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steelcity_ballin
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Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:41 pm

I'm going camping for the first time since I was like 8. I do not enjoy the woods, bugs, wetness, coldness, generally speaking, I hate nature. That said, there is a camp for the martial artists I train with in late October. I'll need the necessities and a budget of $250 TOPS.

I figure a cheapo tent for $50 from walmart + 2 cans of water proofer should cover my tent. Bring a pillow from home and a sleeping bag and plenty of changes of clothes. We're not totally in the woods, there is a nearby place we will be eating at, I believe facilities to shower at as well. But, I am a total noob, what should I bring besides the glaring obvious?
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:52 pm

I wouldn't think waterproofing a new tent would be required, unless you're going to be out in a serious downpour.

If you're eating out and with a group, you don't really need much beyond a tent/sleeping bag/pillow and whatever else you'd normally travel with. If anything maybe get a pad to sleep on and a tarp to set your tent up on to keep moisture from getting you from below. What weather do you anticipate? Late October around here would mean snow and noteworthy cold are a possibility. I assume you'll be warmer than that, but cold nights are going to be pretty likely. The pad mentioned earlier would be a big help for dealing with that, along with a good sleeping bag. October is the driest month in philly and pittsburgh, btw. Have a flashlight etc. so you're not blind at night.

You're not so much "camping" as "sleeping in a tent". Not a whole lot you need to do that, since you don't need to worry about dealing with extremes or providing food/water/etc.
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steelcity_ballin
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:01 pm

Well there's a few more bucks I can save then, Any recommendations on a brand as far as tents and bags go? Coleman seems popular for cheapo tents, not sure on the bag front.
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:04 pm

If it is anything more than a sprinkle... the tent will be completely useless at keeping the rain out... trust me... If a tent fabric breaths, then it also lets in water... Invest in a giant tarp to cover over your tent should it rain... it is your best bet. They're not that expensive either...
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:10 pm

pete_roth wrote:
Well there's a few more bucks I can save then, Any recommendations on a brand as far as tents and bags go? Coleman seems popular for cheapo tents, not sure on the bag front.

Heck, you can survive with a bunch of blankets. Sleeping bags are particularly convenient for packing/transportation/storage, though. The tarp idea is good insurance against a ridiculous downpour, but if you get to the point where you need it your experience is likely sucking ass anyway. Coleman's fine.no particular recommendations on the bag front. StefanVonS is a lot more pessimistic than I am - as long as you're not touching the side of the tent (which will get you wet real quick) they can do an admirable job of keeping out pretty heavy rains. Even cheap tents are nowhere near useless in that regard.
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:20 pm

I really thought the same too Mattsteg... then I bought a walmart tent :) A steady rain, not even a downpour (with the rainfly on) resulted in a nice puddle in the middle of the tent. And, I swear to God... there was a frog in that puddle. It was a coleman four-man tent. I've used a tarp ever since. I have the worst luck when camping... it rains EVERY time.
 
SpotTheCat
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:22 pm

I agree with a tarp or two, you can use them for just about anything--camping or not, they're good to have around. When I go camping I like to have one to put on wet ground before I set up my tent, and another to cover the tent (some tents come with what is basically a rain tarp - If you hate camping I wouldn't invest in a super-nice tent. I would also suggest an inflatable mattress. If you're anywhere cold, an inflatable mattress will help keep you warm (as well as comfortable) by keeping you further away from the ground.

As for what you should do for your trip:

Borrow a buddy's stuff. If you hate camping and will never go again, it's not worth buying much. Tarps, sleeping bags, and air mattresses are great to have for non-camping situations, so could be good investments.

Know how to operate everything before you leave. I cannot stress this enough. It sounds like you don't do things like this, so making sure you know how to inflate your air mattress (get one with a cheap pump... they're pretty cheap).
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:25 pm

StefanVonS wrote:
I really thought the same too Mattsteg... then I bought a walmart tent :) A steady rain, not even a downpour (with the rainfly on) resulted in a nice puddle in the middle of the tent. And, I swear to God... there was a frog in that puddle. It was a coleman four-man tent. I've used a tarp ever since. I have the worst luck when camping... it rains EVERY time.

I've had the opposite experience with my cheap coleman tent. It's just fine in reasonable rain.
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steelcity_ballin
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:25 pm

Well these camps are fairly regular every few months. Setup friday night, train all day saturday, packup sunday. I want to be the only ninja with a portable hot water shower.
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SpotTheCat
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:54 pm

pete_roth wrote:
Well these camps are fairly regular every few months. Setup friday night, train all day saturday, packup sunday. I want to be the only ninja with a portable hot water shower.

The solar ones work pretty well, we've used one before at a lake cabin (without a shower, or pretty much anything).
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:40 pm

Get a kids tent, this one by [url="http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemancom/detail.asp?product_id=9556-705K&categoryid=11060"]coleman[/url] can hold someone thats at least 80" long, got a waterproof bottom and only 30 bucks. I used to hate/love camping.
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:38 pm

Rather than waste money on a crappy tent and more money on schemes to make it less crappy, I suggest you just rent better gear. Unless you're going to be doing this regularly, it'll be cheaper and you'll probably have a better experience. There are probably mom&pop camping places near you that do it, but REI has Pittsburg store that rents tents, stoves, sleeping bags, and packs. I don't know what the selection is like at that particular store but in general REI stocks good gear even in the rental section. (Buy a sleeping bag liner if you have heebees about a rental bag, but they'll be cleaned after each use anyway). You'll have to buy a membership but it'll probably still be worth it (and if you pay by cash or check you'll get 10% back on your purchases).
 
steelcity_ballin
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Sorry, I'm a clean freak. I can't wear something someone else has had wrapped about themselves. My gf likes this out doorsy stuff so I might as well buy it.
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:12 pm

Do you know how to build and start a good fire? Can you cook over a campfire? Those things will earn you serious cred.
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:04 pm

My folks went on an extended outdoor hikes and camping for days 2-6 of their honeymoon, although thankfully sanity returned with age and children. However, I've done this many ways and many times, and based on your descriptions, would recommend the following as a minimum starter kit:

1.) Tent -- some sort of decent Coleman tent with an integral rain topper, which form-fits over the tent and ties to the same stakes as the tent itself. Unless you expect to be camping in massive downpours, this will keep the bulk of the moisture off.

