You’re ready to unplug. To enjoy nature. But, with a chronic illness, camping can be tricky. So, here are 3 tips I have learned to create a better experience.

Camping with a chronic illness has unique challenges.
Photo by Jonathan Forage on Unsplash
Camping with a chronic illness has unique challenges.
Photo by Jonathan Forage on Unsplash

There is something special about camping. Maybe it is the outdoors, the escape from city life, or the way the stars tangle in the sky.

But, I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (or POTs for short). This condition includes chronic fatigue, dizzy spells, joint pain, memory issues, and brain fog, along with more.

So, although camping is wonderful-sometimes, the unpredictability wreacks havoc on my body.

Through trial and error, I have discovered a few tricks for camping with a chronic illness.

Tip #1: Build in Extra Time to do Tasks While Camping

When camping, don't rush.
Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash
When camping, don’t rush.
Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

One of the first times I went camping after my symptoms began, I thought I would have plenty of time to set up my tent before dark. What I didn’t count on was a major pain flare popping in as daylight dwindled away.

Chronic illness is not a predictable science, so create your schedules with some time to kill. It’s better to have extra time than to be rushed or feel guilty about lost time.

Tip #2: Always Make Sure Your Essentials are Covered When Camping

Bring essentials when camping with a chronic illness.
Photo by Laurine Bailly on Unsplash
Bring essentials when camping with a chronic illness.
Photo by Laurine Bailly on Unsplash

This may sound obvious, but with memory issues, necessary items are often forgotten. In my life, lists are 100% needed.

My husband and I keep all our camping gear in one tote, so it is easily remembered. Some items include our tent, a sleeping bag, extra blankets/pillows (because I can get cold easily), and cooking gear.

This way, we only need to remember our food and smaller items after grabbing the tote.

Beyond that, make sure you have plenty of water, electrolytes, and your medications.

Tip #3: Always Have a Backup Plan When Camping

Camping doesn't always go to plan.
Photo by  on Unsplash
Camping doesn’t always go to plan.
Photo by Toomas Tartes on Unsplash

If you enjoy hiking like I do, then you’re likely to want to explore wherever you go. However, if a bad flare arrives-where you can barely wake up or pain prevents you from walking, you want to have a backup plan.

Some items I bring camping are a journal, a book, cards, and other games/activities you can play while being outside.

This allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, even if you cannot do what you originally planned on. If chronic illness requires one thing, it is flexibility.

Camping with a chronic illness requires flexibility.
Photo by Timothy Meinberg on Unsplash
Camping with a chronic illness requires flexibility.
Photo by Timothy Meinberg on Unsplash

Those I surround myself with while camping know my symptoms, my triggers and what to do. So, I always have a calm level headed helper if things don’t go to plan.

In my opinion, the outdoors are worth the pain. But, I try to be proactive with my health. Learning those 3 simple tips have helped me immensely while camping.