Nap and Recharge

by Bruce Watts
Tracy in Algonquin Park
Tracy in Algonquin Park - Highland Backpacking 2015

Napping breaks a hiking day into 2 chunks, and recharges the legs

Long days on the trails or water are the best kind of days. 

Particularly during the extended summer days, or better yet the never ending summer sun of the far north. 

When on the move you have a couple of choices. Pound out some punishing yet rewarding  long days, or perhaps stop early and take advantage of the long days by lounging at your campsite reading a good book, playing an epic game of cards or snapping some photos worth sharing.  Whatever your flavour… some quality down time can fill the daylight hours very productively and provide much needed peace from the often hectic city pace waiting for you at home.

nap bruce 600Bruce napping on the rocks of Atlantic shore between tides - New Brunswick 2017There is a 3rd choice. Try breaking the day in half with a midday nap. 

Naps are not just for Royalty and the unmotivated. When done right, they can recharge both the body and soul.

When backpacking I always use 6 hours hiking as my maximum guideline. My body and experience tells me that 6 hours on my feet is enough.  Any more and my feet and shoulders will fight back, global fatigue will build, and my overall enjoyment levels will dip. 

However if the day is pristine, a midday nap will re-charge your body and spirit. It will refill your personal tank or top up your internal battery pack if you prefer.  A quality nap can actually extend your hiking or paddling day plus increase the fun factor.

Nap Time Tips

  • Pick a spot off the trail - you don’t want to be disturbed by other hikers.
  • Look up down and all around - your nap location needs to be safe. Stay clear from poison ivy, ant hills, bees hives and animal trails.
  • Cover you eyes not your ears - blocking out the sun will improve your nap. A bandana makes a good eye guard. However plugging your ears will reduce safety. You want to hear a hiker’s voice, or a grunting deer. If you can’t hear a curious hiker’s “are you OK?”… he/she may think you are dead! 
  • Use a sleep pad - this does 3 things: improves comfort, gets you off the ground, and tells unsuspecting hikers that you are sleeping.
  • Nap don’t sleep - The science is simple. Less than 30 minutes is a NAP and more than 30 minutes is a SLEEP.  Generally speaking, you will be refreshed with a nap and if you extend your nap to a sleep, you will wake up groggy. When you sleep.. it can also disrupt your natural sleep patterns during the upcoming night.

Nap Time Tips

  • Pick a spot off the trail - you don’t want to be disturbed by other hikers.
  • Look up down and all around - your nap location needs to be safe. Stay clear from poison ivy, ant hills, bees hives and animal trails.
  • Cover you eyes not your ears - blocking out the sun will improve your nap. A bandana makes a good eye guard. However plugging your ears will reduce safety. You want to hear a hiker’s voice, or a grunting deer. If you can’t hear a curious hiker’s “are you OK?”… he/she may think you are dead! 
  • Use a sleep pad - this does 3 things: improves comfort, gets you off the ground, and tells unsuspecting hikers that you are sleeping.
  • Nap don’t sleep - The science is simple. Less than 30 minutes is a NAP and more than 30 minutes is a SLEEP.  Generally speaking, you will be refreshed with a nap and if you extend your nap to a sleep, you will wake up groggy. When you sleep.. it can also disrupt your natural sleep patterns during the upcoming night.

Nap, recharge, extend, go further and enjoy more.

 

Campologist Talk

A blog for campers by campers. Bruce is the primary contributor, with regular posts from Tracy and friends.

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