: Tips for Sleeping, Safety, and Gear
How to camp when flying. Camping when flying can be a great experience, but it’s important to know how to do it safely. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for camping when flying in a light aircraft. We’ll cover sleeping arrangements, safety considerations, and what gear you’ll need to make your trip comfortable and safe. Whether you’re camping underneath the wing or taking your own tent, we have you covered!
Introduction to camping when flying
When camping in a light aircraft, choosing a sleeping area is usually the biggest challenge. Many people choose to sleep underneath the wing or beside the aircraft. This is useful as it can provide some shelter from the wind and elements. Because aprons are typically nice and flat it makes sleeping comfortable. However this can also mean wind can really become an issue if it picks up. You may find your tent can get buffeted around as the only shelter you have is the aircraft.
Tips for choosing a tent for camping when flying
If you’re taking your own tent, be sure to select a model that is compact and lightweight. Anything that will add unnecessary weight or size to your cargo (e.g. a swag) can be a burden when flying, especially for weight and balance.
A good option for camping in a light aircraft is to use an inflatable hiking mattress and pillow. This will help keep you comfortable and insulated from the ground whilst minimizing weight and space.
Before you fly away with your own tent, it’s always good practice to fly a couple of trial runs. This way you can familiarise yourself with how best to pack up and fly out from your site.
Tent pegs and aircraft tie downs
Another way to minimize weight is to use plastic pegs rather than metal ones. These are lighter but still provide enough strength when securing your tent fly to the ground. You may choose to fly away with an aircraft tie-down kit, so you should already have an idea about what kind of pegs work for grass aprons. As a bonus, you have already got your hammer! I find paracord works great for camping. However you may need a stronger rope or even chains for aircraft tie downs.
Tips for keeping safe when camping near an aircraft
Safety is always an important consideration when flying, and this applies equally to camping. There are a few safety considerations you should make when camping in close proximity to an aircraft.
Firstly ensure there is no flammable material used around the aircraft itself (e.g. jetboil or a camp fire) and keep any open flames well away from the plane.
If you are lighting a fire, ensure you have some form of shield or enclosure (tin foil can be used). Keep small children away from fires and always have water and a fire extinguisher available in case something goes wrong.
Secondly, if using a flysheet then be sure that it does not damage or obstruct any delicate instruments such as pitot tubes or access points on your aircraft. This could cause damage if they get caught up in wind gusts. Nobody wants to get stuck with a bent pitot tube when flying away from home!
- If you are camping near your aircraft on an active movement area, be sure to keep situational awareness at all times. Listen out on a handheld radio if you have one,
- Look out for any ground crew, sounds, or any other indications that other aircraft may be approaching.
- Larger, busier airports will typically prohibit camping near your aircraft due to this danger. Smaller airports, ALAs or private fly ins may allow it.
- The use of high visibility vests and torches or strobes in movement areas is a smart idea to keep safe. Be aware around other aircraft, especially during low visibility periods such as dusk, night or morning.
Alcohol and aviation don’t mix, so consider leaving the alcohol behind when camping near an aircraft. The last thing you need is an alcohol-related injury from impaired judgment. The regulations are pretty strict about aircraft husbandry – you must be 0.0 BAC if conducting any aircraft-related duties!
What to take camping when flying
When it comes to what gear to take camping when flying, the options can seem endless. However, by keeping things light and compact you’ll be sure not to overload your aircraft or bulk out the storage areas.
In addition to your flight bag, a good option for camping bags to use for most flying trips in light aircraft is a medium-sized hiking backpack. These come with a variety of features that make them perfect for camping such as water resistant fabric, compartments and loops to attach equipment, and comfortable straps. If you can fit everything neatly in the backpack, you shouldn’t have an issue with fitting it in most light aircraft.
If you use the same thought process for what to take camping when flying as you do if you were going hiking, you will be on the money. In addition to your essentials for flying in the outback , Some great ideas for things to take are;
- Compact, lightweight tent (or flysheet)
- Tie down ropes and pegs
- Inflatable pillow
- Sleeping bag
- Jet boil
- A good quality flight jacket
- Camping Cup, bowl and cutlery
- Food and other consumables
- Plenty of freshwater (useful for weight and balance too if using boxed water!)
- Phone / tablet charger battery bank
- Spare clothing including warm layers (don’t forget socks!)
- Swiss army knife or multi-tool
- First aid kit and personal medication if needed.
- Toiletries – toothbrush and toothpaste, deoderant etc.
- A portable shower
- Handheld aircraft radio
- High visibility vest
- Torches and backup batteries
- Survival kit
Summary of Camping When Flying
Camping near your aircraft can be a great way to experience aviation and camping in one go, but it’s important to take some basic safety precautions. Keep any open flames away from the aircraft, be careful that camping equipment doesn’t damage delicate aircraft instruments, and keep situational awareness at all times when camping near other aircraft.
When packing, keep things light and compact to avoid overloading the aircraft. Take a hiking backpack with all of the essentials for camping, including water, food, clothing, and shelter. Enjoy your fly-in camping trip!
G’day, I’m Ken. I’m originally from rural SA but currently live in Sydney where I fly cargo operations all over the world. I love traveling and camping, so soon as I get home I grab my gear and head out bush. I’m no stranger to the great outdoors and have previously camped my way all around Australia by car, on foot, and by light aircraft. I enjoy writing about Aviation, Camping, and Travelling at www.FlyCamper.com, and am currently building my dream Van as a mobile home on wheels. You can find me on Instagram at Fly_camper , on Facebook at @TheFlyCamper and on Twitter at @fly_camper