Going to sleep with a view of pine trees and innumerable stars, waking to bird calls and dew: these are the things that make camping worthwhile. Some parts of my strategy for camping with fibromyalgia worked very well; others need improvement. Here’s a run-down of the results.

  • Getting there: the drive to the campground was okay. We stretched several times and stopped for lunch. The drive back was harder. The total trip was 355 miles, as we spent a fair bit of time driving around the area checking out different beaches and looking for restaurants. We were in a hurry on the way back, and didn’t stop as often as we probably should have. This was beginning to trigger a pain flare, but I managed to nip it in the bud.
  • Having a co-camper ally to help manage the gear worked like a charm. (Thanks, camping buddy!) We’d both practiced setting the tent up recently, so that went off without a hitch.
  • Sleeping arrangements: my camping mat and other gear kept me warm, dry, and comfy. I do have some ideas for making sleep even better. I may want to try using an air mattress in the future, as a friend tipped me off that it’s even more comfortable than a thick camping mat. It may be more bulky to move around, though. It’s something to try. Another consideration is that I did two trial runs in the backyard this week, for a total of three nights sleeping on a mat on the ground. The extra runs made me a little extra sore. The trial runs won’t be necessary next time, fortunately.
  • Morning stiffness – I did some stretching, and that seemed to take care of most of it.
  • Other issues: We should have done more research on where to eat. We planned to eat out and not worry about cooking at the campsite. A number of restaurants were closed as it’s the off-season at the beach. It seemed like the only restaurants we could find had fried food or $30-a-plate dinners. We also looked for restaurants when we were already hungry – a sure way to get cranky and desperate.

Overall, it was a good trip. I did have to take steps to prevent a pain flare when we got back: medication, hot shower, lots of stretching. In the future, I may want to try using an air mattress, planning restaurants in advance, and taking my own advice about spacing out time in the car.