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12/02/2014 by Brian Eagen Click to Tweet


Here's a story for you, taken from "Have A Little Faith" by Mitch Albom.

Sam Cooke looked up from under the tractor he was fixing to see a middle-aged, well-built man standing there quietly waiting for him. To Sam's inquiry the man gave his name as Bill Jeffers - his business, handyman. He was inquiring about the "Handy Man Wanted" sign on Sam's gate.

Sam needed a helper, but he wanted to be sure he got a good one, so he asked the stranger, "What can you do?"

The reply, "I can sleep through a storm," didn't make sense and sounded as though the man might be a little on the "cracked" side. Repeated questions brought on the same answer, calm and direct, "I can sleep through a storm."

Impatiently Sam Cooke expressed his misgivings about hiring Jeffers by telling him that there was another man applying for the job, and to come back next Saturday to see if it was still open.

Saturday morning Jeffers was on hand early, inquiring about the job which he knew wasn't filled because the sign was still up on the gate. The interview was the same as before; with "I can sleep through a storm" Jeffers' only answer. By this time, Sam was desperate for a helper, so he hired the man on a trial basis.

In the weeks that followed, Sam was to find that Bill Jeffers was the best worker he had ever seen. Whatever needed doing got done, and well, and both men were pleased with the arrangement. The farmer was willing to forget that his hired man talked a little "peculiar" when asked what he could do.

Then one night came the storm. Lightning had been flickering on the horizon when they went to bed, but when Sam awoke about midnight; the storm was almost on them. He quickly pulled on his clothes and went to the hired man's room to wake him up so that together they could put the farm in shape for the storm, see that the doors were closed, the tractor covered, the livestock inside, and a number of other things.

Pound as he might on Bill's door, there was no response, and Sam angrily went rushing out to put the place in shape, muttering about his stupidity in hiring a man you couldn't waken when you needed him most, resolving to fire him in the morning.

When Sam got to the barn, all the doors were already closed, the tractor was indoors, the livestock was all bedded down; everything was all set. As he slowly undressed after his unnecessary trip around the farm in the rain, Sam Cooke at last knew what his hired man had meant by "I can sleep through a storm."

Jeffers did his works so well, so thoroughly that he did not need to worry in the time of storm. He knew that everything was right.

When you crawl into the tent at night, or leave for a day hike, is your gear tidy and food stored? Can you sleep through a storm?


Bombproofing is a term we use in the outdoors to describe how put together we want our campsite to be at night; so solid that it could withstand the chaos of a rabid raccoon or the winds of the fiercest storm.

Here is our 7-Step Checklist for bombproofing your campsite each night:

Step 1) Bring Less

The number one reason why things don't get put away is because no one wants to spend their precious time in the outdoors cleaning up. If you bring less stuff, then there is less to take care of each night.

Step 2) Set Up Your Camp Early

Leave early in the day to arrive at your next campsite early in the day. This allows you time to get your sleeping area, kitchen, food storage, and gear all in order before it starts to get dark.

Step 3) Eat Dinner Early

Just like in Step 2, get your dinner preparation started early and finished early. Get going on dishes right after you finish dinner. Again, getting things done before it gets dark is key here. Leave a snack available in case you need a little something extra before crawling into your sleeping bag.

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Step 4) Plan for the Next Morning

Make sure you have extra water stored and ready to go for tomorrow morning. Also, look over tomorrow's route and gear requirements the night before. This allows you to sleep well, knowing you have a solid plan for the next day.

Step 5) Always Prepare for a Storm

I love sleeping outside sans shelter. It's a great way to connect with your surroundings on a very intimate level. However, unless I am very sure about the weather forecast that night, I will usually set up my tent as a back up. That way, if it starts to rain, I can quickly move inside instead of getting soaked and sad trying to set up a tent in a 2AM downpour.

Step 6) Simplify your Storage

When you bed down for the night, your gear should be in one of three places; your shelter, your food storage container, or your backpack. I only bring my sleeping system (sleeping bag, pad, extra clothes, headlamp, water) into the tent with me at night. This is good practice even if you aren't in bear country. My food is either in a bear canister, hanging in a tree, stored in a locker, or in a car. The rest of my gear is packed inside my backpack with a rain cover over it.

Step 7) Do a Final Camp Sweep

The last thing I do before bedding down is walk around my camp to look for bits of trash I may have missed and gear that hasn't been stored yet. This is a great way to double check that you are abiding by current Leave No Trace land use ethics, and continue to take responsibility for picking up after yourself.

It doesn't take long to work your way through these 7 Steps, and I guarantee you will sleep better knowing all your food and gear will be waiting for you the next morning. Like most things in the outdoors, it all boils down to working first and playing second.

What steps do you take to bombproof at night? Can you sleep through a storm?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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