Thread: Camping
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:27 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 26,558
I love camping. There are a few of us here who could write volumes in response.

For buying gear, I recommend checking out Ebay for used stuff or buying generic stuff direct from China through Ali-Express. The downside with both of those things is you can't return the stuff if you are unhappy with it. REI is expensive, but they take stuff back for any reason.

Ideally you should try camping before you commit to buying several hundred bucks worth of gear, but I don't know how you do that without joining a group or something and using their gear.

If you are unfamiliar with backpacking camping, there are a bunch of people on YouTube who talk about how they do it, and the gear they use. You watch videos from half a dozen folks, you can start to get an idea of what you will need.

With backpacking camping, you will need pretty lightweight and compressible stuff, which is normally more expensive. And then you take a hard look at what you really are going to need and don't take anything you don't need.

Rule of thumb is that you shouldn't exceed a pack weight that is more than 30% of your own weight. To be happy, you will want to be way less than that though. More like 15%-20% of your own weight.

I'd recommend finding a place with sites that are about one mile away from the parking lot. That's far enough to get some peace and quiet, but you won't kill yourself on your first excursion.

There are tons of worthless expensive products out there that you don't need. I bought a set of Coleman Peak backpacking cooking pots when I first started camping, and they were a complete waste of money. Awkward to use, heavy, an unhelpful size, you name it. [edit: I naively thought that because they nested inside each other and came in a stuff sack, they were cool.] I think a lot of beginners buy stuff they think they need because they see it in a store or catalog and just buy it. Sales clerks in stores are never going to tell you that you don't need an item you are looking at.

Last edited by glatt; 12-04-2017 at 12:57 PM.
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