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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm giving some consideration to camping on my next couple of solo trips.

I don't know anything about tent camping. Any suggestions on what to get or what to avoid?

Motels are just getting too expensive.

Thanks
 

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David,

I did some tent camping last month, first time since cub scouts. Here's what worked and didn't work for me -

The folks at REI can help with gear selection and they have truly great stuff. They also rent camping gear for you to try out and have a generous return policy. My gear consisted of:
  1. the REI Half Dome 2 tent,
  2. REI XL 3.5 Camp Bed,
  3. Marmot Yurt Sleeping Bag,
  4. Therm A Rest Compressible pillow
  5. Counter Assault Bear Spray and
  6. PICO folding chair.
All of this gear was stored in a Hellens Two Wheels waterproof duffel which I strapped to the pillion seat.

I also had an Energizer Mini area lantern and a Mammut T-Base headlamp. I highly recommend both of these.

I purchased a Flash Boil stove to boil water for coffee but never used it. In the morning I just packed up and went to the closest Starbucks.

My first night camping was a disaster for two reasons: didn't set the tent up until after dark and got confused. And 2) unexpected animal noises scarred the shnit out of me. But I managed to mentally reboot and successfully recover.

The ongoing difficulty for me was trying to find a spot. I would stop in at visitor centers and get a map of statewide campgrounds but that really seamed to be hit or miss. And for some reason I was always working against a setting sun. If someone has some tips on how to find good camping spots I'd love to know.

I ended up camping a total of 9 nights. The camping fees ranged from $10 to $32, with most being around $22.

I think the most important question to ask is what kind camping do you want to do. I was trying to minimize hotel expense on a long trip. If you're wanting to spend a few days in one spot you may want to invest more in cooking gear.

Overall I glad I tried it; I'll be camping on my next long distance trip and probably some short ones as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gruivis said:
David,

I did some tent camping last month, first time since cub scouts. Here's what worked and didn't work for me -

The folks at REI can help with gear selection and they have truly great stuff. They also rent camping gear for you to try out and have a generous return policy. My gear consisted of:
  1. the REI Half Dome 2 tent,
  2. REI XL 3.5 Camp Bed,
  3. Marmot Yurt Sleeping Bag,
  4. Therm A Rest Compressible pillow
  5. Counter Assault Bear Spray and
  6. PICO folding chair.
All of this gear was stored in a Hellens Two Wheels waterproof duffel which I strapped to the pillion seat.

I also had an Energizer Mini area lantern and a Mammut T-Base headlamp. I highly recommend both of these.

I purchased a Flash Boil stove to boil water for coffee but never used it. In the morning I just packed up and went to the closest Starbucks.

My first night camping was a disaster for two reasons: didn't set the tent up until after dark and got confused. And 2) unexpected animal noises scarred the shnit out of me. But I managed to mentally reboot and successfully recover.

The ongoing difficulty for me was trying to find a spot. I would stop in at visitor centers and get a map of statewide campgrounds but that really seamed to be hit or miss. And for some reason I was always working against a setting sun. If someone has some tips on how to find good camping spots I'd love to know.

I ended up camping a total of 9 nights. The camping fees ranged from $10 to $32, with most being around $22.

I think the most important question to ask is what kind camping do you want to do. I was trying to minimize hotel expense on a long trip. If you're wanting to spend a few days in one spot you may want to invest more in cooking gear.

Overall I glad I tried it; I'll be camping on my next long distance trip and probably some short ones as well.


This is good info, thanks.

The kind of camping would be simply avoiding the high cost of hotels when doing my solo riding. I think I'd like a 4 to 6 man tent, they seem awful small to me. I could pull my trailer so I carry a lot of gear.

I've been doing some looking. I like the Coleman Instant tent. Very easy to set up and take down and they guarantee no leaks!!

On my last trip around Lake MI the first night cost me $64 and second night cost me just over a $100. I can't take much of that.
 

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dthogey said:
This is good info, thanks.

The kind of camping would be simply avoiding the high cost of hotels when doing my solo riding. I think I'd like a 4 to 6 man tent, they seem awful small to me. I could pull my trailer so I carry a lot of gear.

I've been doing some looking. I like the Coleman Instant tent. Very easy to set up and take down and they guarantee no leaks!!

On my last trip around Lake MI the first night cost me $64 and second night cost me just over a $100. I can't take much of that.
David,
One comment about larger tents. If you're planning to camp in colder temps, a large tent will not be nearly as warm as a smaller one. Your body heat will warm the tent area in a smaller tent.