2.) Small plastic tarp -- not for keeping things off the top of the tent, but rather off the bottom. Something roughly 8' x 8', folded into a quad, is a far better thing to set your tent on than the bare earth in many places. Also, it's easier to wash and dry a tarp later than it is to wash and dry a nylon tent.

3.) Roll-out foam mat -- If you don't take one of these the first time, I guarantee you will the second time.

4.) Sleeping bag -- this doesn't need to be an elaborately expensive affair, but I do recommend some sort of nylon shell with a better-than-basic nylon insulating fill. These are both warm and light, which will prove a great asset later if you ever have to carry it for a while.

5.) Water canteen or equivalent -- a Nalgene bottle or small insulated water jug also works.

6.) Yesterday's newspaper. Not only is this great for starting fires, a wad of paper in your shoes will dry them out overnight after yesterday's accidental forray into the creek.

7.) Miscellany -- Two small LED flashlights (one to use, and one to have handy when the first one doesn't turn on at 3am when you wake up suddenly and realize you really need to relieve yourself). A swiss army knife or leatherman utility tool. A butane lighter and a book of safety matches as a backup. A small first-aid kit (basic bandages and disinfectant, plus Rollaids and aspirin or equivalent, and calamine lotion if you have poison ivy/oak in the area). Small can of insect repellant. A few packages of tissues for nose or emergency restroom duty. Small packages of alcohol-based hand wipes (good for general sanitation, removing pine sap, or sterilizing that knife if you get a splinter). Travel-size kit of your standard personal hygiene products. Granola bars for random snacking. A small backpack or travel bag to hold all of these at arm's reach. A suitably-sized, water-tight plastic container to hold the water-sensitive items.

If you can get your hands on that much, you can do basic overnight in a tent without resorting to lopsided barter or outright unpleasant, uncivilized things if something unexpected comes up. It's a whole different ballgame if you get into backcountry, extreme weather, or food preperation, but...baby steps :wink:
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:25 pm

You'll want to buy the AWP as soon as you can. Remember, patience is a virtue. If you're on de_dust, stick with either the lookout above the tunnel or bombsite A looking towards the chamber. There are many other spots and many other maps, but just remember to pick a spot that works and stick with it. The m4A1 is probably your best bet as a mid-game option, but if you're Terrorist then just learn the spray pattern of the AK and get h-shots that way. :wink:

...er, wait, there's another kind of camping? :)
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morphine
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:26 pm

I've camped many years for a couple or three weeks at at time. I agree with most that has been said regarding Keeping It Simple, Stupid, and only taking what you need. If you're driving and/or have a big packpack, here's what I'd take (my apologies, for I don't know the translation for most terms):

- Tent (duh). Any igloo-like model will do, the "floor" of the tent will stop any humidity that is not outright "sitting on water". Said type of tents also have a sort of "double-ceiling", that is, the outer layer will stop anything that's not the sea falling on you, and the inner layer will be the actual tent's ceiling.
- An air-fillable mattress. Those are *very* comfy. This is where you might want to spend some extra bucks for a good one, since you'll be lying on it.
- Any sleeping bag that feels like it's going to be warm when you're in it. Unless you're going somewhere extremely cold, you don't need a coffin bag.
- LED flashlight. You can get better light out of these when the batteries are running low. Usually a pen or marker-sized job will do fine. Bring its batteries, of course.
- Mosquito repellant, if you're the type that mosquitos find tasty.

Depending on whether you'll camp at the same spot the whole time, you:

a) Bring a charged electrical pump, those are small, little over the site of a closed fist, and can be had for $20 or so. You let it charge overnight and it's ready for when you need to fill the matress up.
b) Bring a foot pump. Bigger, requires effort, but hey, you're Bruce Lee, right? :)

And the most important thing:

NO FOOD OR SUGARY DRINKS INSIDE THE TENT. If you must bring your own food sinde, make sure it's in plastic boxes and don't leave breadcrumbs around. Else, you'll have LOTS of company for the night, and it's not the good kind.

Addendum 1: leave your shoes outside. If it rains, hit them against each other quite a few times to get all the sand and dirt out. That will keep your tent clean.
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SpotTheCat
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:14 pm

I can't stress how much better an air mattress is compared to a foam one. So much more comfortable, and so much warmer. They also generally pack better, and with the new pump mechanisms, can be inflated several times on a charge.
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:18 pm

SpotTheCat wrote:
... and with the new pump mechanisms, can be inflated several times on a charge.

Just make sure to do said inflation before people are trying to sleep, or else you might be burned at the stake.
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:21 pm

I will give my experience:
You will need isolation (from cold) when you sleep, a thing called "neopren" for your back.
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:03 pm

ssidbroadcast wrote:
...er, wait, there's another kind of camping? :)


That's pretty much the first thing I thought when I saw the thread topic. I was like, "hey, finally something I know about!" but then it turned out it was about RL so I was sad.
 
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Re: Help me not suck at camping

Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:08 pm

Scrotos wrote:
That's pretty much the first thing I thought when I saw the thread topic. I was like, "hey, finally something I know about!" but then it turned out it was about RL so I was sad.

Bet you saw something about it in the Discovery channel somewhere? :lol:
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