Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Camping Secrets

Discussion on how to enjoy the outdoors.

by navigator » Wed May 04, 2011 12:29 pm

I've camped off and on most of my life but not really enough to get really good at it.
I was thinking the other day that you learn something every trip so if we all post a few things...

Figured I would condense/summarize the notes from responses below. I apologize if I mis-interpreted any summaries. I'll try to update this concise list but keep the thread going at the bottom for more explanation.
PM me if I missed a thought you posted and feel is important or add to the thread anything not previously posted.

Safety
Bring/drink plenty of fluids/Water. Extra water can be used as coolant in a pinch.
Think about tent location (safety, noise, weather, water run-off, restrooms etc)
Make sure your sleeping bag is rated to the temperatures you will see.;
Bring extra clothes, tarp, ponchos etc especially if you will be remote.
Water filter to use water from streams etc.
Keep spare clothes/bedding in protective bags.
Fishing line and bells make good alarms for unwanted guests(people,animals etc), dogs work too.

Comfort
Use longer tent stakes/anchors in deep sand/beach etc
make sure your sleeping bag is rated to the temperatures you will see
a tent fan is great for sleeping on hot nights, as well as white noise.
A proper camp toilet and a blind is great esp for women.
Cheap folding camp chairs don't last very long.
Compression bags can help with space especially with sleeping bags.
BUG SPRAY, 100% DEET works best if you are past child bearing years.
Be prepared for any unexpected showers by covering your firewood first.
A canoe can serve as an emergency shelter(beware of aluminum canoes in Tstorms).


Be prepared but Don't over pack

Fire tips

A mattress pump does wonders for stoking a fire.
A little gasoline also really helps start a fire with wet wood.
Propane torch is good for a fire starter and packs light if you use a propane stove.
A battery powered reciprocating saw makes short work of firewood

Food - cooking, storage etc
Camping stoves are great, propane ones are easy to use/clean
Bottled water and drink mixes are convenient.
Frozen water bottles save space for ice.
Be aware of any critters(bears, raccoons) that might try to steal your food and prepare accordingly.
Most folks can’t live off the land, take some food with you.


Misc
make a checklist and add/delete items as needed.
Try to keep gear organized.
Bring extra lantern mantles and know how to use them :-)
know how to use what you bring (firearms, fire-starter, lantern, stove etc).
Machete, good for clearing a path, chopping wood or killing snakes.
Hatchet, good for chopping wood or driving tent stakes, not good for killing snakes :-)


My original notes....
1st thing I learned was make a list and add/delete as needed.

Couple items I learned on our recent trip.
When camping on the beach consider how much noise the ocean makes, I guess this goes for anywhere.
When camping on the beach you need longer tent stakes. I used 1/2 inch PVC cut in 2ft lengths. 1.5 foot would have been enough.
If you can keep your gear organized that helps a lot. I bought big stanley tool box on wheels several years ago. Seems like it was only like $20-$30 that looks kind of like this.
Image
I can put my stove, propane, lantern, mallet, shovel, machete, hatchet, rope and many other camping items in that one tote and it rolls pretty good. It is pretty much water proof. It also has slide out handle that I can throw something on that turns it into a pretty good camping table. The main thing is it keeps everything together so It limits what I have to remember.
Last edited by navigator on Tue May 10, 2011 6:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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by Trail X » Wed May 04, 2011 1:48 pm

Been trying to nail down the secrets for a while. Here are a few I've learned.

First and foremost, make sure your sleeping bag is rated to the temperatures you will see. Mrs Downing and I found that one out early on when we almost froze to death one night.

A tent fan goes a long way for me in keeping me comfortable on hot nights, but the noise also helps me sleep.

Don't get a camp grill, get a camp stove. Camp grills are stinky and messy and hard to clean.

A mattress pump does wonders for stoking a fire. A little gasoline also really helps start a fire with wet wood.