If you do a search under camping, you'll find many posts that will help as you prepare to do more motorcycle camping.

Good luck!
 

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That's an important question.
Where to and when. You are north of me so the season and direction you are traveling are main concerns. A trailer though its good it can syke you into packing more than you need. And the too large a tent idea is one of those. At 6' 1" I have a REI 1/2 doom 2 fits me well with 2 vestibules under rainfly.
ride safe :bmw:
 

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Dave, check out Motocampers.com. They will have a lot of good ideas and reviews on camping equipment. I use a Kelty Yellowstone 4 person tent. It is tall enough that I can stand up with my head bent over to put my pants on and I have plenty of room for my gear. I also have room to put my chair in at night or to have a place to sit if it starts to rain. Get a good sleeping bag and a good air bed or pad. I have several bag depending on what the weather will be like. I use a Exped Synmat 7 LW pad . There are plenty of options to check out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just ordered the instant tent 6man tent. Just under $150 bucks.

I hope I don't regret it!
 

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dthogey said:
I just ordered the instant tent 6man tent. Just under $150 bucks.

I hope I don't regret it!
Your tent will last much longer with a footprint. They sold one for $25 that matched my tent but I saved a few dollars by just using a disposable paint tarp - $6 at home depot.

Greg
 

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I am going to try hammock camping. They make some really nice hammock tents (for $400+), but you can get into it for the price of a nice hammock and a tarp to protect you from the rain.

If you're just stopping for the night this is a very easy set up/tear down, and is small and light to travel with.

The downside (or upside depending on the weather) is hammocks are typically cooler then tents due to the air moving under you.

Tom
 

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I tent camped from PA to AK and back. I've camped before so I had most of the stuff I needed, but here is what I would recommend.
Marmot Limelight 3p tent. I have the 2p but 3p gives a bit more room to stow your stuff inside with you.
Therma Rest roll- self inflating and warming
Byer Allagash Cot-a must for me due to bad back
Sleeping bag of your choice-I use a zero degree slumberjack
small LED flashlite/lantern combo (walmart sells one that has a fold out hook)
Mess kit- army surplus type for making coffee, beans and weeners :D
and you'll definitely need this; http://www.rei.com/product/785338/soto-od-1r-micro-regulator-stove

Get a pair of these; http://www.rei.com/product/786416/teva-sling-king-booties
You can wear them anywhere to include showering
I bought a couple dry bags at walmart for $14 each (found in camping gear section). You can put your sleeping bag and or anything else you want to keep dry in them rather than a bunch of stuff sacks that keep nothing dry.

Now many folks just use a therma rest roll or a rolled pad with a sleeping bag, but if you can't find a campsite with some nice soft grass, the cot is essential. I toss my therma rest on my cot and am good down to about 20 degree outside temps w/zero degree sleeping bag.

For the record the guy I travelled to AK with purchased a Coleman 6p Insta-Tent right before we left. It lasted thru the first rain alright, but the second night of rain it leaked and leaked the remainder of the trip when it rained overnite. My Marmot never leaked a drop & it took no longer to set up than his Coleman. He did however have lots more room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all of the info. I just got my new Coleman instant 6 tent. It is OK. A little bigger than I thought it would be packed away. It barely fits in my trailer. For now I'll make the best of it. Hoping to take my first camping trip this next weekend.
 

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dthogey said:
Thanks for all of the info. I just got my new Coleman instant 6 tent. It is OK. A little bigger than I thought it would be packed away. It barely fits in my trailer. For now I'll make the best of it. Hoping to take my first camping trip this next weekend.
What are the dimensions when folded up (L, W, H)? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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dthogey said:
Hoping to take my first camping trip this next weekend.
Where are you headed? Will you be cooking at the campsite?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gruivis said:
Where are you headed? Will you be cooking at the campsite?


Headed up to the Manistique area. The Indian Lake Campground.

No cooking will be done by me!! No cooking equipment!
 

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Some pretty good tips in these posts. Curriculum vitae Ten years working retail for a backpacking store plus 15 years as a backpacking instructor at a local community college.

Here are a few more tips without delving into the gear issue. (I'll be glad to answer any of those questions should you have some. I tend to avoid recommendations for manufacturers, i.e. North Face vs. Marmot, etc.)

