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Old 12-04-2017, 11:54 AM   #1
bbro
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Camping

I want to try camping. The problem is, I have NO idea what to do, where to go, what to buy, etc. And I have NO friends that I can utilize to help me learn. I am looking for classes/meetups, etc, but haven't found any for me so far or they are scheduled when I have previous commitments. I need to pay more attention to REI since they offer classes. I am not looking to do anything until next fall, so I still have time to check some out.

I kind of want to hike in instead of drive. I think it would be more peaceful. I was thinking of starting at a local park that has primitive spots. I can take a hike and check them out before I book or try anything out in the mountains (which is the ultimate goal). There is one place that I would LOVE to camp which only has drive in sites

I do have a day pack, but I'll need a bigger one for staying overnight. And a stove, sleeping bag and pad, tent (or, hopefully a hammock I saw the other day), food, tp, water filtration, lamp, and that's all I can think of at the moment.

Anyone have any tips, wisdom, etc? Has anyone attempted to start camping as an adult? There is one place that I would LOVE to camp which only has drive in sites, so any advice for that is welcome.

Thanks in advance!



I think this is the right forum - if not, feel free to move
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:27 PM   #2
glatt
 
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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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Old 12-04-2017, 12:33 PM   #3
glatt
 
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I've got a big backpacking trip with a Boy Scout crew that I'm leading in the summer. This will be in New Mexico where it will be in the 30s-40s in the morning and over 100 in the afternoon. There will be sun beating down, and also drenching thunderstorms.

They helpfully provide a packing list specific to their program. Broken down by personal gear and group gear. As a single person, you would have to carry everything yourself, so it would all be personal gear.

http://www.philmontscoutranch.org/Tr...attoBring.aspx
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:51 PM   #4
bbro
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Thanks for all the information!

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
I love camping. There are a few of us here who could write volumes in response.
That's why I asked

Quote:
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.
I will check out YouTube. I know it's going to be expensive, but if I can return it, it would be better. It would be nice to have friends, but if I want to do this, I don't really have a choice.

Quote:
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.
Happily, that's quite a bit of weight - lol. That's another reason I was going to start out with just reservable areas in parks. Probably not just the first one, either. Then, as I get more comfortable with that, start doing some backcountry camping....or I may just stick with reservable spots.


Quote:
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.
Both places I was thinking of are relatively close to parking, just not a drive up location, but it is something to think about.

Quote:
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.
I have another store down here called Great Outdoor Provisions that will actually tell you that you don't need something, so I have been going there to get my stuff. I know I can definitely overshop on a normal day.



One thing that I can't believe is that when you go camping and stay in the same spot, that you just leave all your stuff there. I mean, no one messes with it??
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:24 PM   #5
glatt
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbro View Post
One thing that I can't believe is that when you go camping and stay in the same spot, that you just leave all your stuff there. I mean, no one messes with it??
I've never had my stuff messed with by humans.

Raccoons, wild horse, mice. That's another story.

I did camp in NJ last summer and didn't leave anything other than some relatively inexpensive tents out. I had a bad feeling about that place. It was a dump.

One tip I have for a cook system. Check this video out. Cheap, compact, pretty lightweight. I like this guy's thinking.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:26 PM   #6
Griff
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Yeah, back packers seem to be generally a decent bunch. Most thieves don't want to hike to steal! I did meet some sketchy people on the Appalachian trail but I think that was because we were pretty close to a town.

You can practice setting up in a yard somewhere to get things started. You want to be able top get your tent up properly, filter water, and feed yourself. Pour over maps make sure you have access to water. Keep dry. Watch the forecasts closely.

i just got word from the boss that we're on for a ADK New Years back packing trip again this year, which is very pleasing to me.