A battery powered reciprocating saw makes short work of firewood. Much easier than an axe, much smaller and less messy than a chain saw.

Cheap folding camp chairs don't last very long.

Don't let your used water flow into the area you're going to be walking in.

Women don't like going to the bathroom behind a tree. A proper camp toilet and a blind can help their experience.
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by steveroche » Wed May 04, 2011 2:38 pm

Being that i am an Eagle Scout, i have been through just about every camping situation you can imagine. On my first camping trip in 6th grade i got Hypothermia because the adult leader put everyone in an incorrect area for tenting. I ended up with 3 inches of stranding water and no dry clothes on a 30 degree wet day...and its from situations like this that i have learned what to bring and how to deal with bad camping situations.
Here are some of the most important things i have learned over the many years of camping i have encountered.
1. Choosing a proper tenting location is vital, always plan for most kinds of weather when choosing where to put your tent. On the top of a small hill is always good so that water washes underneath you and doesn't collect underneath you.
2. Like James said, a proper sleeping bag is vital to be able to fall asleep at night and keep warm. I use a "Mummy Bag" it works great and i don't think I've ever had a cold nights sleep with it. Depending on type, they can be rated for sub-zero temperatures. A good compression sack works well in conjunction with these as well as it reduces spaced usage.
3. Camping stoves are great, propane ones are easy to use and easy to clean. Also a cheap metal grate to put over a fire for cooking food is also good. Keeps the food above the fire and its easy to use and barely requires cleaning.
4. Don't over pack...I have been on lots of trips where other kids over pack their bags and end up with wayyy too much stuff. Only bring necessities otherwise you end up with a cluttered mess of stuff you shouldn't have brought in the first place.
5. Bring lots of water and keep drinking fluids. Whenever i go camping i grab a bunch of waters that i think would be good enough, then i take a bunch extra for emergency purposes. You always have to make sure to bring enough water, and Gatorade is a great thing to have when you start getting dehydrated. I know from experience getting heat exhaustion is not fun and Gatorade is a good way to replenish your fluids.
Those are just some of the most important things i have learned to follow over the years of being in boy scouts and still being an avid camper. Hope it helps!
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by The Roadie » Wed May 04, 2011 2:42 pm

Checklists rock. Evolve one of your own after starting with ones that are easy to Google for. There are many threads on ExPo about this.
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by OregTrailBlazin » Wed May 04, 2011 4:51 pm

JamesDowning wrote:Women don't like going to the bathroom behind a tree. A proper camp toilet and a blind can help their experience.



Gotta meet some of the women raised out here in the sticks.. My wife would MUCH rather piss behind a tree or the door of the truck than in any outhouse, or porta-potty.. :mrgreen:
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by navigator » Wed May 04, 2011 5:18 pm

Here is another one we have, I usually take my big 5gallon orange water cooler.
We usually take bottled water and a bunch of crystal light type drink mixes.
This lets you have water when you want and something else when you don't.
It adds variety without much weight. you can also freeze like 1/2 of the water ahead of time to make ice and save space. Usually a frozen water will thaw out fast enough as you drink it if you aren't real thirsty.

I also carry a little propane torch, I mean shoot you have propane lanterns and stoves, the torch takes up almost no space. If you can't get the fire going with the torch and a little kindling your wood is really wet :-)
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by Hatchet669 » Wed May 04, 2011 5:35 pm

navigator wrote:I can put my stove, propane, lantern, mallet, shovel, machete, hatchet, rope and many other camping items in that one tote and it rolls pretty good. It is pretty much water proof. It also has slide out handle that I can throw something on that turns it into a pretty good camping table. The main thing is it keeps everything together so It limits what I have to remember.


i cant fit in there...
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by navigator » Wed May 04, 2011 5:46 pm

dude, somebody's gotta drive!
Hatchet669 wrote:
navigator wrote:I can put my stove, propane, lantern, mallet, shovel, machete, hatchet, rope and many other camping items in that one tote and it rolls pretty good. It is pretty much water proof. It also has slide out handle that I can throw something on that turns it into a pretty good camping table. The main thing is it keeps everything together so It limits what I have to remember.


i cant fit in there...
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by NC_IslandRunner » Wed May 04, 2011 6:20 pm

navigator wrote:When camping on the beach you need longer tent stakes. I used 1/2 inch PVC cut in 2ft lengths. 1.5 foot would have been enough.


