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Spending the night outdoors can be survived without preparation, but it's a lot more pleasant to be prepared. Often when things go right sleeping outside is even more pleasant than your all-too-familiar bed; asceticism doesn't equal misery. Read the full story
Spending the night outdoors can be survived without preparation, but it's a lot more pleasant to be prepared. Often when things go right sleeping outside is even more pleasant than your all-too-familiar bed; asceticism doesn't equal misery.
The weight of necessary accessories for a couple of nights doesn't require special footwear. If you normally wear sturdy shoes with a bit of shaft, they will most likely do fine. On more difficult trails you obviously want something else, but you can hike in the forest with a backpack even with bare feet. Point being: don't sweat it.
Clothing requirements don't vary much from what you wear on a day trip. During season shifts you might want to pay more attention, but by combining the right layers you can wear and pack a reasonably small garderobe with lots of flexibility.
Just a shoulder bag and jacket pockets is unlikely to suffice, but a backpack or small rucksack is usually perfect for your needs. Strap the sleeping bag and pad on the outside to save space. There's no need for specialized gear: a classic German surplus pack will do just fine.
Keep in mind you're going out to enjoy nature and come back refreshed. If you want to have nice things out there, go for it! Just don't bring all your belongings with you, or you'll unpack after the trip accompanied by frustrated "this was also useless"-remarks.
The basics you want in your camp are a place to lie down, a sleeping bag and protection from elements. A tarp is a handy way to provide shelter when taking a break if the weather is miserable. Learn to pitch your stuff before heading out!