Youtube is great but I'd really advise seeking out an experienced person to go with just to smooth out the kinks.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:29 PM   #7
Griff
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Take care of your feet, bring extra socks and moleskin for blisters. Good socks and good boots are pretty important.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:04 PM   #8
monster
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If you have never camped before, baby steps. work up to it. Buy a basic sleeping bag and cheap 2-man tent from Walmart or similar. A single burner propane stove, and small pan set from Walmart and just go local for a night or two, to your nearest state park. The whole cost of that should be less than a night in a hotel. You can use an old gallon milk jug as a water container. If you forget anything vital, or figure out other things you need (like a foam pad to sleep on) there will be a store nearby. If there isn't, pick a park where there is. We used to do a "last hurrah" in the summer camping about 20 minutes north of where we live. But it didn't matter. It still felt like the middle of nowhere. Plus we could run home or to Walmart if need be.
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:17 AM   #9
Griff
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Yeah, don't bite off too much. There is a passion for peak bagging that pushes folks beyond their current abilities. It looks easier on paper until you get a sense of the terrain maps.

Oh, have fun!
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:27 PM   #10
xoxoxoBruce
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Monster nailed it, baby steps. There are as many types of camping as Carter has little pills, as the objective, or a means to an end. Start with some basic equipment, camping in your or a friends yard. Make sure you understand how everything works and if you'll be happy with it or need more/less. You could also just take some short hikes carrying that stuff to see if it will be grueling or not, before setting off on an overnight trip. Forced marches are not fun. Also, if you plan to hike from point A to point C, stopping overnight at point B, you'll probably be happy with less gear than if you hike somewhere and set up camp for a couple nights.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:06 PM   #11
bbro
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ok, just to make sure everyone understands - No Friends. For anything. Why do you think I'm going in the woods alone? Or asking people on the internet instead of asking IRL people??


@glatt - I like that guy - I like putting everything in something - lol! Good to know about people. It just seems so weird to me

@Griff - Got good socks, need good boots. That's on the list to buy next year. Good idea on the moleskin, though. I can add that to my first aid kit, easily. The places I have picked out to start with have potable water nearby. They are off the hiking trails or off a road, so I am good there. I don't have to worry too much about that until I start back country camping.

@monster - the first park I am planning on staying in is right off civilization. Short walk to the store since all the parks here shut and lock the gates at a certain time. The other park is a bit more out in nowhere, but that's the one I will be driving up to, so I can cart more things. I think both are like $15 a night.



What do you guys think of a GPS device? That way, I can shut my phone off and preserve battery in case I need to call for anything. I need to get a portable charger for regular life, anyways, so I would just make sure to get one that can go camping, too.

Do campsites usually have wood if they have a fire pit or do you have to bring that in? I see notes not to take firewood OUT, so I assume they do?

Food is going to be interesting, to say the least. But there are LOADS of information about that out there. It'll be fun to see what I can put together.

Thanks for all the help!!
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Last edited by bbro; 12-05-2017 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:12 PM   #12
glatt
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbro View Post
Do campsites usually have wood if they have a fire pit or do you have to bring that in? I see notes not to take firewood OUT, so I assume they do?
Depends on the site. The popular campgrounds will usually sell you wood. The less popular campsites will have enough dead wood lying around in the woods that you can gather your own for free. Around here, you are not supposed to transport wood to a park because you spread disease that way. Insects and fungus. Often there is a little country store close to the campground that will sell bundles of local wood.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbro View Post
What do you guys think of a GPS device? That way, I can shut my phone off and preserve battery in case I need to call for anything. I need to get a portable charger for regular life, anyways, so I would just make sure to get one that can go camping, too.
If you get one, make sure it's intended for camping/hiking. A GPS intended for driving won't be useful ("Hm. Green in all directions").
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:56 PM   #14
glatt
 
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I wouldn't spend money on a GPS until you have everything else first. What good is a GPS if you don't have decent footwear yet?
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:19 PM   #15
lumberjim
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PENCIL TORCH


FIRE PASTE



https://www.amazon.com/Upgraded-Bril...+PHONE+CHARGER

hand crank charger gizmo

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