I find these the best for anchoring a tent down in sand.
Image
You screw them in at an angle and they won't budge, but when you are ready to remove them you just pull them so they are standing vertical and they come out easy. Small length of rebar helps screwing them in. I use zip-ties to connect tent to anchors.
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by chevycrew » Wed May 04, 2011 8:56 pm

Instead of carrying antifreeze for the truck, carry extra drinking water.

Truck will run with water, but you cant drink antifreeze.
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by HARDTRAILZ » Fri May 06, 2011 8:38 am

Practice w what you carry. A firestarter is no good if you don't know how to use it. Carrying. a .22 in case you have to hunt food is no good if you can't hit what you are aiming at. Once out in the wild it is not the best place to try new things. Practice...learn...read...practice.
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by lil_freak_66 » Fri May 06, 2011 10:36 pm

100% DEET is the best way to go for mosquito repellent,spend a few days in the woods in the summer and you find out quick that the dollar store stuff doesnt cut it that well.
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by navigator » Mon May 09, 2011 1:06 pm

thanks for all the responses. I updated the 1st thread with a summary of items, keep them coming.
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by Trail X » Mon May 09, 2011 1:30 pm

Nice job, I hope we can keep this going. I like learning from others' experiences.

Anyone else have bad experiences with yokels? One of the Tecores we had a drunk/high yokel come up with his falling-apart noisy pickup. I still wonder how the situation would have turned out if it was just me and the lady. Its still the reason I sleep with my pistol beside me when camping.
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by lil_freak_66 » Mon May 09, 2011 2:08 pm

in harlan kentucky we had came across what we figured was a pot farmer in a long bed F150 that had broke down,he was acting incoherent and had a rather obvious bulge under his shirt...

what the group did is tell him that we had more people coming up in a few minutes that would be able to repair him or help him get out,we just all kept on going and didnt go that way back,we all had a bad feeling he was trouble.


oh,my camping essentials always include a firearm too,you never know what might happen(better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it)
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by fishsticks » Mon May 09, 2011 5:47 pm

My buddy Chris and I came upon a pair one time who'd gotten their Exploder stuck pretty good trying to get onto a blocked off trail. One guy was obviously drunk as hell and both seemed pretty shifty.

We pulled them out, because that's just how we are. Both of us were carrying though.
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by bgwolfpack » Mon May 09, 2011 6:26 pm

Three of us were up wheeling and shooting for the day until it got dark. We decided to start a fire and hang out a while. No one near us all day felt pretty alone when about 11pm a guy walks up on us and our rigs. Sitting with our faces to the fire we never saw him until he was next to us holding an AK or something, couldn't focus real well on it at the time. He never said a word. Just stood there for a minute then walked out of camp. We left a short time later.
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by Trail X » Mon May 09, 2011 7:15 pm

Ran, you make me want to get a motion sensor to put up at camp.
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by HARDTRAILZ » Mon May 09, 2011 10:28 pm

Fishing line and bells are cheap motion detectors...
I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone...but
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by gotspeed1 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:35 pm

bgwolfpack wrote:Three of us were up wheeling and shooting for the day until it got dark. We decided to start a fire and hang out a while. No one near us all day felt pretty alone when about 11pm a guy walks up on us and our rigs. Sitting with our faces to the fire we never saw him until he was next to us holding an AK or something, couldn't focus real well on it at the time. He never said a word. Just stood there for a minute then walked out of camp. We left a short time later.

That's F---in' creepy!!
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