1. Get to the campground early. Setting up in the dark causes you to rush. Rushing leads to mistakes and mistakes cause damage to gear and personal psyche.

2. Check the weather forecasts. If it's calling for lots of rain, do you really need to go camping that weekend?

3. Site selection. Shade or sun? Is it hot? Shade. Cold? Sun. Is the site level, sloped or depressed? If it's level, no problem. If it's sloped, orient the tent so you sleep with your head uphill. If it's too steep you are going to slide down on your sleeping pad unless it's strapped to your bag or has a textured surface. Also make sure you aren't in a drainage area. Imagine dumping a fifty gallon barrel of water uphill from your site. Will your tent be in its path? A depressed site will catch and hold water and you'll understand what is meant by a bathtub design on some tents.

Shade - it's nice under the trees, but are there dead limbs in the tree? These dead branches are called "widow makers" for a very good reason.

Distance to the restroom. If you're real close that's a plus for those nighttime excursions. Unfortunately, there's usually a lot of foot traffic during the night and early in the morning. Also, most facilities have outdoor lighting which can be annoying when you're trying to sleep. If you camp further away and a nighttime trip is necessary that means getting up, putting on pants, footwear and trying to locate a flashlight. I suggest a pee jug. An empty one quart bottle is usually sufficient to get you through the night. (Ladies, I'm at a loss for this one and I have no experience with various devices that allow you to urinate like your male counterparts.) Please dispose of the contents and the bottle in an appropriate manner. Being downwind of an ill kept restroom will also have its drawbacks for obvious reasons.

Distance to RVs, trailers, etc. Usually it isn't an issue. Electric sites mean no generators running. However, it can be difficult trying to sleep if your RV neighbors are having an all night Gilligan's Island festival on their television. "Gilligan! Put down that coconut!"

If you're in bear country or any country for that matter, no food gets put in the tent. Hang food sacks from a bear line or leave them in the side cases. Critters can gnaw through nylon faster than you can say, "Nylon." I have a patch on an inside pocket of my rain jacket where a squirrel or chipmunk chewed through it to get to a granola bar I had forgotten to take out.

4. Miscellaneous: a battery powered fan on hot muggy nights is worth its weight in comfort. It also helps disperse condensation if its raining and the tent is buttoned up. (Condensation is a major cause for people who think their tent leaks.)

Flashlights and headlamps. LEDs have come a long way and they're great. Make sure the batteries are fresh. Just turning your flashlight on and off to see if it works is no indicator as to how much life is left in the batteries. Headlamps allow for hands free mobility. If you opt for a flashlight it should be small enough to fit in your mouth so your hands are free. Monstrous 6 D-cell flashlights are great if you're Luke Skywalker fighting Darth Vader or you want to direct air traffic.

Practice tying a few basic knots for camping: half hitch, bowline, taut-line, etc. You should be able to tie these with your eyes closed.

Pocket knife or pocket tool? Whichever floats your boat. I'm paranoid and carry both. Just remember, more people are injured by dull blades than by sharp blades.

And yes, there's the usual assortment of toiletries, sun screen, bug spray, etc. Just a word of caution. Insect repellents that contain DEET are bad for coated nylon and plastics. Don't apply it on your body with your hands until you have finished setting up camp. Don't spray it on your tent. (Yes, I've seen it done!) Make sure to wash your hands after applying it.

5. Finally, and this is sometimes the hardest thing to do, organize before bedtime. Where are the clothes to put on in the morning? Mine are in a fleece covered stuff sack so they become my pillow. What about your flashlight, glasses, first aid kit, medications and water bottle? If the pockets inside the tent won't hold all that stuff, use your boots. Did you remember to fill your water bottles?


These are just a few tips from 50 years of camping. I hope they help. Experience is the best teacher provided you remember your lessons. Mother Nature does not grade on a curve. Her margin of error is rather narrow.
 

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Gruivis said:
Your tent will last much longer with a footprint. They sold one for $25 that matched my tent but I saved a few dollars by just using a disposable paint tarp - $6 at home depot.

Greg
+++

Make sure the foot print is smaller (4-6 inches) than the actual floor of the tent. If the foot print/ground cloth extends beyond the sides of the tent, run off water from the tent lands on the ground cloth and gets trapped between it and the floor of the tent. Your body weight will be enough to force the water through the floor of your tent.

