Beat Camp Boredom With Therm-a-Rest Checkers

By Jaeger Shaw, 27 April 2014

  • DATE

    27 April 2014


    Jaeger Shaw


    Hiking & Backpacking

Bad weather or darkness keeping you tentbound? Made it to camp early? Taking a rest day? If you or your partner packed a Therm-a-Rest Z Lite, never fear boredom again! You've unwittingly brought a checkers board with you.

  1. Each player picks 12 pieces of small, roundish and ideally non-sticky snack food from their supply. Think: chocolates, nuts, yogurt raisins, etc. Keep a few extra on hand for kinged pieces.
  2. Pick an 8x8 section of the Therm-a-Rest and lay your pieces across the board in the three parallel rows of four closest to you. The ridges and valleys of the Z Lite both count toward the 8x8, though all play happens in the valleys.
  3. Begin playing checkers. The player with the darker colored snack goes first. Refresh yourself on the rules here.
  4. King a piece by pairing it in the same valley with an extra snack of the same kind from your supply.
  5. When you capture an opponent's piece, simply eat it. When your snacks are on the line, games can get pretty intense. Up the ante by betting campsite chores on the outcome.

Get creative! There are lots of other games that could hypothetically be played on your sleeping pad and your imagination and food supplies are the only limiting factors.

Jaeger Shaw

Seattle, WA

Sandwiched for warmth between three other guys in a two man tent just North of Mount St. Helens, Jaeger thought to himself, “I need better gear.” The other tent was leaking snow melt. His rain jacket was rubber and his pack 50 pounds.

But no longer. Ever since that first miserable trip, his life has been a quest for the perfect adventure and the best gear. That’s why today, he works at Outdoor Research in Seattle.

There he spends his time desk jockeying the Facebook page and taking extended backpacking trips into the Cascades, Olympics and Sierras. No more disasters for this guy. Except climbing the occasional V4.

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