and supplies
There are so many fun camping products to buy and one of the best things we’ve added to our collection in recent yers is a padded stretcher bed. This is made of lightweight canvas on a light aluminum frame and has been a complete game-changer for my back when sleeping outdoors. It’s great not having to get up and down from ground-level and the legs can be adjusted up or down to get a perfect level surface for sleeping on.
I’ve also found a comfortable camp chair and a table for food prep to be helpful additions that don’t strain my back. It’s all a bit more “stuff” than we ever used to bother with but that’s a small price to pay for being able to get out into the beautiful Australian bush.
A helping hand
Other tips which apply to travel generally really come into their own for me when I’m camping. As much as I don’t like it, I can’t pull my weight when it comes to all the heavy lifting and carrying that goes with packing the car or setting up camp. If I give in and try to help it will likely ruin the rest of the trip for me with pain and misery, so it’s just not worth it.
Another great learning from traveling with AS is to schedule time in for regular breaks. Sitting in the car for an extended period doesn’t work for my back or hips, so it’s important to find a couple of rest stops or points of interest along the way to break up the journey. This makes for a longer travel time but a better outcome at the other end, another small but worthwhile modification.
Are you a lover of camping in the outdoors? What adjustments have you made to take care of yourself and avoid pain or injury when camping?
Has changing your diet helped manage your pain and flares?