If the floor of the tent is an odd shape and you make your own foot print here's how. Put the paint drop cloth (heavy plastic) on the ground and set the tent on top of it. Trace the outline of the floor onto the plastic with a Sharpie or Magic Marker. Remove the tent and cut out the pattern. Remember to cut inside the line by about 4 or 6 inches. I tend to use 4. Now use you marker to draw an arrow indicating the door or front of the tent. This makes matching the footprint to the tent a lot easier. One of these days I'll get around to doing that for my Mountain Hardware Skylight 3 which has an odd five sides footprint.
 

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Hi, I'm Bob and I pack too much crap!

I am sure some of you will laugh, and some will Identify with me...:)

I am over Fifty, a bit overweight, OK, My doc says alot...and I am a little out of shape...see a theme here....:(.

I love to camp but I like my creature comforts, done enough crawling on the floor in a two man tent, trying to get my pants and shoes on, cramps in my legs, while having to go to the restroom in the middle of the night or just getting up in the morning !

My solution....See the following:

1. Redverze tent, room for my gear and bike, and most important, I can stand in it and put my pants or gear on, and it has room for a chair and table if you leave the bike out when it rains or you need shade. http://redverz.com .
2. Pico chair, folds flat, easy to un-fold, nothing to put togather, solid arms to push yourself out of it when you have had too much hydration ;) . http://www.amazon.com/GCI-Outdoor-PICO-Arm-Chair/dp/B0042X0YCK
3. Easycot, it stands 18" of the ground, you can sit on it to put your gear and boots on, you can store your gear under it, leaving open floor space. One of my pet peaves with alot of the cots out there is thay are so narrow, laying on your back your arms fall off the cot...:( , this one is longer and wider then what is out there, 31" wide by 78" long. Yes, it is rather large packed up, but the pros outweigh the cons. http://www.byerofmaine.com/products/camp-furniture/easy-sleeping-cot.html
4. Roll-a-Table, been to too many campsites where there was a shortage of camp tables and chairs or they weren't where you want to setup your campsite, this one packs up reasonable small, is sturdy and no small parts to lose, had mine for about ten years, has held up nicely, it also has built in storage pouches on the side so everything you are using doesn't have to reside on the table top. http://campspecialties.com/roll-a-table.htm
5. Ezypeg Screw top, I am sure we all have been in the situation where you are pounding in tent stakes, in the hot sun and the the ground is too hard or too soft where it doesn't hold. Then you go to pull them out to complete packup in the morning and you can't get them out, or they bend and break...hmmm. Found the screw peg toppers that you use with a 8" x 1/4" metal lag screw and a small battery drill and voila ! Easy in and out !!!! Don't get the resin or fiberglass screws, I have used several manufacturers and none have held up ! http://www.uflexsign.com/products
6. Jet boil stove, Yes there are smaller and lighter available, but the simple setup and use makes it for me ! I pack it with some Starbucks insta coffee packets and it is ready to go. The fuel cannister fits inside the cup along with the burner, it heats up water extremely fast for rehydrating meals and with the optional pot, you can cook up fresh ingrediants from the local area. http://www.jetboil.com/
7. Grilliput grill and firebowl, Ever wanted to barbecue on the road but there is no firepit or BBQ grill, you got a try these, pack a couple of charcoal brickets in a freezer bag (Don't use those thin bags, DAMHIK) and you can use this even on a table top (with some foil underneath of course !!!) http://www.grilliput.com/01en_grilliput_start.php
8. Silipint, ever needed a hot or cold drinking cup that is unbreakable, packable, won't burn you hands with hot liquids or freeze them with cold, and can be used to hold a hot pot handle, works great to keep your beer cold, here ye go !!! http://www.silipint.com/

These are just some of the things I have found and use when camping, everyone has their favorites, hope you find mine as usefull as I have :wave
 

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Sorry didn't want anyone to think I was promoting any brand... So I'll simply say the brands I did mention are one's I've PERSONALLY used and can vouch for.

When looking for a good tent, you'll find most of the better brand tents all come with a foot print.

You may have also noticed most of the stuff I mentioned is extremely compact... it is best that way if you pack into the back country.

Besides the bear bag mentioned by another poster to keep your food in... You'll also want to hoist any clothing you were wearing when cooking if you are in bear country. Those fellas have the nose from hell and ain't nothing worse than one coming into your tent for a visit because they smell the leftover odor from dinners hotdogs on a shirt you have in the tent (or worse are still wearing :D ).
 
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